Minuteman Catalog Help
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Email and Text Notices
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How do I request an item online?
To begin, we highly recommend that you log into "My Account" first.
Once logged in, search the catalog for items of interest. To request an item, Click on the "Request" button next the title.
If are already logged in, the catalog will remember you and will ask you to confirm a pick up location for each request. If not, you will be prompted to log in with your library card or username. Feel free to ignore the "Cancel if not filled by" field if not applicable.
Do I need to specify a pickup location for requested items?
Yes. Select a library location by scrolling down the drop down menu.
How will I be notified when my requested items arrive?
You will receive an email notification, as long as you have a valid email address in your account. Email pick-up notices are run overnight, so you will receive the notice early in the morning the day after your requested item arrives. (Some libraries send out pick-up notices more frequently)
You can also sign-up to receive notices by text message. Text message pick-up notices are generated 3 times a day.
If you do not have an email address on file, you will receive a phone call from the library. (If you prefer to use text message notices only, notify staff at your library.)
For more information about notices, see that FAQ page
When viewing Holds in My Account, how can I tell what items are waiting for me at my library?
The words "Ready. Pick up by xx-xx-xx" in the status column tell you that your request is ready. You should receive an email notice or phone call within one business day of the item's arrival. Contact library staff if you believe you are not receiving your notices.
Any other status, or the lack of a status, means that your item is not yet ready for you to pick up. If the status is "ON HOLDSHELF", the item is NOT ready for you to pick up. The system is just reporting that item's status as on a holdsheld for another patron.
Can I tell where my request is in the waiting list order?
No, due to the complexity of how a hold's priority is determined, the software does not provide that precise information.
However, there are some facts that will help you to interpret the data that you can view.
In the case of a bestseller such as this, the ratio of requests will give you a good idea of the length of the queue. In the case illustrated above, there are 67 holds for 52 copies. So, on average, the next round of returned items should fill most of the currently outstanding holds.
Priority given to Holds for Pickup at the owning location. Our system is configured to give priority to filling requests for pickup at a given location with items owned by that location. This minimizes the time items spend in the delivery system, as well as giving patrons of a given library priority for use of that libraryís items.
By specifying a location that owns the item as your pickup location when you request material, you can improve your priority for receiving the material. This can be especially useful if there are multiple editions of a title. Take care to choose an edition owned by a location you find convenient to use as a pickup location. (When searching for material, identify material owned by your potential pickup location by using the ability to limit to a library.)
Can I change the pickup location for my request?
Yes, so long as the item is not already on the way to fill your request, or already on the Holdshelf.
Is there limit on the number of requests I can have on my account at any one time?
You can have 50 requests on your account at a given time.
Can I suspend ("Freeze") my holds so that they don't arrive when I am on vacation?
You will not lose your place in the request queue by freezing a request. When you unfreeze your request you will be restored to your previous place in line.
Why is there no option to suspend (Freeze) some of my requests?
If the system has already identified an Available item to fill your request, you will not be able to freeze the request. Similarly, you can cannot freeze requests that are already in transit to you or ready for pick-up. The "freeze" option works best in the situation where your request is in a long queue of requests waiting for an item.
How can I tell if my requests are frozen?
When you view your Holds in My Account, there will be a mark in the checkbox in the FREEZE column for those titles.
Placing a request didn't work!
The catalog will not allow you to place requests under the following conditions:
While attempting to place a request, I got the message "There is a problem with your library record. Please see a librarian." What kinds of problems cause this message?
I don't want to re-enter my library card number and password for each request. Can the catalog remember my account when requesting more than one item?
Log in to My Account before beginning your search. You will remained logged in through out the session, the catalog will remember your login credentials and preferred pick-up location. Remember to log out when finished, especially on a public computer.
Do I need to enter an expiration date when requesting an item in the catalog?
No. If you don't enter an expiration date, the catalog keeps your request effective for one year.
Why does the Request button fail to appear in some cases?
If none of the individual items on the title are eligible to fill a request, the Request button does not appear. Reasons for an item being ineligible to fill a request include (but are not limited to):
I tried requesting an item online but received the response saying "no items requestable, request denied", yet I can see that the library network has it and is Available. Why does this happen?
There are a couple of scenarios where you may see Available items, but not be given the opportunity to request the items.
In some cases, libraries have made a decision to make some of their items part of a browsing collection. Items so designated are not eligible to fill requests. However, you are always welcome to visit the library to check out these Available items. Often such items can be recognized by one of the following in the call number or item location columns when you are viewing Copy Status: Speed read, Express, See It Now, etc.
This is also true of the variety of new types of materials libraries are offering, such as home & gardening tools, electronics, toys, musical instruments, telescopes, etc. These materials are in demand and cannot be easily sent through delivery, and typically require you to visit the owning library.
In the case of recent feature film DVDs, the most Minuteman libraries have a policy restricting requests of recent films (added to the collection in the last 3 months) to patrons living in the community owning the films. As above, if the items are currently Available, you are welcome to visit the library to borrow the materials.
Why are there restrictions on requesting new feature films from other Minuteman libraries?
Feature films make up about 15% of all interlibrary transfers, and are more susceptible to damage or loss during transfer. New feature films are intended as a browsing collection that walk-in patrons look for in all of our libraries. Over 90% of library check-outs are made by walk-in patrons.
In many libraries, feature films circulate for one week. When sent through delivery, that in-demand title is unavailable for several days. Over the course of a year, weeks are lost in the life of a new film as we transport it around the network. For all of these reasons, this seemed the best choice in the effort to limit volume in delivery.
Does this mean that I cannot borrow new feature films at libraries other than my own?
No, it simply means that we cannot transport new feature films for you to the pick-up location of your choice. You may still go directly to the owning library and borrow the films there with your Minuteman Library Network card. It is a good idea to call first and ask about the item's availability and the loan policies that apply in that library. Some libraries will set materials aside for you when you call. That varies from library to library and typically depends on the availability of staff.
Will my local library allow me to place holds on the feature films that they own?
That is a policy decision for each library. Some libraries allow requests on their own DVDs and videos. Some do not. Ask your library for their policy. For a list of the request policy for each Minuteman Library click here.
I live in one town but I usually use the library in another town and set them as my pick-up location. Can I be treated a local patron and reserve feature films in the library that I usually visit?
Your borrowing privileges are based on your place of residence or college affiliation. If the town where you live allows you to place holds on feature films that they own, you will be able to do so. If the town you frequent allows holds but you are not a resident there, you will not be able to place holds on those films via the online catalog. For a list of the request policy for each Minuteman Library click here.