Grove City Record

Local libraries unite to increase size of catalog

Columbus, Southwest, Worthington libraries join consortium; transition will disrupt services next week

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

The addition of the Columbus Metropolitan, Worthington and Southwest Public libraries to the Central Library Consortium will mean a disruption to library computer systems later this month as the new consortium members transition to the new catalog.

When the transition is complete May 22, patrons of the 11 libraries participating in the consortium will have access to more than 1 million additional materials.

"It's so exciting for our libraries to be able to offer so many more materials to our patrons," said Grandview Heights Public Library Director Mary Ludlum.

Grandview is a founding member of the Central Library Consortium and its administering library.

Grandview will continue to serve in that role as the consortium expands from eight to 11 members.

Columbus, Worthington and Southwest have participated in their own partnership for more than two decades.

Along with Grandview, the other consortium member libraries are Alexandria, Fairfield County, Marysville, Pickaway County, Pickerington, Plain City and Wagnalls Memorial in Lithopolis.

The new members agreed last September to join the consortium and, "We've been meeting and working since then" to prepare for the May 22 expansion, Ludlum said.

The new member libraries will change from Discovery Place to Polaris Library Systems, which is used by the consortium.

Patrons from any consortium library will be able to reserve materials online from any of the member libraries' collections, Ludlum said.

Cardholders from the library that has the desired item will receive reserves first, followed by the patrons of other libraries, she said.

Patrons of the libraries joining the consortium will not be able to use their cards in person at the current consortium branches (and vice versa), but that option may become available at some point, Ludlum said.

"The great thing, though, is that you will be able to return materials to any CLC library," she said.

During the transition period of May 17-21, patrons can expect the following service disruptions at their local libraries:

* Both locations of the Southwest Public Libraries will close May 16 and will reopen at 9:30 a.m. May 22 while the new computer system is installed.

During those five days, returns of library materials will not be accepted. Patrons will not be fined for materials that are due during this period.

Patrons also won't be able to reserve items, but will be able to log on to public computers with their library card.

Due dates will be extended.

Patrons will benefit from the expanded consortium, but so will the participating libraries, Ludlum said.

"It will help us all be more efficient and cost-effective in the materials we purchase," she said. "If one library already owns an item that generates little interest from patrons, there will be no reason for another library to purchase the same item."

The current $500,000 cost to implement the consortium will increase, but because it will be shared by all 11 members, the total per library cost is expected to be reduced, Ludlum said.

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