SALEM Library upgrades computer system

Online access to the new system allows users to reserve and renew materials.
SALEM -- Salem Public Library patrons are using a new computer system to track books and other materials and to perform a host of other tasks.
The computerized catalog of the library's holdings replaces an electronic system that was in place for about eight years, George W.S. Hays, library director, said Friday.
"There was nothing wrong with the old system except that it was outdated from a technological standpoint," Hays said. "In computer terms, it was a real antique," he added.
The new system "is a lot easier to use, and it's more pleasing to the eye," Hays said as he demonstrated it. The new system can be accessed from any one of several computer stations set up throughout the library.
What it's like
The look of the new catalog software resembles an Internet Web page, giving users the option of several tasks or links.
The Web page resemblance makes the system easier to read and enables users to navigate it using point-and-click mouse movements rather than the keystroke techniques required by the old software, Hays noted.
"This is all state-of-the-art," he said.
More options
When library patrons access the new system, they'll have more options from which to choose when searching for materials.
The old software allowed searches based on author, title and subject. The new system makes those searches available as well as others, including by genre, publisher and series.
A series search lets patrons seek out the library's holdings on collections of material with common themes or characters, such as the Hardy Boys mysteries.
Another feature is what it allows patrons to do over the Internet.
By accessing the system online, patrons may search the catalog just as though they were at the library.
Patrons who go to the library and get a personal identification number may access the online catalog to reserve or renew materials, or to review their account.
Account details show what materials a patron has checked out and when they're due.
Web site
The library's Web site is
The new system was activated Aug. 19 and has performed well, with virtually no complaints from patrons, Hays said.
The system cost about $70,000, which came from state funding the institution receives annually.
The library serves about 16,000 patrons and has 85,000 items in its collection, which includes books, magazines, videos and recordings.

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