Helena library starts taking online requests

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Jane B. Holmes Library in Helena is taking requests.

A new online system developed by Head Librarian Victoria Ashford allows local residents to submit requests for books, audio tapes and multimedia that they would like to see available.

Ashford said she is excited about the new service and feels that it will help fill the many requests she receives for new materials at the library.

&8220;People are always coming up to the desk and looking for an item that we don&8217;t have,&8221; she said. &8220;If it&8217;s something that&8217;s new and popular, a lot of people will want it. They&8217;re kind of customizing their library.&8221;

Residents looking to request new library material can log on to http://www.cityofhelena.org/Default.asp?ID=283 to submit their suggestion.

The website asks for as much information as can be supplied, but Ashford said suggestions can remain anonymous as well.

&8220;Our three main goals with this system are discretion, accuracy and convenience for our patrons,&8221; she said. &8220;This is for people who don&8217;t want to buy it, but still want to read it.&8221;

Ashford warned, however, that not all submitted requests can be honored.

&8220;You can feel comfortable to ask, but you may not see it right away,&8221; she said.

The system is the first of its kind in a Shelby County library, and one of the first in Alabama.

Ashford said that patrons at other local libraries will likely see similar online suggestion boxes in the near future.

&8220;Once the word gets out in the next few weeks we&8217;re bound to see other local libraries catch on,&8221; she said.

Ashford also pointed out that requests for books at Helena&8217;s library also help out the county-wide library system as a whole via the inter-library loan system.

&8220;If I buy something for our library, that material is going to be available to every Shelby County resident,&8221; she said. &8220;The reach is endless. I feel like this is a win-win for the library and its patrons.&8221;