Find, Request, & Renew:
The Complete Guide to PamCat
Want to know how to request and renew library items in the
comfort of your own home? Or how to look up the latest library materials in a
specific subject category, such as new DVDs and audio (or talking) books on CDs? Do you want
to find a great book for your child's school report tomorrow? The PamCat
Guides can help! Just click on any of the links below to find out
more about PamCat.
(Adobe Reader is required to view the guides in PDF format. Visit Adobe's web site to get your free reader.)
When signing on to PamCat your default PIN/password is CHANGEME. If you ever forget or misplace your PIN/password, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call any of our branch libraries and ask a staff member to reset it for you.
Holds (PDF) or (HTML)
"Holds" explains how to request, or place, holds on books and other library materials and delete them when no longer needed . It also covers frequently asked questions about PamCat. PamCat FAQ
Special Features (PDF) or (HTML)
"Special Features" covers New Arrivals and Explore Subjects, a picture-based subject guide for adults. (Note: The "Other Library Catalogs" option is no longer available. If you have any questions, please e-mail email@example.com.)
PamCat Training Sessions
The Library also offers PamCat training
tailored to meet your needs. If you haven't used a library catalog in a while or
if you have specific research questions, our friendly staff can
schedule a one-on-one appointment so you can explore PamCat's many
Training is open to all library patrons, regardless of age or experience, who have a valid library card. The training sessions last about 30 minutes or less. Even if you've never used a computer before, we will be happy to show you how easy our catalog is to use.
Please call or visit your local branch library or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about PamCat!
Pamunkey Regional Library's online catalog,
has many features that provide access to library materials.
From the main search screen you can look up an item, login to your personal
PamCat account, go to an advanced search, link to library information, view the
New York Times bestseller list and
To begin your PamCat session, login to your account. To find out more about your account, see "My Account." Don’t forget to log out when you’re done!
Below the login box, the menu bar provides links to different searches, local and regional library catalogs, your account information and a new arrivals list.
Using the drop down menu in the gray search box, you can search for Everything, Author, Title, Subject, Series. Periodical title searching is not currently available, but if you want to search for magazines, use a title search.
The "Keyword" option finds records that contain the words entered. "Browse" finds links to names, titles and subject headings close to the words entered. "Exact" finds records that exactly match words in the order they are entered. Enter your search term and click the "Search" button. Please see PamCat Guide No. 4, "Advanced Search" for information on other searches available in PamCat.
When your results appear, several new options are available. Two of these options are "Keep" and "Place Hold." "Keep" creates a temporary list of selected items . Click "Keep" to add the title to your list. Click "Remove" if you don’t want the title. To see the list, click "Kept" on the menu bar.
Your list of "Kept" items will be in the window that opens. You can view or print your list. PamCat will retain your list until you complete a new search. The email option is currently unavailable.
To find out how to place a hold, please see "Holds."
PamCat is also capable of Boolean searching. Boolean searching tells the catalog to look for search terms in specific relationships using the words: AND, OR, NOT, WITH and NEAR. For example, searching for bears NOT Berenstain will give you items about bears but will not include the Berenstain Bears series.
Searching for Chicago WITH history will return items with historical aspects of Chicago. Searching for Virginia NEAR Williamsburg will return a variety of items related to Williamsburg, Virginia.
The AND and OR terms will either limit or expand your search results. For example, searching for Flowers OR Trees will give you an expanded list of items that include either of these words. Searching for Flowers AND Trees limits your search to only items that contain both words and will give you a smaller number of results.
If a title contains one of the Boolean terms, it is necessary to do a Keyword title search using quotations. For example, using "And Never Let Her Go" tells PamCat to search for the phrase, not individual words, and will give you the correct results.
Other items of interest on the main search screen are boxes that provide links to "What Others Are Reading," "Best Sellers," and "Recommended Reading."
Pamunkey Regional Library’s online catalog, PamCat, lets you conveniently manage your library account. You can find out when your library materials are due, change your account password, see if you owe fines, view the items you have on hold, and renew your materials.
To access "My Account" you’ll first need to log in. Your "library card #" is the number on the back of your library card. Your password is changeme until you change it. Always remember to logout when you’ve completed your session.
On the menu bar, click on "My Account" to access your information. Once in "My Account" you can use the features pictured below.
In "Review My Account," you can see a list of your "Holds," find your position on the holds list ("Holds Queue") for each title, and cancel holds for items that you no longer want.
Click on "Renew My Materials" to renew your items. You can renew some or all of them by clicking the appropriate button and box(es.)
Click on "Change Password" to choose an easy to remember password of 10 characters or less. If you forget your password, let a library staff member know and it will be reset.
PamCat remembers Authors and Subjects of items that you borrow in the "My Favorite Authors" and "My Favorite Subjects" sections of the main PamCat page.
If you prefer not to use this option, click on "My Profile," on the menu bar and click the check-marked box to delete the check and disable the feature. Items that you borrowed before disabling this feature will continue to be shown. To completely clear your profile list, click the "MORE" link under your Favorites, then click the "Modify" link at the bottom of the Favorites list page. You can either select Authors or Subjects to delete, or delete them all.
