Library card is key to new services


When the Carroll library system begins use of a new automation system in June, patrons will be able to take advantage of two new services.

Library users will be able to buy miniature library cards that can be attached to key rings and will be able to tap into the automation system to see what materials they have checked out and reserve books. The Carroll County Library board of trustees endorsed both services last week.

The miniature library cards -- 1 inch by 2 inches -- will be sold for $2 and can be used to check out materials, said Martha M. Makosky, library director. The cards also will allow lost keys to be returned to the library.

"The card is almost indestructible," Ms. Makosky said. "This little card will help you find your keys if you lose them. They would be returned to any public library postage-free."

The library would then return the card and keys to the patron.

The cards will expire in three years. The cards will not replace the free library cards, which will remain available to all county residents, she said.

Ms. Makosky said the service allowing patrons to look at their own borrowing records is some thing not available now. To assure confidentiality, patrons will be assigned Personal Identification Numbers, similar to those used at automated bank teller machines. The PIN numbers will not be needed to check out books.

The borrowing record will only reflect what a patron has currently checked out and not any materials that have been returned, Ms. Makosky said. Patrons will be able to use the PIN number to reserve books from their home computers.

"We don't want to maintain a history of borrowing records," she said. "We maintain them statistically, but not on individual patron's records."

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