Thursday, June 30, 2011

Library Hours Change, Interlibrary Loan Faces New Challenges

A new fiscal year for the town of Merrimack begins tomorrow, and with it comes a change in the hours the library will be open each week. Starting after the coming July 4th weekend (when we will be closed Saturday, Sunday, and Monday) our hours will be:

Monday--9 am to 8 pm, Tuesday--10 am to 9 pm, Wednesday--1 pm to 9 pm, Thursday--10 am to 9 pm, Friday--10 am to 5 pm, Saturday--10 am to 1 pm, Sunday--1 pm to 4 pm (Sunday hours will resume on Sept. 11)

This schedule change results from a budget reduction that has made 60 hours of weekly service unsustainable. Luckily, we have been able to retain our core services, though the number of books, dvds, audiobooks, and magazine subscriptions purchased will drop for the second consecutive year.

Also, due to a serious loss in funding at the New Hampshire State Library, we will receive service from the interlibrary loan van only three days a week, down from the current five, and the number of bins and bags we can send each trip will be limited. Since Merrimack Public Library is the third highest interlibrary lender in NH (behind Rochester and Manchester), managing this flow of materials is going to be quite a challenge. For our patrons, it means longer waits for loans, even from the other GMILCS libraries.

Of course, you can still pick up your items at any GMILCS library with your Merrimack card, and you may wish to consider that when placing holds online. Just place your hold at the "item level" (that little hand holding the book) and change your pickup library to the library that owns the item. I suggest this option only for older items that don't have waiting lists. If the book is a bestseller with many copies in GMILCS and a waiting list, place the hold at the record level (the Place Request button) and pickup at your home library. If this is confusing, stop by the Reference Desk for some pointers.

These changes in hours and ILL service have been brought to you by the events that have nearly toppled the US economy, and not by any targeted attack on library services. I'll leave you to your own political opinions on this matter. As for the library staff, we'll do what we can to manage these changes with the least amount of disruption, and we hope you'll be patient as we do our best.

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