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Big changes for Juneau Public Libraries

Posted: July 4, 2013 - 12:04am

Some big changes are under way at the Juneau Public Library. The library has joined a consortium with the Anchorage Public Library, the University of Alaska system, and many other libraries across the state. Juneau Public Library card holders now have access to almost 1.5 million items, from books to movies and from maps to historical documents.

Here’s what it means, practically, for users.

• You now have access to a lot more unique materials. Do you want to read Mesozoic tectonic evolution of the northern Bristol Bay region, southwestern Alaska by Stephen Box? Because library staff can now get it for you. Easily.

• In fact, you don’t even need library staff to get it for you. You can log on to the library’s new catalog and place the hold yourself. The benefit here is that your request is processed much faster than through the traditional Interlibrary Loan program.

• The new catalog searches all of the items easily and is more likely than the old catalog to find what you need the first time. Even if you’re just browsing, you can now limit your search by location, format (book vs audiobook vs DVD, etc), audience (children or adults), author, date and more. This new catalog is intuitive for anybody who does normal web searching, and the library will also be hosting classes soon for people who want some help. In-depth tutorials are on Tuesday, July 9, at 6 p.m. at the Douglas Library and Wednesday, July 10, at 6 p.m. at the Downtown Library. No registration is necessary and you’re welcome to bring your own laptop or device to guarantee a hands-on experience.

• If you travel to Anchorage you can check out books in person and return them in Juneau. Or check out books in Juneau and return them in Anchorage. And this works with all of the libraries in the consortium. If you travel often and are a big book or movie fan, this can keep your carry-on bag to a reasonable size.

One caveat (you knew there would be a caveat): Due date and fines will vary according to item type and where the item is from. The lending library decides how long items can be checked out for and how much they cost when they’re late. The Anchorage Public Library, for instance, only lets their books be checked out for three weeks and charges 50 cents a day in overdue fines; DVDs are a dollar. You can check your online account at any time or call any of the library branches for a list of your due dates.

Check out the new catalog and collection by going online to the library’s website www.juneau.org/library and clicking the “library catalog” button in the top right corner.

All of this is available to anyone with a Juneau Public Library card – if you don’t have one, stop in at any of the Juneau libraries with an ID and something that shows your address and library staff will set you up.

Even with all of these changes, some things stay the same. The library will still have story-time and toddler-time four days a week, First Thursday Family Night, and a summer reading program for kids, teens and adults. Stop in at any library branch or check out the website for more details.

Andi Hirsh is the Electronic Services/Community Outreach Librarian for the Juneau Public Libraries.

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