This week, the Westchester Library System is introducing a new and improved online catalog system. It’s easier to use and provides better search results. It will also eventually be possible for patrons and librarians to find a book using one search engine, instead of having to look in several different places for print, ebooks, and audiobooks. We will be seeing many additional benefits of the new Evergreen system in the months ahead.
2019 also marks the 60th anniversary of our cooperative library system.
Happy 60th WLS — You’re not just getting older. You’re getting better!
Over the last 60 years, there have been many important milestones in the life of WLS. Here are a few:
1959: 32 libraries in Westchester County established a cooperative system that enabled Westchester residents to borrow books from most of the other public libraries in the county. Six libraries decided not to become part of the system, citing concern that opening their stacks to non-residents would cause serious depletion of books for their own patrons. All six eventually joined WLS.
1988: Westlynx, a computerized catalog that gave librarians access to a list of titles that were available throughout the county, was introduced. Several well-known Westchester residents participated in radio and poster announcements that promoted the new system including tennis star Arthur Ashe, actors Michael Douglas and Mary Beth Hurt, and director Paul Schrader.
1997: WLS signed an agreement with EBSCO, which gave patrons access to magazines, Facts on File, encyclopedias, and other online databases. Today, there is a whole host of research tools that are available online.
1999: The Dynix system made it possible for patrons to search for, and order, books and other materials from their home computers. This led to huge increase in the number of materials that were requested, and a need for more vans to deliver the materials back and forth.
Since 2000: Sharing has allowed every library in the system, no matter how small, to offer patrons the same materials that used to be available only in larger libraries .In fact, the availability of a wider array of materials through sharing may be one factor in the ongoing vitality of local Westchester libraries, many of which have renovated, expanded. or rebuilt their facilities in recent years.
(The phrase “You’re not getting older. You’re getting better.” was originally used in a 1970s Clairol campaign)