Carnegie Regional Library sprucing up
New technology, more space making library more user friendly
GRAFTON – If you haven’t been inside Carnegie Regional Library (CRL) in Grafton recently, you may not recognize it.
Since June, new director Jill Bjerke, new board president Kristy Stenso-Eikenberry, other members of the library board and volunteers have been working hard sprucing up the place to make it more user friendly and bring it into the 21st Century.
The Carnegie Regional Library Board is currently in the process of writing a grant to the North Dakota State Library System to update their computer operating system. Stenso-Eikenberry said grant money has been available for several years and most libraries the size of CRL have already secured grants.
In 1998, CRL got rid of its card catalog system and went to a computer system called Winnebago, which is now several years’ obsolete and no longer supported.
“If our operating system ever went down, we’d be dead in the water,” Stenso-Eikenberry said. “We wouldn’t be able to check out books, we wouldn’t be able to do anything.”
If they’re successful in securing the grant, CRL is hoping to switch over to the World Cataloging System, or WorldCat, as it is known. In turn, they would then be able to become part of the Online Dakota Information System or ODIN.
Once a part of ODIN, library patrons in Grafton and regional satellites in Lakota and McVille will be able to browse for books and other materials online. If the book or other resource, for example, isn’t available in Grafton, they can order it from any one of several ODIN locations throughout the state.
Once the online patrons order their book, all they have to do is come in and pick it up – and return it, of course.
Over the past three months CRL staff has been “weeding” out books and other resources that are no longer current and/or obsolete.
When they started the weeding process, Bjerke said there were approximately 47,000 items including books, CD’s DVD’s, VHS tapes and cassette tapes in their inventory.
The first candidates to go were books that haven’t been checked out in the past five to 10 years.
Since then, about 10,000 books have been taken off the shelves. She said they keep the “weeded” books for about a week and anyone can come in and take them if they wish.
Stenso-Eikenberry said to get books certified on the WorldCat system, it will cost .75 cents per book. CRL will have the books documented by photocopying the first four pages and sending that information to the state library.
“The state library will then pull records from WorldCat to make sure it’s the right copy. Then they send us the barcode to put on the book. That’s how we’ll catalog our new system,” she said.
The weeding process also involves pulling out popular books that are in rough shape and ordering new copies.
Stenso-Eikenberry said if they are awarded the state library grant this November it will take roughly until 2015 to get everything up and running, including a website for CRL.
A bi-product of the weeding process is a de-cluttering and general cleaning the library. Lights have also been repaired making for a brighter space for library patrons.
More than books
Bjerke said the library offers much more than books. There are books on CD that are very popular as well. They are also in the process of ordering more large-print books for those who need them.
In addition, CRL has seven computers set up in the library that are free to anyone in the public to come in and use. She said the computers are busy from open to close, just about every day. The library, in conjunction with the “Military Family Contact” program, has a laptop computer equipped with video conferencing capability. CRL, is one of 38 libraries in the state to have such equipment. The computer is free of charge and dedicated for use by military families to contact loved ones serving in our military forces around the world.
Bjerke said the laptop is available for use during the library’s regular business hours.
There is also a community room that can be used, free of charge for meetings and CRL also has a kids room downstairs, that in addition to new books, they hope to fill with interactive items for kids to play with.
Bjerke said the library is surprisingly busy and they check out between 100-150 items daily.
She said her vision is to see the library become the “center” of the community for people to come and access all types of information and technology.
“We’ve got something for every age group,” she said.
Bjerke and Stenso said although they are not taking any book donations, they would be more than happy to accommodate those who would like to volunteer their time and resources to improve CRL.
The library in Grafton is currently operating its fall and winter hours and is open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday from 1-6 p.m.; and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.