Library isn’t silent
The board of trustees of the Public Library of Johnston County and Smithfield (PLJCS) felt it appropriate to respond to your claims that there has been silence regarding Hocutt-Ellington Memorial Library and its desire to withdraw as an affiliate library. We can assure you that PLJCS staff members have provided whatever answers they can to our patrons and affiliated libraries.
We should point out that at the time of your reporter’s interview request, Clayton had not yet submitted its letter of intent to the state library to become an independent library. Also, we were not sure what Clayton intended to do with its pending renewal of its affiliation agreement with the county. Until these two areas were known and the two libraries had a chance to talk, we chose to delay any public comments about the changes. Since then, Clayton has entered into another year of affiliation with Smithfield, and that agreement will be honored.
Based on data and information provided by Margaret Marshall, director of the PLJCS, I’ll address two areas that your editorial questions.
First, there have been comments about the processing time for Hocutt’s materials. PLJCS data show that the overall average time, for all affiliates, is two weeks. Typically, the libraries send their books to Smithfield for processing. Early last year, the Clayton library requested that PLJCS process its new materials in a different manner, one that didn’t include sending the actual books. PLJCS has attempted to honor this request while expressing concern that the processing time could increase. After several months, it was evident that this method was less efficient and did take more time; however, Clayton continued to use this method. Please note that in the last 12 months, nearly 9,400 books, DVDs and audio books have been processed for seven libraries.
Second, there have been comments and questions about Smithfield not joining N.C. Cardinal, the state cataloging and processing system. In November 2011, Smithfield applied for a Cardinal system grant. However in January 2012, there was a massive server failure at the Smithfield library that could have caused huge problems for the whole affiliate system. The library partnered with Polaris, the Integrated Library System provider for the county, which fast-tracked the process and kept system functionality intact. Since Polaris had supported Smithfield so quickly and efficiently, Smithfield withdrew its name from the Cardinal application process so that yet another system change would not have to be enacted at that time.
All that being said, the Public Library of Johnston County and Smithfield will continue to assist Hocutt-Ellington Memorial Library as it embarks on the process to become a state-recognized system. PLJCS staff members will strive for a smooth transition, offering the best service they can for all library patrons in Johnston County. Thank you.
Vice chairman, Johnston County Library Board of Trustees