Salem to join other county libraries in resource sharing

SALEM — Starting Thursday, Salem Public Library will join forces with four other libraries in Columbiana County to better share resources and integrate library services.

Bottom line? A book borrowed from the Salem Public Library can be returned at libraries in Columbiana, East Palestine, Lisbon or Wellsville, and vice versa.

“We’re excited about working together with other libraries. This will allow us to improve services, to make things more accessible and provide new opportunities for the patrons,” Salem Public Library Director/Fiscal Officer Brad Stephens said.

The new partnership is known as the PLUS Consortium, with PLUS standing for Public Libraries United in Service. Consortium members include Salem Public Library, Columbiana Public Library, East Palestine Memorial Library, Lepper Library in Lisbon, and Wellsville Carnegie Public Library.

According to a press release, “PLUS libraries have been working together to create this consortium for over two years and after many months of hard work and dedication we are pleased to announce that we will go live with our new integrated Polaris library system on Sept. 24, 2020.”

The press release noted that for patrons “it means there will be greater usage flexibility. Any patron with a library card in good standing will be able to use that card at any of the member libraries. Inter-county Interlibrary loan borrowing and lending of materials will be easier and faster than ever before. There will be more access to drop-off sites as a patron can return an item to any of the member libraries.”

Stephens said as part of the partnership, the member libraries unified their borrowing rules, which he said was important to keep everything uniform.

“Patrons will gain an expanded network of educational and business resources with the addition of SearchOhio and OhioLINK later this fall. SearchOhio makes millions of items available to participating libraries. SearchOhio is a partner with OhioLINK, which serves academic libraries which will allow students a greater resource to access research materials. These two services will be offered by all member libraries of PLUS. PLUS libraries want to offer the best resources to patrons and this is main reason for this cooperative effort. PLUS libraries are cooperating to utilize the most out of our limited resources and with this shared project it will greatly lower our individual operational costs,” the press release said.

Salem Public Library already had SearchOhio and OhioLINK, but by partnering with the other libraries, Salem’s costs will go down by an estimated 25 percent.

The PLUS Consortium project had an overall cost of $132,000, with $99,676 covered by a federal grant from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services LSTA awarded by the State Library of Ohio. The rest of the cost is being covered by the member libraries.


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