The library's online catalogs can be daunting, but have no fear. There are lots of Beaufort County librarians out there on the front lines, and a few like myself, behind-the-scenes catalogers, who are here to help you find those library materials you're looking for.
Looking for gardening tips? Doing a DIY project or repairing an automobile? Learning a foreign language? Traveling to Machu Picchu? Need a pie recipe? A Pilates DVD? Crocheting ideas?
We've got you covered.
From the library homepage at www.beaufortcountylibrary.org, click on the link at the top left corner, Search the Catalog. Click the first down-arrow, where it says Search, All Formats, and pick from the menu: Book, Large Print, Audiobook, Music Recording (CDs), Magazines, DVDs or Braille.
If you select Book, you will get Hardcover, Softcover, Mass Market Paperback, and Large Print Books. If you want Large Print only, you would just select that one. Next, type your search terms (e.g., author and title) in the blank search box.
The catalog is preset to Keyword, which is the most overall useful search, as it pulls from words in the entire catalog record -- the summary/abstract, table of contents, title and subjects -- all in one search. You can insert the author's name(s) and title of the work; the title of a movie and last name of an actor; or an audiobook title and first/last names of the narrator. If the word or name is unique enough, you don't need to type the entire title or name. And if you're having trouble remembering the title and/or author, try Googling as much as you know about the book or film, and you might be surprised at what a sleuth you are.
Beside Keyword is another drop-down menu that allows you to do more specific searches. There are Series, Title and Subject searches too. If you find you're not getting a good number of results, go back to Keyword searching.
The catalog is preset to search all of SCLends, our statewide consortium of 17 county library systems (see them listed at the bottom of the search screen). They are all free to you with your library card. If it's not at your local library branch, you can click on Place Hold, which will prompt you to log into your account with your library card number and password, and select the branch where you'd like to pick it up.
If the item is checked out from all locations, it might take longer for you to get it. If it's a brand new item, it will not leave the owning library system for six months, so that their patrons get a crack at it. If you're only interested in what Beaufort County owns, then use the drop-down menu next to SCLends and select Beaufort County Library to search all of our holdings or, more specifically, one of our five branches, if you need it right away.
I encourage you to have fun with this. Trial and error is a great teacher. And, of course, when you aren't finding what you need, we are here to help. Come by or give us a call, and we'll set you on the right path to explore our vast catalog of more than 2 million possibilities.
Brendagael Beasley-Forrest is a catalog librarian at the Beaufort library.