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Marathon County Public Library

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Why doesn't the library have available copies of a popular item?

FAQ: Why doesn't the library have available copies of a popular item?


In many cases, there are more copies available than meet the eye. You are rarely more than six people away from getting a printed copy of an adult fiction or nonfiction book. This amounts to about three months, give or take.

(Note: E-books, DVDs and other media may have longer waiting lists. Contact us for the reasons why.)

Further explanation: The "# holds on # copies" note you may see in the Library Catalog (V-Cat) shows requests by patrons of any public library that is a member of the Wisconsin Valley Library Service (WVLS) on however many copies of the item are owned by all of those libraries. However, most libraries (MCPL included) do not let patrons of other libraries borrow their "high-demand" items for four to six months after they are added to the collection. Therefore, the real numbers that affect you are "# holds by MCPL card-holders on # copies owned by MCPL." Unfortunately, you can't see these numbers in the catalog. You could contact us and we could attempt to determine your "real" position in the waiting list; however, it may be easier to remember that we usually have enough copies of printed materials to meet the standard of "no more than six MCPL-patron requests per MCPL-owned copy."