Automation redefines 'home library'

January 28, 1994|By John Rivera | John Rivera,Staff Writer

In a story in Friday's edition of The Sun for Anne Arundel County, the name of the county's library administrator, Ronald Kozlowski, was misspelled. The Sun regrets the errors.


The essential tools for the Anne Arundel County library patron in the near future may be a home computer and a modem.

The library system is planning to install an automated circulation system over the next two years that will allow home computer users access to its public catalog, which will be updated daily.


The system also could provide the most recent information available on almost any subject, according to a proposal library officials presented yesterday to the Planning Advisory Board.

And that's just the beginning, library administrator Ronald Koslowski said yesterday.

Local computer users could hook into every public library system in the state through "Seymour," the statewide library network, and determine which library has a particular book, whether it has been checked out and when it is due back.

That network also may include college and university libraries.

And if that's not enough, local branch libraries could be a doorway to libraries in other countries through Internet, an international computer network.

Mr. Koslowski told the planning board the $1.2 million automated system is his highest priority for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.

"It's the wave of the future," he said. "Because I think a public library is not going to continue to build edifices; it will transmit data in this fashion."

And he said the county needs to move quickly because its system is out of date.

Library officials are requesting the money for the system in two installments: $800,000 in the next fiscal year and $400,000 the year after.

County libraries installed computers in 1983, but the company that installed the system was absorbed by another company and has told the county it would not update the system further. That has forced the county to seek another company to design the new system.

David Marshall, assistant library administrator, said the system is a necessity.

"What we're trying to do is keep up with what people are already doing, particularly in the sciences," he said.

Library officials also are requesting $5.2 million to build a library at Russett Center near Laurel, which would replace the aging and cramped branch in Maryland City.

Mr. Koslowski said the developers of Russett Center have donated the land for the library, and may take it back if the library is not started in the next fiscal year.

The planning board, which reviews all county capital projects, will vote later on the library system's request. The board will continue to hear budget requests from department heads through February.

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