New online catalogue for library

The Red Deer Public Library is receiving a much needed upgrade on Wednesday.

The Red Deer Public Library is receiving a much needed upgrade on Wednesday.

The library is launching Bibliocommons, a new online catalogue to replace the existing ibistro catalogue.

“The new catalogue system is absolutely amazing,” said Nicole Charles, RDPL’s IT librarian. “It will bring us into the 21st century.”

Bibliocommons, an interactive browsing system that users access from the web, is already used by many of the larger libraries across North America, said Charles.

It makes the most of the Internet’s endless range of possibilities, modernizing the old library card game with up-to-date multimedia features.

For example, said Charles, typing in the title of a book with this new system brings up so much more than simply a plot summary, its call number and availability.

“There’s videos, trailers for those books that have been made into movies, music, art, reviews by other readers across the continent . . . the list goes on,” she said.

Library account holders can log in and upload pictures and videos, rate, review and recommend books, as well as access other new features such as the “recently returned items” and “your permanent shelf” sections.

Staff members at RDPL are particularly fond of the permanent shelf, which keeps track of all the items a customer has borrowed. The old system couldn’t track customer checkouts. “How many times have you signed out a book or a movie, only to realize you’ve already read it or seen it? It happens to the best of us,” laughed Charles.

The permanent self is especially helpful for the Homebound Readers volunteers who borrow books for shut-ins, she added.

There is also a staff picks section, a lists feature to collect favourite authors and genres; and an awards section to view prize-winning book titles from across the globe.

Bibliocommons allows users to share their literary adventures with friends through Facebook and other social media outlets, said Charles.

Additionally, as Bibliocommons is used by so many other libraries, users can see what readers elsewhere think of a book.

The cost to switch over to the new system was subsidized by the Alberta Library, said Charles, and has been in the works for almost a year.

“It’s social on so many levels and shared between so many libraries all under one online roof,” said Charles. “It’s the next step in the evolution of the library.”