published Sunday, July 28th, 2013

New trustees, technology on tap for Cleveland-Bradley County Public Library

  • photo
    Paul Long, a part-time book-shelver at the Cleveland-Bradley County Public Library, organizes books in this file photo.
    Photo by Allison Love /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — The Cleveland-Bradley County Public Library Board officially has welcomed its two newest trustees, Margaret Schenck and Allison Pierce.

Pierce, a board appointee, and Schenck, a city appointee, began their terms on July 1 and recently attended their first library board meeting. Both have served on several local community boards, including Bradley County United Way and the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce.

"We need members to address our present needs and our future needs," board Chairman John Hagler said. "Both [Schenck and Pierce] have a record of business achievement in this community and engage the community through volunteer service."

In other business, board members also reviewed a number of technology initiatives the library is undertaking to improve how it manages inventory and interfaces with its patrons.

The board voted 6-0 to move all catalog and patron data to a new electronic system. The system will cost less and simplify usage and maintenance, library director Andrew Hunt said.

The conversion and associated training, which costs $9,500, will be funded by Tennessee State Library and Archives, said Hunt. The system's annual maintenance, handled by Auto-Graphics, costs $5,934 and represents a 10 percent saving to the library.

The change, said Hunt, is expected to happen in November and will mean a delay in the library's plan to adopt radio frequency identification technology.

RFID, which is used in mall security systems and gas station fast-pass credit card payment systems, will improve the accuracy and speed in which the library circulates materials to the public, said Hunt.

The recent adoption of a credit card payment system has increased collection of library fines, said Hagler.

"Money is coming in better," he said in regard to the $1,400 to $1,500 in fines collected each month.

Currently the library does not charge patrons a fee to cover its credit card transaction costs and board members agreed that patrons would perceive such a move negatively.

The library also is considering whether to spend a $5,000 technology grant on 10 desktop computers or some tablet readers, Hunt said.

Small technology grants usually go toward replacing computers used at various stations around the facility, but Hunt said that tablets are under consideration as a way to give access to some magazines that are published only in an electronic format.

Paul Leach is based in Cleveland. Email him at paul.leach.press@gmail.com.

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