Where do I find it?
www.mel.org/melcatopens a new window
What do I need in order to use it?
An active East Lansing Public Library card.
Why is it awesome?
MeLCat is a website you can use to request items that we don't own (or are currently checked out and you don't want to wait for them to get returned) from another participating library throughout the state of Michigan. Since it is just a website, you have 24/7 access to it as long as you can get to the internet. Meaning, you can request things even when we aren't open. It is amazing for newly discovered authors or series that have a lot a books you need to catch up on.
Is it ever not awesome?
Well, since you are requesting items from other libraries, their patrons are going to come first (just like you do for us, don't worry) so it isn't that great for ordering brand new items. DVDs are also hit or miss.
Also, it isn't the best source if you are on a time crunch. Deliveries can take up to a week to arrive, sometimes a bit longer.
How does it work?
Similarly to our catalog or any other online search engine. You can search by title, author, or simply browse by subject. You'll see a link in each record that tells you how many libraries have each title (the more, the better) and it is recommended you click on that before the "Get this from MeLCat" button. The reason being you want to make sure at least one library has a status listed as "AVAILABLE." If none do, then you can't order it.
Once you've found what you're looking for and at least one library has it available, click "Get this from MeLCat" near the top. You'll then be asked to pick your home library and enter your last name and library card number. Bam, you're done! Luckily, if you are ordering a lot of stuff, it'll keep you logged in so you don't have to enter your number every time.