Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Grand Opening Scheduled

Save the Date! Grand opening June 20, 2015 at 11 am
We are very excited to announce that the grand opening of the new Silver Spring Library has been scheduled for Saturday, June 20, 2015! The grand opening will begin at 11 AM.

We hope you will mark your calendars and plan to join us as we celebrate the opening of the newest addition to the Montgomery County Public Libraries.

Monday, March 9, 2015

What's Going To Happen to My Holds?

The current Silver Spring Library is closing March 15, and we’re taking some time to pack up and get our beautiful new building ready for service. Our book drop closes on April 5. In the interim, customers are asking us: “What’s going to happen to my holds?” and “What about the items we need to return?” We have you covered. MCPL and the Silver Spring staff want to make the transition as smooth as possible for customers.

Whether you’ve made a special request or you’re moving up on that waiting list, we will make sure you get your holds. Nearby branches such as Long Branch, Wheaton, and White Oak, of course, will remain open. Holds can be sent to one of them or to any MCPL branch you choose.

One easy way to make that happen is to go online to Your Account on the Library Homepage. Just enter your card number and pin number (the four numbers of the year of your birth, usually) and change the library location of your holds to a convenient alternative branch. You can ask any Silver Spring staff member for help. Customers can also call Ask-a-Librarian at 240-777-0001 to request hold pick up location changes. Beginning March 2, Silver Spring will not be available as a location when placing new holds.

Marina and OCLC holds will be diverted to other branches beginning March 2. Filled orders will be sent to the Silver Spring Library through March 6. After March 6, when interlibrary loan materials are received at MCPL, our ILL staff will contact customers to determine the branch where customers would like to pick up their items.

Although the branch will be closed, our 24-hour book drop will remain open for returns until April 5. We look forward to seeing old and new customers at our new library.

Christine Conway
Librarian I

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Silver Spring Branch will close March 15

In preparation for opening the new Silver Spring Library, the current library will close to the public on Sunday, March 15 at 5 p.m. The branch will be open from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. that day and will host a closing event for the Silver Spring community from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m., commemorating 58 years of library service at the 8901 Colesville Rd. location.

More information on the closing.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

24/7 Hold Pick-up

holds lockers at new Silver Spring Library
Holds lockers at the new library.
Photo courtesy of Chris Borawski
Recently, while walking down Wayne Avenue past the new library, I noticed that the RFID-equipped book return slot and the hold lockers are less than 50 feet from the sidewalk. Wow, I thought, these hold Lockers are easy to access on foot.

Imagine, it is very early in the morning; you are on your way to catch the train, Starbucks coffee in hand. As you pass the library you remember that you have received an email notice that the latest book, Girl On The Train, is ready for pick-up in the hold Locker. "Hooray!" you think. You walk towards the locker, slip in your library card, the locker opens, you retrieve your material and hurry to the train.

Customers both on foot and in cars will have 24/7 access to Holds. Access to the Hold Lockers is available by car through a small drive-way that you enter off Bonifant St. Once you insert your library card the latch is released, and the SIP Interface checks-out the item to you as you pull it from the locker.

Fast turnaround is crucial to the success of the service. With space for only 55 lockers, we will want materials to be picked up in a timely fashion. The hold notice will give you the range of dates for pick up.  When you return the materials, the book return slot located between the hold Lockers will check-in the items immediately.  This is great news for those of us on challenging schedules, needing instant results.  I think you will enjoy this new feature, and it seems perfect for downtown Silver Spring.

Fran Ware

Friday, January 23, 2015

Tagging the Collection

I will often tell people that the staff is busy getting ready to move. I can tell by the look on their faces that “move” to them means packing boxes and carting those boxes off to the new library. What it does mean these days is that the staff is tagging the collection. Many of you already know the new library will have an automated check-in and sorting system on the first and third floors. It is RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology that allows this sorting to take place. RFID technology enables staff to know if a book is checked out or simply lost in the building. There will be gates on the first floor at the Wayne Street and Fenton Street entrances. Those gates will alarm if someone has forgotten to check out. Should this happen we will invite them to return to the self-checkout station. 

The check-in process is totally automated. The RFID tags are attached to the book, DVD or other piece of material and placed on a pad connected to a PC. The bar code on the items and the tag are linked together and entered into the computer. The books are returned through an opening where they are put on a conveyor belt, checked –in by a computer and sorted into a tub for shelving.  

The 2” x 2” tag is a small but important feature of RFID. For the first shipment we received 100,000 tags. Forty-thousand were sent to the processor for the opening day collection. The other 60,000 were left with us to put in each piece of library materials. We started in early summer and we have 3,000 left from the original shipment to apply to materials. We recently received another shipment of 40,000 tags and are busy getting ready to apply those tags.

It is a tedious job that takes time. Volunteers cut the tags and staff places the tags in materials. We have boxes of cut tags stored in the manager’s office. Right now we count the number of tags that we place in materials just to give us a count of the collection and see how closely that mirrors what we know to be the size of the collection. But the beauty is you will now be able to checkout more efficiently by simply placing a stack of books, up to fifty, on the pad and they will be checked-out instantly.   

While there is always an adjustment period, once customers and staff become acclimated to this technology, I predict we will enjoy the many benefits it offers.

Fran Ware
fran.ware@montgomerycountymd.gov