Your Library Account
The San Mateo County Library eBranch provides the residents of San Mateo County with access to library materials and services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The San Mateo County Library eBranch strives to:
- Provide users with 24/7 access to unique digital content, collections and services
- Create a community of users who exchange information and ideas on Library materials, events and services
- Promote Library events, collections, news and services
- Facilitate awareness and usage of all library resources and service
Your San Mateo County Library eBranch account will allow you to access all the new features we have added to our website, such as the ability to comment on blog posts and events. You will be able to choose your own user name and password and will have the option of storing your library card number and library card pin as part of your account information. The library card number and pin will then automatically be supplied to all online services that require a library card number, such as your library account, subscription databases and downloadable eBooks and eAudiobooks.
You can create an account here.
Each branch of the San Mateo County Library has its own page, accessible from the Hours and Locations page. Click on the name of the library to see that library’s page.
To make CJK characters display, you need to do two things.
- Change settings in Internet Explorer:
- Click Tools (on the toolbar), then select Internet Options.
- Select the Fonts button (which is at the bottom of the General tab).
- For Language Script, choose Latin based.
- For Web Page Font, choose Arial Unicode MS.
- Click OK to close the Fonts window.
- Click OK to close the Internet Options window.
- Install the universal font for Unicode in Word/Microsoft Office:
- In Control Panel, double-click the Add/Remove Programs icon.
- Do one of the following:
- If you installed your Microsoft Office program as part of an Office package, click Microsoft Office in the Currently installed programs box, and then click Change.
- If you installed your Office program individually, click the name of your program in the Currently installed programs box, and then click Change.
- In the Microsoft Office Setup dialog box, click Add or Remove Features, and then click Next.
- Next to Office Shared Features, click the plus sign (+).
- Next to International Support, click the plus sign (+).
- Click the icon next to Universal Font, and then select the installation option you want.
You may need the MS Office CD to complete the installation.
eBooks are electronic versions of printed books. eBooks can be viewed online on any computer connected to the Internet.
eAudiobooks are books that you download from the Internet and listen to on your computer or any other device that can play Windows Media Audio (.wma) files. Some eAudiobooks are also available in MP3 format.
Yes, it's free to San Mateo County Library card holders. You can apply for a card here (link to San Mateo County Library application. eBooks and eAudiobooks do not accrue overdue fines because they are checked in automatically when they are due. The checkout period for eBooks and eAudiobooks varies from 7 days to 21 days. Most eBooks and eAudiobooks allow patrons to choose the length of the checkout period in the range of 7 days to 21 days.
Yes, eBooks are exact reproductions of the print versions, including all illustrations.
- Go to the Online Catalog. and click on Advanced Search.
- Enter the term you want to search for in the search box. To see all eBooks/eAudiobooks enter “*”.
- In the Material Type box choose E-Books to see eBooks or Audio E-Books to see eAudiobooks.
- Click the Submit button.
You will get a list of titles in reverse chronological order (most recent first).
For more detailed information about the eBooks and eAudiobooks available from the San Mateo County Library eBranch please refer to the Help provided by our vendors:
What is the Online Catalog?
The Online Catalog allows you to see and place holds on the books, videos, CD's, and other holdings of all 34 public and community college libraries in San Mateo County that belong to the Peninsula Library System consortium.
How do I get help searching the Online Catalog?
The Online Catalog comes with an online help file you can look at by clicking on the “Search Help” button in the upper right-hand corner. For additional assistance, please contact your local library or use our eBranch Help form.
How do I search the Online Catalog?
Use the drop down menu to choose keyword (the default), author, title or subject. Type your search term(s) into the second box. Optionally, you can use the third box to limit to only Adult, Teen, or Children’s materials. Use the Advanced Search to limit by type of materials, such as E-Books or large print. Or you can limit by branch location.
- Do an Any Word search.
- On the Search Results page click on the book bag for items you want.
- Click on the “View Book Bag” button (under the yellow bar).
- To email your list to yourself, click on the "Export Saved" button.
- To place holds on everything on your list click on the "Hold Item(s)" button.
If you do Subject, Title or Author searches you can check off the items you want and then click on the “Save Marked Records” button. Then “View Book Bag” and continue as above.
Search Multiple Resources allows you to search several different library resources at once, including research databases and the catalogs of neighboring libraries.
When you check on this box and do a search, the catalog will only display items that are actually in the library and on the shelf or waiting to be shelved. This will not limit the search to your particular branch unless you also limit to a specific location. Please note that doing both of these at the same time may limit the results that you will see.
