Friday, July 30, 1999
New catalog system for library on
the way

Staff Writer

The Peachtree City Library will soon be tied into a single central computerized catalog serving all eight branches of the Flint River Regional Library system.

A Unicorn/Oasis system by Sirsi has been chosen for this service, city leisure services director Randy Gaddo reported last week at the regular monthly meeting of the Library Commission.

The system is expected to be in place this fall. All software, hardware and cabling will be funding by the state, Gaddo said, while installation costs have also been taken care of through the regional office.

Used at libraries throughout the world, the Sirsi system is the product of choice at Emory University and Kennesaw State University. Library technology manager Jill Kuhns already has experience using the system, Gaddo reported.

Records up to June 11 have already been converted to the new format, with more recent records being done on an ongoing basis.

A demonstration of the system is scheduled for Aug. 5 at Macon Tech, and local library staff will be represented there.

Gaddo said to expect a few bugs to be worked out in the initial months, as would be the case with any major new technology.

One area that should save the library time and money is ordering, which will be done electronically instead of by mailing cards to the central office.

Training for library staff will be provided by the state, and funding for it will also come from the state, Gaddo said.

“There don't appear to be any overt costs to us,” he said. “There is money at the state level to do all of this.”

A total of 11 terminals will be outfitted with this system, and all of those will have Internet access as well. This got the attention of commission members, who suggested that staff check out the possibility of children accessing inappropriate materials without staff knowledge.

As for the overall Internet policy, which has been changed with the addition of several new terminals, there have been no complaints so far.

The previously considered method of using library cards to electronically sign on and use Internet computers has been scrapped in favor of password protection. Patrons still sign in at the desk, and are then told the password for accessing Netscape, which is changed every few days.

Kuhns reported that 11 Internet terminals are now completed and in use. There have been no major problems as far as patrons having to wait a long time to use them, like there were in the past, although even the new terminals stay fairly busy most of the day, she said.

In other library news, Gaddo said that initial budget reviews for fiscal year 2000 have been done, and a special budget meeting with the City Council and all department heads is scheduled for Thursday, July 22, at 6 p.m.

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