NC Cardinal FAQ

OCPL is a part of the NC Cardinal state consortium.  If you have questions about using the consortium, please send us an email.

What is NC Cardinal? 

NC Cardinal is a growing consortium of public libraries in 51 North Carolina counties dedicated to sharing resources and expanding opportunities through the use of a single online catalog. It is a program of the State Library of North Carolina, supported by grant funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Federal Library Services and Technology Act. 

NC Cardinal expands items available to you from about 130,000 items in Onslow County Libraries to over 7.2 million statewide! 

Why did OCPL join NC Cardinal? 

Previously, OCPL offered 130,000 items in its collection. NC Cardinal has 7.2 million items. We wanted to continue to empower our patrons, and expanding access to a state-wide consortium is a big step towards just that! 

  • Discover materials not owned locally. 
  • Borrow materials from any NC Cardinal Library using your local library card. 
  • Return borrowed materials at any NC Cardinal Library. 
  • Place holds online for items from any NC Cardinal library, and materials will be sent to YOUR pickup library of choice at no additional cost. 

Where is the catalog located? 

The NC Cardinal catalog is located here.

If I see a book in another NC Cardinal library that I want to borrow, how do I place a request for that item? 

You can request the book be sent to any OCPL branch for pickup. Just click on the Place Hold button beside that item. The system will ask for your library card number and password/PIN. 

Items coming from outside OCPL system will take a little longer to arrive based on the item's availability and shipping.

How do holds from libraries outside of OCPL work? 

Holds are not filled specifically on a first come, first serve basis. Instead, the system uses estimated shipping times and an item's current location to maximize its ability to fill holds fairly.  

If I visit another NC Cardinal library, can I check out books using my OCPL card? 

Yes. You can use your OCPL card at any NC Cardinal library. You can also return any books from any NC Cardinal library to any other NC Cardinal library. 

What does it cost me to get a book from another NC Cardinal Library? 

It's free! There is no cost associated with requesting items from participating NC Cardinal libraries. 

Will every library in the state consortium have access to my information? 

Yes. However, protecting user privacy and confidentiality is one of the core values of librarianship.  North Carolina State law requires that we treat materials you check out and information you access as confidential information, and we are committed to protecting your privacy. The confidentiality of library records is a core part of library ethics and the NC Cardinal consortium follows the Code of Ethics of the American Library Association and NC General Statutes. 

How does NC Cardinal Use the Information collected?  

NC Cardinal use personal information and residency verification to issue library cards. If a user chooses to provide an email address, NC Cardinal may use it to send account alerts and other communications. They use library records to assist in maintaining our collections and to verify records of users’ paid and unpaid fines.  

  • They may use login credentials and library records to deliver enhanced or personalized services.  
  • They use personal information, login credentials, and residency verification to provide access to e-books through mobile applications.  
  • They use personal information when collecting or processing payments and fines.  
  • They use cookies to collect information about your activity, browser, and device in order to provide you library services.  
  • They use user statistical categories to filter data within our reporting modules.