Camas library implements new catalog

Library to leave Fort Vancouver Regional Libraries, hone in on local interests

The Camas Public Library will sever its ties with the Fort Vancouver Regional Library (FVRL) catalog in an effort to create a collection of items more personalized for Camas residents.

Since the FVRL is also upgrading its catalog, the timing was right for the Camas library to separate, Connie Urquhart, Camas library director, said.

“It was such a great opportunity to look at what we could do to serve our citizens,” she said.

The library catalog is the system that supports the day-to-day functions of the library and stores all the library owned collections and patron information, Danielle Reynolds, Camas library technology and collections manager, said.

For the patrons of the library, the separation means that only books, DVDs, audiobooks or other items that are a part of the Camas library collection can be checked out there.

If patrons would like to checkout an item that is a part of the FVRL system, they have to go to a FVRL branch to get it–a practice that has already been implemented.

Items that belong to FVRL can still be dropped off at the Camas library.

“We can help them in placing a hold on that so they can pick it up in Washougal, Cascade Park or downtown Vancouver,” Urquhart said. “We are also more than willing to see what we can do to get it here. If it’s a book that we think will be popular, we can buy the book or we’re more than willing to see if we can borrow it from one of our other partner libraries and get it here.”

In the last year, 81 percent of the items checked out at the Camas library are items in its collection, Urquhart said. Meaning, less than 20 percent of items came from FVRL branches.

Currently, the Camas library card can still be used at FVRL branches until the catalog is fully implemented in January 2019.

The Camas library is a part of the Metropolitan Interlibrary Exchange (MIX agreement) that includes six library systems in the Portland metropolitan area that allow patrons to have a library card at any of those locations. The Camas library is also part of the Washington Anytime Library, which grants patrons access to thousands of digital titles, Urquhart said.

With the implementation of the new catalog, the library will receive data on what items Camas patrons checkout and request.

“We’re going to be able to see all those things in one system,” Reynolds said. “Right now, we’re sharing it with a large community that goes all the way to Goldendale. So it’s really skewed in order for us to see exactly what Camas wants and needs because we’re sharing this big system.”

In the larger system, there was not much flexibility to see the preferences of the specific community, Urquhart said.

“Having our own catalog, we will be really nimble and be able to see exactly what the Camas specific community wants and that way we can tailor our collection to be more for them,” Urquhart said.

The separation allows for Camas library patrons to have a Camas library card and a FVRL card, which allows access to two different systems, starting in January, Reynolds said.

“Having both a Camas and FVRL card allows digital access to e-books, downloadables and music,” Urquhart said. “It really opens up a ton more resources, so it gives people in this area almost double the access.”

The new catalog will have an online forum where members of the community are able to create book lists and reviews with the option of publishing thier posts and following what others are reading, Reynolds said.

Library groups will also be able to provide information about their meetings and book suggestions.

“It’s going to feel more like being a part of a community rather than (a large social media)… this will feel more specific to a local community,” Urquhart said.