Libraries share items across the state, but it’s always faster and more cost effective to check locally first, so if your local library network doesn’t have the item, it’s time to look in the Commonwealth Catalog.
The Commonwealth Catalog searches all participating libraries in one easy step and allows you to sort your results by material type: books, audiobooks, DVD. Right now eBooks are not a part of the search, but we’re working on it. If you’re looking for eBooks please visit mass.gov/libraries.
Millions of items
The Commonwealth Catalog gives you access to millions of items from libraries that hold unique collections such as Boston Public Library and UMass Amherst and other academic, special and public libraries.
Once you request an item through the Commonwealth Catalog it usually only takes a few days for your local library to receive it and they’ll notify you so you can stop by your library and pick it up. You’ll also return the item to your local library.
The Commonwealth Catalog allows library users in good standing to:
The Library & Learning Commons have recently joined HELM. Founded in 2017, HELM is an association of Massachusetts college libraries in public higher education. HELM libraries are also members of the Fenway Library Organization (FLO), a consortium of academic and special libraries in Massachusetts. FLO provides library support and hosts this catalog.
The Library & Learning Commons encourages users to access the HELM online catalog as it contains all the books and other materials that the Library purchases. Use it to search for a specific author or title or to compile a bibliography on a specific topic.
The Library & Learning Commons uses Library of Congress Subject Headings. To find books on a particular subject, use the Keyword search option. Then look at the subjects under which it has been cataloged to find additional items on the subject.