Libraries answer the needs of patrons

By Leah Morris


Delta County Libraries is in the process of releasing new software in all five libraries. This software monitors public computer use through a sign-in process that ensures all patrons receive equal computer time. It is a system that has been tested in thousands of libraries and has proven very successful at providing a fair and non-biased approach to busy library computers.

The system does require that a user has either a valid Delta County Libraries card or, if he is from out of town, a guest pass. Library staff members have been busy replacing and updating library cards and helping patrons to sign up for new cards and passes. This transition has led library administrative staff to develop a new, more basic option for some Delta County residents.

Assistant district director LaDonna Gunn explains, "We have spoken with several people who don't plan to check out library books, but would like to be able to sit down and use our computers on a regular basis. Instead of requiring these users to follow all the steps necessary to get the full access card, we've created a simpler card that meets their needs."

This card is a new electronic resources library card, which staff simply calls an ECard. Recipients of ECards will be able to use them for public computer access and all the tools on the library website, including e-books, music, language learning sites, e-magazines, numerous research databases, online classes and more. These users will not have access to print materials in the libraries, alleviating the potential for overdue fines and lost or damaged books.

Gunn stresses that computer users are not the only ones who will benefit from the new ECard. "We see a definite need for a card like this. For example, parents who would like their kids to be able to use our online research tools without the responsibility of due dates and overdues might take advantage of this opportunity."

Gunn continues, "We are also thinking of people who rarely come into town. Such folks can actually apply for the card through our website and we'll send it to them. They can then check out e-books and enjoy library services without ever leaving home."

Delta Library manager Adriana Chavira is pleased with the new card, saying, "This will alleviate stress on staff and those patrons who otherwise cannot get a library card but only need electronic services." On occasion, Chavira has worked with patrons who could not prove their address in Delta County, and now she looks forward to offering such users a welcoming solution.

"We constantly seek to improve the ways we reach out to our patrons," states Gunn. "This is a result of looking at patron and staff feedback and finding a way to turn a tough question into a new opportunity."