Catalog to change Nov 3, some services to be disrupted

To save more than $60,000 a year and to provide better service, the Fond du Lac Public Library is becoming an independent, standalone library. The library has been a member of the Winnefox Library Automated System, but this year the library board determined that the $103,000 annual Winnefox price tag was not providing good value to Fond du Lac city taxpayers.

The extremely complicated process of separating the Fond du Lac Public Library’s electronic catalog files from the Winnefox files has been under way for months. It will culminate on November 3, when the library will unveil two new catalogs.

A modernized and streamlined Fond du Lac materials catalog will allow local cardholders to view and reserve materials at any of the library’s locations. The catalog will offer expanded searching, looking not just in library materials but also through databases and online resources, simplifying research projects.

Patrons also will have access to Wiscat, which will show materials available for borrowing from other libraries – Winnefox as well as libraries across the United States. Initially, reserves on these materials will have to be placed by library staff, but eventually – within weeks – patrons will have the ability to reserve those materials themselves, electronically.

Both the new Fond du Lac catalog and Wiscat will be accessible through the library’s website, www.fdlpl.org, or at any of the catalog computers at the three library locations: the main branch downtown, the St. Agnes Hospital satellite and – coming soon – FDLPL Express at the Shops at Johnson Crossing.

Going standalone allows the Fond du Lac Library the freedom to make other improvements for Fond du Lac patrons.

Starting November 3, the library will offer a family group card. Members of a household may have accounts that are linked, but each person will have their own card. This will allow family members to check out, renew and place holds on materials for each other. Parents will have the ability to check on their child’s fines and checkouts. All children aged 15 and under will be linked to a parent’s card, proving better oversight and accountability for kids’ borrowing.

During the final stages of completing the standalone process, patrons will experience some disruption of service.

From October 27 to October 31, the catalog will be inaccessible to patrons, but library staff will have access to an internal system that can be used to renew and return materials, as well as place holds. From November 1 to November 3, however, the catalog will be down completely: no holds and no renewals. Items can be checked out and returned, and the library will extend a three-day grace period for late materials.

Also, the library’s free internet computers will be down from October 31 to November 3 when the two systems will be separated electronically.

“We appreciate the community’s patience as we complete this process of becoming an independent library,” said library Director Ken Hall. “In light of funding cuts, the decision to leave Winnefox, while difficult at first, has proven to be integral to our ability to continue to provide a diverse and comprehensive menu of services for the community. By sacrificing – over the short term – a few services for some, we can better serve the whole over the long term.”

Patrons who need help finding materials and placing reserves can contact library staff either in person, calling the Help Desk at (920) 929-7080, ext. 131 or by emailing [email protected].

 

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