Wednesday, April 11, 2007

An "Uncommon" Borrower's Card

One of the best values associated with your Merrimack library card is that it is also honored at the public libraries in Amherst, Milford, Bedford, Derry, Goffstown, Manchester (including its West Side branch), Hooksett, and Salem, as well as at the Shapiro Library at SNHU and the Danforth Library at New England College. The Common Borrower Card Program of the GMILCS, Inc. library consortium allows people with valid cards at any of the member libraries to borrow items directly from any of the other member libraries. And the borrowed items can be returned right here to the Merrimack Public Library, and we will send them to the lending library via the state library's delivery van. What could be easier?

Actually, this arrangement is pretty uncommon for New Hampshire, since GMILCS is the state's only public/academic library consortium. If you've lived in some other states that have consortia (like Massachusetts) or states with county library systems (like Florida), you'll have experienced the ease of having a library card that's good throughout the issuing library system. In those places, state or county taxes make library systems or consortia possible. New Hampshire, with its emphasis on local funding and decision-making, cannot easily support the cost of systems and consortia. Twenty years ago, it was hoped that NH might one day have five regional systems, but in reality, only the Manchester area was able to fund and sustain a program. Luckily, Merrimack has been part of GMILCS from the start, which makes our Common Borrow Card and shared catalog possible.

Of course, we're happy to borrow what you need on interlibrary loan, but ILL takes a few days, so if you're in a hurry and want to cut out the middle man, you can present your card at any GMILCS library and take your materials right away. Either way, the sharing of library materials under the GMILCS banner expands the walls of the Merrimack Public Library. And we think that's a good deal!

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