WELLSBURG - Concerns regarding services at the Brooke County Library and miscommunication with the staff at the Mary H. Weir Public Library about duplicated cards and limited services available to Brooke County residents outside Weirton city limits were raised earlier this week.
Mary K. Wallace, director of the Brooke County Library, addressed commissioners on Tuesday voicing concerns over the Mary H. Weir Public Library issuing a second library card to Brooke County library patrons. She said the cards issued by the Brooke County Library should be accepted in every library linked into the NorLin library system, including Mary H. Weir.
"The main guidelines state that one card can travel to each of the 49 libraries and no second card is needed," said Wallace.
Wallace said she does not want to see the issue become territorial or any friction arise, but she has concerns over the confusion demonstrated to patrons.
Mary H. Weir Public Library Director Rik Rekowski said he has spoken with Wallace about the library issuing a second card. He said part of the reason there may be second cards issued is that the Weirton library is a part of the West Virginia Digital Entertainment Library Initiative, a group of libraries offering eBooks for patrons. He said the Weirton library is a part of a 10-library consortium that pays to have access to the eBooks.
Rekowski said there have also been some new employees who may have been trying to be overly helpful in regards to patrons using the Mary H. Weir Public Library. However, he said he informed the employees as well as the patrons that no second cards should be issued. He said he is supportive of the Brooke County Library and would be cooperative in assisting the library in any capacity he could.
Wallace informed the Brooke County Commission the Brooke County Library would soon have access to eBooks as well; however, it would be through a different consortium called West Virginia READS. She said the main difference between the two organizations is price and materials available. She said WV DELI wanted approximately $17,000 to allow them to join while WV READS was less than $4,000.
Commissioner Marty Bartz said Brooke County residents living in Weirton have access to services that those in Follansbee or Wellsburg do not. He said Brooke County supports the Mary H. Weir Public Library through a levy and it is unfair that all the Brooke County residents do not have access to the same services. He asked Rekowski if there was any way he could make a plea to the WV DELI to see if the Brooke County Library could go in with the Mary H. Weir Public Library.
"Each library has to fill out an application and pay a fee to be a part of the consortium," said Rekowski indicating he did not want to jeopardize the Weirton library's position within the consortium. "I"m not a spokesperson for the West Virginia DELI, but I will assist Mary K. in applying or seeking the answers she is looking for."
Bartz said he believes it is a shame that a line is being drawn between the two counties when geographically they are in a unique position.
Commissioner Tim Ennis added that the quality of the materials available between the two libraries is due to their involvement with different consortiums. He said some research needed to be done to answer a lot of the questions presented at the meeting.
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