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February 12, 2013

Library to get new inter-library system

MT. VERNON - — Ordering books from other libraries will be much easier after a new inter-library system goes into effect on April 9.

According to C.E. Brehm Memorial Library head librarian Bill Pixley, the new software will bring together all the member libraries of the Heartland Library System.

“The old Shawnee Library System is no more,” Pixley explained. “It came to an end last year. They have merged the four southernmost library systems, which goes up to Champaign, Decatur, and Springfield, into one system, the Illinois Heartland Library System, which was done last June.”

One of the problems with creating the new library system was that each library district in the system had different software for its catalog of books and products that didn't communicate with other software programs.

“You couldn't conveniently go online to check things out, and couldn't ask for things from other libraries without going through the staff. With Shawnee, we could go online, get items from another library by entering it into the computer, and then call people when their items came in. We will be able to do that again.”

With the change in the size of the library system, patrons will have access to 9.5 million titles, and from having more than 250,000 patrons to o nearly 1.6 million.

The computer system at C.E. Brehm is “ancient,” Pixley said, by computer standards.

“It was new in 1992,” Pixley added. “We knew we were going to have to change our computer system to go to the same system as other districts to allow people to request materials from throughout the library system directly.”

Pixley said the new system will be faster and allow more advanced searching for material.

There will be an online patron access catalog, where you can search for items, place holds or pay fines.

After March 15, in preparation for the change in computer software, the library will not be able to place holds on items. From April 1 through April 8, books can be checked out and returned, but not ordered from other libraries until the system is available on April 9.

“The new system will be faster, hit every library in the Heartland Library System, allow you to do more advanced searching, … have access to more materials and you'll be able to search the catalog better and even be able to create a list of what you have checked out,” Pixley said. “A lot of people keep little books of what they have read, and now, the computer system will have a way to keep it on the system so you don't have to keep it on paper anymore.”

Pixley asked for the public to be patient during the change.

“I've been through this before and it takes a little time to train and understand the software,” Pixley said. “We're learning it at the same time everyone else is learning it.”

 

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