Feedback Express: Item Status in the Library Catalog

Written by Georgianne Bordner, University Librarian

When you look for a book or other item in the Library catalog, some of the most important information you’ll need to know is featured prominently just below the author, title, and publisher information: Location, Call number, and Status. Most Library users understand that the location and call number are needed in order to know where to look for the item, but many are confused by the status. We are often asked, “What does check shelf mean?”

The status check shelf simply means that the item is not currently checked out, so if you go to the shelf location indicated by the call number, you should find it there. When you are looking for an item that is available for your immediate use, this is the status that you hope to see.

If the status says Due with a date, this means that the item is currently checked out and is due on the date given. If you don’t need the item immediately, you can click the Request button above the record to fill out a form asking for the item to be held for you when it is returned.

Other statuses that you might see include Missing, Withdrawn, Lost and Paid, or Mending. Unfortunately, all of these indicate that the item is unavailable and will probably not become available in the near future.

In many cases, the Library owns several copies of the same book, indicated by separate lines showing the location, call number, and status of each copy. If one copy is unavailable, be sure to note the status of any other copies that may be on the shelf.

The Library catalog is full of useful information that will help you to find the resources you need. Don’t let confusion about the status keep you from finding the items you’re looking for!