Thursday, December 20, 2007
New initiative provides expanded reach and quick access to books from S.C. libraries
ORANGEBURG – The Miller F. Whittaker Library at SC State University has joined forces with several other academic libraries from South Carolina’s public and private colleges and universities and the S.C. State Library to provide quicker access to more than four million books and other educational materials as a member of South Carolina’s virtual academic library, PASCAL Delivers.
“Having access to a statewide catalog of materials allows Whittaker Library to provide broader services to our students, faculty and staff,” said Mary L. Smalls, dean of library and information services at SC State.
The PASCAL catalog is a combined, or “union” catalog – a listing of more than four million items owned by PASCAL member-libraries. SC State’s students, faculty and staff may access PASCAL Delivers directly from the library Web site, http://library.scsu.edu. The catalog includes books, journals and periodicals, audiovisual materials, sound recordings, electronic resources, government documents, archives and manuscripts, maps and music scores.
“Some might liken the new PASCAL Delivers program to the existing Interlibrary Loan program, but there is a tremendous difference,” said Smalls. “It’s the difference between a horse-drawn carriage and a luxury automobile.”
PASCAL Delivers is a patron-initiated system that allows users at individual institutions like Whittaker Library to request books without actually entering the SC State campus library to make the request.
Traditional interlibrary loan can be a tangled bureaucratic maze of staff processes, multi-library agreements and varying fee structures. Book deliveries can take anywhere between two and three weeks. SC State faculty, staff and students using the new PASCAL Delivers service will be able to request the books online and pick them up from the campus library in just a few short days.
“The reduced time to receive books and other educational materials can be crucial to students and other academics working to complete theses, dissertations and other scholarly work on a fixed timetable,” said Smalls. “And, it’s just as useful to patrons who may want to pick up some recreational reading material that may be unavailable in our own stacks.”
The Partnership Among South Carolina Academic Libraries (PASCAL) is a consortium of academic libraries in South Carolina. PASCAL is a strategic initiative launched by South Carolina’s public and private academic libraries in conjunction with their parent institutions, the S.C. Commission on Higher Education (CHE), the Office of State Chief Information Officer, the S.C. State Library and the S.C. Department of Archives and History. PASCAL was created to respond to the information-access needs of South Carolinians, and is funded by the S.C. General Assembly through an appropriation to the CHE as a part of the Higher Education Electronic/Virtual Library Initiative.