Catalog to change Nov 3, some services to be disrupted

To save more than $60,000 a year and to provide better service, the Fond du Lac Public Library is becoming an independent, standalone library. The library has been a member of the Winnefox Library Automated System, but this year the library board determined that the $103,000 annual Winnefox price tag was not providing good value to Fond du Lac city taxpayers.

The extremely complicated process of separating the Fond du Lac Public Library’s electronic catalog files from the Winnefox files has been under way for months. It will culminate on November 3, when the library will unveil two new catalogs.

A modernized and streamlined Fond du Lac materials catalog will allow local cardholders to view and reserve materials at any of the library’s locations. The catalog will offer expanded searching, looking not just in library materials but also through databases and online resources, simplifying research projects.

Patrons also will have access to Wiscat, which will show materials available for borrowing from other libraries – Winnefox as well as libraries across the United States. Initially, reserves on these materials will have to be placed by library staff, but eventually – within weeks – patrons will have the ability to reserve those materials themselves, electronically.

Both the new Fond du Lac catalog and Wiscat will be accessible through the library’s website,, or at any of the catalog computers at the three library locations: the main branch downtown, the St. Agnes Hospital satellite and – coming soon – FDLPL Express at the Shops at Johnson Crossing.

Going standalone allows the Fond du Lac Library the freedom to make other improvements for Fond du Lac patrons.

Starting November 3, the library will offer a family group card. Members of a household may have accounts that are linked, but each person will have their own card. This will allow family members to check out, renew and place holds on materials for each other. Parents will have the ability to check on their child’s fines and checkouts. All children aged 15 and under will be linked to a parent’s card, proving better oversight and accountability for kids’ borrowing.

During the final stages of completing the standalone process, patrons will experience some disruption of service.

From October 27 to October 31, the catalog will be inaccessible to patrons, but library staff will have access to an internal system that can be used to renew and return materials, as well as place holds. From November 1 to November 3, however, the catalog will be down completely: no holds and no renewals. Items can be checked out and returned, and the library will extend a three-day grace period for late materials.

Also, the library’s free internet computers will be down from October 31 to November 3 when the two systems will be separated electronically.

“We appreciate the community’s patience as we complete this process of becoming an independent library,” said library Director Ken Hall. “In light of funding cuts, the decision to leave Winnefox, while difficult at first, has proven to be integral to our ability to continue to provide a diverse and comprehensive menu of services for the community. By sacrificing – over the short term – a few services for some, we can better serve the whole over the long term.”

Patrons who need help finding materials and placing reserves can contact library staff either in person, calling the Help Desk at (920) 929-7080, ext. 131 or by emailing [email protected].



Someone did call...

Regarding my previous post noting problems with logging on to WISCAT someone did call and walk me through using WISCAT. I still can't sign on using the logon bar and that is being looked into...


Glad you got help on a timely basis. We'll be posting a how-to video on placing holds on Wiscat later today. Watch for it on the home page.

Can access WISCAT but it won't accept my logon

This is becoming ridiculous and frustrating. E-mail was down at the beginning of this month so I got a fine. Now you tell me that I can obtain books through WISCAT and I find that I can't even log on using my library card barcode and passcode. Perhaps you should have thought ahead and taken care of anticipated glitches before jumping into a new system. I left a message on your help line about this and, at this writing, haven't received a callback...


Are we able to order books through Wiscat now?


See the reply below for directions on how to place holds on Wiscat items.


Are we able to order books and have them sent to FDL Library thru Wiscat

Wiscat holds

Yes, you can search in Wiscat and place holds on those materials from your home computer. (The catalog computers at the library don't have access to Wiscat yet.)

After you click Wiscat (on the top bar in the FDLPL catalog), click BEGIN and then search for your item.

When you find it, click on the title and then click REQUEST THIS ITEM in the upper-righthand corner. You'll have to fill out a form - you'll need your library card account number and PIN. You'll be notified when your Wiscat item comes in.

You'll probably notice that Wiscat includes materials from Winnefox and beyond. Hundreds of thousands of titles.

Holding books

I don't like this new system at all. I use to be able to look up a book or author. I could find that book and put it on hold and have it delivered to the library. Now, I have to take what they have, and the selection sucks big time. I will spend MY money now and get them either from Goodwill or Amazon and then give them to Goodwill. I will no longer donate anything to the library. I would hope others do the same. FDL library is one of the sadest libraries I have ever seen, and I have seen many.

