Thursday, May 14, 2009

Your SWAN account

Last week I wrote about the SWAN online catalog and my surprise that some regular library users were not aware of SWAN. I have also found that some folks who regularly use SWAN, have never explored “My Account.”

SWAN is the library’s circulation system, as well as the catalog of our collection. “My Account” gives you access to the record of materials you have borrowed from the library, and the ability to manage your account. There two easy ways to get to “My Account.” On any page of the library website, click on “My Account” in the upper right hand corner of the page to go directly to the “My Account” log in. When searching the SWAN catalog, click on “Home” to go the SWAN home page, then click on “My Account” at the top of the box on the right side of the screen to get to the log in.

To log in, enter your name, your library card barcode number, and your PIN. If you haven’t established an account previously, enter the number (or word) you would like to use for your PIN or password. If this is your first time, you will be asked to enter it again to verify it. Then you are into your personal account.

On the first screen you will see your name and address near the top, with a list of all the materials that you currently have checked out below. You can see when each item is due, and you can renew some or all of the items you have checked out. When you try to renew materials, be sure and look at each item to verify that you were able to renew it. If there is a waiting list for a particular item you will not be able to renew it and it must be returned to avoid an overdue fine.

By the way, if you see that the items you just returned still shows that they are checked out, don’t panic. We check in nearly million items each year. It may take a day or even a couple of days after a busy holiday weekend for staff to catch up. We do keep track of when items were actually placed in the book returns, and you will not receive overdue fines, even if it takes us a day or two enter your return into the system.

Back to “My Account.” To the left of your name and address you will see a box that shows the number of items you have requested and the amount of any fines that you have accrued. Click on the number of requests and you go to list of all the items you have reserved. When an item is available it will indicate that the item is ready for pick up in the status column. Click on the amount of your fines line and you will see the detailed information about any unpaid fines, and have the ability to pay the fine on the spot with your credit card.

My favorite feature is the “Reading History” button in the cluster of six buttons to the right of your name and address. Clicking on “Reading History” allows you to begin keeping record of every item you check out of the library. The list will begin when you activate it and will continue until you choose to stop keeping the reading list. You can delete selected items or all the items in your list. At any time, you can choose to stop keeping the list and automatically delete the existing list. Also, you are the only person with access to your “Reading History.” It is not part of the record that library staff have access to when we check your materials in or out.

Take a few minutes to explore “My Account.” There are other features that I haven’t discussed. Give them a try!