What is a Library Account

Your Library Account provides online access to your TOPCAT library record.

Log into your account to:

Log into your account before searching TOPCAT (For help see "How to Log Into Your Account"). This allows you to place requests (holds) on items without having to re-enter your account information. This also allows the catalog to make resources from your home library more prominent in the search results, making it easier and faster for you to use the system.

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Your Home Library and Hold Pickup Location

Your home library is the library where you received your library card. To see your home library, log into TOPCAT and click the "Your Personal Details" tab from the "Your Summary" page. Your home library is displayed on this page.

When placing a request (hold) in TOPCAT, your home library is automatically selected as the pickup location for your items. You can change the pickup location to any other SWITCH library at this point. To do so, use the pull down menu in the Request form to select a different SWITCH library.

After placing a hold, if you want to change the pickup location for a particular item, you can do so within one hour of making the request by calling the circulation desk of your home library and asking them to alter your hold. View the SWITCH library directory for contact information.

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How Do I Find the "Your Summary" Page?

Log into TOPCAT. By default you should be brought to the "Your Summary" page. You can navigate back to the "Your Summary" page at any time by clicking on your name in the upper right hand corner of the TOPCAT screen, so long as you are logged in.

From here, you can manage your account using the menu options in the right hand sidebar.

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How do I view and renew items currently checked out?

To VIEW items currently checked out, Log into TOPCAT. By default you should be brought to the "Your Summary" page. All items you have currently checked out are displayed on this page. You can also view any holds you have placed.

To RENEW items currently checked out, look for the item you wish to renew on this list. You may have to check back at a later date as items cannot be renewed too far away from their original due date. You can select individual items to renew or you can renew all items at once.

After an item has been renewed, you will see a green "Renewed!" button and the due date will be updated. The note underneath will indicate how many renewals you have left for this item, ex: "(1 of 2 renewals remaining)".

An item may be listed as "Not renewable" for various reasons - it could be a reserve item, you may have an outstanding fine, or another patron may have requested it. In this case, you cannot renew the item and must return it by its original due date. Failure to do so may result in a fine.

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Fines and Charges for SWITCH Items

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Returning Materials to Any SWITCH Library

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Viewing and Clearing Search History

By default,TOPCAT saves your search history. You can clear it at any time. Only you can see search history associated with your account, this information is not public. To view your search history, look for the button in the upper right hand corner of the TOPCAT screen.

Click "Search History" to view your history and click the [x] to clear your history.

If you do not Log into TOPCAT, you can only access search history for your current session. When you close your window, your searches will not be saved. If you do Log into TOPCAT, your searches from previous sessions will be saved as well, making it easy for you to pick up where you left off.

You can clear searches from your current session and from all previous sessions, but you cannot pick individual searches to clear.
BE CAREFUL: clearing your search history CANNOT be undone.

You can access your search history at any time by logging into TOPCAT and navigating to "Your Search History" from the sidebar menu options on the "Your Summary" page.

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How Long Do Requests/Holds Take to Fill?

The SWITCH delivery system runs Mondays through Fridays. If available and not checked out, items will be ready at your home library (or pickup library) the next week day or within 48 hours.

Patrons are notified when TOPCAT requests are available. Materials typically remain on the hold shelf at the Circulation desk for seven days but there is some variation depending on the library material.

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Managing Your Requests/Holds

You can view all of your TOPCAT requests from the "Your Summary" page after logging into your account. You can navigate to this page at any time after logging in by clicking your name in the upper right hand corner of the screen.

The items you currently have checked out will display by default, to view your pending holds, click the "Holds" tab. You can use the arrows at the top of each column to sort by title, expiration date, status, or pickup location. You can also cancel a request from this page at any time.

Specific requests will automatically be canceled by TOPCAT if you entered in a specific date for the "Cancel if Not Filled By" area when filling out the request form.

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Changing the Pickup Location of a Hold

If you want to change the pickup location for a particular item AFTER you've already placed the hold, you can do so WITHIN ONE HOUR OF MAKING THE REQUEST. Call the circulation desk of your home library and ask a librarian to edit your hold and change the pick up location for you. View the SWITCH Directory for a list of contact information.

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Requesting a Single Item in TOPCAT

SWITCH patrons can request items from any member library so long as the item is available for checkout. To do so...

You will be notified when your request is ready. You can check on its status at any time by logging into your account and clicking the "Holds" tab on the "Your Summary" page.

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Requesting Multiple Items from the Results List

SWITCH patrons can request items from any member library so long as the item is available for checkout. To do so...