Pamunkey Regional Library’s online catalog, PamCat, makes it easy for you to place "holds" on books and other materials.
Please login to your PamCat account before placing holds.
After locating the title you wish to place on hold, click on "Details" to go the "Item information" screen. The "Place Hold" link is at the far left of the screen, above the "Keep" button. Click on this link to go to the holds screen.
On the "Hold" screen, using the drop down menu, select the branch library where you want to pick up your materials. When your information is entered correctly, click the "Place Hold" button. If you need to make a change to your pickup location, you can click the "Clear" button and start over.
Once your hold is placed, you will see your card and hold information screen. Click the "OK" link and you will return to the "Item information" page. Click the "Go Back" link to go to the "Search Results" page or choose another option from the menu bar above.
To see your place in the holds queue (list), please click on "My Account" on the menu bar. Click on "Review My Account," and scroll down to your holds list. Here you can also delete any of your holds by selecting the box next to the title, then clicking "Cancel selected holds."
If you want to put a hold on a title, but can't find it in PamCat, you can suggest that the library purchase it or get it from another library system through interlibrary loan (ILL) by filling out our online request form.
Pamunkey Regional Library’s online catalog, PamCat, has a variety of ways to search for material. The Advanced Search feature, located on PamCat's main page in the main search box, allows you to search with multiple terms, limit your searches, and even perform searches in different ways.
Advanced Search allows you to use a variety of terms at once, rather than a single word or phrase. Using the pull down menus, select how you want to search – by word, author, title, subject, or series. You can fill in as many of these fields as you want, and the drop down menus allow you to change how each line is used. For example, you can search for books about cookery (that's the Library of Congress's subject heading for cooking) that were written by Nigella Lawson simply by filling in the lines next to author and subject.
The limiter fields allow you to refine your search further by narrowing the focus to specific types of material or things in particular locations. This allows you to choose a specific library, language, format, reading level, or even a specific genre.
For example, if you wanted to search for DVDs, simply change the type field to Digital Video Disc. This will list the DVDs in all 10 branches. You can further limit your search by changing the reading level, publication year, or by specifying a particular library.
There are two specialized searches possible from the Power Searching Menu — "Browse" and "Call Number Search." Each of these searches uses a different approach to finding material.
"Browse" allows you to do a simple search with a different way of displaying your results. If you do a title search for Hamlet, for example, you get a listing of possible titles that might fit the item you’re looking for, allowing you to pick the best match.
"Call Number Search" provides a way for you to browse the collection by call number. When you enter a call number, you get a result screen that looks similar to the basic search page. You can only search the collection of one branch at a time, but you are allowed to limit your search by the type of material or its location.
*This search finds movies on DVD at the Ashland Library.
Pamunkey Regional Library's online catalog, PamCat, has many advanced special features that provide access to library materials in new ways:
New Arrivals: Located to the right of the "My Account" link on the menu bar, "New Arrivals" lists the most recent items that have been added to our collection in real time. You can see what is added to our collection each day, whether it's the newest novel, picture book, video or reference volume. You can even go to earlier pages of new additions at the bottom of the page.
A menu box of subjects, called "You Found Titles in Categories:" is included in the "New Arrivals" list. By clicking any category ("Children's Literature," for example), you will be taken to the most recent items added in that area, with the newest items listed first. Clicking on the "MORE" box takes you to an expanded list of all the subject headings included in the "New Arrivals" feature.
Other Library Catalogs:
The Other Library Catalogs option is no longer available. If you have any questions, please e-mail email@example.com.
Explore Subjects: Located to the right of the "Search/Home" link, this feature allows you to browse some of our most popular subjects, such as "Animals," "Food," and "History."
When you click on the picture or the text beneath you see categories that are part of that subject. When you click "History," you will see choices like the following:
If you click on one of these icons or text links you will go to a list of materials for all media and age levels. For example, "Explorers" gives you a detailed list of items on exploration. Page through these titles using the "Next" link, or by using the page numbers above and below the search results list. Click "Previous" or "Go Back" link to return to previous pages.
Click on one of the subject listings in the "You Found Titles in Categories:" to narrow your search. For example, clicking the category "Africa" returns a more specific list of items related to exploration of Africa and Africans.
"Explore Subjects" is a fun way to see an overview of special interest areas in our catalog, but it includes only a sample of our collection.
PamCat, our online library catalog, has a special place just for kids to explore!
Go to "Kids' Library" by clicking on the toolbar.
What kinds of kids' questions can be found in the Kids' Library? Here is just a sample.
"How can I find out more about bears?"
Click on the "Animals" icon.
Then, click on the "Bears" icon. Here you will find many titles about bears. If you want to see titles on other animals, click on "Go Back" on the menu bar to return to the page of Animal icons.
"How can I find out about Indian tribes?"
Click on the "United States" icon.
