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What is ComCat (+ How We Use It)?

ComCat stands for Commonwealth Catalog. It’s an online directory of library materials throughout Massachusetts. We search ComCat if we can not find a book in Boston. For example, the following title was only available in Hanson, Norfolk, Norton, and Plainville. If these names sound familiar, they are all towns in Massachusetts.

Sample of ComCat Library Locations

Photo: Screenshot of ComCat Results

Instead of getting a library card at each of these locations, you can request the book through ComCat and it will be delivered to the library of your choosing.

How Many Of Your Book Suggestions Are Only Available on ComCat?

Around 100. We have close to 2,000 book suggestions on our site, so less than 5% can only be borrowed through ComCat.

How Is ComCat Different From Borrowing From The Boston Public Library?

Books borrowed through ComCat have to travel a bit. This means they can take a little longer to arrive at your preferred library.

You also can't extend a loan through ComCat. For example, if the book is due in 28 days, you must return it in that time period. This is very different from Boston libraries that allow you to renew a loan three times (as long as no one is waiting for it).

Does ComCat Have eBooks?

No. But you can find many ebooks through Hoopla or Libby.

Is Borrowing Through ComCat Worth It?

Yes! We're all for services that give us free access to more books. Plus, we've found some pretty interesting titles.

What’s The Best Way To Search ComCat?

Advanced Search.

While ComCat has a pretty fast and powerful search, we’ve noticed sometimes it misses titles. This is totally understandable because the catalog has millions of items. If you can’t find the title that you are looking for, use the “advanced search,” and select “this exact phrase.”

Photo: Screenshot of ComCat Advanced Search

If you're willing to try it out? Here are some of our book suggestions available through ComCat.

Until next time…

Love The Journey,

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