My Account: FAQ and Guide
How do I get an online account?
When you are issued your library card, an online account is automatically created. There is no extra sign up needed.
The technical name for the online catalog is Online Public Access Catalog, or OPAC for short. When a library staff member sets up your library account for you and issues you a library card, a part of the computer screen that they use has a place to enter "OPAC User Name". This will be the user name that you will enter on the OPAC login screen.
Typically, this user name is initially set to be your library card number. If you find it difficult to remember your library card number, you can ask the staff to change this user name to something you can remember more easily. Once you have successfully logged in to the online catalog, you can also change your user name by yourself whenever you want.
Need a library card? Click here!
Logging into "My Account"
You can get to the login page in the online catalog in a variety of ways. For example:
From any catalog screen, click on My Account in the upper right hand corner of the screen.
Enter your barcode, (your library card number), without spaces, or user name in the left box.
Hint: The barcode that appears on the back of your library card or on your mini-card has spaces in it. To log into the online catalog, you do not need any of those spaces.
Enter your password into the right box. Remember that your password is case sensitive.
If you make a mistake in either place, you will get this error message:
Login failed. The username or password provided was not valid. Passwords are case-sensitive. Check your Caps-Lock key and try again or contact your local library.
and you must try again. If you continue having trouble, see Why am I having trouble getting into My Account? below.
Stay logged in?
If you check the checkbox next to the words "Stay logged in?", you will be kept logged in for up to two weeks, unless you log out.
"Stay logged in" may not work if you use your web browser in a private mode or if you have your web browser set to clear all your history and cookies when you close it.
If you use a computer that is used by others, checking "Stay logged in?" may give other people access to your account. Be aware of this and keep your information safe.
Why am I having trouble getting into My Account?
Here is a list of common reasons why you might not be able to log into your account successfully:
Mis-typed or incorrect user name or password
Be sure that your Caps Lock key is off.
Re-enter your user name and password.
If you have forgotten your password, click "Forgot Your Password?". More information on this below.
If you are still having trouble, contact your local library.
Incorrect barcode number
Ensure you are entering the correct barcode without any spaces. If you have multiple cards, perhaps the number you are using is inactive. Try using another. Contact your local library if you do not know your barcode or user name.
Occasionally, a patron’s password in incorrectly changed at the local library. This can be remedied by contacting your local library or by using the "Forgot your password" link. More information on this below.
Your library card has an expiration date. If you don’t know it, you can get it from your local librarian. Sometimes a library card expires, and the patron is not aware of it.
Patron Account blocked or barred
Patron accounts can become blocked or barred for a variety of reasons. This can be resolved at your local library.
Computer settings prevent access
Sometimes the internet security settings on a computer will prevent successful login. You will need to ensure cookies are enabled in your browser. After enabling cookies, try to login in again. If you're still having trouble, adding https://catalog.cwmars.org to a list of trusted sites may solve this problem.
Forgot Your Password
If you can't remember your password, click on the Forgot Your Password? link on the login page in the online catalog. You will be brought to the password reset page.
You will see a screen that looks like this:
Enter your library card number OR user name. You do not need both.
The number that appears on your library card or on your mini-card has spaces in it. If you enter your library card number, leave out the spaces. Enter only the numbers.
Note: Your library account should have a valid and active email account associated with it. If you do not have a valid email address in your account, you will not be able to receive the email to reset your password.
Click Submit to send the password reset request.
You will be taken to a page that displays the following message:
Your barcode or user name has been submitted for a password reset. If a matching account with an email address is found, you will soon receive an email at that address with further instructions for resetting your password.
The email that you receive will contain a unique link to reset your password.
Once you receive the email, click the link. You will be asked to enter in your new password twice to ensure that you do not make a mistake.
The Password Reset Doesn't Seem To Be Working For Me!
After making a password reset request, it may take up to 30 minutes for you to receive a reset email. That being said, most emails are received within a couple minutes.
There are also a number of reasons why you might not receive the request:
You may have entered your barcode incorrectly.
You may have entered an incorrect or misspelled user name.
You may not have a valid email address in your patron record.
You may have no email address in your record.
You may have in your record an email address you no longer use or don't check.
The email address in your record may be otherwise inaccurate (a typo in the address, for example).
Depending on a your email client settings, the automatic email from the catalog may be routed to a Junk or Spam folder.
As always, your local library staff are ready to help you if you have a problem.
The My Account Page
After you have logged into your account in the online catalog, you will see a page that looks like this:
Across the top, you will see quick links for certain account functions.
You'll see your name, a Messages button, a My Account button, a My Lists button, and a Logout button.
The Messages button will open the Messages screen and display any message placed in your account by the library.
The My Account button will always bring you back to your Account Summary page.
The My Lists button will open the My Lists tab screen and display the names of any lists you've saved. For more information on using the list feature, see our Help page for My Lists.
The Logout button will log you out and end your session.
Below these, you see the search bar. You can search for things directly from this page just as if you were on the homepage of the catalog.
In the center of the screen, additional information displays.
The Home option is the default screen, and there you can also see quick summary numbers for items out, currently on hold, and ready for pickup.
The Charges option will display charges owed on your account.
The Messages option will display any message placed in your account by the library.
The Items Checked Out option will display information about items you have/had checked out.
The Holds option will display items on hold. For information on managing holds, check out our Help page for Placing and Managing Holds.
The Preferences option will display the information in your account and give you options for changing preferences. More information regarding preferences can be found further down on this page.
The My Lists option contains all the lists that you have created and allows you to work with your lists. For more information on using the list feature, see our Help page for My Lists
Paying fines and other charges online
A summary of charges owed will display by going to Charges > Current Charges.
You can pay all or part of these charges online.
