Catalog Tips and Tricks

Card_Catolog01The first time I went to a library on my own was over fifteen years ago. Back then, I was a teenager visiting the Topeka-Shawnee County Public Library, on a mission to find a book to read on summer break. Before that visit, I had always gone with my parents and it never occurred to me that finding something at a library required some skill. Not surprisingly, my teenage independence quickly vanished in the face of my confusion about how to actually look up a book.

Thankfully, a very kind librarian explained just how to use their (now) old-school card catalog. Since then, the card catalog has given way to the online catalog, a big change in how we use libraries. But what hasn’t changed is the helpfulness of librarians or the skill with which they can find things. If you’ve ever asked a librarian at MPL for help finding something or using library resources, you might have noticed that they have a few tricks up their sleeve. Whether it’s knowing the fastest way to find a new DVD in the catalog or how to get an eBook from the Sunflower eLibrary, librarians are a knowledgeable bunch, and they are always happy to share that knowledge with you.

This post is the first in an on-going series that will talk about different tips and techniques for using the library’s online catalog, databases, and other resources. If you have something special you are interested in knowing how to do, just let us know–be happy to feature your question!

June Tip: Want something to read, watch, or listen to…but aren’t quite sure what? Figuring out where to start can be hard, but the quick browsing feature in the catalog gives you an easy way to look through the books, movies, games, and CDs here. How do you do this?

  • Click on the Catalog button at
  • Select any of the following from the left-hand of the screen:

○     New Audiobooks

○     New Music

○     New Titles: Includes new books, new videos, new sound recordings, and new large print

○     Most Circ’d Titles: Items that are being checked out a lot!

○     On-Order Items: Items that are on their way to MPL

  • To see more about an item that looks interesting to you, just click on the cover or title and it will take you to it in the catalog!


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