Minerva, MaineCat and Interlibrary Loan


Minerva is an online library catalog that currently includes more than 85 public, school, college and special library catalogs. Click on Search the Catalog on the library homepage. This will give you the search screen that allows you to search for a book, movie, audiobook, music cd or magazine in any library in the system. In the “Type of search” box, use the drop down arrow to choose which type of search you would like to do. You can search by:

  • Author – last name first
  • Title
  • Subject – Specific standard subject headings
  • Keyword – any word
  • Call number

Under “Select Library”, you can use the drop down arrow to select the Belfast Free Library (or Belfast Free Library Children’s Collection to limit to just children’s material) or you can search any of the other libraries in the Minerva system. If you want to search all of the libraries, go to the top of the list and select “All Minerva Locations”. Below this, you will notice that you can select a particular material type or collection type to search rather than a specific library. For example, selecting Audio Books or Large Print will search all locations for those particular types of materials.

Once you have located an item you are interested in, click on the title of the item to get more information. Here you will find the library or libraries that have the item, what the call number is, and whether or not it is available. To reserve the item or request it from another library, click on the “Request” button just below the top banner. In the top box, type your last name and press the “tab” key. In the lower box, enter your barcode from the back of your library card (14 digits, no spaces) and click on the “Submit” button. If your request is successful, you will get a message telling you that the item will be sent to the Belfast Free Library.

Not all items can be requested from all libraries*. If the item you requested is not available, you will get a message to that effect. When the requested books arrive at the library, You will receive a phone call or e-mail message if you have registered your e-mail address with us. We will hold items to be picked up for one week.

*The following items are generally not available from other libraries: Reference books, genealogies, rare books, journals and magazines, and newspapers.


MaineCat is a system that includes the catalogs of all of the Minerva libraries, the University of Maine system libraries, Maine State Library, Bangor Public Library, Portland Public Library, Maine Maritime Academy Library, Bowdoin, Bates, and Colby College libraries.

If you don’t find an item you are looking for in Minerva, you can search for it in MaineCat. Look for the button either at the top or bottom of the screen that says “Search MaineCat” and click on it. This will bring you to the MaineCat search screen. It looks a little different from the Minerva screen, but it functions the same way. In the left hand box you can click the drop down button to select a search type, type your search in the right hand box, and click on the “search” button. If you get a list of titles, click on the one you are interested in. Click on “Display Holdings of Maine Info Net Libraries” to see which libraries own this item. To request the item, click on the “REQUEST THIS ITEM” button.

When you are asked to choose your library, select Belfast Free Library from the drop down list, and click the “Submit above information” button. On the next screen, enter your last name and barcode number as before and click on the “Submit” button. Again, you will receive a message telling if your request was successful or not.