Available Now: Website and Catalog Tip of the Week #12

Not sure how long it'll take to reserve that book or movie you have your eye on? Into instant gratification? Learn all about how availability details show up in our catalog!

When you're looking up something in the catalog, or looking at a list, you'll notice availability details included right under the book cover, next to the "Place a Hold" button. Let's take a look at an example: this fun new list of picture books about cats by my colleague Davida. Right now, the first book on the list is Available at some locations, while the second one is listed as All copies in use.

So what does this mean for you? If you click on the linked text next to the colorful word(s) that indicate availability (yep, green = available, red = there's a wait, pretty intuitive), you can see all the details about where it's available, how many copies we own, even what shelf it's located on.

Terms you might see:

  • Available at one of my preferred locations: it's currently on the shelf at a library you like to visit (learn more about setting that up here!).
  • Available in some locations: it's currently on the shelf at one of our branches.
  • Available (ebooks and audiobooks): it's a digital item that you can get right away by clicking on the "checkout now" button, no need to visit another site or place a hold.
  • Express copies available: those are the first-come first-served copies that are no-holds, no-renewals. So good news, you have a better shot at reading a bestseller. Bad news, so does anyone else who happens to walk in the door. 🙂
  • In-Library use only: those are books that don't check out, such as some of our reference and special collections books (e.g. encyclopedias).
  • All copies in use: they're all currently checked out by other people. If there's a hold list, too, you'll see how many people are waiting, for how many copies.
  • Not currently available: Most often, this status means it's a digital item that you have to visit another website or app to download or reserve/place a hold on (you can do so by clicking on the "request this download" link next to it, in those cases). Other times, this status means a weird edge case. For example, if the last copy we owned has been damaged or stolen, or if an ebook had its maximum uses and needs to be repurchased.* 
  • As you can probably guess, sometimes a mix of statuses applies, so clicking on the link next to the status to see all copies and their details is helpful, when it appears!
  • Have you spotted any other availability statuses? These are just the most common ones that I've seen! Feel free to share more in the comments.

This also goes for catalog searches! For example, try looking up my current obsession, Hamilton.

You'll see that glancing at the first two results gives you tons of useful info, without even clicking on the item: you can place a hold, see its availability status, and even see how many holds on how many copies you're looking at.

And finally, if you're browsing our site on a phone or tablet, you'll see the same colorful text, just in a slightly different spot under the book jacket:

*If it's something you really want, I recommend using the Suggest a Purchase form so we can consider re-purchasing! Also, if these ebook licensing rules annoy you (me too!), consider learning more about the Readers First initiative, which works to make digital materials more accessible to libraries. PCPL is a proud supporter!

Questions? Call Infoline at 520 791 4010, or contact Ask A Librarian!

And if you haven’t, check out our previous tips of the week, opens a new window!