Catalog Help Guides

Searching and Browsing

Search the Catalog

Simply type your search in the bar at the top of the page and hit “Enter” or click “Search” to begin searching the catalog.

An image of the search bar at the top of the catalog, with "catcher in the rye" typed in the field and "in Library Catalog" selected.

The catalog can handle common misspellings and typos. For example, “James Pattersson” will automatically return results for James Patterson, and “Berenstein Bears” returns results for Berenstain Bears.

It also utilizes search suggestions when typing in the search bar. After entering 4 or more characters, suggestions from the catalog will appear below in a drop down menu. Simply select your desired search term and the catalog will run the search! 

"mia ma" is entered in the search bar and search suggestions appear in a dropdown underneath

Select a Specific Library Catalog

The catalog offers tailored experiences for each and every single library. To view your library's catalog, navigate to Select a Catalog/Select Your Library, and choose your desired option.

Your library's catalog has been specially designed for your library. Its theme is inspired by colors found at the library, and the catalog may offer content not found in the standard CW MARS catalog, such as local events and databases. Explore your library's catalog to see what's on offer!

Details such as the library's website, location, hours, and contact informaton can also be found within your library's catalog by clicking the hamburger (three line) menu in the top right.

You can still search collections across all CW MARS libraries. But, by using your library's catalog, their items will be given priority in the search results, and you can quickly choose to search the full CW MARS collection or just your library's from the top of the search results.

Browse Categories

Browse categories appear on the homepage of the catalog and offer a way to visually browse items in the library collection. They are allow libraries to highlight things like reading lists; new titles; staff picks; special collections, such as Library of Things, board games, and local history; and much more.

In addition to browse categories created by library staff, three personalized browse categories can appear as you use the catalog: Your Saved Searches, Your Lists, and Recommendations for You.

  • Your Saved Searches appears once you have saved one or more searches to your account.
  • Your Lists appears after creating your first list.
  • Recommendations for You appears after you have rated your first title and will populate with content the catalog thinks you may like based on past ratings.
Saved Searches

Saved Searches is a tool that can be useful for tracking common searches you may check regularly.

Say, for example, you are a big fan of James Patterson and are always looking for his newest book. You can run a search and add any filters you would like. For this example, let's say you ran an Author search for James Patterson and added filters for "Fiction" and for "Added in the Last: Six Months". 

Once the search is set up as needed, click the Search Tools button at the top of the search results and click Save Search.

A screenshot of the search results for an Author search for "James Patterson" and filters added for "Fiction" and "Added in the Last: Six Months". The Search Tools button has been selected and a red box is around "Save Search" in the dropdown.

A pop-up box will appear and ask for the name of your saved search. Name your saved search (for this example, we can name it "New James Patterson") and click Save.

The pop-up box asking you to name your Saved Search.

Once your search has been saved, a confirmation will appear.

The success message the appears confirming your search has been successfully saved.

Saved searches will appear in a custom Your Saved Searches browse category when you are logged in to the catalog. In the example above, you can use this browse category to visually browse the newest James Patterson fiction in the collection anytime you log in to the catalog moving forward.

A screenshot of the "Your Saved Searches" browse category that appears after you save your first search.

Saved searches can be deleted by visiting Your Account > Your Searches and clicking Delete next to the specific saved search.

A view of Your Account > Your Saved Searches where users can delete saved searches from their account.

This can be useful for more general searches too, like one for new cookbooks, or one for new movies on blu-ray in particular. If you can create a search for it, you can save it! 

Placing and Managing Holds

Place a Hold on Physical Content

To request an item in Aspen, select “Place Hold” on the right-hand side of the search results next to the desired format. Books will appear first, followed by other formats in alphabetical order. If placing a hold here, Aspen will choose the best record in the catalog based on availability and the number of copies on record.

Search results for Mia Manasala shows "Arsenic and Adobo" and its various formats.