Then, click on the "Indian Tribes" icon. Here you will find titles on the different Indian tribes in North and South America, from Algonquin to Zuni.
"How can I find a story that will make me laugh?"
Click on the "Stories" icon.
Then, click on the "Funny Stories" icon for a list of titles that will make you smile.
To see more about any title on the list, click on "Full Details." Scroll to the bottom of the screen to see which libraries own the book and where it is available.
Ask a friendly library staff member for help finding the title you want, or for help putting it on hold and having it sent to your local public library branch.
Advanced Searching for Kids’ Titles
"Advanced Search" is the best way to do a detailed search for all the materials available for children or young adults in the library. See the PamCat Guide No. 4 "Advanced Search" for more details.
Click on "Advanced Search" on PamCat's main search page, then enter author, title, and/or subject information. Under these boxes are additional boxes that will help you focus your search. Make your list of results more specific by choosing from among such headings as:
Item Category 1
- Children’s Holiday Books
- Historical Fiction
- Graphic Novels
- ...and much more!
Children’s Picture Books
Children’s Easy Readers
...and much more!
Digital Video Recording
Read Along with Cassette or CD
Talking Book on Cassette or CD
Music on Cassette or CD
...and much more!
Here's one example:
How do I find children’s picture books on dinosaurs?
Do a search under the "subject" of "dinosaurs," the "location" of "Children's Picture Books," and the "reading level" of "Children's." Click the "Search" button for your list of children’s picture books on dinosaurs.
Q: Can I get a list of magazines in PamCat that the library owns?
A: Yes, you can now search for magazines in PamCat by title (not periodical title).
Q: I can't remember my password for PamCat. Can you reset it for me?
A: Please contact any branch library and a staff member will reset your password back to "CHANGEME," which you can customize to make it easier to remember.
Q: I've found a book in the UVA catalog, using the "Other Library Catalogs." How can I get this item?
A: If we do not own this book, please ask a staff member about placing an interlibrary loan.
Q: Do you still have copies of the new items list?
A: Click on "New Arrivals" located on the PamCat menu bar. Please see "Special Features" for more details.
Q: I tried to find the title, Not Even For Love, and saw really strange results.
A: AND, OR, NOT, WITH, and NEAR are PamCat search terms. If one of these words is part of the title, you'll need to put the title in quotation marks, for example, Gone With the Wind. See "Basic Features" for more information on using these search terms.
Q: What’s the difference between "Hold" and "Keep?"
A: Clicking on "Keep" next to a title will keep a list of items you have selected. Scroll to the top of the screen and click on "Kept" to see the list you have made. The email feature is currently unavailable.
For our patrons who like to use PamCat "after hours," due to system maintenance, PamCat is unavailable each morning beginning at midnight for a few minutes and again at 3:00 a.m. for a few hours. You may also experience a slow response time with the catalog between 3:00 to 10:00 a.m. on Sundays during its weekly data backup.
If you encounter any problems with PamCat during "normal working hours" that last for more than a few minutes, or if you continue to have problems accessing PamCat, you can e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will do our best to resolve the situation. Thanks!
This section is for documenting all of the known issues reported while using PamCat, the library's online catalog. If you have experienced a problem using PamCat or have a suggestion on how to make PamCat better, please e-mail email@example.com. Thanks!
As of 2004, some patrons have reported session timeouts when
they click on one or more areas from the main webpage of PamCat, which is powered by SIRSI Corporation's iBistro.
Other library systems that use iBistro have reported similar occurrences of the
These session timeouts happen to patrons using Internet Service Providers (ISPs) who use cache proxy servers to speed up download times by storing the pages their customers use. This is usually advertised as an "internet accelerator" service. The most common ISPs that use cache proxy servers are DIRECWAY (DirecTV's satellite-based Internet service), Netzero, and Earthlink, although any provider using the accelerators may have the same problem. This conflicts with the way that iBistro is structured, resulting in the session timeout screen.
Unfortunately, at this time, there is no way for an ISP's customer to clear such a cache from home, so occurrences will persist as long as the ISP uses cache proxy services. The Pamunkey Regional Library will be working closely with the SIRSI Corporation to develop a solution to this ongoing problem. In the meantime, please contact your ISP to see if they have a work-around for the problem. You can also send the library an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please let us know who your ISP is, and let us know as much as you can about the problem, so that we can forward the information to SIRSI and try to find a solution as quickly as possible that works for everyone. Updates will be posted to this page. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience.
Some of our patrons prefer to use an Alternate ID to log
in to PamCat, rather than use their library card number. If you enter
your Alternate ID on the main PamCat screen, you will be directed to a page
that says "Login to My Account - Invalid login." First use your
backspace key to clear the word "WEBSERVER" from the box labeled "Library
Card #." If you leave "WEBSERVER" in that box after you log in with
your Alternate ID and password, PamCat will request your log in information
each time you try to complete a transaction, such as placing a book on hold
or reviewing your account.
If you continue to experience problems trying to log in to PamCat using an Alternate ID, please call or visit your local branch library or e-mail email@example.com.