Search Smarter

The Saint Paul Public Library's new catalog includes new features to help you find exactly what you want.

Smart Searching

Search the catalog using natural language. You can search by keyword using words like Movies, opens a new window or DVDs, opens a new window, Large Print, opens a new window or Audiobooks, opens a new window, or even Books.

You can combine these words with an audience term to find things like Teen Books, opens a new window or Movies for Children, opens a new window.

Add a language to your keyword search to find things like Spanish DVDs, opens a new window or Hmong Books, opens a new window.

If you are looking for the latest items in the collection, use the word "New" along with the format to search for New Books, opens a new window, New Large Print, opens a new window, New DVDs, opens a new window, etc. This will find items that the library has acquired in the last 180 days.

You can even combine all of these to search for New Spanish Teen Books, opens a new window or any other combination of format, audience, and/or language.


Your search might bring back a lot of results.

You can quickly narrow your search results down to what you want by using the Filters on the left side of the screen.

Filter by Format, New at the Library, Audience, Topic, Language, Published Date or other options.

You can even use the Available Now filter to find what's on the shelf right now at your favorite libraries.

Locking Filters

If you want to run a new search using the same filters, turn the Active Filters setting ON.

Your searches will continue to use the same filters until you turn the Active Filters OFF.

Sort Your Results

Your search results will usually be displayed in order of relevance, but you can change this by clicking the "Sort by:" menu.

Other options for sorting include Date Acquired (newest to oldest), Title, Author, Published Date (newest to oldest) and Rating.

Broaden Your Search

A keyword search looks for your words in the author, title, and subject fields, but does not search in all parts of the record. If you are not finding what you are looking for in a keyword search, click the "Broaden your search" link to run the search again, checking more fields in the catalog.

In this example, our search brought up no results but clicking "Broaden your search" returned the book we were looking for.

Spelling Suggestions

If your search finds no items, but the words come close to words found in records in the library's collection, the screen will show you some suggested search terms that might match what you were trying to find. Click the link to view the results for the suggested words.

This isn't always foolproof, however. With over a million items in the library's collection, searches will often find something, even if it is not quite what you thought you would find. If you need help finding what you are looking for, please Ask a Librarian and we'll be glad to help!

We welcome your respectful and on-topic comments and questions in this limited public forum. To find out more, please see Appropriate Use When Posting Content. Community-contributed content represents the views of the user, not those of Saint Paul Public Library