New system

I'm sorry you don't like the new system. It IS different and it takes a bit of practice to get used to. We're currently working on a series of how-to videos that - we hope - will make it easier to find what you want.

You might notice that when you enter a phrase or words in the search field, you have the option of selecting TITLE or AUTHOR or WORDS OR PHRASE.

When searching by author, always put the author's last name first. When searching by title, always leave "the" "an" or "a" off if they are the first word.

Between the FDLPL catalog and the Wiscat catalog, you have access to hundreds of thousands of items. The actual number is the same as before, they're just accessed differently.

No more courtesy reminders?

I see that I'm no longer receiving courtesy reminders to tell me my checked-out books are going to be due back in x (I think 3?) days. If the library has indeed stopped this service, it would have been nice to actually inform patrons of this fact.

Communication from the library has not been very good this year. For instance, the reasons for the change to a standalone system were not well disclosed in the beginning, leading to confusion and frustration on the part of patrons. Then Ken Hall chided library users for "jumping to conclusions" about why the change took place, yet the library failed to communicate well. Seeing that communication has been a repeated issue, I really think it's something the library needs to prioritize instead of continuing to let slide.

Reminders to return

Email reminders are coming back, and we hope soon. We did not plan on a disruption of this service, it just happened as a glitch in the transfer of systems. We're in the process of testing it now and will bring it back when it passes the tests.

Thanks for your feedback on the communication side. We're more than happy to answer questions in this forum or directly. Director Ken Hall is happy to take questions. You can reach him at 929 7080 ext 133.

system problem

Thanks to your "new" system I have my first library fine in recent memory since you apparently no longer email patrons reminding them when books are due. So far this system is slow and hard to use. But I guess you are saving money--and making money on fines like mine so all is good?

Me too

I have also racked up fines due to this issue. I suggest that the library waive all fines from this period due to their failure to have the system correctly in place. With a little foresight on their part, this problem could have been avoided. If I get stuck with it, I'll pay the stupid fines, but I will NOT be happy about it.

Email notices

Email notices of materials coming due will be coming back soon. You will get notices again several days before materials are late. We appreciate your patience as we work through the bugs that inevitably come up when making a big tech change.

Watch for a "How to use the new catalogs" video, coming soon to the We hope it helps demystify the new system.


Just a note to say Thanks to all the library staff during this change. As a frequent library user I appreciate all your hard work as you switch over to the new catalogs. I am sure this is a stressful time for you as well as for some of the Library patrons.

I look forward to being able to place holds for materials at other libraries online myself. Please make sure to notify us when that feature is available. Many of us enjoy this useful resource, and I imagine it will save time for some of your staff as well.

Placing holds at home

You'll be happy to learn that you now can place holds on all materials - FDLPL and other libraries - from your home computer. (The catalog computers at the library do not have the "other libraries" function yet, but they will soon.)

If you search for an item and determine that it's not available at FDLPL, you can go to Wiscat. The Wiscat link is on the top bar on the FDLPL catalog. Follow the steps - it's easy - to request that item.

Watch for a "How to use the new catalogs" video coming soon to In the mean time, if you have questions, you always can call the Help Desk, 929 7080 ext 131.

New library website is wonderful!

I like the new web site. I place holds on popular books and now I can see where I am in line.
I also like the lists of bestsellers. I think the new site is really much nicer.

Thank you!

We're glad to hear that the new features of the catalog are helping you use the library and find the materials that you want. Watch for a "How to use the new catalogs" video, coming soon to


I am still confused regarding holds. If I put a hold on a book electronically and it is at another library, will I still be able to pick it up at St Agnes or the main library in Fond du Lac?


Can we use the other options in the search catalog now?

Holds answer

At this time, if the item you're requesting is at another library, be it Winnefox or anywhere in the U.S., you must go through an FDLPL staff member to place that hold. You can do this one of three ways: in person, over the phone (929 7080 ext 131) or by emailing [email protected]

Eventually - and we don't have time estimate yet - you will be able to place these holds on non-FDLPL materials yourself.

Re. the pickup: we can have those materials delivered to any of the three FDLPL locations: the main library, St. Agnes Journeys or the bookmobile at Festival (soon to be FDLPL Express).

