November 28, 2014

Library director named Outstanding Librarian of the Year - By Elizabeth Richards

Jen Alvino, director of the Windham Public Library (WPL), received the 2014 Outstanding Librarian award from the Maine Library Association (MLA) at a reception on Sunday, November 16th, 2014 during the annual MLA/MASL Conference at the Cross Center in Bangor.
The award was a surprise, Alvino said, and was very exciting to receive. “It’s nice to be recognized by your peers in that way,” she said. 

Each year the MLA communications committee seeks nominations for the award, which is given based on outstanding record of service to his/her library and outstanding record of service to the library profession. Alvino’s nomination was coordinated by a WPL staff member, who worked to gather letters of support for the nomination. Alvino has been the director of the library for a little over a year. 

The reception was a special evening, Alvino said, honoring MASL and MLA award recipients as well as celebrating long time State Librarian Linda Lord, and MLA and MASL business manager Edna Comstock, who are both retiring this year. “It was really special to be recognized alongside some wonderful people who advocate for libraries in Maine,” Alvino said.

In other library news, the WPL is gearing up for its conversion to Minerva, a statewide consortium of libraries in Maine. The data transfer will happen at the end of this week and the system goes live on Monday, November 24th

Patrons will then have access to approximately 6,000,000 items from libraries around the state, including 60 member libraries and the MaineCat Catalog, which includes the collections of the Portland Public Library, Bangor Public Library, University of Maine System libraries and more said Alvino. “It’s a pretty big milestone for us,” she said. 

Up to this point, she said, interlibrary loan has been a mail order process, where patrons submitted paper form requests for items, and it could take two to three weeks for items to arrive. As part of Minerva, patrons will now be able to request items online, and they will be delivered in days rather than weeks. “It really gives a lot more access to items,” said Alvino. 

According to a “need to know” sheet for Minerva on the WPL’s website, there are some changes that may affect patrons. With Minerva, patrons may reserve up to 15 titles at a time. The system only allows reserved items to be checked onto the account that reserved it, which means that people picking up items for friends or family will need to have the library card of the person who reserved the item. DVDs and videos from the WPL, and items from other libraries, will circulate for three weeks, with one 2-week renewal period. Books, audios, music, kits, equipment and magazine circulation will not change. 

Another adjustment is that due dates will no longer be stamped in books. Instead, patrons will receive a printed receipt with the due date information. Due dates can also be tracked by accessing an online account, or calling the library. Overdue fees will be 10 cents per day. Finally, the circulation history of patrons will be lost in this conversion. Patrons had the option of printing this information out before Thursday, November 20th, if they wished to save it. 

Online access to patron accounts will be turned off on Wednesday evening, and will not be accessible until the new system is live on Monday the 24th. The library will be closed on Friday the 21st and Saturday the 22nd in order to complete the conversion to Minerva.

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