SPRINGFIELD, NJ — Beginning in June, the Springfield Free Public Library will join 30 other libraries in the Libraries of Middlesex Automation Consortium.
Following in the footsteps of its Union County counterparts in Elizabeth, Plainfield, Roselle, Roselle Park and Kenilworth, Springfield’s library will become the 31st
member of the consortium, enabling its patrons to “have the ability to see holdings from other libraries,” SFPL Director Dale Spindel told LocalSource during a May 11 phone interview.
“If another library has a piece of material that a patron of ours would like to borrow, we can have it shipped to our library for them,” she said. “They will be able to borrow materials from 30 other libraries.”
And, Spindel said, “We expect a rise in library activity” once its status is established.
“I think people will realize the improvement we have made,” Spindel said. “We will show the patrons the new system and the things they can do online. A new program that the consortium offers to its member, called Zinio, allows patrons to have an email subscription of hundreds of magazines. They are in PDF format, so members will be able to see the ads as if they were reading an actual copy of the magazine. Another program, called Hoopla, is a platform for downloading music, video and other sources. We can expand materials available that we wouldn’t be able to afford on our own.
“The consortium allows us to purchase as a large group, so it’s economical. The Springfield Public Library is looking forward to being able to stay on top of things and working with colleagues to use technology and have the best of all worlds.”
As the previous director of the Kenilworth Public Library, Spindel said he saw what the consortium can do for a library.
“I saw the benefits and want to see those in Springfield,” she said. “It was easier for patrons to gain books, and technological assistance was provided through the consortium. We can spend more time helping patrons rather than focusing on technical issues.”
Officials at other county libraries have lavished praise on the system.
“Joining an interlocal agreement made for more shared services in the area,” Kenilworth Public Library Director Michael Maziekien told LocalSource in a May 11 phone interview. “It’s very valuable for us to share essential sources. The consortium is highly valued and we’re proud to be a part of it.”
“The library consortium is a wonderful way for libraries to join together to share resources,” Elizabeth Public Library Director Audra Oeorio agreed during a phone interview on May 11.
“The consortium provides technology services to libraries in Central New Jersey,” Eileen Palmer, executive director of Libraries of Middlesex Automation Consortium, told LocalSource during a phone interview May 11. “We’ve been gaining one to two members per year for the past few years.
“We hope more Union County libraries join in the future. Several services of the program include a shared catalog, a mobile app called Mobile LMXPRESS, which allows users to access all our services including a way to renew books as well as pay their fines. Our name can be a little misleading, because we include members from Union, Middlesex and Monmouth counties.”