Frequently Asked Questions
Why do I need my card with me?
- There are currently in excess of 1/2 million individuals
with library cards in the SAILS system. This means that there are
increased chances of checking something out to the wrong person if a
library card is not used. For your own protection, you MUST present your
library card to check out materials. To renew materials, you can either
to the catalog (you will need your barcode or alt.id) or call in with the item's
barcode. We do not have e-mail renewal. Our policy is that the
library card of person who places a hold must be used to pick up that
hold. Again, this is for the protection of all our patrons.
- If an item is still on your account, but you feel you
have returned it, please contact the circulation desk immediately by
calling or stopping by. We will make a note on your account, renew the
item so that fines do not accrue, and will then search the building for
the item. If we find it, we will call you and remove the fine. If we don't
find it, we will look again the next day and notify you. We may end up
renewing the item a few times to give everyone extra time to look rather
than accepting payment for a lost item. If it is checked out on your
account, you are responsible for it. If it is our item, there is a $3
processing fee as well as the cost of the item. DO NOT CONTACT US VIA
E-MAIL FOR THIS!
What happened to the Card Catalog?
For those of you who are too young to remember, a card catalog is a
collection of 3x5 cards with the titles of all the books that a library owned.
For each book there were at least three cards, so you could find a book by
title, author or subject. Libraries in general no longer keep these paper
records (which are expensive to maintain and store) because we think of our
collection as more than just the materials in one building. In effect, the whole
of the SAILS 50+ libraries house our collection. Some of the items are just
stored off site.
What does this mean to you as the user?
- You can check what's available in the catalog from your home by using the
- You can choose from a wider variety of materials than any one library
could afford to own or store.
- If someone else has our copy, you don't have to wait as long to get
another copy. If it is on the shelf at another library you will get
it in a timely fashion.
- You can't browse the cards like you may be use to doing. You also need to
spell the author's name more accurately than before.
- You can limit materials to video or audio when you are looking for
If you need help using the computerized catalog, any one of the staff are
very willing to help. We actually love questions.
How do we make complaints, comments or requests?
- To make a comment to the Trustees or the Director, you can fill out a form
kept at the Circulation Front Desk or email
This is the appropriate forum if you wish to be heard about policy
decisions, for example.
- If you wish to make a suggestion for a general change, there is a
suggestion box near the Computer Catalogs (opposite the stairs.)
If you wish to request a particular book or material be purchased, you leave
a message for any of the librarians and we will either order the book or make it
available to you from another library system.
What is the difference between a hold, a reserve and an
- A hold is a reserve. What they both mean is that you are
selecting a book that is not currently on the shelf at the Richards Memorial
Library and you want it either saved for you when it comes in or sent from
one of the other libraries in the SAILS system. The item will usually arrive
in a timely manner. However, delivery depends on the item's availability, the
number of other holds on the item and a variety of circumstances beyond our
- An Interlibrary Loan is a book or material that is
requested from a library outside of the SAILS system.
- The Virtual Catalog allows you to place your own Interlibrary Loan
request. Log-in to the iBistro catalog and click on the Virtual Catalog
tab after you have check to see if any SAILS library owns the material.
New materials usually cannot be borrowed.
- Materials from university or out-of-state libraries have to go through
the Interlibrary Loan Office at Quincy. Because the system
involves sending requests out to five libraries at a time, each with
five days to respond, we cannot even estimate a delivery date.
- Renewals must be authorized by the Interlibrary Loan Office so please
plan ahead. There are NO renewals on Virtual Catalog items.
Where can I use my card?
Massachusetts Law states that any resident of Massachusetts may use any
public library in the state. If you have a valid SAILS or ABLE card, you can go
to the Cape, Boston or any other Massachusetts community and get yourself
registered in their computer system using the same card that you use with us. They
may call us to first see if you have outstanding fines or some other block on
your account. Once you are registered you often can use their museum passes just
like you use ours. Your card will not work in RI because it is a different
Why did I get a message saying my Virtual Catalog
request is unfulfillable?
- There are several libraries -- especially some small libraries in the
CWMars consortium -- that are open very few hours or are only associate
members of the consortium. If the item is in such a library, it may not be
processed in the five day time period or at all.
- Materials that have holds on them will not be chosen to fulfill Virtual
Catalog requests by the owning system.
- Some libraries have had more than their share of technical problems that
might prevent them from filling the request in the 5 day limit.
- Also sometimes when someone goes to look for the book or item, it turns
out to be missing. There is no way for anyone to indicate this in the
Virtual Catalog software.
- Want us to try to find the item somewhere else? Email
us at the Interlibrary Loan account.
Why is my library card expiring?
- The SAILS system has been programmed for cards to expire after 3 years.
This is to ensure that patron information such as address and phone number
are updated on a regular basis. To renew, just call the library with your
library card number or stop by with your card.
- It also allows to us to "cull" inactive cards that have been
expired for a number of years. With so many patrons in the system, the
database of names would need more and more memory if we couldn't delete
records after a specific number of years of inactivity.
How do I renew my materials?
- Click on Library Catalog to go to the sign-in screen for the SAILS system.
- Put in your 14-digit library card number barcode and your pin number. If
this doesn't get you in (try again), call the Library during our open hours.
- Click on My Account under the title bar. Choose Renew My Materials.
Yahoo Mail and Problems with Notices
- For Yahoo (ymail) patrons—create a
filter that will send anything from firstname.lastname@example.org
to your inbox.
- 1. To create a filter, click
Options > More Options in the upper-right corner of your Yahoo! Mail
- 2. From the list on the left,
- 3. Click Create Filters
- 4. In the filter name box, type
Library Notices (or something that lets you know what this is for)
- 5. In the top row, labeled From
header, make sure contains is selected in the pull-down menu.
- 6. Click in the text box next
to that pull-down menu, enter email@example.com
- 7. At the bottom, where it says
Move the message to:, select Inbox from the pull-down menu.
- 8. Click the Add Filter button
Overdrive and Nook
There are known problems downloading Overdrive books to
Barnes & Noble's Nook eReader. One problem is that the Nook may come with a
preloaded Adobe Digital Editions. This site
has excellent instructions.