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Saint Mary’s library transitions to new book-sharing program

| Friday, February 23, 2018

The Cushwa-Leighton Library will switch its collaborative system to the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI) program, Catherine Pellegrino, a Saint Mary‘s librarian, said.

“Saint Mary’s students will benefit by having access to the combined collections of all 24 PALNI libraries. … The service will be faster than our current interlibrary loan service, and the loan periods will generally be longer,” she said.

Saint Mary’s and Bethel College were previously part of a group of four colleges which shared books but are now leaving to join PALNI, Pellegrino said. 

“[We‘ve] been aware of PALNI for a long time,” Pellegrino said. “They’re a very important and innovative group among Indiana’s academic libraries.” 

The current system of sharing between the colleges will end on April 2, and PALINI will replace it at the beginning of next year. Although Saint Mary’s is leaving its current book-sharing group, it will continue to loan to other schools in the community, Pellegrino said.

“[Saint Mary‘s] will still lend books to the other schools in the South Bend area, and they will still lend books to our community,” she said.

The new system will not take any additional resources out of the library. Pellegrino said the College’s librarians are “going to be working very hard through the rest of the spring, with the goal of launching the new system shortly after the end of the spring semester.”

“This is a really, really big job for our librarians and staff,” she said.

After the transition, Pellegrino said, the library system will be easier to use. 

“The behind-the-scenes things that library staff do with the system, like ordering and cataloging books, will be much easier,” she said.

Pellegrino decided to make the switch as Notre Dame’s libraries began to consider implementing a different system.

As Notre Dame begins the process of considering a new library system, this was a logical time for us to think carefully about what our students, faculty and staff need from a library system, and whether staying with Notre Dame was the best choice for our community,” she said. “We considered the options carefully, and ultimately decided that PALNI’s innovative, collaborative model where we would be partnering with other schools like us — schools that understand the constraints but also the flexibility that go along with being a smaller library — along with the additional benefits of PALNI’s model of deep collaboration would result in better service and support for our community.”

The many benefits that PALNI offers comes with one minor downfall in that Saint Mary’s “will be losing the flexibility of searching the catalog at Note Dame at the same time that we search our own catalog,” Pellegrino said. However, library staff is working to decrease the effects of this change, she added. The PALINI program will not affect the physical collection of the library in any way.

“When [students] return next fall, the online catalog will be very different, and a lot better and easier to use,” she said. “We also think that you’ll find that requesting books from other PALNI libraries will be much more seamless than our current system.  We’re very excited about this change, and we’re looking forward to sharing it with students as soon as we can.”

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