Library Catalog Tutorial Series

This Tutorial Series, designed to help you with using and understanding Acorn Public Library District's SWAN Catalog, was created in partnership with Joanna Summa, a University of St. Francis graduate student who is pursuing a degree in Training & Development with a concentration in e-learning. Her main goal was to create a simple, straight-forward online program, one that would give adults the skills and knowledge to use the library catalog successfully.

The Catalog Tutorial Series is specifically designed for adult patrons who would like to learn how to use the library catalog. The beginner-level series features 8 tutorial videos and additional printable handouts. The series allows you to go at your own pace as you learn how to search for library items, narrow down search results, request items, and more. The tutorial videos demonstrate real searches and tasks performed in the library catalog, step by step. You can start anytime!

In this series, you will learn how to:

  • Find the Library Items You Want!
  • Find Items in Specific Formats (Large Print, DVDs, etc.)
  • Complete Good Searches
  • Request Library Items
  • And More!

After viewing each lesson video, please follow the link to take a short quiz to test your skills and knowledge.

Lesson 1: Finding Items at Acorn Public Library

In this lesson, you will learn how to use a special search setting that will allow you to see only items that are located at Acorn Public Library. This is a very quick and handy trick that can help you find what you are looking for!

Lesson 1 Handout: Finding Items at Acorn Library


Lesson 2: Symbols and Lingo

In this lesson, you will learn about some of the most common symbols that are found in the library catalog. Some common phrases and terms will also be addressed as well. By becoming familiar with some of the catalog’s phrases and terms, you’ll have an easier time navigating through the catalog and finding the items that you are looking for.

Lesson 2 Handout: Fiction vs Nonfiction

Lesson 2 Handout: Understanding Library Symbols


Lesson 3: Search Types

In this lesson, you will learn about the different kinds of searches that you can do in the catalog. In addition to doing basic keyword searches, you can also search for items by title or by author name.

Lesson 3 Handout: Search Examples


Lesson 4: Toolbar Options

In this lesson, you will learn how to use some of the extra tools that are located right below the main toolbar. These tools allow you to sort your search results in helpful ways, email an item’s record, and print a paper copy of an item’s record. In addition, you will also learn how to see your search results in cover view.

Lesson 4 Handout: Print Record


Lesson 5: Search Filters

In this lesson, you will learn how to use filters in the library catalog. By using the filters, you are able to narrow down your search results so that you will see only the items that you want to see. You can narrow down your search results by item format (book, large print, DVD, etc.), publication date, library location, and more.

Lesson 5 Handout: Using Filters


Lesson 6: Foreign Language Items

In this lesson, you will learn how to search for foreign language items in the library catalog. The catalog contains items in nearly 200 different languages and dialects! In addition, you will also learn how to view the catalog in Spanish.

Lesson 6 Handout: Foreign Languages in the Catalog


Lesson 7: Placing a Hold and Patron Accounts

In this lesson, you will learn how to request an item from a different library. In addition, you will also learn how to access your patron account, where you can check due dates, renew items, view requested items, and more.

Lesson 7 Handout: Accessing Your Patron Account

Lesson 7 Handout: Placing a Hold


Lesson 8: Tips and Tricks for a Better Catalog Experience

In this final lesson, a few catalog tricks and tips will be featured. These are simple things that you can do to have an overall better experience when using the library catalog.


Catalog Tutorial Patron Survey

Once you have finished the Library Catalog Tutorial Series, please complete the Catalog Tutorial Patron Survey. Completing this survey helps our graduate student to analyze the effectiveness of the Library Catalog Tutorial Series.