#LoveMyLibraryCard Guest Post: @BerlsS WorldCat #Library

Posted September 14, 2016 by Felicia S in LoveMyLibraryCard / 17 Comments


Fantasy is More Fun
A huge thanks to Felicia for continuing to celebrate our libraries and letting me jump in with a post! I was supposed to share this last year, but time got away from me… better late than never, right?

Using WorldCat to rock your library cards!

If you’re at all like me, you’re sporting more than one library card. Maybe you have *ahem* seven. If you have even two, though, you need to know about and use WorldCat. As a former historian, I learned to use WorldCat to teach down books from all over the world that I need for my research. And I think that most people use WorldCat for academic purposes. And I think that’s why many readers don’t know about it. But believe me, using WorldCat will help you rock those library cards!

What is WorldCat?

Sorry cat lovers, WorldCat has nothing to do with cats. The “cat” is short for catalog. As in the World Catalogue of library books. That’s right, it’s the home of ALL THE LIBRARIES! Every library that has a catalog (which should be all of them, minus probably public schools) reports it’s catalog to WorldCat. Universities are definitely in there and I’ve used WorldCat to get me books from Switzerland, England, France and Poland before, so it’s not exaggerating when it says World!

How do I use WorldCat?

That’s the best part – WorldCat is SO user friendly! You simply type in WorldCat.org or from your smart device worldcatmobile.org. There’s also some apps, but I’ve never used them.

So you get a screen that looks like this:


And you can browse by topic, author, etc. I rarely do that, now that I’m not using WorldCat for research purposes. Instead I type in the title of the book I’m looking for. Let’s say I’m looking for a book we’ll be reading this month at boom club: How the Duke Was One. I type it in and viola! There it is, result number 1 (this is the mobile site, but desktop is very similar):


See how it says “Find in a library”? When I click on that, it gives me the option to search for libraries by zip code. So I type mine in and tada! It gives me the list of ALL THE LIBRARIES that have a copy of this book, in order of distance from me. Sometimes that is very far away and I’m sad. But there’s other times, like in the instance of this book that 5 libraries that I have a card for have that book.

Why use WorldCat? Can’t I just go to the library website?

Sure you can! But with one search I now know which of the libraries I have cards for carry that book. Way faster. And I can click on the library from WorldCat to go to the libraries listing of the book. This is my only complaint – some sites don’t manage their links properly so you have to manually go to their site for the book once you know it’s there. But that’s rare, in my experience.

Even better, if I click on the book at the closest library and discover it has a waiting list, I already know if it’s the only place I can find the book. Maybe one of the other 4 places I have cards for will have the book available immediately (or a shorter wait list)!

Having lots of library cards is super handy but, IMO knowing how to locate the books you want quickly makes them even better. So if you haven’t tried WorldCat, please do! It’ll help you rock those library cards!


Felicia S
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17 responses to “#LoveMyLibraryCard Guest Post: @BerlsS WorldCat #Library

  1. I’ve never heard of this, Berls. But it *is* neato! I have 3 library cards. One for the city of Denver – I used to take the kids on the bus downtown to the library when they were younger. One is for a town that’s north of Denver and has a fabulous library that’s on the campus of a junior college. And I have a library card for Jefferson County, which is where I live now. I have a local library, if you can believe that. So cool to have one in my small town. But when I search for a book, I get results for the entire county’s libraries and they’ll bring a book in from wherever if it’s not available here. Man! Talking about the libraries has me itching to go! πŸ˜‰ Thanks for sharing about WorldCat. I’ll share this with Sky. πŸ˜€

  2. Seven library cards?! Damn!

    This is so cool, is this free and if it’s an audio or ebook can you borrow it or do you have to have a library card for that library for you to borrow?

    • Hahaha yep, I love my libraries πŸ™‚ I’ve discovered that a lot of cities are not very strict on where you live to get a card -many accept residents from neighboring cities (it least in the places I’ve lived – Dallas and St. Louis).

      WorldCat is a free catalog service, but you do have to have library cards to actually check the books out. It helps you find all the places that have the book, but you still have to check it out from the library. Hope that helps πŸ™‚

  3. How fascinating. I have only one library card! I must check this out and see if it works in my country. We sort of have some libraries linked to our library which is good because can request it from there. Would have been great for study purposes.

    • I used to have the linked libraries when I lived in St. Louis – I used this then too because I could figure out which of the linked libraries the book was at. You’ll have to let me know what it looks like in your country (where are you?). I mean, it’s WORLD cat and I’ve used it to get books from around the world, so I do t see why it wouldn’t be similar outside the US. But I’m curious πŸ™‚

  4. I only have one library card. How sad am I? πŸ˜€ I haven’t used worldcat yet since my library has been good at getting the books I want in state. I do think I may have to make more use of it though. πŸ™‚ Brilly post!

    • Well if your library is doing the job, one card is all it takes! I have seven because the metropolex I’m in has several cities very close – so I’m within 30 minutes of probably 15 different library systems. I’m also impatient – if I want a book and can get it from a library 30 minutes away today, I’d rather do that than ask my closest library to get it for me and wait πŸ™‚

    • 4 library cards means access to a lot of books though, especially with the university! And universities usually do free I’ll (interlibrary loan) which opens you up to even more books!

  5. This is great Berls. I’ve heard of WorldCat before, but kinda forgot about it. Right now, I only have two library cards. The one I have a for a Suburb of Columbus is such a large group of libraries that share their books, I don’t really need any more. I get like 20 or so branches/libraries with the one card. I do think there are a few I might be missing. I should check them out and then I can use this to find who has it. Thanks for the reminder.