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How We Search For Library Books...

The Boston Public Library (BPL) has over 23 million items. Here are 7 tips we use when searching for books.

1. New Titles

On the homepage of the Boston Public Library they list the newest titles. We select "New for Kids."

How to Find New Kids Books at Boston Public Library

Photo: Screenshot of Boston Public Library Home Page "New For Kids"

2. Filter by Audiences

Often times when you do a search, hundreds or thousands of books come back. To narrow down the list, look for the "filter results" button on the left. Then go to filter > audience > children.

How to filter results on Boston Public Library website

Photo: Screenshot of Boston Public Library Filter Options

3. Search By Author

When we fall in love with a book, it's usually because of the writing style or message. Which means we fall in love with the author and want to find more of their work. Thankfully the library website allows you to search by author.

Screenshot of Boston Public Library Search Bar

Photo: Screenshot of Boston Public Library Search Bar

You can also just find the book you love and click on the author's name.

Search by author on Boston Public Library Website

Photo: Screenshot of Boston Public Library Search by Author

Lastly the author may include sequels on the back of the book you're reading. Two of our favorite authors are ...

Michael Dahl Books on Amazon

4. Search By Illustrator

While you can search by author, unfortunately you can't search by illustrator (for now). The illustrators really bring the book to life with beautiful imagery. If you love their artistic style, you'll probably want to see what other works they've created.

If you're willing to do a little more digging. We have two suggestions.

First you can enter the illustrators name when you search under lists. But the illustrator may only pop up if they are a well-known artist who've illustrated a couple of books. Amazon also allows you to search by illustrators. So you can always start there and then hop back over to BPL to see if you can find the book for free.

Some of our favorite illustrators are...

Illustrator Page of Vanessa Brantley-Newton Books on Amazon

5. Search Lists

The purpose of lists is to categorize books in ways that you wouldn't necessarily be able to find simply by searching for a keyword. For example, the following lists are from staff and includes "picture books about the importance of names." Click here to see the most recent staff list recommendations.

Photo: Screenshot of Boston Public Library Staff List Recommendations

After finding a title, you'll also see similar book recommendations and lists including that title at the bottom of the page. It's a great way to find books on a similar theme and looks like this...

Photo: Screenshot of Boston Public Library Staff List Recommendations

You can also do your own list search, by using the toolbar on the home page. It looks like this...
Search by Lists on BPL website

Photo: Screenshot of Boston Public Library Search Bar

6. Search ComCat

ComCat stands for Commonwealth Catalog. As a Boston Public Library card holder, we also have access to library books across Massachusetts. This means that if a book is not available in one of our branches, we may be able to find it in another town. But we don't have to drive to that town's library, the book will be delivered to the branch of our choice. My best tip for searching on ComCat is to use the "advanced search" and type in the exact title.

Commonwealth Catalog's Advance Search Feature

Photo: Screenshot of Commonwealth Catalog's Advanced Search Feature

7. Search Amazon

Amazon is an online bookstore with millions of titles. It's a great resource to find new books, pre-releases, best sellers, or books by age. We love skimming the titles, as they almost always appear on Amazon, before they appear on our library's website.

Amazon's Books by Age

If you discover a book on Amazon that isn't available at the library, you can always wait a few weeks for it to show up, or suggest the library purchase it.

How do you search for books? Are there any tips you'd add? If you want some of our best borrowing tips, you can check them out here. If you want to check out some of our favorite reads, you can start here.

Until next time...

Love The Journey,

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