If you are already signed in to your account, a pop-up will appear asking to confirm details such as pickup location, which volume is being requested if applicable, and contact information. If available, your email and default phone number will populate automatically. After reviewing the information and updating if necessary, click “Submit Hold Request”. 

A screenshot of the details patrons must confirm, like pickup library and contact information, in order to place a hold. There is a box around the email and phone number to show that if available, that information will be supplied automatically by the catalog.

If you would like to receive a text notification when your hold is ready, you will need to check the box for "Yes, by text message" and ensure the related fields are filled in.

Note: Changes to Mobile Number made on this screen will NOT be respected when the notice is sent. To change the number associated with holds, update your Mobile Number in Your Account > Account Settings > Hold Notifications Preferences. This can be done before or after placing the hold.

The same hold screen from above, with a red box around the text notification options.

If successful, a hold will be placed. If you are opted in to notifications, you will be notified when the item is available for pickup.

Hold successfully placed confirmation message.

If you are not signed in when selecting “Place Hold”, the catalog will ask you to log in first, and then you can follow the process from above in order to place the hold. 

If a hold fails, an error message will appear. If you are unsure why the hold failed, you may contact your library. Remember, holds can fail because of $10 or more in fines to an account, lost items, or because the library does not allow holds to be placed on that item, among other reasons.

Place a Hold or Check Out eContent

The catalog has integration with OverDrive/Libby and hoopla (if your library has a subscription) so that when you select “Check Out” or “Place Hold” on content from these platforms, the actions occur almost immediately (if you are logged in). Checked out materials are available for viewing within pop-up readers in the catalog, or through OverDrive/Libby and hoopla’s platforms.

Search results for "The Other Black Girl" by Zakiya Dalila Harris with a red box around the ebook, eaudiobook, and Kindle formats.

If placing a hold on eContent for the first time, a pop-up will appear and ask for an email address to send a notification when the hold is available. If you select the check box for "Remember these settings", you will no longer see this pop-up when placing a hold.

A pop-up window asking for an email address for a notification when your Libby hold is ready.

If the hold is successful, a confirmation message will appear.

A success message from placing a hold on an eAudiobook for "The Other Black Girl" by Zakiya Dalila Harris

If you are logged in to your account and place a hold or check out a title successfully, a confirmation message will appear:

A success message stating you have checked out a title. There is a button to bring you to Your Accounts > Checked Out Titles.

Once available, you can access your content either through the catalog in Your Account, in the Libby app, or at libbyapp.com. hoopla content can be accessed on the hoopla platform. For help accessing Libby, check out the CW MARS FAQ or reach out to your local library.

Cancel a Hold

Canceling a hold is done in Your Account > Titles on Hold. You can cancel holds for physical materials as well as digital content on OverDrive/Libby. You must be logged in to the catalog to do this.

You can either use the cancel button on the right to cancel a specific hold, or use the "Cancel Selected" or "Cancel All" boxes in addition to selecting titles via the checkboxes to the left of the cover images.

A screenshot of Your Account > Titles on Hold, with the Cancel Hold buttons highlighted.

Once you've click one of the Cancel buttons, a pop-up box will appear asking you to confirm. Click "Confirm Cancel Hold".

A message asking the user to confirm that they would like to cancel the selected hold.

After the hold has been cancelled, a success message will appear.

A success message confirming a hold has been cancelled.

Suspend and Activate a Hold

Suspending and activating holds is handled in Your Account > Titles on Hold. You must be logged in to the catalog to do this.


Suspending Holds

You can either use the "Suspend Hold" button on the right to suspend a specific hold, or use the "Suspend Selected" or "Suspend All" boxes in addition to selecting titles via the checkboxes to the left of the cover images.

A screenshot showing Your Account > Titles on Hold and a suspended hold for "I'm Glad My Mom Died" by Jennette McCurdy

Once you've clicked one of the suspend buttons, a pop-up box will appear. Within the pop-up, you may optionally choose a date for the hold to auotmatically activate. If a date is not entered, you can manually activate the hold when you are ready for it. To finish suspending your hold, select "Suspend Hold".

