I have been asked why TADL has not yet joined MeLCat. Excellent Question! Here is the long and short of it...
Q. What is MeLCat?
A. MeLCat is a state-wide unified catalog of participating libraries. Most are public libraries but many academic libraries participate as well. Notably, this is voluntary on the part of participating libraries and many still have not joined, TADL included. MeLCat is a product of the Library of Michigan and part of its MeL program of online resources; it is funded by Federal funds, leveraged by State Aid to Libraries which is Michigan funding. Registered users of participating libraries may enter MeLCat directly or via their home library web sites and request materials from any of the participating MeLCat libraries. Requested materials are delivered through the MeL delivery program direct to your home library for pickup by you. [MeL=Michigan e-Library]
Q. Why is MeLCat so attractive?
A. This is probably the best form of inter-library loan as it can be entirely self-serve by the patron, in the comfort of your own home at your own computer. Staff assistance is available by phone or on a walk-in basis for residents who do not have computer access in their homes.
Q. Why doesn’t TADL Participate?
A. Two Reasons:
- Any circulation system that is not created by the company that designed MeLCat, Innovative Interfaces, does not have a smooth interface with MeLCat system. Materials received for TADL borrowers must be received from the MeLCat system and then checked out to TADL – a two step process for every transaction is required to receive and then again to return MeLCat items. This is a solvable problem. We have been told the NCIP communication between Evergreen and MeLCat has been resolved. Although we have not tested it as yet, it is installed in two Evergreen libraries so far.
- The TADL catalog needs to be uploaded and merged into the MeLCat unified catalog. The TADL catalog had some inconsistencies that needed to be resolved before we could take holdings to the state-wide catalog. The TADL catalog has received a thorough scrubbing and is now in good shape to contribute to MeLCat.
Q. How will TADL manage the transition to MeLCat?
A. Based on the experience of other libraries, we know that MeLCat is very popular with its users. We anticipate daily deliveries to double if not triple due to MeLCat participation.
There are no significant costs to join MeLCat because of state and federal support of this state-wide resource. Internally, we must solve the operational concerns I explained above. In addition: The Woodmere library is expanding and enhancing its hold shelf capacity and implementing Express Checkout to accommodate this additional demand.
Our community libraries in Kingsley, East Bay Township, Fife Lake, Interlochen and on the Peninsula will see additional business but structural changes to manage the demand are occurring primarily at the Woodmere facility.
Q. When will TADL join MeLCat?
A. TADL has notified the State Librarian that TADL is ready to participate in MeLCat. Although the timetable is not completely in our control, we expect training and technology preparations to be completed in time for a "Fall" implementation.
Posted by Metta on May 5th 2011, 2:12am.