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New catalog system provides better service and more resources

Catalog systems in libraries are largely something we don’t think about. But as of June 1 we have a new one, and we all need to give it a little bit of thought. This column should reduce the number of questions you might have and reassure you that the new system will provide improved services. Kelly, one of our librarians, tells us, “The new system appears cleaner, greatly expands the books available, and creates an easier to use space for patrons.”

Regular readers of this column know that I’ve been nagging all of you for months to get your new library card. The old one used five digits. The new one uses a required fourteen. The five digits of the old number are now the last five digits of your new number. You also need a PIN. The library has assigned you a PIN of the last four digits of your phone number on file. You can change that to any four digits you like by letting a librarian know. You cannot change it yourself on-line. (Don’t have your new card yet? Stop in or call us and we’ll give you your new number over the phone.) I’ve already memorized my 14-digit card number. Ask me! (But there’s no real reason to do that either.)

Pro Tip: People are calling the library noting that they aren’t successful putting their new card number into the search system the first time. The trick is that it appears on your card with spaces between three groups of numbers. Do not include the spaces when you enter the numbers.

Once you have successfully entered your new library card number and PIN, the system remembers you on that device. This isn’t something we need to do every time.

The new system gives us access to books from thirty libraries in our consortium. This is a big increase. If we borrow a book from another library, that book arrives – free of charge – soon. Books are delivered three days a week.

Of course, if the book we are looking for still isn’t available from one of our partner libraries in the system, that doesn’t mean we can’t get the book. The catalog system will direct you to MeL without needing to search around for the MeL button, and there’s pretty much nothing we can’t get from that.

Currently there is no app for the new system for our phones or tablets. However, an app is in development. Of course, we can still access the system through our phones and tablets by pulling up our library’s website and locating what we want exactly the same as using our computers. But we all love a good app, and we will let you know when that’s available. If you have been using your computer and switch to your tablet, of course you’ll have to enter your card number and PIN for the new device, but only once.

Remember also, for those Libby app users like me, that app still works fine for e-books, audiobooks, and magazines. So, don’t delete the Libby app from your phones and tablets. (For those who do not wish to download the Libby app on a phone or tablet, it is also accessible from the library’s website from a computer.)

Let’s also give our librarians a little love for the prep work that went into the catalog changeover. Each and every item that we checkout at the library – every book, magazine, kit, or toy – had to have a new number assigned to it. All those little labels with the number on them had to be changed. In our library, that turns out to be around 45,000 items. This task took months.

A new catalog system that delivers many more resources to our patrons at the normal no cost? This is how resources are delivered now. Our patrons are tech savvy and the library is keeping up with you. Book browsing will never go out of style. But your library is here for you in many ways.

See you at the Library!

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