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Friday, July 16, 2010

Let's Give 'Em Something To Talk About...

No, sorry, no library gossip here, but some news I hope will get you excited nonetheless. I've said it before, I'll say it again - when I hear from patrons about anything, it's usually, "The library catalog and its 'My Account' features drive me completely insane." You find it difficult to search (it is). Sometimes the single log-in for placing multiple holds doesn't work. You find it irritating that you have to log in once to check your account status, again to renew items, again to place holds. It makes you uncomfortable that there's no way to securely log out. We've been able to make a few changes (the multiple hold log-in was not available until late 2007), but otherwise we've been stuck with a lot of the catalog's quirkiness. I think of it as the opposite of "user friendliness." More like "user hostility."

However, good news is on the way. Our library consortium has entered into an agreement to offer you a new service and search interface, called Bibliocommons. It should be arriving here in Des Plaines in October 2010. Just a few of the positives about Bibliocommons:
  1. Startlingly affordable compared to just about any other product;
  2. Super-easy and efficient searching: in addition to searching by keywords, title and other familiar routes, you can use "facets" to narrow your search. For example: you type in "pride and prejudice." You'll get a list of items but you can also choose a format, like book, DVD or audiobook. You can even ask the catalog to only show you items currently available. Nice!
  3. One log in. Period. You set up your account and that one log in allows you to: check your account, renew items, place holds, review, rate and tag items, make and save lists, pay fines, and so on. You're logged in until you log out. Nice!
There are tons of great features in Bibliocommons and I know I'll be counting the days until we can make this catalog (or, to be exact, "discovery layer") available to you. You've been asking for improvements for a long time now and Bibliocommons came around not a moment too soon. I am on the committee to implement Bibliocommons within our computer consortium of 25 area libraries and will keep you posted on our progress.

I know you are also wondering about the return of van delivery service. Lots of discussion and brainstorming has taken place but there has not been a new proposal for resuming the interlibrary van delivery. One possibility in the recent news: a "mega-merger" of the state library systems. You can read about that in the Daily HeraldAll I can do is assure you that we remain hopeful that our library will resume participation in the van delivery service. Want to know more about DPPL and local libraries in the news? We have a new page on our Web site that highlights recent news articles - go to "What's New?" in the left-hand column of the Web site, then look for the link to "local news articles about the library."

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