How do I search for an item?

When you go to the Mesquite Public Library System’s online catalog, you will see a basic search box.

Here you can enter the title (whole or partial), author’s name, or subject and click on Search.

How can I narrow down my results list?

From the basic search box shown above, you can narrow your search by using the library drop down menu to select either the Main Library or the North Branch Library. You can also use the other drop down menu to specify author, title, subject, etc. To narrow your search further, click on the Power Search link at the bottom of the search box.

What does the Power Search do?

Power Search allows you to combine pieces of information, and to narrow down by format, age level, and location. Here you can enter a combination of author, title (whole or partial), subject and keywords. The drop down menus at the side let you specify And, Or, or Not. The drop down menus below allow you to specify library, type, shelving location, and publication year. Using item category 2 allows you to choose the age level.
Example 1:
A teacher is looking for children’s picture books currently on the shelf at the Main Library with the topic of teeth. Entering “teeth” under words or phrase will look for the word “teeth” in the title, subject, or summary fields. We further selected the library as Main Library, type as Book, location as Standard shelving location, item category 1 as Easy book, and item category 2 as Juvenile material. This search brings up 28 results, including Arthur’s Tooth by Marc Brown which is just right for the teacher’s purpose.
Example 2:
An older patron at the North Branch Library wants to watch a movie starring John Wayne. It has to be on DVD because the patron does not have a VCR. Entering John Wayne under words or phrase will look for his name in the summary or subject headings. We selected North Branch Library, type is Digital video disc (DVD), location is Standard shelving location, item category 1 is Digital video disc, and item category 2 is Adult material. This search brings up 16 results, including Stagecoach, True Grit, and a documentary about John Wayne.

Now that I’ve found what I need in the computer, how do I find it in the library?

Let’s do a basic search for the novel Water for Elephants. We have a number of copies in various formats, and our search results look like this.

The Call Number is the top line in each record. The first part of the Call Number indicates the format of the item and the section where it is shelved. The last part indicates the author’s name. In our example, you see that all of them end in GRU--the first three letters of Sara Gruen’s last name. You also see that all of our records contain an F, which indicates that this is a Fiction title. Out of the 5 records in our example, 3 have an additional prefix: MN, L, or CD. These indicate that the item is a book in the McNaughton section, a Large print book, and an audiobook on CD.

For further help in locating a specific item, please ask a reference librarian.