The Similar Results button appears on the detail page only after you've done a keyword search. When you click on the Similar Results button it does another keyword search to find subjects close to your original search. For example, if you did a keyword search on Columbus, and on the results page you clicked the "Where is it?" link for the first item, a book called Christopher Columbus: To the New World, you would get a detail page that had a Similar Results button at the top. If you click on that button now, it will do a search on subjects related to Columbus. The results list that you get will show books about other explorers, like Captain John Smith or Hernando de Soto. If you click on the "Where is it?" link for one of these items and scroll down you'll see the subjects that the Similar Results button searched on highlighted in red.
I placed a hold on a title in the Online Catalog but when the hold was filled it was for a different volume than the one I wanted. How can I place a hold on a specific volume?
When you place a hold before logging in, the system asks for your bar code and PIN to authenticate that you are a library patron. This authentication does not log you in. If you click on "My Library Account" after this type of authentication, you'll be asked for your bar code and PIN again in order to log in. To avoid this problem simply log in to your San Mateo County Library eBranch account before placing holds.
What do I do if I'm on vacation when my books on hold become available? I don't want to lose my place in the holds queue!
You can freeze your holds so they don't become available while you're away. When you come back you can unfreeze your holds and still have your same place in the holds queue.
To freeze holds:
- Log in to your San Mateo County Library eBranch account.
- From the Online Catalog click the “Your Library Account” link toward the top of the screen.
- Click on the blue "Requests (Holds)" link and you will see a listing of items you have on hold.
- Put a checkmark in the box in the Freeze column at the far right for each item you want to freeze.
- Click on the "Update Selected" button at the left, just above your list of holds.
The icicles that appear on your hold indicate that hold is frozen.
To unfreeze your items when you return:
- Access your account and click on the "Requests (Holds)" link.
- Remove the checkmark from the Freeze checkboxes and click on the "Update Selected" button.
Your holds will be unfrozen and active.
Log in to your San Mateo County Library eBranch account. From the Online Catalog click the “Your Library Account” link toward the top of the screen. Please note that the first time you go to “My Library Account” you will be prompted to enter a PIN number for your library card. If you have already created your San Mateo County Library eBranch account please make sure that your library card PIN matches the number you entered in the PIN field of your eBranch account. Your library card PIN and your eBranch Password can be the same but they do not have to be.When you are finished checking your account, please remember to log out so that others will not be able to access it.
Your PIN (Personal Identification Number) helps to protect your library account from being used by others. Much like a bank ATM, the Online Catalog works best when you use a short PIN consisting of a few numbers – we suggest using the last four digits of the telephone number you gave us when you applied for a library card. If you cannot see your library account your library card may have expired. Please contact your local library to have your card renewed.
Log in to your San Mateo County Library eBranch account. From the Online Catalog click on the 'My Library Account' link in the yellow bar. Then click on the words “Modify Your PIN”. You’ll be asked to enter your old PIN, followed by the new PIN you want to use. After entering the new PIN and verifying it, click “Submit”. You will then need to update your San Mateo County Library eBranch account with your new library card pin.
Log in to your San Mateo County Library eBranch account. From the Online Catalog click on the 'My Library Account' link in the yellow bar. Then click on the “Modify Personal Information“ link, enter your email address, and click the “Submit” button. You will then need to update your San Mateo County Library eBranch account. After you add your email address to your library account, you will begin to get your notices by email.
Log in to your San Mateo County Library eBranch account. From the Online Catalog click on the “My Library Account” link. Then click on the link that shows the items you currently have checked out (“Items Currently Checked Out”). Next to each item in the list will be a check box. Check the box next to any items that you want to renew by clicking on it, then click the “Renew Selected Items” button to renew only those items. You can also take our brief online tutorial on Renewing Your Items.
Please note: Some materials cannot be renewed! Usually these are audio tapes, videos, new materials, items on hold for someone else, or items that have already reached their renewal limit. If you are unable to renew an item please contact your local library and ask for assistance or use our eBranch Help form.
I'll be on vacation when my books come due and I won't have access to the Internet. Is there some other way I can renew them?
Yes there is! If you have access to a touch-tone phone you can use Telecirc, a voice mail interface, to renew items over the phone.
Please see the Email Notification FAQs.
Log in to your San Mateo County Library eBranch account. From the Online Catalog click on the “My Library Account” link. Then click on the "Modify Personal Information" link. If the box marked "Email" is empty, simply fill it in with your email address and click on the Submit button. You will now get your notices by email. For more information, see the Email Notification FAQs.
