Since card catalogs are dinosaurs, what plan is used for patrons to locate materials if the library is open but unstaffed?

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I am finding lots of church libraries are doing so with success. Let me contact a few of those to respond. I hope those who have self-checkout will share how they do it. Great question!!

Cathy, this is a concern of mine also.  Our library is online so it can be searched using a smart phone while in the library.  But for those who don't like to search by this method, I have no alternative.  I have subjects and Dewey Decimal numbers on the shelves above the books, but this still doesn't help someone who wants to know all the books we have by a particular author.  I have thought about printing an alphabetical list of authors which includes the books that we have for each author; perhaps to print a list quarterly and update the list by hand if we should get a new book for an author before the quarter is up.  Our catalog is on LibraryThing and at this point, I haven't yet figured out how to do that.  I would love to hear from others regarding this question.

Whoops! I replied to quick this morning. You are asking a different question than self-checkout. Sorry about that. We have Atriuum which as Atriuum on the Go for customers/patrons to search for themselves and checkout.  We visited a really cool book store in Black Mountain, NC recently. They used signage on the shelves in a great way to help people find what they are looking for.  But that is not as detailed as you need. Can you get customized reports on LibraryThing that you could print and put in a binder for people to use?

Can you tell us more about the signage in the Black Mtn. book store. I am currently working on a signage overhaul project


Marcy Hoggard in NC

We always have someone in the Library to help out. I'm following to find out about this also.

I use to find books for a particular author and print the list of books. All of these go in a notebook. So far it's mostly been for my use. I don't have a page for every author, just the popular ones that write series. I put a checkmark by the ones that are in our library. It helps me to keep up.

  I also use LibraryThing but haven't been able to get all of our books on it or enough to point people to it anyway. 

We have Webopac, and a Kindle Fire that is available to look up what we have in the library.   I don't recommend self-checkout- we have it, but you can lose a lot of books that way.   We're in a wing over in the hinterlands at our church so a staff member has to open the library up for people to use.   We have a self-checkout folder, and it has worked thus far without issue.   The Kindle Fire takes them directly to the Webopac catalog.   In addition, we have small 5x7 signage which either we stick to the top of the shelving or attach via magnetic signs to our metal shelving.   I'm a bit confused about the question you are asking.

I just joined a church and will be in charge of their Media Center.  It's much smaller than the one I came from.  There is no computer, therefore, no library software.  They have no way to track what books are in the Media Center, and I have decided that after I do a complete inventory and weed out old, damaged materials, I'll start a card catalog.  I feel like I'm moving back in time, but I need to know what books we have so I'll know what books to buy.  Right now they just have a spiral notebook that people can sign out , but they are responsible for writing the date, name of book/DVD and their name.  It's a hit and miss situation.  Currently I noticed someone had checked out about 6 DVDs, they wrote the titles down, but they didn't put their name.  I'm just hoping the return them.  They were some pretty good DVDs.  So, I'm going to put book pockets and cards in all books/DVDs and have a basket for people to sign and put the card in the basket and I plan on having a small box like container and keep the card in the box.  Between this and the card catalog it seems like a very easy way to look up books when someone comes in asking if we have a certain book.  I'll be in the market for a small card catalog to set up.  If any church libraries have some just sitting around gathering dust, let me know!

We have a small library, but a few months ago, we divided our books into categories. They are shelved in those categories, with shelf labels distinguishing each one. We went one step further, and divided our fiction section into smaller categories. We have some who only want to read Amish books, etc. That change made it easier (and faster) for people to find a book they were interested in, since our library is only open a short time before and after services. 

Here are a couple of pictures.




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