Library book checkout goes hi-tech in parish

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 24, 2001

VIDALIA, La. – If the word &uot;library&uot; makes you think only of card catalogs, bulky reference books and manual checkout procedures of the past … think again.

These days, both public and school libraries in Concordia Parish are equipped with the latest in computer technology.

That gives patrons access to a world of information and makes it much easier for them to use the library, said Concordia Parish librarians.

Parish Librarian Amanda Taylor, who oversees the Concordia Parish Library branches in Ferriday, Vidalia and Clayton, as well as its mobile facilities, said the parish’s library system has been computerized for six years.

Now, instead of having a patron sign a paper card to check out books, library employees scan the patron’s card and the bar codes of the books he is checking out.

That data goes into a computer system shared by the whole library system, making it easier to keep track of fines, due dates, which books are out and which types of books patrons check out the most.

&uot;We do our best to stay in touch with what our patrons want, but this is just another tool we can use to serve them better,&uot; Taylor said.

Gayle Carlock, librarian at Ferriday Junior High, has overseen a brand-new library since August 1999, when a new school building was opened to replace one that had burned.

And she said the computerized checkout system has brought more students and faculty into the facility – if only to see the new technology for themselves.

&uot;It prints out a receipt when they check out a book, and they think it’s the neatest thing,&uot;&160;Carlock said. &uot;It even amazes some of the teachers.&uot;

Carlock said she also has a portable unit that she can use to scan the bar codes of books on the shelves.

&uot;I haven’t taken inventory yet, but that should make it a lot easier,&uot; Carlock said.