What is the Virtual Catalog and why
should I use it?
Virtual Catalog About Us
How do I get to the Virtual Catalog?
You can log in through a link on your
library’s catalog, or at http://mblc.state.ma.us/books/catalogs/vc/index.php.
You can login using a valid library card
from a participating Massachusetts library network, a valid library card
from one of the participating University of Massachusetts libraries, or
as "guest". (If you log in as a guest,
you will only be able to search for materials, not request them directly. However, you can contact
your home library and ask them to request the title for you through
If you experience difficulty logging in, please contact your local
library for assistance.
How do I Search the Virtual Catalog?
How do I Review My Request(s)?
If you have
any questions, please contact your local library for assistance.
Can I use the Virtual Catalog to borrow
Currently you cannot
find magazine listings in the Virtual Catalog. We hope to add the ability
to search for periodicals and request articles in the future.
In the meantime,
you have several options.
Search one of our full-text periodicals
Search an individual library or
network’s catalog which will often have magazines listed.
Search one of the Union Lists of
Serials in Massachusetts. A union list of serials helps you
identify which libraries own a magazine, and how long they keep back
Ask your local librarian whether the article is available
via Interlibrary Loan, a regional service that provides copies of
magazine articles from all over the world.
How long can I borrow the item?
materials can be checked out for 28 days. Renewals are not allowed.
Books and other
items should be returned at the library where they were picked up.
Can material be sent to my home?
When you make a
request through the Virtual Catalog, you must designate a library pickup
location. You will be sent notification (usually via email) when the
material has arrived at the library you have selected.
Whether a book can
be sent to your home or office is a local library policy and funding
decision. Please contact your local library circulation department to
find out its policy.
Does using the Virtual Catalog cost
Material coming through the Virtual Catalog and the statewide delivery
system is generally free to Massachusetts residents. No libraries on the
statewide Virtual Catalog charge for loans. Other types of interlibrary
loan request that you make through your library may have a charge
attached to them. If a copy of the requested material cannot be provided
at no charge, your approval will be required
before a copy of the material is requested for you.
The Virtual Catalog
system is supported with state and federal funds.
I am having technical problems when I
try to use the Virtual Catalog.
If available, try a
different internet browser. Also be sure not to use the “back” button on
your browser. Navigate by using the green buttons on the Virtual Catalog
If you have a
Norton Personal Firewall or Norton Internet Security product, you may
have difficulties using the Virtual catalog. Please follow these instructions.
If you are seeing
an error message about an Internal Server Error, please follow these instructions.
If you are still
experiencing problems, please contact your local library for assistance.
I do not see my local library on the
drop-down list to log in.
As new libraries
are added, sometimes the alphabetical order of the list is not accurate.
Make sure to check the entire list (especially the bottom).
If you still do not
see your library, please contact your local library for assistance.
I am unable to request the item I want.
Virtual Catalog does not allow you to request a title. This can be for a
couple of different reasons:
You may see the message "The item you have requested already
exists in your local library,” This means that the title is owned by
and/or checked in on your local system. For instance, if you are a
Minuteman Library Network card holder, and you request a title on the
Virtual Catalog that is owned and available through the Minuteman
network, you will be directed to place a reserve on the Minuteman system,
and not through the Virtual Catalog.
All copies of that particular title are either not
available (not on the shelf) or they are reference books and do not leave
You have exceeded the number of requests allowed by your
home library, or have outstanding fines preventing you from requesting
another item. Contact your home library to resolve the issue if you think
this may be the case.
You are not properly logged in. Check to make sure you are
not logged in as a guest.
Materials that are
not available through the Virtual Catalog may be available from other
libraries. Ask your local librarian about placing an interlibrary loan
I would like to cancel a request.
1. Login to the Virtual Catalog.
2. From the Patron
Main Menu, select "Review Your Requests". The Patron Inquiry screen will display a summary of all
your outstanding requests. It will not display any request history for
requests that have been completed (borrowed, returned, and received by
the owning library), cancelled, or that have expired or become unfillable.
3. Click on the title of the request you wish
to cancel. You can cancel any request that has not yet been shipped by a
lender. If the request has been shipped by the lender, you cannot cancel
the request through the Virtual Catalog system. Status and Due Date are
toward the bottom of the Request Details
screen. Please contact your local library to cancel the request.
If you experience difficulty canceling
your request, please contact your local library for assistance.
I have returned an item but the request
is still on my VC account.
For the item to clear from your account,
the owning library needs to receive the item. If it has only been a few
days since you returned the item to your home library, wait a few days
and check your account again.
If it has been longer than a week,
please contact your local library for assistance.
I received an email
notification regarding my request saying “Item Not Available” or
When you receive a
message stating that your request has a status of "Item Not
Available" or "Unfillable," this
means that the owning library (or libraries) is unable or unwilling to
lend the item at this time. The owning library does not have to give a
reason for denying the request. Some libraries have policies regarding
lending of "new" items or multimedia items through the Virtual
Catalog. (See Non-Print
lending page for more info on multimedia items.)
If you still want
the item, contact the staff at your home library. It is possible that
they will be able to assist you in borrowing the item. You can also try
re-requesting the item at another time through the VC, though it is
possible that the owning library may deny the request again.