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Find Books More Easily by Setting Favorite WorldCat Libraries


Recently I recorded some Legacy TechZone videos about one of my favorite websites, WorldCat. I love recording these because WorldCat is an important resource for genealogical research and I want other family historians to learn how to use the website to find the resources they need.

WorldCat Favorite Libraries

A WorldCat feature that I love is the ability to designate Favorite Libraries. Let’s face it, you probably have a few favorite libraries so why not incorporate them into your WorldCat search? Why is this important? A Favorite Library will be the first library results you will see in an item’s card catalog view. You will also be able to see if an item is not found in one of your Favorite Libraries.

How can you use Favorite Libraries in your WorldCat search? Consider favoriting libraries that:

  • are within your preferred driving distance
  • you will be visiting during your next research trip
  • are where you have a friend or a researcher who can do look-ups for you
  • are genealogy libraries
  • are major repositories in your state
  • are academic libraries that you have borrowing privileges for (or your kids/grandkids attend)

Going to RootsTech? FamilySearch participates in WorldCat. So you can choose the Family History Library as one of your favorite libraries and then use WorldCat to locate items available at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah. Then create a bibliography of these items to download or refer to online while you're at the conference (see my Tech Video Instant Bibliographies on WorldCat). 

WC account sign in

To use the Favorite Library feature you will need to sign up for a free WorldCat account. That requires your email address and a password. Once you have done this you can use the Find A Library feature from the WorldCat homepage or your profile page.

Find A Library

In the Find A Library search box you can “Enter a library name or part of a name, zip/postal code, state or province.” That search will provide you with a list of libraries that participate in WorldCat. Please note that not every library participates.

Find a library search

Library list

From that list you can “favorite” libraries. (Notice that the list allows you to refine your search by the type of library.) Favorited libraries will be displayed in your search results with a heart icon to indicate they are “favorites.”

Your libraries may be made private or public. Having your favorite libraries be public might be helpful if you are collaborating on projects or want to create lists that show books at a specific library.

Private and Public

And of course, you can remove any library from your Favorites. Libraries favorited for specific research trips can be removed once the trip is over.

Results list

Now when you search for an item you can see if it is housed at one of your favorite libraries. So, for example, conduct a search. Choose your item of interest.

Card Catalog view


On the card catalog page for that item, under the heading “Find a copy in a library” it will display libraries that own that item. If you have entered a zip code or postal address your results will either show that the item is at your favorite libraries or not.


What’s Your Favorite Library?

For those who register for a free account, WorldCat has several tools that make finding resources easier. While you don’t need a free account to search WorldCat, there is definitely a benefit to doing so.


Gena Philibert-Ortega is an author, instructor, and researcher. She blogs at Gena's Genealogy and Food.Family.Ephemera. You can find her presentations on the Legacy Family Tree Webinars website.


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