Computers bring changes to Perkins Library – Throwback

Chase Rath – Collegian Reporter

On Sept. 23, 1993, Staff Writer Melissa West wrote on changes that were made to the Perkins Library at Hastings College with the installation of computers. Students were given access to the computers to commence the research needed for their studying habits. Students would then have to be given access to the online databases with instructions from their professors. 

Melissa West – Staff Writer

Technological advances in Hastings College’s Perkins Library have brought changes in how students will find and checkout materials. 

The most noticeable change is the computerized cataloging system that replaces the card catalogue. Installation of this system began last spring semester. According to Robert Nedderman, director of library services, the transition is almost complete. Students can search for books by author, title or subject. The catalogue lists 400,000 books available at HC and six other schools. Nedderman said the last of the old card catalogues will be gone next semester. 

The library is also linked up to the Internet System, a computer system that allows users to send and receive electronic mail and look into a multitude of databases and computer-linked discussion groups. Nedderman describes it as “a large phone line.” 

All  Hastings  faculty members have personal Internet accounts through the library. Due to the lack of space, the library cannot give access to all students. According to Nedderman, students who want an account need to see him. He will only be able to accommodate students with a project that a professor has suggested using the Internet to research. 

A  new database  called  National Trade Data Banks comes to Hastings College from the US Department of Commerce. According to Nedderman, it contains an immense amount of public information on the CIA, the Department of Energy and the Commerce Department. 

The library still has hundreds of online databases that can be searched on students’ requests. They can find information on “just about anything,” said Nedderman. A computer is also available that has the catalogue of UNL, exclusively. This is for students who might be going to Lincoln for a weekend and want to do research there. With computerized cataloging, checkout procedures have also changed. Students will no longer sign cards in the books. According to Nedderman, all students will get a barcode on the back of their student ID card when they check-out books. The computer will have a record of all students and which books are checked out and whether any findings are pending. “We really want everyone to get used to using their ID cards as library cards,” Nedderman said. 

Because the library is now computerized, overdue books will also be treated differently. “We’ve had a lot of trouble in the past because of the small fine,” Nedderman said. “In the past students have kept books for months after the due dates because the fine was only ten cents per day.”

This year there will be a limit on fines. When students’ bills reach $5, they will be billed for the cost of the book. Nedderman hopes this will encourage students to return their books. “The system is not designed to make money for the library, but to keep books moving,” he said. 

When students have two books at the $5 limit, their library account will lockup. They will not be allowed to checkout anything until the fines are paid. 

Books are checked out for two weeks. There is a short grace period before the borrower is fined, but the library is not saying how long that will be. “That’s a surprise, because we want students to return their books,” Nedderman said.