Website and Catalog Tip of the Week: The Search Bar

Tens of thousands of people search the library’s website and catalog every week. Are you using the search bar in all the ways you could?

Catalog Search

Okay, let's start with the basics. To search our catalog, click on the magnifying glass next to the word Search in the top right of any page, just under "Log In / My Account." (Bonus tip: If you prefer, you can also click on the word "Catalog" next to "Events" at the top of any page! It works the same, just looks a little different.)

Now you'll see some options, which default to: Search the Catalog for All Formats by Keyword. Do those dropdown arrows to change the italicized parts intrigue you? Just leave it at the default settings at first, and we'll cover the more advanced options in a second!

To get a feel for how this works, try searching for something you like. "New mysteries"? "Kids books"? "Vampire romance"? "Spanish DVDs"? After a few searches, you'll start noticing that the catalog's pretty smart. If you use words like "new," it'll know you only want the items that were recently added to our catalog. If you use words that indicate a format, like "ebooks" or "music," it'll limit your search to that kind of item. Give it a whirl! Here are some more tips on doing basic searches in our FAQs.

Okay, now imagine you have come to our catalog with a VERY specific search in mind, and the default Keyword search isn't cutting it. Now let's try drilling down your options to get to what you really want. Click on the dropdown arrow next to All Formats, and you can select the type of item you’re searching for: books, audio, video, music, journals, accessible media, and that oft-nebulous “other”. You can narrow your search even further with the third column: title, author, or subject if you have a particular goal. Looking for a series? You can search just by that. Dig even further into catalog content by searching for a particular tag, or searching the lists, or even searching for another user across all the libraries who share our catalog. It’s all there for you to get the results you’re actually looking for.

You'll also notice that once you get to the search results page, there are a lot of options on the left for narrowing down your search. Feel free to play around with them! Here's the FAQ on how to use them. We're also planning on writing a Tip of the Week on how to use them, so you can await that with bated breath.

If you're a power user, you might also be interested in the Advanced Search link. While 99% of searches can be done easily in the search bar, we'll cover getting the most out of Advanced Search in a future Tip of the Week. In the meantime, here's the FAQs to get you started.

Ready to move beyond the books (and more!) in our catalog? Let's see what else the search can do!

Website Search

We share a lot of information on our website, beyond what shows up in the catalog. This is where you can search blog posts, FAQs, and any news posts you might have seen before. 

FAQs Search

Or you can skip over all the other stuff and just go straight for the FAQs! This is one of several places you can find the FAQs on the website. If you know there is an FAQ on a particular topic or you can’t imagine why there wouldn’t be one, this is a good place to start.

Events Search

If you have a particular event in mind, you can use the events search feature to narrow down your results, so you don’t have to go scrolling through the thousands of classes, art exhibits, coloring parties, and storytimes we have on a regular basis. Once you’re in the events listings, you can facet your search from there as well, but that’s a subject for another day!

What’s your go-to search method? Want even more info? Here are all our Searching FAQs for you to delve into, as well!

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

What do you want to know? Any tips you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments what you’d like to see in future installments!