PPL: To offer access to millions of items

COLUMBIA CITY — Beginning Oct. 16, the Peabody Public Library (PPL) is making a change that will open a new realm of possibilities for all its patrons.PPL has signed up Evergreen Indiana (EI) and is going green. PPL cardholders will have access to millions of items in 100 library systems across the state of Indiana.PPL was the 100th library to sign up for this system. EI enables patrons of PPL to search the EI online catalog, place holds on books and audio books at any other Evergreen Library and have them sent to PPL for pickup.“We are excited to be joining Evergreen Indiana,” said Mary Hartman, PPL Director.“Not only does it bring libraries across the state together to share resources, but it offers so many benefits for our patrons.”EI, which began in central Indiana, is funded by the Indiana State Library through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) was signed into law September 30, 1996, as part of the Museum and Library Services Act. As a result, federal LSTA funds are distributed from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to states for the purposes of increasing the use of technology in libraries, fostering better resource sharing among libraries and targeting library services to special populations. (http://www.in.gov/)“This will save $12,000 per year,” said Hartman. “By moving to this open source integrated library system that provides the PPL with new circulation and cataloging software.”“It will free our server space and stop our contract with Sirsi-Dynix, which costs $12,000 annually,” she said.“That’s money we can use to expand our collection or enhance our programs and services,” said Hartman.“It will now directly benefit our patrons, instead of being spent on a company to provide us with software and support. That will now come from the state at no cost,” said Hartman.With one new library card at PPL, patrons will be able to visit any of the other nearly 100 EI libraries in the area or all around Indiana, when traveling.The materials can be returned to whatever EI library is most convenient. Nearby EI libraries include South Whitley — Cleveland Township Public Library, Kendallville PL, Ligonier PL, Noble County PL, North Webster Community PL and Syracuse Turkey Creek Township PL. A complete list of EI libraries can be found online at www.in.gov/library/evergreen.“That means you could be finishing up the latest James Patterson book and you are in Brown County and you need the next Patterson book, you could just go to the library there and return your book and exchange it for the new one,” said Hartman.Patrons can also easily manage their library account online, with the ability to place holds on items and renew items that are currently checked out. Plus, there is an added bonus of creating virtual “book bags” they can share with their friends.Those patrons who provide the library with their e-mail address will receive a reminder e-mail three days before their items are due.“That’s a great way to prevent fines before they happen,” said Hartman.Once the EI system goes live at the PPL in October, patrons will just need to stop in to either library to pick up their new card. The benefits begin right away.“I’ve been through this transition before and it does take some patience both on our staff and our patrons. Beginning Oct. 12th the information will be moved to a different server at the state. So that means on the 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th we’ll be checking out items the old fashioned way. Plus we are limiting check-outs to five items,” said Hartman.Policy Changes at PPLAs a member of EI, the PPL will make a few changes in policy to comply with EI guidelines.A valid picture identification card or driver’s license with a current address on it is valid to receive an EI card. You must live in the City of Columbia City, Columbia Township or Thorncreek Township to be a patron of PPL.Every patron must have their library card with them to check out materials.Cards are free when applying for a library card for the first time, or replacing the current library card with the new EI card. Patrons who lose their card will be charged a $2 replacement fee. Patrons who don’t have their library card when they want to check out materials can either allow their materials to be held for them for a short time while they retrieve their card or can choose to pay the $2 replacement fee for a new card.Each patron will be able to have up to 100 items checked out total from all EI libraries, which can include up to 10 DVDs, 10 VHS movies and one piece of gaming software, such as a CD-ROM.Previously PPL could borrow unlimited items.Loan periods for most items will change as well. Books, audio books, magazines and some other items will be checked out for 21 days. Patrons will have quicker access to DVDs, VHS movies and CD-ROMs with a new seven-day loan period.Overdue feesCurrently, PPL has a two week borrowing period. EI will extend to three weeks.Patrons who provide the library with a valid e-mail address will receive overdue notices three days before their items are due. If items are late, fines are 25 cents per day per item, up to a maximum fine of $10 per item. There is no grace period for overdue items.“For patrons who have not given us an e-mail address, we will still send out overdue notices through the United States Postal Service once items are late,” said Laura Hull, Circulation Manager at PPL.“By simply providing us with their e-mail address, patrons can potentially avoid any fines by receiving reminder e-mails before their items are due.”If fines exceed $10, or a patron has 15 overdue items, they will be blocked from checked out additional materials. These maximums include items checked out or fines from any EI library.Other policies that could be included are 20 unfulfilled holds at one time; focus on items that can’t be transferred (like DVDs, CDs, new books -- under six months old -- reference, software, VHS); holds can’t be placed on reference items; limit two renewals per item (no renewal if a hold is on item).Going GreenAll staff at PPL will be wearing green Evergreen Indiana shirts purchased by the Friends of the PPL.“EI is a better value all the way around,” said Hartman.