Library working on split
LINCOLNTON – Patrons might experience delays or inconveniences with libraries in Lincoln County over the next month, but Director Jennifer Sackett said it’s just part of the transition to a better system.
Sackett and other county leaders decided last year to split the three Lincoln County libraries from the Gaston-Lincoln Regional Library System after they determined it would be more expensive to keep the current system.
Now that process is nearing its end, and the libraries should be separated by July.
“We’re getting ready to split the catalogue on Wednesday, May 30, so we’ll only be left with the Lincoln County collection and Lincoln County patrons,” she said. The catalogue will not be accessible beginning June 1, but Sackett hopes to have it back up by June 6.
At that point, Sackett said she also hopes to have a new Lincoln County Library website to access the new catalogue.
She described a false sense of dependency on Gaston County. Almost all of the books she purchased last year belong to Lincoln County.
Splitting the catalogue is one of the biggest steps in the change, but Sackett said the inconvenience will be worth it.
“It’s now (Lincoln County’s) library. So the decision-making will all be done locally,” she said.
That freedom will give local librarians opportunities to explore new services and programs.
“We’ll be able to apply for grant funding from the state,” Sackett said. “We just put in an application for a grant for funding from the (Library Services and Technology Act) program.”
If the library wins the grant, Lincoln County libraries could see self-checkout stations and security gates to scan for items not properly checked out.
She’s also looking at enhancing Lincoln County’s access to the N.C. Digital Library, which could help shorten the waiting list for some digital books.
“Say there’s a James Patterson title with a waiting list of 150 statewide,” Sackett said. “With the advantage account, we get a digital copy that only Lincoln County patrons can put a hold on.”
The switch will eventually require new library cards for Lincoln County branches, but old cards will work until the card system is switched over.
“Those will still be valid,” Sackett said. “When you access a lot of the databases online, you have to put in the number on your library card.”
Libraries are no longer sending holds across county lines. As of May 7, the only holds that can been picked up in Lincoln County are books that belong to Lincoln County branches.
Lincoln County residents will be able to get an out-of-county library card for free in Gaston County.
“There may be a book out there that they own and we don’t, and if you really have to have it you can still go across the county line to get it,” Sackett said.
While she’s working to iron out all the details ahead of time, Sackett said the switch might cause some unexpected problems.
“We may have a down time or things we didn’t think about ahead of time, but we’re going to try to keep it as short a period as possible. I really hope that things for Lincoln County are going to move forward,” she said. “We’re going to look at what this community needs for the future.”