Licking County Library patrons have access to more than 6-million resources as a result of the library joining the Serving Every Ohioan (SEO) library consortium.

Licking County Library patrons have access to more than 6-million resources as a result of the library joining the Serving Every Ohioan (SEO) library consortium.

Babette Wofter, assistant director of the Licking County Library, said the migration to the new system was scheduled to be effective Friday, Dec. 18.

"The catalog is the same, but the look of it will be different," she said. "Instead of five copies of a book, customers may find 50 copies. They could have access more quickly to items. It's not just things we own but (also) what others own."

Through the consortium, Licking County Library customers could borrow materials from 75 other library systems in the state. The expanded database includes not only books, but also a huge media collection of CDs, DVDs and videos.

Licking County Library cardholders don't need an SEO library card to access the materials, though, according to Wofter.

"It will be easy to navigate, and I think they will be pleased how quickly they will get materials, not just books, but downloadable books, downloadable music, a whole catalog of materials," Wofter said. "We're real excited about it."

Licking County Library users could place a hold on books and other items that would arrive in two to five days, she said.

Prior to joining the consortium, the Licking County Library paid a company for maintenance and software for its online catalog.

"Now we pay the consortium but get a cheaper rate since there are so many members," Wofter said. "It's a great customer service to offer, and by joining a consortium, there's power in numbers. It's less expensive for us. We won't have to replace equipment. All our data is being transferred into their database."

The Licking County Library has been serving Newark and Licking County since 1908. The library system currently has six locations: the Newark Library in downtown Newark; the Emerson R. Miller branch on West Main Street in Newark, about a block east of 30th Street; Hervey Memorial in Utica; Hebron Library; Buckeye Lake Library; and the Mary E. Babcock Library in Johnstown.

A Bookmobile provides outreach services throughout Licking County.

The SEO Library Center in Caldwell supports a consortium of 75 library systems at 166 physical locations throughout 37 counties in Ohio.

According to the SEO Web site, SEO previously stood for Southeastern Ohio. Because SEO now serves the entire state, the SEO Advisory Committee voted to change the name of the library center. SEO now stands for Serving Every Ohioan, and the center is called the SEO Library Center rather than the Southeastern Ohio Regional Library.

The power of the consortium resides in resource sharing among members, allowing small and rural library systems to have access to millions of items for their patrons free of charge.

SEO Library Center houses, maintains and supports a centralized shared catalog database that includes more than 6-million items, with a patron database of 700,000-plus borrowers.

The SEO employees provide technical support and software help-desk support for all consortium members, alleviating the burden of specialized information-technology functions on small libraries.

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com