Log in to your San Mateo County Library eBranch account. From the Online Catalog click on the “My Library Account” link. In the white box on the left, click on the "unpaid fines and bills" link, and then click on the "Pay Online" button. You'll be prompted from here on. For more information see the Online Payment FAQs.
My Reading History is a record of the titles you have checked out from the library. It is accessible online when you login to Your Libary Account. The Reading History records the title, author, and checkout date for all items you check out. This feature also allows you to limit a search to items that are not recorded in your Reading History. Titles are stored in "My Reading History" until the Library no longer owns a title or you choose to delete a title from your list.
The Reading History feature begins saving titles you check out after you turn it on. Anything you checked out before Opting In to Reading History was not saved and cannot be retrieved.
You may turn your Reading History ON or OFF any time when you login to Your Library Account. If you choose to activate your Reading History, and later turn it off, all stored records will be deleted from the system. Please be aware that if you elect to keep a Reading History, it may be subject to examination by law enforcement authorities without your permission. The default setting for Reading History for all patrons is OFF. Here's how to use Reading History:
- To turn on "My Reading History," log into your account and click on the blue "My Reading History" link. Next click on the gray "Opt In " button to the left.
- To turn off "My Reading History," log into your account and click on the blue "My Reading History" link. Next click on the gray "Opt Out " button to the left. If you have any items in your Reading History, you need to delete those items first.
- To delete items, mark the box beside each item and then select "Delete marked." To delete all titles, select "Delete all."
New Item Alerts send you an email alert when a new item is added to our catalog that meets your interests. You can set up alerts for new items by format, location, favorite authors, titles, subjects, etc. To set up a New Item Alert, first log into your library account. Then, run a search for the type of item you want to be notified about (e.g. an author search for “rice, anne”). At the top of the search results page, click on the “Save search to get new item alerts” button. Go back into your library account and click on the button for “New Item Alerts.” Check the box in the “Mark for Email” column and click “Update List.” You will now receive email notification every time one of our libraries adds an item matching your search criteria. There is a limit of 50 on New Item Alerts.
If you place a hold, the $0.75 hold fee will appear on your record at the time you place the hold. If you are canceling a hold, please contact your local library to see if the fee can be waived. For more on placing holds, please view our brief online tutorial on Placing a Hold .
Log in to your San Mateo County Library eBranch account. From the Online Catalog click on the “My Library Account” link. Then click on the "Modify Personal Information" link. Enter your email address in the box marked "Email" and click on the Submit button. You will now get your notices by email.
All email notifications come from the sender “Peninsula Library System”, and the email address is firstname.lastname@example.org. If your email provider has ‘allow’ and ‘block’ lists, add our address to your ‘allow’ list to ensure you continue to get notices. Please be sure that this user/address is listed as acceptable in any spam-blocking software that you or your email provider uses. For more information, please refer your email provider's Help information.
Yes! Just sign up for email notification, and the library will notify you by email two days before your item is due to be returned. This system will work for items that have one-week, two-week, and three-week loan periods. Please note that you will not receive email notification for items with one-hour, one-day or two-day loan periods.
Log in to your San Mateo County Library eBranch account. From the Online Catalog click on the “My Library Account” link. Then click on the "Modify Personal Information" link. Enter your new email address in the box marked "Email" and click on the Submit button. Your new email address will be saved to your library card account record.
No. When you sign up for email notification, your email address is added to your library record. All future notices will be sent to you via email. You only need to fill out this form once.
I got an email notification from the library, but when I replied to the email, I got an automated response. Can I email my library?
Thank you for using email notification for holds and overdue materials. Email notification are sent from an unmoderated email account. The best way to contact the San Mateo County Library via email is to use our eBranch Help form. We will promptly respond to all inquiries submitted using this form.
I received an email from the library, but the message was blank - it only had my name on it. Is something wrong?
Sometimes a blank message will be sent when a hold cannot be filled. You probably had a hold on a item and it became unavailable. Please contact your local library and ask library staff to check on your holds.
I used to have an email account with an ISP, but my email address has been changed by them. Am I still going to get email notification?
Please change your email address on your record. To do this, log in to your San Mateo County Library eBranch account. From the Online Catalog click on the “My Library Account” link. Then click on the "Modify Personal Information" link. Enter your new email address in the box marked "Email" and click on the Submit button. Your new email address will be saved to your library card account record.
I'm getting this error message: "There is a problem with your patron record- payment not made- please see Librarian for assistance." What does it mean?
When I connect to the "View Your Patron Record" link I am automatically directed to a new site, it this correct?
- Check to see if the fee/fine still shows in your account. If it still shows there, your payment didn't go through.
- Check in your credit card statement to see if the payment appears
- Check your confirmation email.