ELLSWORTH — The Ellsworth Public Library is now at your fingertips, literally.
The library has expanded its Web site to include a searchable database of its entire collection.
Patrons can reserve or renew materials with the click of a mouse. They can also see at a glance whether an item is available or is checked out. Also, patrons can receive an e-mail reminder three days before materials are due or when a reserve item becomes available.
“We’re really thrilled to be able to offer this service,” said Charlene Churchill, the library’s director. “I think it’s a good system. We’re really trying to encourage patrons to use the system.”
When patrons use the system, they enter their library card number at the top of the Web page, which brings up their account.
Churchill said another feature is that the system keeps track of how much patrons have saved by borrowing materials from the library versus buying them.
For example, one patron who checked out materials Monday saved $25.95. To date in 2009, that patron has saved $116.
The account feature also lists other items that are out and their due date.
That information is also printed out on a slip of paper that resembles a store receipt whenever a patron checks out an item.
Coming soon is a self-checkout system for all materials except DVDs. Churchill said there has been “a glitch” that should be worked out soon.
Another feature is reserve express.
Patrons select from a listing of authors, mainly writers of popular fiction. Whenever the library acquires a new item by the authors selected, the patrons automatically go on a reserve express list. Those patrons get the materials before those putting themselves on the regular reserve list for an item.
And, random lists of books to read someday can be a thing of the past.
A bookmark feature on the site allows patrons to note which books they want to read or what they’ve already read, Churchill said.
Patrons can also submit reviews of materials online. The reviews will appear whenever a patron looks up an item’s record.
“Our first review was received from a library member who is about 10 years old,” Churchill said.
The library staff will read all the reviews, which will be posted as long as there is no bad language, the director said.
One issue to keep in mind with the new system is that patrons do need to bring their library cards with them to check out materials, Churchill said.
The new system also saves staff time, Churchill said.
For example, instead of typing information from new books into the system, a librarian can download the information from the Library of Congress.
The library’s Web site address is www.ellsworth.lib.me.us.