Library News

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Silos are something commonly seen in the Iowa countryside. They are probably some of biggest storage bins ever to be had. In the library world there is an acronym SILO, which also represents a huge storage bin although it is of the virtual kind.

SILO or State of Iowa Libraries Online is the computer database that runs our interlibrary loan system. There are 699 libraries in the state of Iowa that have records of their holdings stored in the SILO database. This includes many of Iowa's small colleges and all three state universities. The majority of the millions of records are for books but audios, DVDS, videos and other items can also be found when the database is searched.

So what does this do for the average library patron? It gives them access to much more than the Cherokee Public Library can provide. When an item is requested that our library does not have, it is almost always possible to borrow it from another library in Iowa. I am one of the biggest users as I look at a lot of book catalogs and see things I would like to read but don't necessarily want to purchase for our library. Right now I have a book on the mansions of Wisconsin here courtesy of the Iowa City Public Library.

In return we send out our books, audios or DVDs to other libraries. It's always a little strange to get a request from Sioux City, Cedar Rapids or Des Moines as their collections are huge, but now and then we lend something to them. However, most of ours go to libraries our size or smaller, sometimes just down the road to Cleghorn or Marcus.

Once in a while we run into a request that cannot be filled by a library in Iowa. That is shifted to a database system called First Search, which reaches out through the United States. We have had things come in from all four corners of the country. For example, last month I asked for Bad Boys of the Black Hills, a book I had noticed in the bookstore at Wall Drug.

Inter library loan is a great service and I wish we could do it for free. Due to postage costs we ask for a $2 fee for each item requested, the maximum allowed by the SILO guidelines, although postage for one book going one way runs more than that.

Call 225-3498 if you have questions. Let us know if you see something you would like to read, watch or listen to. If we don't have it we will try our best to get it for you via SILO or First Search.