Area Libraries Share Resources to Expand Selection and Convenience for Patrons

Houston, TX, February 7, 2020—Three area library systems, Harris County Public Library (HCPL), Pasadena Public Library (PPL), and Bellaire City Library (BCL) have entered into agreements to share resources which will allow each system’s library card holders to check out from and return books to any of the others’ locations.  

The goals of the reciprocal borrowing agreements are to increase access to quality library materials and to make using the library more convenient for area residents. Prior to the reciprocal borrowing agreements, if a library customer wanted an item from the other libraries’ collection, they would need to ask for an interlibrary loan. The agreements streamline that process considerably, reducing processing and transit times and getting library materials where they are needed faster and at reduced operational cost.  

“These new reciprocal borrowing agreements are win-wins for library customers” said Edward Melton, Harris County Public Library Executive Director, “Not only will they have a wider and deeper collection of books and other materials to choose from, they are getting it at little to no additional cost to their library. These agreements give patrons more bang for their tax dollars.”  

All three library systems have integrated their online catalogs. The library patron experience will be virtually seamless. No matter which library card they use, patrons will see all available materials and will be able to place holds and choose the library most convenient to them for pickup.  

The reciprocal borrowing agreements also allow the partner libraries to address the needs of specific populations within their communities. Library users who prefer to read in Spanish, Arabic or Vietnamese will particularly benefit from the agreements. Pasadena Public Library recently expanded its collection of Spanish-language materials for all ages, and HCPL has recently made a concerted effort to update its Spanish Language collections at select branches.  

“All three of the libraries are committed to open access to information and to expanding opportunities for life-long learning for their customers,” Melton said, “More cooperation and sharing of resources between these libraries benefits all communities within Harris County.”  

There are a few exceptions to the reciprocal borrowing agreements. Because of high demand and other considerations, Pasadena Public Library’s new items and select other items will not be able to be placed on hold by Harris County cardholders. All items are available for checkout by all cardholders when visiting the Pasadena libraries in person. Likewise, Bellaire City Library will hold back the newest additions to its collection to allow its cardholders first access. 

For complete details on the new and expanded reciprocal borrowing agreements, see Reciprocal Borrowing Agreements.

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