Bladen County residents will soon have access to more than 4 million items from libraries all over the state.
Next week, the Bladen County library system will be transitioning to the NC Cardinal system, a consortium of libraries in the Tar Heel State. The new venture, supported by grant funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Federal Library Services and Technology Act, enables the three Bladen County branches to share a circulation system and resources with the other libraries in the program. Approximately 30 library systems across the state currently belong to the consortium.
“I think that’s one of the attractions of NC Cardinal,” said Bladen County Library Director Kelsey Edwards. “There are large systems like Cumberland and Forsyth County that are members of the consortium, and those systems have a lot of items, so our patrons are getting access to a lot of material they otherwise wouldn’t have access to.”
Once a library system is part of the consortium, its resources become shared on a common circulation program powered by the North Carolina State Library. Edwards said the only thing in the libraries that aren’t shareable are items a library wouldn’t allow to be checked out anyway — like encyclopedias and local genealogy books — as well as ebooks. DVDs, audio books, and regular books numbering in the millions are now at Bladen County residents’ fingertips.
Not only are the resources available, but, like a popular DVD box rental company, the items can be returned at any member site.
“If you’re on vacation in the mountains, you could check out a book there, and if you’re not done, you could bring it back home and finish reading it and return it to our library,” explained Edwards.
As of now, the state library is using grant money to pay shipping for items.
To request books, patrons log onto Bladen County Library’s web site and follow a NC Cardinal link. Requested books may take up to a week to arrive, and, after library guests are finished with the item, they simply return it to the nearest member library for free return shipping.
Due to the transition to the new system, Bladen County library patrons will be unable to register for a new account, renew library materials, or place holds from 4 p.m. on Friday, March 10 through closing on Wednesday, March 15. In addition, the main branch in Elizabethtown will have a delayed opening of 11 a.m. on Thursday, March 16.
Resource sharing capability will begin on May 1. For additional information, call 910-862-6990.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.