Frequently Asked Questions

My Account

Online Catalog & Searching

I often search for my favorite Author or Subject. Is there a way I can save search terms and re-use these later?

If you have a favorite author or subject for which you often search when using the catalog, you can save the search with the click of a button. This will prevent you from having to key in the search each time and let you place reserves on new materials quicker:

  1. Log in to your Library Account.
  2. Click on the “New Search” button.
  3. Search for your favorite author, subject, title, etc. or create an advanced keyword search including limits to material type, language, publication year, etc..
  4. When your results are displayed, click the button marked “Save as preferred search”.
  5. The next time that you log in to your Library Account, you can click the “Preferred Searches” button to see a list of your saved searches.
  6. Click on the search link associated with any of the preferred search terms in the list to quickly execute your search.
  7. You can be alerted of new materials added to the library collection which match your searches. Just check the “Mark for Email” box and be sure that your patron record information includes your current email address.

What is the difference between Another Search and New Search?

To return to the main search screen, select New Search. To perform an additional search of the same type (e.g. author, title, etc), select Another Search.

What do the various statuses mean in the catalog?

  • AVAILABLE  The item is currently available and should be on the shelf at the library.  If you are on your way to the library to pick this item up, it is recommended that you call ahead and ask a library staff member to put the item aside for you.
  • SHELVING CART  An item will show a status of Shelving Cart if it was recently returned to the owning library.  The time it takes for the item to get back on the shelf will vary by library, so it’s best to check with a staff person.
  • DISPLAY  A library has this item on a display.  Check with the owning library for availability.
  • ON ORDER  A library has recently purchased an item but has not yet received it.  Many libraries will pre-order popular titles to give patrons a chance to place a request in the catalog.
  • IN CATALOGING  Items with a status of IN CATALOGING were recently acquired by the library and work is being done on the item to prepare it for circulation.  Requests can usually be placed on these items.
  • ON SEARCH or MISSING  The item is missing from the library shelves.  Try broadening your search to find available copies at other libraries.
  • IN TRANSIT  The item is either on its way to another library to fill a hold for a patron at another library or on its way back to the owning library.
  • ON HOLDSHELF  The item has been received and is being held at the library designated by the patron as a pickup location.
  • HELD AT …  An item is held at CIRC (Circulation Desk), REFERENCE or CHILDRENS, usually temporarily.  Items with a status of HELD AT REFERENCE are not available for request.
  • LIB USE ONLY  These are usually reference materials that can be used by visiting the owning library.
  • LIBRARIAN USE  The library has marked this item for staff use or reference use only. Please check with library staff for availability or to help for help finding an available copy at another library.
  • REPAIR  An item needs to be repaired, so it is not available to be checked out.
  • CLAIMS RETD  The item was claimed to be returned by a patron.
  • BILLED  The item is long overdue and the patron who borrowed it has been billed for it.
  • LOST & PAID  The item has been lost by a patron who has paid for it.
  • PROBLEM SHELF  The item has been returned, but there is a problem with it.  It may be missing a disc, a case, or a paper insert, or the item may be damaged in some way.
  • DELETED  The item is not available for borrowing because it has been marked for withdrawal from the catalog.
  • STORAGE  The item has been placed in storage and is not available for request.


How do I request items online?

To request a single item, search the catalog to find the item you want. Then select the Request button. The system will ask where you want to pick up the item. Select your desired pickup location and then Submit. When the item is ready for pickup at your selected location, you will be notified by phone or email.

Can I change the pickup location for one of my holds?

Yes, log into your account and click the Requests link to view your holds. If the pickup location is able to be updated, a drop-down button will be available, it will appear as a drop-down list.  Choose your new pickup location then click the Update List button.  The system will ask for confirmation on the next page, click Yes.

The pickup location cannot be changed if an item is In Transit to fill your hold or is Ready for Pickup.

Is there a limit on the number of requests I can have at one time?

A maximum of 25 requests (holds) can be placed on your library account.

Can I suspend (“Freeze”) my holds so that they don’t arrive when I am on vacation?


Log in to My Account

Place a mark in the check box that appears on the right in the column headed “FREEZE”. This box only appears if your Hold is eligible to be suspended.

To save this option to suspend a request, click on UPDATE LIST

When you come back from vacation, reverse the process by unchecking the box in the FREEZE column and click UPDATE LIST.

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.

Text Alerts

When are Text Alerts sent out?

Hold Pickup and Overdue alerts are sent between 9:00 am and 6:00 pm. You will receive one (1) text alert message for each hold item.
Reminder text alerts are sent out at 9:00 am two (2) days before your item(s) are due.

How much does it cost?

Library Text Alerts is a free service offered at no charge for anyone with an Ocean State Libraries card. Text message and data charges may apply depending on your phone plan.

What type of devices will Text Alerts send messages to?

Library Text Alerts can send messages to any device that has a cellular number and is enabled to receive standard text messages.

Will my mobile carrier charge me to receive a Text Alert?

That depends on your service provider and plan. We encourage you to check with your carrier to determine if there are additional charges.

I am not receiving the Text Alerts. What should I do?

Shortly after registering for the service you should receive a confirmation text. If you do not receive the confirmation message, return to the form and opt in again. A typo in your phone number will prevent you from receiving messages.

Some cell phone providers provide the ability to filter text messages. You may need to allow incoming messages from 82453 or 35143 short codes.

I Opted In, but I entered the wrong phone number. What should I do now?

Opt in again with the correct phone number. The incorrect phone number will automatically be deleted from the system.

When I Opted In, I was advised that I would receive a confirmation text message, which I did not receive. What should I do now?

Opt in again. Double check that you have entered your cell number correctly. The incorrect phone number will automatically be deleted from the system. Be sure that your message filters are set to allow messages from 82453 or 35143 short codes.

My cell number has changed. What can I do to continue to receive Library Text Alerts?

Opt in again using your new number and provider, your old number will be removed from the system.

How do I Opt Out from Library Text Alerts?

To opt out from the Library Text Alerts, send a text message with the word STOP, STOP ALL, END, QUIT, CANCEL or UNSUBSCRIBE to 82453 or 35143 from your mobile phone and we will unsubscribe you from our service. You will not receive any additional text messages via your mobile phone.

You may also opt out by logging into your patron record and updating your patron record.

  1. Go to and click the Login to Your Account link.
  2. Click on the Modify Email / Text Alert Options link.
  3. Scroll down and uncheck the box next to ‘Opt In’ to Text Messaging.
  4. Submit the form.