If you've been to the New Hampshire State Library in Concord, you know that its collection focuses on state history and genealogy. The people at the state library do so much more than maintain this collection. Your local libraries depend on many services offered by the New Hampshire State Library. It saves public and school libraries time and money.
You might know that your library may obtain books from other Granite State libraries for you to borrow. This service is called interlibrary loan, ILL for short. It comes in handy when you're searching for a book that may be hard to find. It also saves you money since you don't have to buy the items you need.
You may not know that the New Hampshire State Library provides the backbone for this service. NHU-PAC, the state library catalog (http://www.nhu-pac.library.state.nh.us), lists most of the Granite State libraries' holdings. Your librarian uses NHU-PAC to find a library that has the item you need.
Then your librarian uses an online form, maintained by NHSL, to request this item on your behalf. To get the requested book to your library, NHSL has several vehicles that travel across the state delivering ILL requests. Turnaround time for an ILL request may be at least a few business days.
The state library helps your library offer online services. You may search and find online articles from many mainstream magazines by searching EBSCOHost. Newsbank allows you to locate past newspaper articles. NoveList is an excellent online resource that helps you find books that suit your tastes. HeritageQuest is an online genealogy search engine that provides information about your family history. All of these resources are available to you courtesy of the state library. Your local library would have to pay an estimated $8,000 to offer these resources without NHSL support.
The New Hampshire State Library offers your librarians its staff's expertise. If you've stumped your librarian with a question that they can't answer immediately, they may contact someone at the state library to assist them. Free training sessions for your library's staff are offered by the NHSL. The information about a book you located by searching your library's online catalog was provided to your library by state library catalogers.
A librarian specializing in technology provides training, tips and ideas to your local library staff. NHSL also has a great youth services librarian, who coordinates the statewide summer reading program, as well as other programs offered to your library's children's room staff.
The Chester Public Library and other libraries within the state are heavily dependent on NHSL services. When the state library is impacted negatively, your library will also experience an unfavorable impact on the services it offers to you. Let your elected state officials know that you value the services and the savings the state library provides to your library.
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Tim Sheehan is the director of Chester Public Library, located at 3 Chester St. For more information on library events, call 887-3404 or visit www.chesternh.org/library.html.