December 2015 –
Springfield City Library has joined hundreds of Massachusetts libraries to provide a new service called the Commonwealth Catalog that makes it easy for residents to get the resources they need from libraries across the entire state. “It gives our residents access to millions of items beyond our local collection,” said Molly Fogarty, Library Director. “It also helps us save money. We couldn’t possibly afford to own every book our patrons need.”
When Springfield City Library’s network, C/W MARS, doesn’t have an item, residents can use the Commonwealth Catalog to search through all participating libraries in one easy step and sort results by books, audiobooks, or DVDs. Next, they simply request the item and it’s delivered right to any Springfield City Library branch for pickup, usually within a few days. Last year, residents borrowed 6.5 million items from libraries outside their own community.
“Commonwealth Catalog is part of our strong statewide system of sharing library resources,” said Dianne Carty, Director of the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. “No matter where a resident lives, resource sharing gives everyone the same access to the vast resources available at libraries throughout the Commonwealth.” It includes items from unique public library collections such as the Boston Public Library, as well as academic collections from institutions like the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Bridgewater State University and many other public and special libraries.
Funding for the Commonwealth Catalog is provided by the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. The service is managed by Fenway Libraries Online with participation from the nine automated Massachusetts library networks and several public universities.
While Commonwealth Catalog provides books, audio books, DVDs, and CDs, Massachusetts libraries also provide a wide array of digital resources including eBooks, research databases with information not available through standard online searches, language courses, streaming music and video, and more. Digital and material resources combine to give residents access to over 52.5 million items. Frequently asked questions are addressed on the Commonwealth Caalog’s FAQ page.