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Library moving to new automated card system

Beginning Wednesday, checking library books out of the the locallibrary will become more automated.

Lincoln County Library Director Henry Ledet said everyone whocurrently holds a library card will have to re-register for a newcard and a password. That includes filling out a newapplication.

“We’re asking everyone to be patient with us,” Ledet said.

He hopes the initial process will only take a few minutes perpatron. The library has set up two additional stations to deal withthe process of new library cards.

New patrons, signing up for a library card for the first time orusers who have lost their library cards, are asked to bring valididentification when signing up for a card, as well as proof ofresidency.

The new cards will look different from the old ones in that theywill have a bar code, unique to each individual, with a place towrite in the patron’s name. The card will allow the user to haveaccess to the computer system which will have features similar toamazon.com, said Ledet.

With the new computer system, patrons will be able to search thecard catalog through the computer, Ledet said. The search willreveal a picture of the cover of the book, any reviews, plotsummaries, where the book is located, and whether the book is atthe library.

The new computer system will also allow patrons to request booksfrom other libraries within the system.

“It’s like buying groceries at Wal-Mart,” Ledet said of the newsystem.

When checking out a book, a patron will bring their new card andtheir book to the librarian’s desk, where the bar code on theirlibrary card is scanned and the bar code on the book is scanned.The patron then will be free to go on their way, Ledet said.

The new automation system is being implemented by the formationof the Longleaf Library Consortium. The 13 libraries in theconsortium have agreed to work together to provide the bestpossible library service to the region. The one library card willprovide access to the resources at any of the libraries in theseven-county area.

Ledet said the project was funded in part by a a federal grantfrom the Library Services and Technology Act, directed by theMississippi Library Commission.

Over the past several weeks, library personnel have undergoneextensive training on the new system to make the transition to thenew cards and system seamless to library goers.

Also as of Wednesday, Ledet said computer users will also berequired to hold a current library card. Currently, computer usersaren’t required to have a library card.

“This will allow us to track the use of them,” Ledet said of thecomputers.

Ledet said other libraries in the system – Meadville, Bude,Monticello and New Hebron – are also going through the computerchange over.

“The existing automation system was almost completelynon-functional,” said Headquarters Librarian Rebecca Nations. “Allthe technological patches that had been applied over the lastdecade were wearing thin. This new system will bring libraryservice in Lincoln County and the region into the new century.”

For more information on the local library, visit the Web site atwww.llf.lib.ms.us.