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Greenwich Reader Would Miss Library Loans

Greenwich Library patron Angela Lions says she would “really miss” the interlibrary loan program if it were ended by state budget cuts. “I use it all the time, whenever they don’t have a book that I need,” she says.

Lions adds that she can usually go somewhere else if the Greenwich Library doesn’t have what she wants. “But for younger people who need information quickly, it would be horrible for them,” she says.

Budget cuts proposed by Gov. Dannel Malloy would end the Connecticard and Connecticar loan programs. Together, they give state residents access to 16 million items, 88 percent of which are books. In 2010, more than 300,000 residents borrowed more than 4.9 million items valued at more than $73 million. In Greenwich, library Executive Director Carol Mahoney said the library lends more than 130,000 items a year to other libraries and said residents borrow nearly 9,000 books a year.

“We have a sizable collection here, but we do make use of it and it’s a fabulous resource,” said Mahoney. “The very fact that this material is able to be transferred from one library to another is a huge cost saving to libraries. It’s efficient and it’s worked for years.”

Both of the state-funded programs reimburse libraries that provide the loan service. The program cuts are currently in the state legislature’s Appropriations Committee. The State Library Administration has proposed an alternative to cutting back interlibrary loans, but unless the committee approves, the programs will be eliminated.

“Within Greenwich it would be a terrible loss to many people who make use of it for research, or who might be reading a particular author we don’t have,” said Mahoney. “People value and make use of it and the loss of a service like this would be disruptive.”

Library patron Lori Konolige said she wouldn’t be affected  because she doesn’t use the Interlibrary Loan System. “It’s quicker to ask the library to call another library and put a book on hold for me there, because then I can pick it up the same day,” she said.

Konolige added that the elderly or young families may not have the same flexibility or mobility to travel between libraries. “In their case, waiting for items to come is much simpler,” she said.

Would elimination of the loan program affect how you use the library? Leave a comment below or email ahelhoski@mainstreetconnect.us .

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