Library patrons will soon have a better chance to get the books they are looking for.
Shelby County libraries will become part of the Illinois Heartland Library System which includes more than the southern half of the state.
“The Rolling Prairie System will be no more,” said Shelbyville Library director Shelley Koehler. “There will be 427 libraries in the SHARE database.”
Three libraries geographically in the area will remain independent -- Lincoln Library in Springfield, Champaign Public Library, and Urbana Free Library.
The new system will begin March 25, but patrons’ current library cards will still be used in the system.
“People will have to have their cards. You won’t be able to just give us the number after April 9,” Koehler said. “These cards can be used in any library in the system. You will be able to check out materials in another library and return it in a different one.”
Koehler added that during the two-week transition time, the library will be working in offline mode. Patrons will still be able to check out books but interlibrary loan books will not be able to be filled.
“After March 22, if any patrons have books on request, the requests will disappear. Patrons will have to re-request the books after April 9,” Koehler said.
“Generally, patrons will not see a big difference in requesting materials. It’s just a larger area from which to draw and will have a larger selection of materials,” Koehler said.
She added that the e-books loan system will stay the same.
“We ask for public patience as we learn the new system. It’s entirely different,” Koehler said.