The Starke County Public Library System will be closed from April 9 through April 12, while the library switches over to a new software system. The Evergreen Indiana system is already used by 107 libraries around the state and is managed by the Indiana State Library.
Starke County Public Library Director Rose Frost says that by joining this system, local library patrons will not only be able to access the 135,000 items in the Starke County system, but also over a million items located at libraries around the state, “Now, once the new catalog is up after April 13, you’ll be able to look at the new Evergreen Indiana catalog and probably find triple the number of books [on a topic] that you ever knew existed, and then you’ll be able to pick and choose those and put holds on them and then have them sent to whichever one of our branches that you want.”
In addition to added resources for library users, Frost says the new system will also lead to significant cost savings for the library. “Our average savings are going to be about $10,000 a year, starting next year and the year after,” she says. “This year, we’ve saved about $25,000 to $30,000 by going with Evergreen because our existing vendor was going to force us to go into an upgrade and to buy new servers, so we avoided all that.” She says because Evergreen Indiana is an open-source system, it will not require the library to pay for upgrades it doesn’t want, unlike the proprietary system the library uses now.
After the changeover is complete, Frost says library users will be required to get a new library card, “We’ll still have the little key-chain cards that people like, and by getting this new Evergreen card – and it really is a green card – they’ll be able to use it at all of the other Evergreen libraries. There are over 107 libraries. If they travel, if they go visit relatives in the State of Indiana and go to other public libraries, they’ll be able to use them, as long as they’re an Evergreen library.” To get a new card, library patrons will need to provide identification and proof of address.
She says the library will also be making a few other adjustments, due to the strict rules that come with the system. “There will be some things that will be changing, such as the amount of time people can borrow materials,” Frost says. “There are some good things; people will now be able to check out DVDs. Our fines are going to have to increase. We’re sorry about that, but we’re going to do everything we can to send people notices before their items are due, immediately when their items are due, through regular mail, through e-mail, and through text messaging.”
However, the library’s current policy, in which patrons who accumulate unpaid fines of at least five dollars have their borrowing privileges suspended, will be changed to ten dollars. In an effort to encourage patrons who may not have used the library in a while to return, Frost says the library will also forgive outstanding fines of up to $10 for patrons who don’t have any library materials out.