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Why Is That? What Happens When I Put an Item on Hold at the Public Library?

the behind-the-scenes magic at the library

During the pandemic, many families have been getting items from the public library through the park and pickup service. To pick up an item, it has to be placed on hold. But how do library holds work?

If your home library has the item available, a librarian finds it on the shelf, prints out a slip, and puts it on the stack for you.

But you may have noticed that some items are owned by other libraries. The 52 libraries in northwestern Wisconsin are members of the MORE system. That means all their items are listed in the same online catalog, which has a half a million books, CDs, DVDs, and more. A patron at any of these libraries can request items in the catalog, regardless of which library owns it.

The 52 libraries in northwestern Wisconsin are members of the MORE system. That means all their items are listed in the same online catalog, which has a half a million books, CDs, DVDs, and more.

Every day, each library runs a report of the items from their library that have been requested. Librarians print out a slip and pack those items in a gray bin. The bin travels in a van to a central warehouse in Lake Hallie. At the warehouse, librarians sort the items and send them in another van to the pickup location where the patron can pick them up.

What if you’re not sure what you want? Maybe you have a favorite author and are looking for something similar. Or maybe you’re looking for a science fiction book with a great female main character? That’s harder to search for in the catalog. This is where librarians come in! Contact them by phone or email and let them know what you’re looking for. They can make some suggestions or even put some books on hold for you.

Patrons of the L.E. Phillips Memorial Library in Eau Claire can do this by requesting a personalized Book Bundle at www.ecpubliclibrary.info/kids/book-bundles.

Check out other services offered by the Youth Services department on the library’s website.


This was made by

Katie Venit  author

Katie Venit is a professional freelance writer who enjoys writing about everything, but especially food and drink, culture, the Great Outdoors, and education. Preferably all in the same story. If you'd like to work with her, email her at katie.venit at gmail.com.