KINGSPORT - A new and improved online catalog and circulation system is expected to be launched next week and include more than 1.8 million items from all of the libraries in six Northeast Tennessee counties.
Kingsport Public Library Director Helen Whittaker said the new online catalog will include the catalogs of all the public libraries in the Watauga Regional Library System (Carter, Unicoi, Greene, Johnson, Sullivan and Washington) as well as newcomers to the system - Bristol Public Library and in July, the libraries at East Tennessee State University and Northeast State Technical Community College.
Whittaker said the courier system - where a person can request a book from another library and it be delivered to their home library - would be extended to new libraries entering the system.
Libraries would still have their own individual Web sites, but the link to the new online catalog would be same for all libraries involved in the system.
Patrons will still be able to renew material from home and place holds online. The site will include a grocery-cart feature for materials and the user will be able to search by home town library, children's section or every library in the system.
"The online catalog is more like an Amazon.com feel to it. It's more intuitive than the other one we had," Whittaker said. "We're hoping it will be a lot easier for the public to use."
The Kingsport Public Library will be closed April 23 in preparation of the launch of the new online catalog on Tuesday. The outside book returns will be open in case patrons need to return materials on Monday.
"On Monday they are migrating all of the circulation data (to the system). We will not be able to check in or check out any books," Whittaker said. "We're just going to be closed and use that time to catch up on some projects."
Each library will pay a pro-rated amount for the new online catalog. Kingsport's portion for the system will be $12,000 and is due next fiscal year. Whittaker said she is asking for that amount to be included in the library's upcoming budget.
"We're all learning our jobs over again and it will be a huge learning curve for us," Whittaker said. "And I think it will be an improvement for the public. There are a lot of features to this that will enhance what we have."