To pay all charges, click Pay All Charges. To pick and choose charges to pay, check/uncheck charges appropriately and then click Pay selected charges.
On the new page, enter your credit card information as directed. Click Next to continue.
Visa, MasterCard, and Discover are all acceptable forms of payment.
The payment will NOT be posted at this stage. You will have a chance to confirm before submitting.
Confirm that the charges and amounts look correct.
Click Confirm to submit the payment. If the payment is accepted, the charges will immediately fall off your account.
After paying, you will have the option to print/save a receipt for your record.
Payments less than $0.50 (50 cents) will not be accepted by our CC processor. Smaller amounts can be addressed at your local library.
Online payments are non-refundable. Patrons should make every effort to find and return lost items prior to payment.
Keep in mind that you won't be able to check out or renew material until you have:
No "Lost Materials" charges on your account.
Owe less than $10.00 in fines/charges.
It is not necessary to manually renew items!
If an item is eligible for renewal, it will automatically renew on the due date.
An email notification will be sent on the due date alerting you that a renewal has been attempted for your items. Check the body of the email to find out whether your items were successfully renewed or if they were unable to be renewed.
That said, proactive patrons can still manually renew items through the online catalog. This may be useful if, perhaps, your items failed to auto-renew because you had over $10.00 in fines. After taking care of your fines, you would now like to renew your items.
To manually renew items:
From your My Account page, click on Items Checked Out>Current Items Checked Out.
Notice that the item "Brooklyn nine-nine. Season three" is checked out. It has a due date of 03/26/2022 and shows that there is ONE renewal left. (If there are ZERO renewals left, you cannot renew an item online and must seek assistance from your library staff.)
Check the checkbox next to the item (or items) that you want to renew and click Renew Selected.
A pop-up box will appear asking if you really want to renew the selected item(s). If you do, click OK. If not, click Cancel.
If you clicked OK, the screen will refresh, and you will see that the renewal was successful. See the picture below:
Notice that Renewals Left shows ZERO. (The due date did not change because, for the sake of this example, the item was renewed on the same day it was taken out. Ordinarily, the DUE DATE will change.)
Account Preferences - Personal Information
If you click on the Preferences option in My Account, you will get a variety of choices. The first option in the list is Personal Information.
The information on this screen is all drawn from your record in the system. You can only change three things in this tab: your user name, your password, and your email address.
To change your user name:
Click on the word Change in the Username line.
You will be asked for your current password and the new user name you want to use.
Click the Save Changes button to finish. You will be taken back to the Personal Information screen. The user name change takes effect immediately.
To change your password:
Click on the word Change in the Password line.
You will be asked to enter your current password and to enter your new password twice.
Click the Save Changes button to finish. You will be taken back to the Personal Information tab. The password change takes effect immediately.
To change your email address:
Click on the word Change in the Email Address line.
You will be shown your current email address. Enter your current password and your new email address.
Click the Save Changes button to finish. You will be taken back to the Personal Information tab. The email address change takes effect immediately.
Account Preferences - Notifications
Click on the Preferences option from My Account. Select Notifications.
Here you will set up how you would like to be contacted for holds and checkout receipts.
For holds, you can be notified by email and/or by text message. To select either or both of these options, check the checkbox next to the notification type.
If you choose to be notified by text message, be sure to select the correct mobile phone carrier from the dropdown list and enter your mobile number with no spaces, dashes, or other symbols.
Additionally, you also have the choice to have your checkout receipts emailed by default. Check this you'd like your receipts emailed instead of printed at the time of checkout.
An email address is required for the setting to work.
Note that not all libraries use this setting.
Click Save to save your preferences.
You may see that some of the checkboxes are already checked. Notification by Email is set by default when you set up your library account at the library.
Email notifications will go to the email address shown under the Personal Information screen. Be sure that the email address under Personal Information is correct.
If you select to be notified by text message and you choose the wrong mobile carrier, you will not receive a text message. Be sure to enter all ten digits of your telephone number with no spaces and no dashes between the number groups.
If you have open holds when you update your notification preferences, you will also be prompted to update the information on those holds.
Account Preferences - Search & History
Click on the Preferences option from My Account. Select Search & History.
On this screen, you can set up your preference for where you search and what aspects of your library-use history you want to keep.
Search hits per page affects how many search results you see on each web page. You can choose up to 50 from the dropdown.
Preferred search location is the library that you would like to search by default when you are logged in. To search other libraries or to search the whole consortium, you will have to select this from the dropdown when you perform your search.
Preferred pickup location is the library that you would generally like your holds sent to. You can choose a different pickup location for specific holds if desired when placing the holds.
If you would like to keep a history of the items that you have checked out, check the checkbox on the line next to Keep history of checked out items. The history-keeping will only start after you have checked the box and saved your preferences. The system does not retroactively remember what you checked out.
If you would like to remember all the items you have placed holds on, check the checkbox next to the line Keep history of holds. The history-keeping will only start after you have checked the box and saved your preferences. The system does not retroactively remember the holds you placed.
The last check box is Skip warning when adding to temporary book list. Temporary book lists are no longer a part of the catalog. They have been replaced by Baskets. You can leave this option unchecked. More information about Baskets can be found on our Help page for Searching and Browsing the Catalog.
After you have made all your preference selections, click the Save button at the bottom of the screen to save them. If you forget to click the Save button, your preferences will not be remembered.
Account Preferences - My Lists
Click on the Preferences option from My Account. Select My Lists.
Here you can set up your preferences for the "My Lists" feature.
You can set Lists per page (10 to 25 lists) and List items per page (10 to 50 items).
Don't forget to Save after making any changes.
For more information on managing your lists, see our Help page for My Lists.