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How do I find a list of all your…

DVDs?  Books on CD?

Very reasonable questions.  We wish our catalog could produce an easy answer, but it can’t. It can do other cool tricks, but quick lists like these are not part of its repertoire.

Luckily, human beings can help.  Check my document DVDs and CDs for ways to make the catalog yield up its information.  You can also check the binders we display near the DVDs and books on CD.  They contain lists that we run every few months to show all the current (more or less) titles in that format.

As always, if you’re still having trouble, don’t hesitate to e-mail or call.; (802) 254-5290 x109.  Good luck!


The files in the Library’s Local History Room are full of interesting (flat) objects as well as lots of newspaper clippings.  All of them are searchable in the online catalog, and anyone is welcome to view them.  Just visit the Reference Desk or the Circulation Desk, and we’ll sign you up and take out the files you would like to see.

For example, check out these printers’ sample books from the  “Printing and Publishing” folder:

Avoid social faux pas when using calling cards

Learn about the Vermont Printing Company & its neighbors down by the tracks

Enjoy a sing-along with your angelic child

If you have been frustrated trying to place a hold on a checked-out item, you are not alone.   Leslie, our cataloger, recently created these very handy instructions for placing a hold.

First, go to the library’s webpage and click on CATALOG in order to go to the online catalog:

Then click on BROWSE in order to search a title (or author, etc.)

A result list will appear:

Click the link for the title you want:

If there are no available copies, click on the hold request button, which is at the top of the screen.

(Note: don’t use the Place Hold Request button at the bottom of the screen)

You will then get this screen:

Type your library barcode (no spaces) and your PIN in the appropriate boxes.  Your PIN is usually the last four digits of your phone number.  You can also change your PIN by clicking on MY ACCOUNT when you are at the library’s home page or the library’s catalog page.  After you have entered your barcode and PIN you should get a message that says your request has been approved.

If you have any trouble with your PIN, or if you have any further questions, please call Reference at (802) 254-5290 x109, or

Thanks, Leslie!


* That’ s the BROOKS MEMORIAL LIBRARY website, which you should save to your shortcuts list because it’s the hub of the information universe!

Library cardholders, you can use these features from home, or anyplace you have access to the Web.  Visitors, you have free access to all but the account features on the computers at the Library: 224 Main Street in Brattleboro.

1. Quickly assemble all the articles, statistics, radio transcripts, and reference book entries you need for your paper on a controversial issue:

Choose Resources > Newspapers and Current Events > Opposing Viewpoints.  Choose a subject link, such as Population Growth, Affirmative Action, or Genetic Engineering, or search for your topic by keyword.

2. Find the most recent book by your favorite author in the Library’s collection: Choose Catalog > Browse > Authors.  Search for last name only; you’re less likely to run into trouble that way.  If we have books by your author, you will see a link to his or her full name in the result list; click to see all the titles the library owns.  To find the most recent title, look for the box that says Sort results by and choose Publication Date from the drop-down menu.

3. Download audiobooks to your MP3 player or other portable device:

Choose Audiobooks and follow the links for news and instructions.  You will have to download some free software to your computer before choosing audiobooks to export to your player.  Not all titles are compatible with all devices, but there is a good selection for both PC and MAC products, including the iPod.  Call us for help if you need it: 254-5290 x109.

4. Search the U.S. Census, 1790-1930, by name, state, birthplace, and other parameters:   Choose Resources > Local History & Genealogy > Heritage Quest.  “Search Census” is the first option.  Your search will lead you to facsimiles of the original handwritten Census intake forms.

5. Find biographical profiles, articles, and mini-bibliographies about pharaohs, saints, robber barons, supermodels, and other fascinating characters, past and present: Choose Resources > Biography > Wilson Web biography database.

6. Learn how to maintain your own car:

Choose Resources > Do it yourself >Auto Repair Reference Center.  Click on the year, make, and model, and then choose Repair Procedures, which opens up folders on the left side of the screen.  Choose the General Maintenance folder.  Not all makes and models have general maintenance info, but most do—and they’re illustrated.

