EDMOND — The business of book lending has become a bit easier for some of the patrons and staff of the Metropolitan Library System.
A self-service reserve system is in effect at the Ralph Ellison Library in Oklahoma City and at branches in Edmond, Bethany, Midwest City and The Village.
Kim Terry, director of communication for the Metro Library System, said the system should eventually expand to other branches as well.
Under the system, a sticker is placed on each reserve book with the name of the patron who reserved it, and these books are placed on designated shelves in alphabetical order.
Patrons pull their own reserve books and can use the self-serve checkout to borrow the material — no waiting.
“A lot of people like to stop in after work, which is usually the busiest time. They don't like to wait in line,” Terry said. “This way, they get the materials and then can go right to the self-checkout. They're done in a few minutes and don't even have to talk to anyone.”
Ingrid Lewis, of Edmond, reserves material online, including books for her children. When the reserves are ready she is notified by email or regular mail.
“It's a good way to monitor what the children read,” she said. “I've used this just about since it opened. I really like it.”
For some first-time users, the experience takes some getting used to.
One woman, who wouldn't give her name, wasn't initially pleased.
“They told me I had to go get it myself,” she said. “I'm not real happy.”
LaVetta Dent, manager of The Village Library, said the most popular items put on hold are best-sellers.
“Sometimes we can literally get hundreds of requests for a best-seller,” she said. One writer's new best-seller can trigger interest in other books written by the author.
Security in place
What stops someone from looking in the reserve section, spotting a book they want and simply taking it, even though someone else put it on reserve?
“The items in the self-reserve area are under one person's library card,” Dent said. “You can't check out the items using another card.”
Only about one-half of 1 percent of the 6 million library items that are circulated each year are stolen.
Dent recently saw someone take some library material. A security guard was notified and the violator was banned from the library for two years.
The Metropolitan Library System has 12 full-service libraries throughout Oklahoma County and five smaller extension libraries, four of which are located in the eastern part of the county in the cities of Harrah, Jones, Luther and Nicoma Park.
Another full service library, the Patience S. Latting Northwest Library, will open May 22 at 5600 NW 122.