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New Books On Demand

Library patrons in Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties are now calling the shots. At least in regards to what new books the Southern Maryland public libraries purchase.

            In what is considered a big change for the library network, Demand Driven Acquisitions will drive ordering new books. Instead of library personnel choosing all the books they think library users would like to read, patrons choose the books they want from COSMOS, the libraries’ shared online catalog. When a book is put on hold, it gets ordered for the libraries.

            “With Demand Driven Acquisitions, the records for selected titles are placed in the catalog, but the titles are not ordered right away,” says Susan Grant of the Southern Maryland Regional Library. “Titles are only purchased if one or more customers places a hold.”

            Beginning this month, a select group of 200 to 300 titles will be added monthly to COSMOS as dummy on-order records. They won’t actually be on order but will look exactly like regular on-order records in the catalog. Library users and even library staff won’t know which are which.

            Once a hold is placed on one of the dummy records, the title will be ordered for real, and the customer will get exactly what he or she wants.

            The public libraries in Southern Maryland are among the first in Maryland to use DDA. A nine-month trial is planned, with the regional library staff evaluating the program monthly.