Greentown — Greentown Public Library patrons can now access the catalogs of about 94 libraries statewide, as it has joined the Evergreen Indiana library consortium.
Director Margi Bontrager said all patrons need to re-register for new library cards, and parents of children who have library cards through Eastern schools need to sign new permission cards for their children to check out books.
As a thank you for re-registering, she said, any fines for overdue materials will be waived through September.
“We want people to start out with a clean slate through Evergreen,” she said.
According to the Evergreen Indiana website, the consortium includes more than 90 public, school and institutional libraries throughout Indiana. Its catalog includes more than 2.4 million bibliographic records and provides access to more than 6 million items.
Bontrager said Greentown patrons may find items at other Evergreen libraries and place holds on those items, which will be delivered to Greentown.
Right now, there is a once-weekly delivery, but Bontrager anticipates twice-weekly delivery in the near future, for shorter wait times.
Sheryl Dean, Greentown Public Library Board president, said she likes that library card holders will not have to buy a state access library card to borrow materials from other libraries, because they can borrow from other Evergreen libraries.
She added that those who travel can check out books and materials from libraries near where they are visiting.
Dean said patrons will have many benefits with this change.
“They’ll have a greater selection, shorter turnaround periods in getting items they want, and they actually get to have those items longer,” she said.
People from other libraries are already accessing the Greentown library, Bontrager said, since it became part of the consortium on Tuesday. She said staff already has packages ready to send to 20 other member libraries.
Bontrager said Greentown patrons will enjoy being able to check out items for longer periods. Books can now be checked out for three weeks instead of two, and DVDs may be checked out for seven days instead of five.
Previously, members of one household could check out up to five DVDs at a time, and that will increase to 10.
However, she added, fines have changed as well. The library had charged 10 cents per day for overdue books and $2 per day for overdue videos. The fine is now 25 cents per item, including DVDs.
Bontrager said those checking out books will need to present their library card each time as well. In the past, library staff would look up a patron’s record before checking out materials.
Library staff had to replace the bar codes on all library materials during the summer, she said.
Bontrager said patrons should not look up their records in the old system, because they are no longer being updated. The old library cards will not work anymore, either.
She thinks patrons will be happy with the new Evergreen system, which allows them to renew items and place holds online. It also sends e-mail reminders when materials are due.
“This has more bells and whistles. It’s more contemporary. I think people will be much happier in the long run.”
• Danielle Rush is the Kokomo Tribune education reporter. She can be reached at 765-454-8585 or firstname.lastname@example.org.