Once the hold has been suspended, a success message will appear.


Activating Holds

To manually activate a suspended hold, visit Your Account > Titles on Hold and scroll down to your Pending Holds. You can either use the "Activate Hold" button on the right to activate a specific hold, or use the "Activate Selected" or "Activate All" boxes in addition to selecting titles via the checkboxes to the left of the cover images.

A screenshot of Your Account > Titles on Hold that shows a suspended hold for "I'm Glad My Mom Died" by Jennette McCurdy.

Once you've clicked one of the activate buttons, a pop-up box will appear while the system updates your hold.

A waiting message while the system updates the status of your holds.

Once the hold has been activated, a success message will appear.

A success message for an activated hold.

Your Account

Accessing Your Account

To access your account, you will need to log in to the catalog. Click Sign In in the top right of the header.

Enter your library card number (found on the back of your library card, beneath the barcode) without spaces, and then enter your PIN/password.

Note: If you do not know what your PIN/password is, reach out to your local library for assistance.

View Checked Out Materials

If you are logged in to the catalog, visiting Your Account > Checked Out Titles will show all physical and digital content currently checked out to you. This includes items checked out in person, as well as digital titles you checked out directly through the catalog or Libby’s app/website (and hoopla at applicable libraries).

Checked Out Titles in Your Account

If recent transactions are not appearing in Checked Out Titles, click the “Refresh” button on the top-right corner and they should appear.

View Current Holds

Titles on Hold will show all titles, both physical and digital, that are currently on hold for you in Your Account > Titles on Hold. Holds ready for pickup will appear above any pending holds.

If recent transactions are not appearing in Titles on Hold, click the “Refresh” button on the top-right corner of the results and they should appear.

Renew Materials

Items checked out and not returned by their due date with renewals remaining will be automatically renewed by the system. Automatic renewals will continue as usual and will send notices if applicable. 

To manually renew materials currently checked out, visit Your Account > Checked Out Titles and find the item you would like to renew. You can see how many renewals remain on your item below the due date. Select “Renew” on the right-hand side.

A view of the "Checked Out Titles" screen in Your Account. The checked out title is "The Body in the Back Garden" by Mark Waddell. To the right of the title is a blue button that says "Renew". There is a red rectangle overlaid to highlight the Renew button.

If the renewal was successful, you will see this message, and the new due date will be reflected in Checked Out Titles.

A pop-up window that says a renewal was successful.

If there are no more renewals remaining, you will see "0" next to "Renewals Remaining" and the "Renew" button will be replaced with a message stating "Sorry, this title cannot be renewed".

The same title from above, "The Body in the Back Garden" as shown in Checked Out Titles, now with an updated due date and no more renewals remaining.

If the renewal fails, an error message will appear. 

Reading History

The catalog has the ability to track your reading history. To turn on reading history, log in to the catalog with your library card number and PIN/password, and then navigate to Your Account > Reading History.

Select "Start Recording My Reading History" to enable this feature.

Shows the My Reading History screen when you first visit. There is a privacy warning and beneath that a button labeled "Start Recording My Reading History".

Note: If you had a reading history in the old catalog, it will be imported when you select "Start Recording My Reading History".

View and Pay Charges

A summary of charges owed can be found by going to Your Account > Charges.

You can pay all or part of these charges online.

Before submitting a payment, please read the instructions on the Charges page. After confirming the amount to pay, enter your credit card details into the form, such as card number, zip code, expiration date, and CVC. To finalize the payment, click Pay Selected Charges.