You will be notified by when your requests are ready. You can check on its status or cancel your holds at any time by logging into your account and checking the "Holds" tab on the "Your Summary" page.

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Requesting Journal Articles

To request a journal article, you will need a few key pieces of information from the article citation. To place your request...

You will be notified when your request is ready. You can check on its status at any time by logging into your account and clicking the "Holds" tab on the "Your Summary" page.

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What is the "Cart"?

The Cart feature can help you organize resources available in the library. It acts as a temporary holding pen for records. You do not have to be logged in to use the cart, but to delete, email, print, request, or download its contents, you will need to Log into TOPCAT.

BE CAREFUL: The cart is only TEMPORARY. If you close your window or log out, you will lose the contents of your cart. To store records more permanently, consider using the "My Lists" function.

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Requesting Items from the Cart

SWITCH patrons can request items from any member library so long as the item is available for checkout. Your cart empties when you log out or close your window. Use the "List" function to create lists of records that will save to your account when you log out. To use the cart function...

You will be notified by when your requests are ready. You can check on its status or cancel your holds at any time by logging into your account and checking the "Holds" tab on the "Your Summary" page.

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What are "Your Lists"?

The "Your Lists" feature can help you organize resources available in the library. These lists are private and can only be accessed by you and the people you chose to share them with. The SWITCH libraries have also made a number of Public Lists available to all patrons.

To view your lists, Log into TOPCAT. By default you should be on the "Your Summary" screen. If not, click your name in the upper left hand corner to access your account pages. In the left hand sidebar, click "Your Lists" to view any lists you have created. You can also view your lists in the dropdown menu in the upper left hand corner of the TOPCAT screen at any time after you log in.

Click the name of the desired list to view the items you have assigned to that list. Review "How to Create, Share, and Manage Your Lists" and Requesting Items from a Saved List for further help.

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How to Create, Share, and Manage Your Lists

NOTE: You must be logged in to use the personal lists function.

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Requesting Items from a Saved List

SWITCH patrons can request items from any member library so long as the item is available for checkout. Using the "List" function saves lists of resources for future reference and will batch all of your requests.

NOTE: You must be logged in to use the personal lists function.

For help creating and adding items to your lists, see "How to Create, Share, and Manage Your Lists". Once you have added items to your list and wish to request them...

You will be notified by when your requests are ready. You can check on its status or cancel your holds at any time by logging into your account and checking the "Holds" tab on the "Your Summary" page.

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What is "My Reading History"?

"My Reading History" is a feature that maintains a list of all the materials you check out, even after the materials have been returned to any SWITCH library. By default, TOPCAT will automatically save your reading history. This comes in handy when you want a book that you vaguely remember checking out before and the only thing you know about it is that the cover might have been blue.

Your reading history is private. This information is not shared publicly. Only have access to your reading history when you log into your account. Not even library staff can view your reading history.

To view your reading history, Log into TOPCAT. By default you should be on the "Your Summary" screen. If not, click your name in the upper left hand corner to access your account pages. In the left hand sidebar, click "Your Reading History" to view all items you have previously checked out.

This page will display your 50 most recent checkouts. If your history exceeds 50 items and you want to view them all, click "Show All Items".

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My Reading History Disclaimer

The SWITCH Library Consortium takes the privacy of your library records seriously.

Our libraries do not keep track of what you borrow after you return it.

Our automated system, however, offers the feature "My Reading History", which allows you to track items you checked out through your library account.

IMPORTANT: SWITCH library staff DO NOT have access to your "My Reading History". The data, however, is subject to all applicable local, state, and federal laws, and under those laws, could be examined by law enforcement authorities without your permission should a subpoena be served.

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Other Questions About My Reading History

Q: Can I opt-out or clear my reading history?

A: Not at this time. We apologize for any inconvenience but the system is currently set to retain all reading history. Remember, only you can view your reading history, it is not publicly available.

Q: Am I able to sort the contents of My Reading History?

A: Yes! Users can sort items by clicking on the column headers available. Those currently include: TITLE, ITEM TYPE, CALL NUMBER and DATE. You can also sort items by choosing "Order by Date" or "Order by Title" from the dropdown menu at the top of the page.

Q: What are the implications for "My Reading History" in terms of confidentiality and the PATRIOT Act?

A: Using "My Reading History" means this information is being stored on the TOPCAT server. Library staff do NOT have access to this information. However, if staff are served with a subpoena, "My Reading History" information might have to be surrendered to law enforcement officials. Read more about privacy issues that involve the Patriot Act and libraries from the American Library Association.

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Need help?

Contact your home library, or our FAQ page for assistance.