Caldwell library has access to statewide network of resources

May. 11, 2013 @ 04:36 AM

The Caldwell County Public Library now is part of an online network allowing patrons access to millions of reading and other resources from across North Carolina.

The library has migrated its 73,000 materials, ranging from novels and books on local history to research collections and periodicals, to the online network. The library staff was trained on use of the network, including a vast cataloging system, in late March.

“It’s still new,” county library director Sarah Green said.  But “we’re really excited about the possibilities about improving service for the local patrons.”

The county library system joins 12 others, some of which serve multiple counties and totalling 55 libraries, as part of NC Cardinal, formed by the State Library of North Carolina a couple years ago after a survey of libraries of varying sizes across the state showed wide interest in exchanging resources.

The state has since seen a huge increase in resources circulating between the more than 55 registered libraries, said Jennifer Pratt, chief of library development at the State Library of North Carolina, and the vast online repository has reduced reservation times for rentals.

About 3.5 million resources have changed hands between the more than 560,000 patrons involved in the network this past year, said Tanya Prokrym, who manages the network. And those numbers likely will double by the end of the year, she noted, when the network will expand to 19 library systems representing more than 25 counties across the state.

The Caldwell library system moved to join early last year, after learning about other nearby libraries – including the Appalachian Regional Library, which includes public libraries in Wilkes, Catawba and Ashe counties – that were drawing library resources from across the state. That was when the library received a grant worth more than $30,000 from the state library system, which for the past two years has distributed federal funds to help pay for training and other expenses related to joining the online network.

The county library system, which formed in 1930, has branches in Hudson, Granite Falls and Lenoir, considered the main site with the most resources.

About 63,000 county residents had library cards as of July 2012, according to state library records. That is about 76 percent of the county's population of about 85,500, a ratio higher than the statewide average of 72 percent of county populations.

“We’re proud of that number,” Greene said.

To view the state catalog, visit http://nccardinal.org/eg/opac/home.