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NYPL’s Online Catalog: Frequently Asked Questions

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Please review the information below before contacting Ask NYPL. This page will be updated on an ongoing basis. LAST UPDATE: 12/29/2016

Changes to the Library’s Online Catalog

The Library’s online catalog allows users to explore our vast circulating and research collections to find what they need. After careful evaluation, we determined that our former online catalog provided too few opportunities for customization. In 2015, to better position ourselves for the development of new tools and features designed to enhance your user experience, we switched to a catalog interface that provides more flexibility for future growth. Please note that our classic catalog remains unchanged.

This transition was a crucial first step in the Library’s plan to better integrate the rich collection of items in our catalog with the wealth of other content NYPL has to offer—from our Digital Collections to staff blog posts, listings for public programs, and more. This will allow us to design tailored, personalized experiences to better meet the individual needs of our users. Learn more about the catalog transition here. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Where do I find out more about an item?

  • Find an item.
  • Scroll to the bottom of the screen to see reviews, annotations and recommendations by Novelist.

How do I request a book?

  • Search for an item.
  • Click the Place Hold button to request the item
  • Indicate where you would like up the item using the drop down menu.

Place hold.png

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How do I download a 3M e-book?

  • Search for an item.
  • Refine your search results by selecting e-book from the Format facet.
  • Click the Check out with 3M and open the e-book in your 3M iOS or Android app.


Checkoutwith3M.png

How do I download an OverDrive e-book?

  • Search for an item.
  • Refine your search results by selecting e-book from the Format facet.
  • Click the Check out with OverDrive button and confirm your checkout.
  • Click the Get e-book button to select your preferred format and open the e-book on your device.


CheckOutwithOverdrive.png

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How do I use the book bag?

  • Search the catalog.
  • Select items via the check boxes to the left of the items.
  • Click the bookbag.png icon to place the item in your book bag.  
  • Items in your book bag can be placed on hold, used to create a list, tagged and emailed to yourself and a friend.
  • Note that the book bag only stores items for the duration of your session. If you would like to store items for later, we recommend that you add them to a list.
  • Please note:
    • Items placed in the book bag are there temporarily and are only available during the user's session. Once logged out, the book bag empties.
    • In order to keep a record of these items, move items to a list or send the items via email. These options (place hold, remove record, add tag, email, save to list) appear once you click on My Book Bag.
    • Currently, book bag is not available in the mobile version.

Book Bag.png

How do I create a new list?

  • Once you have placed items in a book bag click My Book Bag and click the Save to List.png icon to save the items to a list.
  • You can add items to an existing list or create new list using Save to New List link.

How do I find available items at my local branch?

  • Search for an item.
  • Refine your search results by selecting At The Library from the Availability facet.
  • Select your branch location using the Collections facet.
  • See all locations in the Collections facet by clicking the more > link.
  • Click on the branch collection of your choice.

Collection Facet.png

What are community tags?

Catalog entries provide a baseline of information about an item, but tagging allows members of the community to add additional descriptive information to aid in discovery and retrieval. You can: 

  • Add missing subject terms or key themes of books you've read.
  • Tag books for particular age groups or reading levels.
  • Keep track of books discussed in your book club. Just make sure to use a unique tag for your group and add to it as needed.
  • Be creative and come up with your own use for community tags.

How do I add community tags?

To add a tag to a title:

  • Search for the title you want to tag.
  • Choose the Add a Tag icon under Additional actions.
  • If you are not logged in, you will be prompted to do so. After you log in, you will see an Add a tag text box.
  • Enter your tag (or multiple tags separated by commas) in the text box and then choose Submit.
  • Your tag appears as a search term in the Community Tags section of the title's record details within a few minutes.

You can also add titles to your book bag to add tags in batches:

  • Search for the title you want to tag.
  • Add the title or titles to your book cart.
  • Choose View Cart.
  • From the book cart, check the titles to tag. Choose Select All to select all titles in your book cart.
  • Choose the Add Tag icon.
  • If you are not logged in, you will be prompted to do so. After you log in, you will see an Add a tag text box.
  • Enter your tag (or multiple tags separated by commas) in the text box and then choose Submit.
  • Your tag appears as a search term in the Community Tags section of the title's record details within a few minutes.

Where can I find book recommendations?

  • You can find recommendations by our library staff by clicking on Browse in the main menu of the website. There you can find Staff Picks and the Biblio File blog.
  • You can also find recommendations provided by Novelist on certain item pages under Novelist Recommendations.

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How do I manage my holds?

  • Log in.
  • Click on your name.
  • Click on My Holds.
  • Select holds to change their pickup locations, to cancel them, or to freeze them, e.g. when you’re planning to go out of town and don’t want the hold to arrive while you’re gone.

MyHolds.png

How do I sort my checkouts and holds by date?

  • To sort checkouts, Go to My Checkouts, and hover over Sort by Due Date. Hover near the bottom of the button, until the hand symbol appears to show that the link is live. Click the button, and it will automatically sort. We apologize for any inconvenience, and we are working to improve the functionality of the button to create a better user experience.
     
  • To sort holds, go to My Holds, and hover over Sort by Requested Date. Hover near the bottom of the button under the wording. The button will change in shading slightly, indicating that the link is live. Click on the part of the button, the spacing directly under the wording, and it will automatically sort. We apologize for any inconvenience, and we are working to improve the functionality of the button to create a better user experience.

How do I check my holds on my phone or mobile device?

Open your mobile browser and go to https://browse.nypl.org/iii/mobile/. Once there, click the person icon to log into the catalog. 

Mobile header

How can I get alerts about my holds?

  • Once your item is ready for pickup, the Library will notify you. You can indicate your notice preferencesemail or telephonein My Settings.
  • For the most up to date information, please view your account online by logging in.

Does my BiblioCommons username still work?

  • Yes! Your BiblioCommons username works in the catalog.
  • If you don’t have a username, please log in using your library card barcode and PIN.

Where do I find my lists and shelves?

Some users have reported issues with their lists. Please contact Ask NYPL with any questions.

  • Log in.
  • Click on your name.
  • Click My Lists to manage your lists.
  • Note that all lists in the new catalog are private lists.
  • There are three types of shelves: for later, in progress and completed. Please note these shelves are static and must be manually maintained by patrons.


MyLists.png

What about my BiblioCommons comments and ratings?

This information was not transferred over, but will remain in BiblioCommons. If you have questions or would like your account deleted, please contact BiblioCommons.

How do I pay my fines online?

  • Log in, click on your name and then click on Fines/Fees.
  • Click the Pay Online button and follow the instructions in the pop-up.
  • Select to pay all your fines all or choose to pay fines for certain items only.
  • Click the Continue button to make a payment using your debit or credit card.
  • Please make sure that your browser allows pop-ups from nypl.org.

How do I change my PIN?

  • Log in
  • Click on your name
  • Click on the Change PIN button.
  • A new window will pop up in which you can change your PIN and click submit to save it.
  • Please make sure that your browser allows pop-ups from nypl.org.

How do I change my username, email, telephone number, preferred pickup location or notice preference?

  • Log in.
  • Click on your name.
  • Click on the My Settings button.
  • A new window will pop up in which you can update your settings and click submit to save them.
  • Please make sure that your browser allows pop-ups from nypl.org.

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