Exploring the Library Online

If you are reading this, you have already discovered one of Mercer County Library System’s (MCLS) online services. Our blog is a rich collection of information, written by our own staff members, and features articles that touch upon current events, explain how to use our databases, or offer extended information that relates to a library program. But the blog is far from the only service we offer that allows patrons to remain connected to the library 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Mercer County Library System's Website Logo
The gateway to all of our online services is our website, which features announcements, library policy, and links to our catalog, databases, and program calendars. On the main page, our Featured Links section directs you to our most popular services. The menu at the top lets you access information about specific branches, jump into our databases, or search for information based on department. The branches section includes a page for each branch, with program calendars, GPS coordinates, and information specific to that branch. About Us includes information about library policy, including how to obtain a card.

Under databases, look for our Virtual Branch, where you can find all of our digital content service in one place. Turn here when you want to checkout an eBook, flip through the latest issue of a magazine, stream movies and music, or download an audiobook. Our text-based databases are more than just journals and academic articles for students; we also have databases for learning a language, taking practice tests (everything from SATs to career placement), or looking up articles in popular magazines, such as Consumer Reports.

NoveList Plus and NoveList K-8 Plus
One of our more popular databases offers help in finding your next great read, or at least a book for your child that meets their school requirements – NoveList Plus and NoveList K-8 Plus (note, scroll down a bit to see the links to these two databases). Both databases are pretty easy to use and work the same way: You can either browse genres from the front page or use the search box at the top. NoveList Plus does include all the age ranges, but K-8 is designed to explore just children’s material. Both fiction and non-fiction titles are included in the databases. One neat way to search is to look up a book or author you already read and really liked, then click the option to find Read-alikes; those links will give you lists of similar books or authors who write in a similar style on similar topics. If you are searching for books for a child who needs to read in a certain Lexile range, try the advanced search to pick a Lexile range. A new feature, the Appeal Mixer, lets you pick different aspects of a book (such as pace and storyline), and will show you results based on the combination you created. A companion to the two databases is NextReads, our email newsletters featuring suggestions based on genre or media type. There are over two dozen newsletters you can opt to sign up to receive, including books by genre, but also DVDs, audiobooks and music CDs. There is no spam, you only receive the newsletters you ask to receive.

Search Our Catalog
Our catalog is separate from our website, but there is a link to it on the menu bar and a search box on the main page. This is where you go to place an item on hold or manage your account online. The main search box at the top lets you look for materials in a Google-style search, with the option to narrow the results by using the links on the left-hand side of the results page. You can also explore the latest best-seller lists using the drop-down on the main page – note that under the best-seller lists you will also see the New at MCLS lists, where we list the latest items added to the collection over the last two weeks. To manage your account online, you just need to click the My Account link at the top and enter your library barcode and PIN (last four digits of your home phone number). If you use eLibraryNJ for eBooks and audiobooks, you can use the catalog to place holds, check-out and view your account on the same page; just click digital library to see that information. For using the catalog on the go, try the BookMyne app that can be found for free in your device’s app store. (For more information on the various apps offered for library services, see our previous blog post on the subject.)

Mercer County Library on Facebook
If you are on Facebook, we run a page that has almost daily posts. In addition to announcements regarding holiday and weather-related hours, we also post links to our latest blog posts, fun facts, share information from other county and local agencies, and, every Wednesday, have an open dialog with patrons about your favorite books, movies and music. So stop by, like us and join the conversation.

This is only an overview of the many ways you can stay in contact with, and use the services offered by, MCLS online. If you would like to learn more, please explore the links provided, ask for more help at your local branch, or drop us a line by visiting our Contact Us page. In addition to our general contact form, we also offer online Interlibrary Loan requests and a form for suggestions if you think of something we should add to our collection.

- Laura N.


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