Holds currently onl account

I was wondering what will happen to the holds we currently have on our accounts. All of mine have disappeared but I would still like to receive them.

Your holds

At this time, all holds on materials outside FDLPL will not appear on 'your account.' They are being handled by the Interlibrary Loan system, which is separate (and on paper). This may change eventually, but if you would like to check to make sure the holds are still in process of being acquired, you can call the Help Desk 929-7080 ext 131 or the Reference Desk 929 7080 ext 118. Or you can email [email protected]

No Fees, Two

Because we belong to a state-funded library system - Winnefox - people of Fond du Lac have the right to walk into virtually any library in the state and receive service. (Note: We still are a member of the Winnefox System, just not the Winnefox shared catalog. I know it's confusing.)

In addition, the state pays Winnefox to provide certain services to the FDL Library such as van delivery between libraries rather than mailing books back and forth. We don't receive any direct state funding.

Perhaps it would be easiest to answer your questions if you were to call me directly at 929-7080 ext. 133.


Stand Alone Library

The changes that have been taking place have been confusing and at times rather frustrating. However, I understand the reasoning behind it and after reading Terri's message I feel I have the clarity that has been lacking. I just want to say THANK YOU for all the hard work that has and is going into this process. As a tax payer and a steady user of the library I am thankful that you are looking out for the our best interest. I know the bumps haven't been worked out and we all will experience a few more as this process is switched over but again I do appreciate your efforts and look forward to learning and using the new system. I hope patrons as well as staff give each the grace needed in this transition.

I am truly thankful for your efforts!

Linda Wheeler

As you might imagine ...

This whole deal - the switch, the changes - is new territory for many of us. That doesn't excuse anything, but it does explain how we (more to the point, I) haven't been a few steps ahead at each turn of the process. I know it's been confusing, and I regret that.

Here's the bottom line: After the change, there will be NO restrictions on what FDL Library cardholders have access to, simply the method of getting those materials will be different. And by changing the method, the library is better able to cope with significant budget cuts.

Answer Questions?

Do you bother to answer questions regarding this new & improved system? Seeing about a week ago a questions were sent to you asking about this new system along with questions sent on the blog the director had & no one bothers to answer the questions. To me that says that either you do not know the questions or are afraid to disclose how this 'New System" is moving backwards instead of forward!


Delay in reply

As you might imagine, with systems changing - and servers changing - our hands have been full and our own internet service at work has been disrupted.

Sorry we did not reply more quickly.


Please explain the process of a hold that is placed on a book at another library. Not explained in this article & it appears there will be a fee, especially if it is in a Winnefox Library, seeing FdL is leaving Winnefox.

This article does not explain this new system at all & it would be nice to have everything explained, not just what makes the decision sound good.

No fee; sorry for the confusion

There is no fee for any holds, anywhere, any time. Ever.

That aside, after Thursday, November 3, holds on materials that FDLPL owns can be placed by FDLPL cardholders through the new local catalog.

After Nov 3, you can search for materials at Winnefox as well as materials from libraries across the US on the new Wiscat catalog. Initially, all of these non-FDLPL holds will have to be done by a library staff person. Eventually, Wiscat will become fully automated, which means patrons will be able to place these holds themselves.

No Fee?

If there is not a fee to get books from another library, that are in the Winnefox system, than why did the FdL library pay all these years to be the system?

Something doesn't add up here...

Like it doesn't add up why FdL paid more than Oshkosh. Where that was another question not answered by the director. Was the fee to FdL more due to all the satellite locations that cater to a few?

No Fees

The question of fees for the Winnefox (or any) library system is complicated issue. Library systems such as Winnefox were created by the state and are state funded. Their purpose is to facilitate the sharing of material between libraries. Systems are organized along county lines, and FDL County is still a part of Winnefox.

What individual libraries pay for is the shared automation system, i.e., the shared catalog and circulation system. Systems can charge member libraries whatever they want. Winnefox's charges are among the highest in the state. And our satellites had no impact on the fee we were paying to Winnefox.

The topic of state-mandated systems and system funding is complex. I would be happy to provide a full explanation; you can call me at 929-7080 ext. 133.

No Fee?

Than what was the purpose of being in Winnefox if a person can get books from libraries in the Winnefox system without a fee? Why than for all these years did FdL belong to the Winnefox system?
Nothing adds up here...

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