7. Request an interlibrary loan without leaving your cozy chair:

Choose Resources and scroll down to the “Useful Links” section; you will find a link to an online form called Request an Interlibrary Loan.

8. Renew all your checked-out library items, still without leaving your cozy chair:   Choose My Account and type in your library card number and PIN (usually the last four digits of your phone number).  Click the boxes for what you want to renew, and then click “Renew Checked Items.”  Some categories of items, such as interlibrary loans, cannot be renewed this way, but most can.  If you need help logging in, call us.

9. Find high-quality images from major photo archives of U.S. presidents, dogsled teams in action, and barking elephant seals, among other things:

Choose Resources > Homework Help Grades K-6 > Kids InfoBits.  Click on the topic areas or search by keyword until you find your subject.  Then look for the “Images” tab; if it’s bright with black letters, click on it for pictures.  [Source Citation: “Inuit Hunter and Dogsled Team.” (© Layne Kennedy/Corbis.) Animals with Jobs: Sled Dogs. Judith Janda Presnall. KidHaven Press, 2005.   Reproduced in Kids InfoBits.  Detroit:  Gale, 2009.

10. Watch videos of past programs at the Brooks Memorial Library, including talks by author Howard Frank Mosher, former Iranian Ambassador Mansour Farhang, historian Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina, and others:

Choose Videos, and have fun!


Tip: The catalog will try to confuse you, but with a few tricks, you can get the upper hand.


If you keep getting no results for your search:

  • Try making it simpler by taking words away. For example: If the search string ARTHRITIS EXERCISE PROGRAMS doesn’t bring up anything, just search for ARTHRITIS and sort through the results to find books that include exercise.
  • Mix things up and enter your search a different way. For example, try putting the author’s last name first–or just skip the author’s first name completely; you usually don’t need it.
  • Use the asterisk key * to search variations on your word. For example, searching BOOK* will bring up the words “book,” “books,” “bookmobiles,” etc. This is called truncation. Use it often, because sometimes you don’t know how the system has listed your topic, and this increases your chances of finding something.
  • Don’t try to spell out long titles! Strong Women and Men Beat Arthritis : The Scientifically Proven Program that Allows People with Arthritis to Take Charge of their Disease is too long. Just type some key words: STRONG WOMEN ARTHRITIS. Or if that doesn’t work, type the first few words in order: STRONG WOMEN AND MEN.

If you find too much, or if the results are organized in a confusing way:

  • Click on the browse button and do a search on author, title, or subject from that screen. The results will come up in a list that is similar to entries in the old card catalog. Please resist the temptation to put in too many words; a single word is usually all you need.

General tip:

  • Don’t worry about capitalization; it doesn’t care. And most punctuation doesn’t matter, either.

If you want to understand the weird logic of the catalog, call us at Reference and we’ll tell you what we know. Or just keep experimenting, and the patterns might become clearer. Even if they don’t, you can increase your chances of success by trying the tips above. And trust your hunches; if the catalog says we have nothing by William Shakespeare and you suspect it’s lying, you’re right! Ask a library staffer to try the search; with two against the catalog, we’re more likely to prevail.

Also, the catalog can do some really cool things, but I’ll save those for another post.

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Tip: A Browse search in the catalog is the easiest way to find out everything the BML owns by a particular author.

First, open the catalog, which is always accessible from the Brooks Memorial Library web page.

Click on the Browse button, which brings you to the Browse search screen.

The default search on that screen is “Titles,” but you can choose “Authors” and then type in your author’s last name. If your author has a fairly common last name, you might want to add the first letter of the first name; for example:

king s

is an effective search for books by the author Stephen King. When you get the list of search results, Stephen King is second on the list. Here’s the entry:

King, Stephen, 1947- Author Matches 63 items
See Also Bachman, Richard. Matches 5 items

The links aren’t live on this page, but if you were in the catalog, you would be able to click on either of them to find all the books we own by King and his alter ego.

There are other ways to search for authors in the catalog, but this is the most efficient for finding everything.

About this blog



Brooks Memorial Library Reference Department:

Jeanne Walsh, Therese Marcy, Sharon Reidt, Jess Weitz, and sometimes Jerry