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Franklin libraries updating

December 16, 1999

Updating librariesBy RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff writer, Waynesboro

photos: KEVIN G. GILBERT / staff photographer




GREENCASTLE, Pa. - From now on, patrons at the Lilian S. Besore Memorial Library in Greencastle can check out a book much like they do a can of peas at the grocery store.

The Library at 305 E. Baltimore St. has nearly finished bar-coding its 42,000 books. The Greencastle project is part of an effort to bar code more than 225,000 books in the Franklin County Library System, of which Besore is a part, said Vicki Williams, head librarian at Greencastle.

The new computer-driven system will modernize all of the libraries in the county's system, said Pat Ruess, head librarian for the county.

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Libraries in the system include the Coyle Free Library in downtown Chambersburg, Pa., which is the district's central library; Ragged Edge Library on Ragged Edge Road in Chambersburg; the Blue Ridge Summit Free Library; the Besore library in Greencastle; and two small branch libraries in Fort Loudon, Pa., and St. Thomas, Pa., Ruess said.

Fendrick Library in Mercersburg, Pa., and the Alexander Hamilton Free Library in Waynesboro, Pa., don't belong to the countywide system, although Waynesboro plans to come in this year, Ruess said. The Waynesboro library was the first in the county to automate, she said.

Coyle Free Library became automated in July 1998, Ruess said. "It's a long process. It takes a long time to come together and money is always a problem."

BarcodeBar-coding books is more accurate and efficient, and it saves time over the old way of checking books in and out by hand, Ruess said. It also makes it easier to track books in the system. "Before we got the computers, we couldn't always tell what was out," she said.

Computers for the new system went online in Greencastle this month. Employees are training on them now, Williams said.

The Besore library operates with full-time and part-time employees and a volunteer staff, she said. Like many modern libraries, Besore offers videos and books on tape, provides Internet access to its patrons and has expanded its hours to 65 per week.

The library opened in 1963 with 2,000 books, said Donna Thomas, a librarian there for 31 years. "We've been adding books every year. Now we have more than 42,000," she said. The library has 15,000 members and a circulation of about 130,000 publications a year.

The library is named after Lilian S. Besore, a local woman. Her son, Calvin Besore, left the community as a young man and made a lot of money in his lifetime, Williams said. He never married and when he died he left $500,000 to the community to open a library in his mother's name, she said.

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