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Accessing the library from home

AT THE LIBRARY

I think a lot of people know that I love technology. I also know that a lot of people don’t agree with me but technology updates make life a little bit easier. Take the library, for example.

MCL’s integrated library system is called TLC. It is an amazing system that we’ve had for as long as I can remember. When I first started at the library, TLC was called Bibliofile, like a file of books or like bibliophile, meaning people who love books. That would have been back in the 1990s when searching for books on the computer was A New Thing.

Now, we take it for granted that we look for lots of things via a computer — even our phones are a computer. You can access your library account at home.

With TLC, so much is possible. If you have a library card with a PIN, you can log into your account at home and see the items that you have checked out and when they are due. Go to MCL’s website at www.mifcolib.org and click on “Search Our Card Catalog” and then log in.

If you don’t have a PIN, give us a call and we will enter one for you. Unfortunately, if you have a PIN and you forget what it is, we can’t tell you. It’s not that we wouldn’t want to or are refusing to help, we just aren’t able to. On our end, your PIN is little dots. But we are able to reset it and that’s what counts.

I really like this system. Library users are able to place books on hold from home, which I do. I may learn about a book in the evening and then I log in and put it on hold for myself. I know it’s the correct book because there is a photo of the book cover. I love that feature! The staff will then go and pull the book off the shelf the next morning and it’s ready for me to check out. If the book is checked out to someone else, the staff will call when it comes back (after quarantine, of course). I take advantage of this system and I’m there every day! But I’m a patron, too, so I’m not going to feel guilty about making staff get my books for me. And you shouldn’t either.

Also, I am set up to receive text message notifications. Three days before my books are due, I receive a vague text that says, An item you have checked out is due soon. It doesn’t tell you the title of the book, but this way you know you have a book due.

Then, if you haven’t returned your books, you will receive more texts at seven days, 14 days and 21 days overdue. This text says that items you have out are now overdue. The O in Overdue appears as a devil or angry-face emoji.

MCL does not send out overdue letters, only the electronic stuff; texts or emails, if you prefer. I wish I could say that I never get my notifications. I’m the one who realized about the angry emoji because my book was a month overdue. As of today, I owe $9. And I can’t have more books until I take care of this. I don’t think of myself as a Bad Library Patron but as a Good Library Supporter.

One other thing, TLC lists the new books at the top of the catalog page; the page where you log in. This way, you can view the covers of the newest 20 books and place them on hold.

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Susan Miriello is the Acting Library Director and is currently reading The Killings at Kingfisher Hill, a new Hercule Poirot mystery by Sophie Hannah. It is due soon.

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