The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) Quarterly Newsletter, July-September 1999 (Vol. 30, No. 3) has published a very informative and complimentary article about the Florida network of talking book libraries. This cover story reports how the various participating libraries use the system to improve patron services.
The article points out that the KLAS installation at the Florida Bureau of Braille and Talking Book Library Services (FBBTBLS) and the Florida sub-regional libraries has produced a statewide circulation network resulting in easier statewide access for patrons. Since the KLAS installation in September 1998, loans have increased dramatically with monthly circulation reaching 90,000, reported Mike Gunde, FBBTBLS Associate Library Director. He also indicated patron services have been strengthened because of fast delivery and more accessible collections.
Frank Kurt Cylke, NLS Director, cited the venture as an important milestone in the history of sharing information. "Greater sharing of information and resources will be one of the hallmarks of library service in the next decade, particularly as we move into new and different forms of service delivery," Cylke said. Other notable support was received from Mary Mohr, NLS network consultant, referring to the system as a public library card for the entire state.
The system works via local telnet connections. Libraries process material transfers, such as address changes, by connecting through personal computers to a common KLAS server located at Keystone Systems in Raleigh, NC. Also, a web interface allows patrons to search collections from their home or other remote sites with Internet access. A request list can then be submitted to the patron's library electronically.
The National Library Service is a division of the Library of Congress. NLS provides, distributes, and tracks books, equipment and materials to people with visual and physical disabilities. To read the text of the article, open your web browser to ftp://ftp.loc.gov/pub/nls/newsletter/news-j-s.99.