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The Life of a Book, Part Three: Now it’s Your Turn

a cart full of books

Chapter 3: Getting the Books to You!

Last week, we shared all about how books are cataloged and processed. The week before, we explained how they are selected and ordered.

This week, we finally get the books to you!

Last we saw our book, it was getting all gussied up in our technical services department by Katie.  Dust jackets, labels, stamps, stickers, tags and barcodes.  Once the library item is ready, Katie brings it to the circulation staff to be checked in.

In Circulation (the ❤️ of the library), our fabulous staff keep the items moving in and out of the building.  You see our wonderful clerks at our checkout desk and our fantastic pages in the stacks.  Circulation is a well-oiled machine that enjoys getting library items into your hands.

Put a Hold on It!

We have to wait to circulate items until their official release day, but there are many ways to get on the waiting list for new materials. Visit and log in with your library card number and PIN to place holds on materials. Check out some of our new release lists, too! Or, call the Library at 262-532-8900 and speak to the staff at the Adult/Teen Reference Desk or the Children’s Reference desk to place holds over the phone.  You can also stop by either reference desk and we can place items on hold for you in person.

But wait! We also have an app that allows you to search for materials, place holds, check your due dates, and more right from your device. Search for “Bridges Library Café Mobile” in the Apple or Android app stores on your device. Don’t have a Library card? You can start the registration process in the app.

Release Day!

On release day, the Circulation staff check in the items. Popular new titles tend to have a holds list, so we print out a hold slip with your name on it, and put the item on our hold shelf. How do you know if your hold is ready to pick up? You’ll get a notification through phone call, text, or email to let you know that you can pick up your item. To change your notification preferences, just let the Circulation staff know the next time you come in.

We are proud members of the Bridges Library System, which is made up of all the public libraries in Waukesha and Jefferson County. Items that Menomonee Falls Public Library owns go to Menomonee Falls patrons first before they are sent off to fulfill holds at other Bridges libraries. So don’t be discouraged when you see that long wait list on the catalog—that number is all the holds in the entire library system. You may get the book much faster than you think.

Check it Out!

Once you get the notification that your book is ready, come to the Circulation Desk to pick it up. Circulation staff are more than happy to check out your items for you, but you are also welcome to use our self-checkouts if you prefer. We have two self-checkouts at the Circulation Desk and one in the Children’s Library. You can use the self-checkouts for checking out holds as well—just let a staff person know you’d like to pick up your held items.

Remember the book, The Winners, which we have been following around? Katie was able to check it out to the first patron to have it on hold!

Katie, Circulation Clerk

On to the Next!

Once you enjoy your book, you can return it in our indoor returns or in our 24/7 drive-thru returns. Library staff empty the returns and check in items throughout the day. This is in addition to the 20+ bins of books that circulation staff check in that are coming from other libraries for our patrons to borrow or returning to us after loaning them out. Don’t let any stereotypes fool you, our circulation staff do some heavy lifting!

Book bins

When you return your book, we check it in and send it on to the next person who has it on hold. You are welcome to return most Menomonee Falls Public Library materials to other libraries within the Bridges Library System and the delivery drivers will transport them back to us. A few exceptions include Library of Things items and Explore passes. Return those to the Circulation desk at MFPL.

Katie, Circulation Clerk

When there are no more holds to fill, your trusty Pages shelve returned books in the proper spot. Pages work very hard shelving hundreds of books and other library materials per day. Without them, we wouldn’t have an organized library and you wouldn’t be able to find what you’re looking for!

Book carts

Can’t Find What You Are Looking For?

Count on us to have the hot-ticket books and movies! But what if you want something that we don’t own and we can’t get from another Bridges library? In that case, stop by either Reference Desk and see if we can find the item in our database of library materials owned by Wisconsin libraries, and get that item through Interlibrary Loan. Maggie is our Interlibrary Loan and Reference Assistant and she processes all incoming and outgoing ILL requests. You can also fill out an interlibrary loan request form online.

Maggie, Interlibrary Loan and Reference Assistant

And The Books Lived Happily Ever After…

We hope you’ve enjoyed this sneak peek into the fun world of the library behind the scenes. You’ve seen just how much work goes into getting a book on our shelves and into your hands. There’s a reason why we do what we do here at MFPL…

The patrons!  That’s you.  You are the biggest and most important part of the library!

We want to thank YOU for allowing us to care for this beautiful library and all it has to offer.  Between the items on our shelves and the services we offer, it is our honor to serve as your library staff.  We thank you for your voices, time and donations when it comes to the budget and planning our future.  You inspire us with your ideas and your support. We do this for you.  We do this because of you.

Thank you!

With gratitude,
Menomonee Falls Public Library Staff