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Director's Column

PLSJC Director Alan Hall writes a weekly column discussing library and community news, history, and other interesting subjects.

The SEO Library System

By Alan Hall, Director, PLSJ
Publish Date - Sunday, May 28, 2017

The User’s Group Seminar for our computer network is a time for us to learn about the new software upgrades that have been completed, and those that we can expect over the next several months.


The seminars and meetings are held in the Columbus area these days as the network continues to grow and expand with its success.


It was announced that the Ashtabula County District Library with its branch in Geneva will become the newest library to connect to the SEO Library Consortium to become the 93rd  member of the system.


It is always exciting to welcome another public library system into our network, since our library system was one of the first five libraries that formed the network in 1988 with libraries in St. Clairsville, Cadiz, Barnesville, and Woodsfield.


The State Library of Ohio had automated its Southeast Center in Caldwell, and invited area libraries to automate as a cooperative. 


Our five libraries couldn’t imagine that we would grow to 93 libraries in 30 years.


In 2016, our SirsiDynix system moved into the “Cloud” operating on multiple systems located in multiple locations to allow better stability and security.


Software upgrades brought us into the new BLUECloud operations management and the various aspects of the system will gradually move into the BLUECloud.


The purpose of all of this transition is to allow the traditional “card catalog” of the library, which has been an online product since 1993, to expand to include not only paper books on the library shelf, but also online products such as eBooks.


This has already begun with the integration of journals and magazines so that one subject search will yield both products.


eResource Central will then incorporate the various online databases available for library users.


Another new aspect will be the incorporation of the “Digital Public Library of America” into Ohio public libraries so that digitized resources are searchable and available online.


Our own Digital Shoebox has been identified as the 4th largest digital resource in Ohio following the libraries in Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati.


Other new products for 2017 includes new software called, “Auto Renewals,” which allows the computer system to automatically renew the checkout period of someone’s books and materials to a new due date if no one is waiting for the item.


Surveys show that people have long thought that library overdue fines were silly and archaic, and prevent some people from using a library, and this would address that issue.


The truth is that most librarians even us old ones, feel that overdue fines are an irritation that could be adjusted to better suit the information needs of the 21st century.


The other new product will be begin this year are called “eResource Cards,” which are library cards provided to the public so they can use only the online resources of a library system.


They could allow any school student in a library’s service area to access the millions of pages of information and data from their own device.


The old librarian has some difficulty understanding that people want to access just the eResources and not the books-on-the-shelf because they would be charged if the book is lost or overdue; but it is a sign of the times.


Our delegation was excited to meet the “inventor” of the Dynix system, which began operations in 1984 and has expanded and been sold several times since.


It is also interesting to meet staff from the 92 library systems, many of which we exchange electronic communications with during the year putting a face to the message.


Several speakers reminded us that the SEO Library System is one of the largest networks in the U.S., providing more resources to our library users.