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Posted: August 21, 2010 2:03 p.m.
Updated: August 22, 2010 4:30 a.m.

Dear Mayor Laurene Weste and Santa Clarita City Council members: A couple of issues need to be addressed before the city takes over three of the county library branches.

|I usually have about 20-30 items checked out and about the same number on hold for later pickup.

The Internet has changed the way that institutions interact with their users. Before, patrons would go to the library to browse the shelves for a certain author or subject. If one wanted a best-seller, one recognized that it was unlikely to be on the shelf — or any other books by that same author — and would go to the librarian to put in a request for the book. It would eventually arrive at the library for pickup and a notice would be mailed out.

Now, if I see a title that strikes my fancy, in the Sunday newspaper for example, I can log on to the library website and put in a request. I get an e-mail when the book is ready to be picked up. I can modify that request online at any time.

This works because I have access to the contents of 87 libraries, not just the three that would be in the new system. It is hard to imagine that the rest of the county branches will allow access to their holdings if we pull out of the system; probably they will, like Glendale, charge a fee for access to their catalogs. This fee will probably force me to go to a San Fernando or Castaic library rather than the nearby Valencia branch.

The second issue is the cost in time and money that will be necessary to develop a new website; the present one took well over a year and a large amount of money to develop.


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