Libraries Prepare for Merger with County Network, Closing on Dec. 5
All 6 township libraries will be closed for one day on Dec. 5 to facilitate a merger with the Montgomery County Library and Information Network Consortium.
Lower Merion libraries will undergo some significant changes in the next couple weeks as the local library system prepares to merge with a larger county network.
The most immediate effect is a one day closure of all library facilities on Sunday, Dec. 5 to facilitate the Lower Merion Library System's (LMLS) merger with the Montgomery County Library and Information Network Consortium (MCLINC).
Also, during the week of Dec. 6, LMLS libraries will operate "offline" for several days while the LMLS database is merged with MCLINC. On Tuesday, Dec. 7, the Library System will close from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. for staff training and will reopen at 1 p.m. until closing at regularly scheduled times.
"When 'offline,' LMLS libraries will only be able to check items in and out; they will not be able to place reserves, look up user accounts, process fines or look up items. In addition, library users will not be able to access the library system's catalog or their accounts from home until the libraries are online again," said Christine Steckel, Director of Libraries, in a press release. "We apologize for the temporary inconvenience, but know our patrons will appreciate the benefits associated with the MCLINC merger, which will be in effect as of Thursday, Dec. 9." At that time, all functions will be restored.
MCLINC is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing network services to public libraries in Montgomery County. With the addition of the six Lower Merion libraries, MCLINC will have 31 members. MCLINC brings a higher level of resource sharing to its members because all libraries share the same online database and join together to increase library purchasing power, according to the township. The MCLINC online catalog offers integrated up-to-date holdings of its 31 member libraries, including over one million titles and 2.3 million volumes. A shared "holds" program allows these libraries to request and route material from library to library.
"Converting to MCLINC has required the Lower Merion Library System to make changes, some that the public will see and others that are behind the scenes," Steckel said. "None of the changes will decrease service to patrons, and many will actually increase service options." Bookmarks describing changes affecting the public are available at all LMLS libraries and are as follows:
- Holds or Reserve Requests – The LMLS computer system now allows patrons to place an Item Level Hold in addition to the Title Level Hold with which patrons are familiar. This can be very helpful if you wish to place a reserve on a specific copy of a title, a specific issue of a magazine, or a specific part of a multi-part set. However, it is important to remember that the Title Level Hold means the computer system will grab the next available copy to fill a patron request. Item Level Hold means that only one specific item will fill the hold. Even if other copies of that title are available, they will not fill that hold request.
- Temporary Ludington Site – Lower Merion patrons will no longer see Temporary Ludington Site as a location in the catalog or as a drop-down choice for a pickup library when placing reserves. This is a name change only. All of the items that were available in the Temporary Ludington Site will still be available in the trailers; however, they will now be listed as Ludington Library. All items currently listed as Off Site Storage will remain that way until the Ludington building reopens.
- Bookmarking the Library Catalog – If library patrons have the LMLS catalog bookmarked in their computers, the bookmark will no longer work when LMLS joins MCLINC. Users should delete their old bookmarks after Dec. 6. From Dec. 9 on, you can create a new bookmark by visiting www.lmls.org. Simply click on "Search the Catalog" and choose your home library from the drop down menu to create the bookmark. Again, library users will not be able to see any Lower Merion items or to place reserves until Dec. 9.
- New Notification Options – When library users register, they are asked if they want to receive notification about overdue material and reserve requests by telephone or e-mail. Once Lower Merion joins MCLINC, there will be two advantages for those who have chosen e-mail notification: 1) An Almost Due notification for those items that will be due in the next day or two; and, 2) An Almost Expired notification when their library cards are about to expire. If library users wish to change their notification option from telephone to e-mail, they must do it in person at one of the Township's libraries. A library card or identification will be necessary to accomplish this.
"LMLS hopes that library users will find the new benefits and options both useful and exciting as we join our neighbors in MCLINC," Steckel said. Any questions regarding the merge with MCLINC can be directed to (610) 645-6110.