ST. PAUL NOTES | Merriam Park library closing — but only for a month


From April 30 to June 4, Merriam Park library fans will have to find another place to check out books, use their laptops, browse the shelves, or (discreetly) snooze. When the library re-opens on (or possibly even before) June 4, they’ll find upgrades that make it nicer for patrons and more efficient for staff, according to reference librarian Janet Van Tassel.

One of the most visible improvements will be a new book drop, located on the front of the building rather than the side. There will also be a new “self check-in” inside the library, so that when you return your six DVDs, you can immediately check out your next choices, instead of waiting until the giant book-return bins are processed. Improvements in the computerized circulation system will also mean you can get a print-out of the books you have returned and those still checked out under your name. The improvements are essential, said Van Tassel, because the current system just can’t handle the large numbers of books in circulation. 

The reference desk will disappear, with reference librarians located either at the smaller and more efficient one-point desk or as roving librarians, moving around the library as needed.

While there will not be any more computer stations, there will be new stations for laptops — tables and chairs with plug-ins designed to make working on your own computer easier.

During the one-month closure for construction, library users can still return books to the book drop, but will have to visit other libraries to get new materials.

Or maybe not.

St. Paul Public Library will launch a second e-book service on Wednesday, April 25. According to the press release:

The 3M Cloud Library System will revolutionize how Saint Paul Public Library patrons discover, borrow and read eBooks from their library. This eBook solution includes a comprehensive subscription for both digital content and in-library hardware, along with apps for borrowing and reading, providing libraries with a simple and turnkey system for participating in the digital revolution.

The new service is in addition to, not a replacement of, the current e-book checkout system. According to SPPL spokesperson Sheree Savage, St. Paul is one of ten library systems across the country selected for beta-testing the 3M Cloud. 3M e-reader devices will also be available for borrowing in SunRay, Arlington, and Central libraries. (You can still use your own e-reader or computer.) One caution: the 3M Cloud has a PC app, but no Mac app at this time. 

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