Big Changes for Juneau!

Posted on June 19, 2013 by

Great news!  Juneau Public Library has joined forces with Anchorage Public, the University of Alaska system, and many more libraries across the state!  This has multiple impacts for the public and staff.

1.  Users now have access to a lot more materials, both in variety and numbers.  Now if there is a book or DVD that Anchorage Public owns that we don’t, users can acquire it.  OR, if all of the Juneau copies of books are checked out, we can get one from elsewhere easily.

Now, savvy library users will give me a funny look and say “But we could already get the materials that we wanted through Inter-library loan (ILL).”  And yes, that is true, but now it’s better for users because ….

2.  Users can place holds themselves.  What this means, for you, dear patron, is that you will receive items FASTER.

Here is how the ILL process works (simple version):  user wants a book, looks for it in the catalog, can’t find it, fills out paper or online ILL form.  Our ILL librarian (we only have one), takes a request and then goes to a special database called WorldCat (you can search this too, through and scrolling down to the end).  She then finds the closest library that owns the item and sends them a request to lend it to us.  IF they can find it, AND it’s not checked out, AND they’re willing to lend it then they ship it too us book rate.  If they can’t find it, or it’s checked out, or it’s an item that they don’t loan out, then they tell us so, eventually.  And the ILL librarian then picks the next closest library and repeats the process.  Our ILL librarian is completely wonderful and does magical things — but sometimes it can take a while to find a library that has the item we want and will loan it out.  Since we’ve joined the consortium and more items are available to patrons, less items should have to go through the ILL process.  And since patrons can place the holds themselves, there is a lot less processing time to get the book or dvd or whatever in the mail.

Users still can (and should!) ILL items not found in the catalog.

3.  We have a new catalog — and it’s SO MUCH BETTER.  Searching is easier and you’re more likely to find what you want on the first try.  If you aren’t looking for one specific item, you can now limit your search EASILY by location, format (book vs audiobook vs DVD, etc), audience (children or adults), author, date, and so much more.  This new catalog is incredibly intuitive for anybody who does normal web searching, and we will also have classes for people who need some help (details forthcoming).

4.  If you travel to Anchorage you can check out books in person and return them here.  Or vise-versa.  And this works with all of the libraries in the consortium.  If you travel a lot for work and you read a lot (or watch a lot of DVDs), this can keep you from schlepping and entire bag of books around (like I currently do), and instead schlepp only half a bag of books!

And one caveat (you knew there would be a caveat):  Users are going to have to pay a lot more attention to when their items are due, or call us for the dates more, or check their online account more.  The loaning period for items and the overdue fines are set by the LENDING library, the library where the item comes from originally.  Anchorage public, for instance, only lets their books check out for three weeks.  If a user checks out one book from Anchorage and one from Juneau at the same time, they will be due back on a different days.

There are a lot more changes that are going on behind the scenes that only impact us librarians, so I won’t bore you with them.  But dear patrons, this is wonderful news!

tldr; The library has expanded and has made it easier and faster to find what you’re looking for!  Check out the new catalog, and start putting items on hold!

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