MACOMB COUNTY — What should you do when the local library is running low on interesting books? Through a new library program, visiting other cities’ libraries is an option.
Residents of the participating cities throughout the metro area, as well as the broader state of Michigan, can utilize the new MiLibrary program to check out printed materials at other participating libraries.
According to Tammy Turgeon, Sterling Heights library director and director of the Suburban Library Cooperative, which organizes the program, it effectively replaces the state Michicard program, which ended Dec. 31, 2013. While MiLibrary just kicked off Jan. 1, currently 74 libraries throughout the state — including Detroit, Wayne State University, and the Macomb Community College libraries — are participating, she said.
“A lot of them are in Southeast Michigan because there’s a lot of patrons that use multiple libraries, because we’re all kind of close to each other,” Turgeon said. “Someone may live in one community and work in another community.”
Turgeon said that a person living in a participating community can have a MiLibrary sticker put on their library card at their home library, similar to the Michicard system. Once that’s done, they can use that card to check out materials at other participating libraries.
“We’re sharing our resources, which is a thing that libraries are really good at,” she said.
The Library of Michigan website said it ended Michicard because the Michigan e-Library Catalog, or MeLCat, has superceded it. Under MeLCat, patrons at one library are able to request materials from any other participating library be sent to them. Turgeon said MiLibrary serves as a complement to MeLCat, since residents can check out books with it from other participating libraries while out and about.
Eastpointe Memorial Library Assistant Director Sue Todd said her library has seen a fair amount of interest in the program in the few weeks it has been running, particularly since the Detroit Public Library announced it was on board. For the most part, she said, people were fine with the program’s setup and understood that they needed to get the sticker to check out materials.
Todd added that someone coming in to use the computers did not need the MiLibrary sticker on their card, as MiLibrary is only for the printed materials.
“If an Eastpointe patron comes with a Michicard sticker, we will ask them if they want the MiLibrary sticker and tell them about the changes,” Todd said. “This is not mandatory. Libraries don’t have to participate. This is just another service that we can provide to patrons.”
Todd said she liked the program’s potential for people vacationing elsewhere in the state, too. If someone from a participating community visits another part of the state with a participating local library, they would be able to check out books away from home.
Turgeon said there should not be any additional cost to patrons, though libraries themselves do need to purchase the stickers. Additionally, visitors with the stickers get added to the lending library’s computer database, and if those people end up losing or damaging an item, it’s up to the lending library to get reimbursed for it, not the person’s home library.
The MiLibrary program does not cover nonprinted materials, such as musical albums and DVDs, Todd said, but the availability of printed materials is much more than it used to be years ago.
“It really opens things up for our patrons,” she said. “It opens up that access to information more than when I was young, when you just had to use your city library and that was it.”
A full list of participating libraries can be found at the program’s website, www.MiLibrarycard.org.
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