By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Lee-Itawamba County Library System is the latest to join a regional partnership allowing patrons to borrow materials from numerous institutions without having to leave the local branch.
Starting in mid-October, local library card holders will be able to search a massive database of more than 50 individual libraries and borrow books from any one of them.
It’s part of a growing effort called the Mississippi Library Partnership. Launched in 1993, the organization started as a joint venture between the libraries at Mississippi State University and Mississippi University for Women.
Other libraries joined during the years, including those housed at East Mississippi Community College and a number of public systems like Columbus-Lowndes and Mid-Mississippi.
First Regional, which includes the Lafayette County amp& Oxford Public Library, joined in March.
“Somebody is going to have something we don’t,” said Lee County Library Director Jeff Tomlinson, who called the partnership a cost-effective way to expand the library’s collection.
The library board had approved the deal in May.
It paid a one-time cost of about $40,000 to sync Lee County’s database with the one housed at MSU, which maintains the system. Half of those funds came from a Library Services and Technology Act grant. A tentative completion date for that effort is set for Oct. 18.
“Otherwise, it’s pretty cost-neutral,” Tomlinson said. “It will probably save us money in the long run.”
When it’s done, patrons will be able to borrow any book from within the partnership and have it delivered to their local branch. They also can drop off the book at the local branch – or at any other library in the partnership.