Volume 25, Number 2, 2003

Alleycat, the Anywhere, Anytime Library Honored as Exemplary Project

by: Diane Solomon, Tampa Bay Library Consortium

In January 2003, Alleycat, the Anywhere-Anytime Library, a service of the Tampa Bay Library Consortium (TBLC), was selected by the Florida Division of Library and Information Services as an Exemplary Project. As such, it has been highlighted in the Division’s 2002 Annual Report to the Institute of Museums and Library Services. Barrett Wilkins, State Librarian, noted: “The projects chosen highlight excellence in program planning, implementation, and evaluation, with special emphasis on outcome measurement.”

The St. Petersburg Times was also impressed by the service. The paper’s January 20, 2003 edition featured Alleycat, in an article titled “The Library’s Fresher than You Think.”

You’re looking for a book, but can’t find it at your local library. Your parent takes you to one or two other branches. No luck. Time to give up? Absolutely not. Thanks to the Tampa Bay Library Consortium, a library card and an Internet connection put the books of 12 west central Florida libraries at your fingertips. Log onto “Alleycat-the Anwhere, Anytime Library” through your library’s home page. Search for your title, and before you can say, “I tried to do my report but couldn’t get all the sources,” the book has arrived at your neighborhood library. Videos, cassettes, and DVDs also are available.”

TBLC is delighted to be enabling libraries in west central and southwest Florida to provide patron-centered interlibrary loan services to their registered borrowers. In late March, Alleycat received its 100,000th request; it now ranks third nationally in the number of requests made using Universal Resource Sharing Application (URSA) software designed to allow patrons to go online and borrow books from libraries other than their own. Ninety-five percent of users indicated that requesting an item was very easy or somewhat easy; 97 percent said they would use the service again, and 62 percent of users indicated they had used the service six or more times.

For more information, contact Diane Solomon or visit Alleycat.