Shared Catalog brings in books from outside BHC Library

Literary Junction
Ray Dale / Public Services Librarian
Thursday, July 26, 2018
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On Tuesday, Aug. 7, representatives from the Montana State Library will be visiting the Big Horn County Library to discuss problems and possible solutions with the Montana Shared Catalog.

Last summer, we did an inventory of all items at the Big Horn County Library and found we have around 31,000 books, give or take. This tally includes fiction, non-fiction, kids’ books, the whole deal. That’s a lot of books, and they come in a wide range of topics from romance novels to cook books, and from do-it-yourself books to murder mysteries.

Despite this number, someone inevitably will come in looking for a book we just don’t have in stock. That’s where the Shared Catalog comes in.

Most libraries in Montana belong to the Shared Catalog program, which is run through the Montana State Library. If we don’t have a particular book, we can look on the Shared Catalog website and usually find a library that does. We then can make a request to that library to loan the book to us and we will then loan it to the patron who is looking for it.

Sometimes, these books are just part of a series and the patron wants to read them in order, but other times they are non-fiction books used for research. Usually, it takes about 3-4 days for the requested book to arrive.

Many of our patrons make regular use of this program. Having the option of borrowing from another library enables patrons to get books they might otherwise not have access to.

While this program has been highly successful and useful to patrons, there is always room for improvement. That is the purpose for the visit from the Montana State Library. They are visiting libraries across the state of Montana to get ideas for making this whole program even better, and also discussing problems a specific library may be having concerning the program.

Be sure to take the opportunity to beat the summer heat, and come into the air conditioned library and find a book you may have wanted to read. And remember, if you can’t find it, check with us at the front counter about possibly borrowing it through the Shared Catalog.