The Complete Guide to PamCat




PamCat FAQ


When is PamCat available?

What are known technical issues with PamCat?

Where can I find bestseller and other reading lists?

Where can I find printable PamCat Guides?


When is PamCat available?


PamCat is available almost 24/7.  PamCat is unavailable each morning beginning at midnight for a few minutes and again at 3:00 a.m. for a few hours.  You may also experience a slower response time with the catalog between 3:00 to 10:00 a.m. on Sundays during its weekly data backup.

If you encounter any problems with PamCat during "normal working hours" that last for more than a few minutes, or if you continue to have problems accessing PamCat, you can e-mail us at, and we will do our best to fix the problem.


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What are known technical issues with PamCat?


Problems with Session Timeouts When Using PamCat

Do you experience "session timeout" errors when you click certain links in PamCat?  These session timeouts happen to patrons using Internet Service Providers (ISPs) who use cache proxy servers to speed up download times by storing the pages their customers use. This is usually advertised as an "internet accelerator" service. The most common ISPs that use cache proxy servers are  Netzero, Earthlink, and certain satellite providers, although any ISP using the accelerators may have the same problem. This conflicts with the way that iBistro (which powers PamCat) is structured, resulting in the session timeout message.

Usually there is no way for an ISP's customer to clear a cache from home, so the problem will persist as long as the ISP uses cache proxy services. You can contact your ISP to see if they have a work-around for the problem. You can also send the library an e-mail at to let us know when you experience the problem. Please let us know who your ISP is, and let us know as much as you can about the problem. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your patience.


Using Alternate IDs to log in to PamCat

Some of our patrons prefer to use an Alternate ID to log in to PamCat, rather than use their library card number.  If you enter your Alternate ID on the main PamCat screen, you will be directed to a page that says "Login to My Account - Invalid login."  First use your backspace key to clear the word "WEBSERVER" from the box labeled "Library Card #."  If you leave WEBSERVER in that box after you log in with your Alternate ID and password, PamCat will request your log in information each time you try to complete a transaction, such as placing a book on hold or reviewing your account.


If you continue to experience problems trying to log in to PamCat using an Alternate ID, please call or visit your local branch library or e-mail


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Where can I find bestseller and other reading lists?


Several bestseller and recommended reading lists are featured on the home page of PamCat.  To see other lists, click on the "More recommended reading lists" or "More best seller lists" links


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Where can I find printable PamCat Guides?

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What else would you like to know?


The Basics

How do I log in?

What's my password/PIN?

How do I search?

My Account

How do I review my account?

How do I renew my materials?

How do I change my password?

How do I renew my card?

What are "My Favorites?"


How do I place a hold?

What's the difference between "Hold" & "Keep?"

How can I get books you don't have?

Advanced Search

How do I search for certain items?

What is a Browse search?

What is a Call Number search?

Special Features

Where can I find New Arrivals?

How do I use Explore Subjects?

Kids' Library

How do I search the Kids' Library?



Branch Libraries


Richard S. Gillis, Jr.
Ashland Branch Library

201 S. Railroad Avenue


Atlee Branch Library
9161 Atlee Road


Goochland Branch Library
3075 River Road West


Hanover Branch Library
7527 Library Drive


King & Queen Branch Library
396 Newtown Road


Mechanicsville Branch Library
7461 Sherwood Crossing Place


Lois Wickham Jones
Montpelier Branch Library

17205 Sycamore Tavern Lane


Cochrane Rockville Branch Library
16600 Pouncey Tract Road


Upper King William Branch Library
694-J Sharon Road


West Point Branch Library
721 Main Street


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