Catherine Roche: Braswell joins library consortium


Catherine Roche is the director of Braswell Memorial Library.


Braswell Memorial Library

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Beginning on March 21, you will notice a change in the library catalog when you search for materials to check out.

Braswell Memorial Library, along with other Nash County libraries, is joining NC Cardinal.

NC Cardinal is a consortium of North Carolina public libraries that share an online catalog and integrated library system and share books and other library materials with other member libraries. The program’s mission is to maintain and continually develop a working, efficient and sustainable integrated library system for public libraries and library staff in North Carolina.

It is a program of the State Library of North Carolina, supported by grant funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Federal Library Services and Technology Act.

The State Library of North Carolina supports this consortium by providing initial startup and migration funding to join the consortium and after migration, funding for State Library consultants to facilitate system support, workshops, training, project management guidance and consortium oversight on a variety of cataloging and circulation issues.

NC Cardinal has been operating since July 2010.

One of the most exciting aspects of NC Cardinal is the sharing of items across the state. Once the data migration and staff training is complete, library patrons will have access to library materials from all NC Cardinal Libraries. More than 80,000 items move among the member libraries each month.

Resource sharing, which launched in February 2013, has had two immediate impacts on patrons: member libraries have seen hold request wait times cut from an average of 6.5 days to 1.8 days, and patrons now have access to numerous materials they previously didn’t.

Each morning, NC Cardinal Libraries pull a list of hold requests from the integrated library system, package these items and ship them to their partner libraries in the consortium through a shared shipping account. Patrons of member libraries enjoy this service at no cost.

One of the most practical advantages to being part of the NC Cardinal consortium is the leveraging of Federal Library Services and Technology funds to improve efficiency and provide cost savings to the libraries. All expenses associated with NC Cardinal were initially funded through an LSTA project.

A consortium pricing structure is being implemented that will provide sustainability and cost sharing. The cost of joining and the first two years membership in the NC Cardinal consortium is funded. An annual cost share for continued membership is determined based upon the size of the library’s collection and patron base. Under this pricing structure, each library will find annual savings between 30 percent and 80 percent, with a median of about 58 percent, compared to the previous costs

NC Cardinal current statistics include:

■ 34 public library systems and one special library — over 40 percent of North Carolina's public library systems.

■ 155 branch locations.

■ 41 counties and three municipalities.

■ 3.3 million North Carolinians served.

■ 6.5 million library items.

■ 56 million circulations to date.

■ 4.5 million transits among member libraries.

Information from this column was excerpted with permission from the NC Cardinal home page: https://statelibrary.ncdcr.gov/ld/nc-cardinal/about.