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 username 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 username to something you can remember more easily. Once you have successfully logged in to the online catalog, you can also change your username by yourself whenever you want.
Only library staff can create new library accounts and issue library cards. Individuals cannot create library accounts for themselves.
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 the Log into My Account button in the upper left hand corner of the screen.
Or click My Account in the top right or footer of any page on the CW MARS website.
Or you can go directly to the log in page with this URL: https://catalog.cwmars.org/eg/opac/login
When the login page is displayed, you will see two boxes in the center of the screen for entering your username and password.
Enter your barcode, (your library card number), without spaces, or username in the top 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.
If you make a mistake in either place, you will get this error message:
Login failed. The username or password provided was not valid. Ensure Caps-Lock is off 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 more than one person, 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 username or password
Be sure that your Caps Lock key is off.
Re-enter your username 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/username.
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 username. 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 reset email may take up to 30 minutes to arrive.
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, you may also receive an email within a couple of 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 username
- 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 mail client settings, the automatic mail from Evergreen may be routed to a Junk or Spam folder.
As always, your local library staff is 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 a summary of your account.
On the first line, 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 tab in the center of the 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 in the center of the 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.
In the rows beneath these, you see quick summary numbers for items checked out, on hold, ready for pickup, fines, e-items checked out, e-items on hold, and e-items ready for check out.
Each of these quick summary numbers is clickable. If you click them, you will be taken to the appropriate screen. For instance, if you click on items checked out, the screen will open to show you your currently checked out items.
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 about the middle of the screen, you see tabs that can be opened.
The Account Summary tab is the default tab, and there you can also see quick summary numbers for items out, currently on hold, and ready for pickup.
The Messages tab will display any message placed in your account by the library.
The Items Checked Out tab will display information about all the items you currently have checked out.
The Holds tab will display all the items you currently have on hold. For information on managing holds, check out our Help page for Placing and Managing Holds.
The Account Preferences tab will display the information in your account and give you options for changing information. More information regarding preferences can be found further down on this page.
The My Lists tab 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
Near the bottom of the screen, you see the Charges and Payments tabs. More information on this can be found below.
Paying fines and other charges online
A summary of charges owed will display at the bottom of the Account Summary tab of your account.
You can pay all or part of these charges online.
To pay all charges, click Pay All Charges on the right of the screen. To pick and choose charges to pay, check/uncheck charges appropriately and then click Pay selected fines.
On the next page, you will be asked to fill out Billing Information and Credit Card Information.
The Billing Information section will autofill with data from your account.
Important: The Billing Information section must match the name and address on file with your credit card. The information can be updated on this screen if necessary. Note that this will only affect the current transaction. Updating your name/address here will not update the information on your account.
Visa, MasterCard, and Discover are all acceptable forms of payment.
When you are ready to submit your payment, click Next.
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 items 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:
Log into your account.
You will see the number of items you have out both in the upper left corner of the screen and in the middle of the screen next to Items Currently Checked out. In this example, there is one item checked out. See the picture below:
Click on the Items Checked Out tab. You will see the list of items you have checked out at the moment. See the picture below:
Notice that the item "CWMARS TEST" is checked out. It has a due date of 10/30/2019 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 the "Go" button.
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 change ,and you will see that the renewal has been 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.)
Viewing e-items checked out and on hold
The CW MARS catalog integrates with our OverDrive collection to display e-content associated with your OverDrive account.
A summary displays in the top left when logged into the catalog:
Clicking on one of e-item categories will take you to the associated tab in your account.
E-Items Checked Out
This displays items you currently have checked out. Depending on your download preferences, you may also be able to download your titles directly from this interface.
E-Items on Hold and E-Items Ready for Checkout
These will display e-items you have on hold.
You will have the ability to cancel E-Items on Hold if desired.
Depending on your settings in OverDrive, when a hold becomes available, it will appear in the E-Items Ready for Checkout tab.
E-items will not appear in your checkout or holds history. E-content histories may be kept in OverDrive depending on your chosen settings for your OverDrive account.
Control over e-items in the CW MARS catalog is limited. For more control, visit cwmars.overdrive.com directly. For more information regarding OverDrive, check out our OverDrive FAQ page and OverDrive's diverse and large collection of help guides.
Account Preferences - Personal Information
If you click on the Account Preferences tab, you will be shown tabs for three more screens underneath this. The default screen is the Personal Information screen.
The information on these screens is all drawn from your record in the system. You can only change three things in this tab: your username, your password, and your email address.
To change your username:
Click on the word Change in the Username line.
You will be asked for your current password and the new username you want to use.
Click the Submit button to finish. You will be taken back to the Personal Information tab. The username 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 Submit 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 Submit button to finish. You will be taken back to the Personal Information tab. The email address change takes effect immediately.
Account Preferences - Notification Preferences
Click on the Account Preferences tab.
The second tab under the Account Preferences tab is Notification Preferences.
Click on the Notification Preferences tab. Under this tab, you will set up how you would like to be contacted for holds and checkout receipts.
For holds, you can be notified by email, by telephone, (only some libraries call patrons), and by text message. To select any or all of these options, check the checkbox next to the notification type.
- Your default phone number will either be the one already in your account or a new one that you enter here.
- 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.
Any changes made on this screen will only affect future transactions! Open holds will not be updated. Contact your local library if your open holds need to be updated.
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 tab. Be sure that the email address under Personal Information is correct.
You may check "Notify by Phone" but, if your library does not have the policy of telephoning patrons to give notifications, you will not receive a telephone call.
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.
Account Preferences - Search and History Preferences
Click on the Account Preferences tab.
The third tab under the Account Preferences tab is Search and History Preferences.
Click on the Search and History Preferences tab.
Under this tab, you will 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 Preferences
Click on the Account Preferences tab.
The fourth tab under the Account Preferences tab is My Lists Preferences.
Click on the My Lists Preferences tab.
Under this tab, 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.