Please Note:

  • Online payments are non-refundable. You should make every effort to find and return lost items or discuss payment options with your local library prior to paying online.
  • Payments under $0.50 cannot be accepted online.
  • After selecting which bills/amounts to pay, the total amount that will be charged to your credit card will be listed as the Total under Balance Due.
  • You will NOT be asked to confirm your payment. Your payment will be submitted as soon as you click Pay Selected Charges.
  • Keep in mind that you won't be able to check out or renew physical material until you have: a) No "Lost Materials" charges on your account. b) Owe less than $10.00 in fines/charges.

Payment History

You can view a list of payments made online in the catalog by going to Your Account > Payment History. Note that only payments made through the online catalog will appear here. Payments made over the desk, through the old catalog, or via other means will NOT display in this list.

If you have questions about charges or payments, please reach out to your local library.

Renew your Account / Library Card

Most public library patrons are eligible to renew thier account online. Online account renewal is available beginning 30 days prior to your card's expiration date. If and when you are eligible to renew online, you'll see a button labelled Renew your card on the left hand side of Your Account.

Click the button to begin the renewal process. You'll be taken to a form where you can confirm/update the following information:

  • Preferred Name
  • Home Address
  • Mailing Address
  • Telephone
  • Email Address

Once you've confirmed the information is accurate, click Accept to complete the renewal process. The information will be immediately evaluated, and if the form is approved, your card will be renewed for another 2 years.


Notes on eligibility: 

  • To be eligible for online account renewal, you must have a standard public library card and live in a Massachusetts town with a public library certified by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners to receive state aid.
  • Any address entered into the form must be a residential address verified by the US Postal Service. If the address cannot be verified against the USPS database, your card cannot be renewed online

If your card has expired but cannot be renewed online (or if you prefer to renew your card directly with the library), you may contact your local library for help or to renew your card in person.

Adjust Your Account Settings/Preferences

Preferences and Settings associated with your account can be adjusted by going to Your Account > Account Settings and selecting one of the subcategories:


Your Preferences

Here you can adjust your desired language and display (see Change Your Language and Theme below for more information),

set up to three preferred hold pickup locations (selected libraries will appear at the top of the list when placing a hold,

and decide to mark current (and past - if Reading History is enabled) checkouts and holds when searching the catalog.


Contact Information

This page displays your contact/personal information. To make changes to any of the fields on this page, please reach out to your local library.


Hold Notification Preferences

For holds, you can be notified by email and/or by text message. To select either or both of these options, check the checkbox next to the notification type.

If you choose to be notified by text message, be sure to enter your mobile number and consent to receiving text messages.


Reset PIN/Password

To update the password associated with your account, enter your current password along with the updated one. PIN/passwords should be at least 7 characters in length, contain at least one letter (a-z/A-Z), and contain at least one number.


Libby Options

Here you can adjust the email address associated with holds in OverDrive/Libby and decide the default loan period for e-material checked out through Aspen.

Change Your Language and Theme

Languages

The catalog is available in a number of languages. To change the language of the catalog, use the Languages & Display button in the top right of the catalog. You can also click the hamburger (three lines) menu and select a language at the bottom of that menu.

If you are logged in to your account, you can also update your preferred language in Your Account > Your Preferences.


Themes

In addition to your library's default theme, there are now two additional themes to make browsing the catalog easier: Dark Mode and High Contrast on White. To change the theme of the catalog, you can use the Languages & Display button at the top right of the catalog. A pop-up will appear with dropdown menus for your preferred language and theme.

If you are logged in to your account, you can also update your preferred theme in Your Account > Your Preferences.

Your Lists

Create a List

Anyone with a library account can create a list. Your lists will never be searchable in the catalog. Lists can be completely private (viewable only by the creator) or made public and shareable via email or link.

Import Lists from the Old Catalog

If a you created lists in our old catalog, they can be imported into the new catalog after logging in for the first time by visiting Your Account > Your Lists and clicking Import from Old Catalog. 

Note that lists may appear to be shorter if they contained the same title in multiple formats, due to how records are displayed in the new catalog. Additionally, if titles have been deleted from the library catalog, they will not appear on your imported list.