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Engaging Methuen Readers

New Symphony Catalog: Music to Our Ears!

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When you think of a symphony, an auditory extravaganza probably rises to the top of your mind. Personally, I think of Schubert’s 8th Unfinished Symphony and Megadeth’s haunting Symphony of Destruction. Coincidentally, those are both pieces of music that you’ll be able to order through our new Online Public Access Catalog, which is also called Symphony, later this month.

What’s a catalog and why do you have one?

A catalog is a list of all the items that our library system, the Merrimack Valley Library Consortium (or MVLC for short) lends. Every time you look up a book on our website, you’re accessing our catalog. Unlike other lists, a library catalog includes a lot of detail about each entry, including title, author, subject, and location information. Libraries use these to keep track of, and check out, their items.

Why are you changing to a new catalog?

That’s a great question, reader! Well, until now we’ve used a catalog system called Evergreen. This was an open source system, meaning that we didn’t pay a company to engineer it for us, but rather used a free system that had been created by library employees. Our group of affiliated libraries, which is called the Merrimack Valley Library Consortium (MVLC,) installed this system and hired people to fine-tune and maintain it about five years ago.

Evergreen worked pretty well, but there were some important things that it couldn’t do. For example, if you spelled something wrong while searching the catalog, Evergreen wasn’t smart enough to correct you. Instead of knowing that “Alise in Wonderland” was supposed to be “Alice in Wonderland,” it would just search for the incorrect entry and that would be that. Symphony is a lot smarter. If you make a mistake while you’re searching, the new catalog will catch it. Symphony will also tie in to Google results so that you’ll see library books pop up next to Amazon results when you’re looking for something to read on the Internet.

There are a lot of other neat things that Symphony will do, although most of the changes will only impact librarians. The biggest change you’ll see is that your service will get faster and more efficient.

What will happen to the links in this blog?

Sadly, the links in our old blog posts won’t translate to the new catalog. Happily, the new catalog website will be much easier to search.

What about my holds?

They’ll still be there!

What about my fines?

They’ll be there too.

Will there be any interruption of service?

Currently, our member libraries can’t order or receive any items through the Commonwealth Catalog, our statewide library catalog. This service will resume on May 22.

Between May 15th and May 17th, the library will still be checking out books, but there are a few things that won’t happen:

  • You won’t accrue fines. Hooray!
  • Holds won’t come in. Unfortunately, this is just part of the process of switching to a new catalog. They should arrive after the 17th just like normal.
  • New patrons will have to wait and register library cards on the 17th.
  • Dinosaurs will not return to rule the Earth. This is just nuts. I wish people would stop asking me about the dinosaurs. I assure you: they’re not coming back.

Anything else I need to know?

Just that change is good, and this change is going to be fantastic. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at (978)686-4080. We’re ready to answer all your questions during and after this switchover.

Thanks for sticking with us!

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Author: Anna

Anna is a reference librarian and computer nerd at the Nevins Library. She is a fan of all speculative fiction.

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