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Published: Wednesday, 1/11/2006

Swanton: Library begins upgrade

BY JANET ROMAKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Teresa Reckner of Swanton watches grandsons Logan, 2, and Levi, 4, use the library's facilities. Teresa Reckner of Swanton watches grandsons Logan, 2, and Levi, 4, use the library's facilities.
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SWANTON - A new chapter in the life of Swanton Public Library is being written as the staff makes plans for a streamlined circulation system.

Marking the first major upgrade in 10 years, the project involves implementation of the "next generation of technology" to meet the needs of library users.

The library board has signed a contract with Polaris Library Systems, Syracuse, N.Y., said Linda Slaninka, library director, who anticipates that the system will be installed sometime this winter. Initial cost for the system is $20,000.

As part of the transition, the library will close for three or four days for staff training, the director said.

The library's circulation system is antiquated and equipment is obsolete, she said. Only one of the original three computer catalogs on the system works.

Gail Phipps, above, works on a book display. At left, Tim Meadows works on a computer that will be replaced sometime this winter during the library's first upgrade in 10 years. Gail Phipps, above, works on a book display. At left, Tim Meadows works on a computer that will be replaced sometime this winter during the library's first upgrade in 10 years.
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"We've reached the stage where our system needs upgraded, not only to keep us competitive with the computer world but to make things better for our clients," she said.

Options available on the new system include:

●streamlined tasks for more efficient records management for the staff;

●easy to understand Windows and Web technologies;

●children's catalog;

●book cover images and reviews in an enhanced online catalog;

●three new computer catalogs;

●convenient access to library users' accounts and library services from home computers.

Library customers will be able to renew books and other materials online, Mrs. Slaninka said.

The new system will feature an option that is a throw back to the "olden days" of libraries. Years ago, library patrons checked out books by writing their names on paper cards, kept in pockets inside the books, that librarians hand stamped with return dates. A quick review of the card would show a patron whether or not he had read that book.

Some library customers say they miss that system because it helped them keep track of what they had read. The Polaris system will give library users the option of retaining records for a limited amount of time about books they have checked out.

About 800 libraries across the United States use Polaris Library Systems' products, said Judy Michaelson, Polaris spokesman, noting that the new integrated system will help Swanton manage all aspects of its library work, including ordering, cataloging, and circulating materials.



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