PEORIA - The alliance that links 198 libraries in central Illinois is at the midway point of a $1 million computer upgrade that has caused minor disruption of some library services but will improve services when it goes online next month. "If people are noticing the disruption, we're not hearing any complaints," said Trisha Noack, spokeswoman with the Peoria Public Library, the largest in the Resource Sharing Alliance. "People are being understanding and patient."
RSA libraries are currently unable to reserve books for customers and are not putting newly released books and other materials out on the shelves until the upgrade is complete in early to mid-December.
The new program, called RSA Cat, puts the alliance's entire catalogue of material in an Internet-based system that will help get books into the hands of patrons faster and more easily, among other benefits. The system will allow users to perform many library functions on their home computers, such as accessing the catalogues of specific branches and other libraries, renewing books and finding books in any of the alliance's libraries to have them delivered to their branch of choice.
In a test next week, all the libraries in the alliance will log onto the new server on Wednesday to make sure it's powerful enough and that everybody can operate at once.
RSA Cat is a package of software, hardware and company consultants purchased from a company called SirsiDynix that specializes in automated library technology.
It is paid for with fees that individual libraries from Jacksonville to Galva and Quincy to Streator send to the alliance which are then earmarked for its capital improvement fund. Other area libraries that are awaiting the upgrade include Galesburg, Pekin, Morton, East Peoria, Washington, Eureka, Dunlap, Metamora and Bartonville.
The director of RSA, Kendal Orrison said last month that the upgrade was two years overdue.
Noack said the Peoria library has set up a training and testing room on the second floor of the Downtown library for library staff members.