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News Release


RELEASE DATE: June 12, 2012

Contact: Madeline Sheplor
Bellingham Public Library
(360) 778-7227


Bellingham Public Library's online catalog got a facelift last week when the library launched BiblioCommons, an updated search interface. When visitors go to the Bellingham Public Library website at and click on Catalog, they will be directed automatically to BiblioCommons.

"People are amazed at how user-friendly the new catalog is," said Madeline Sheplor, Head of Technical Services, who coordinated the move to BiblioCommons. "Features common on major websites are now available, like the ability to limit a search by clicking on facets such as Format, Audience, and Genre."

BiblioCommons will prompt, "Did you mean?" when search terms are misspelled, suggesting alternative terms. This is extremely helpful for finding authors whose names are spelled unusually, like Stephenie Meyer, who wrote the Twilight novels.

"In the past, people have been frustrated with search results that came up with zero hits when they knew our library must have the item," explained Sheplor. "Or, when searching for the DVD The Help, getting lost in a list of thousands of books and DVDs with the word 'help' in the title. BiblioCommons ranks results and puts the most relevant at the top."

The new interface offers many lists linked to library materials, such as New Titles, Staff Picks, Bestsellers, and Awards. Exploring and discovering great books, music and DVDs is easy. Plus, patrons can subscribe to RSS feeds which will give them notification of newly acquired materials by chosen topic or author. People can also "follow" other library users whose reviews they've enjoyed.

The public can search the Bellingham Public Library catalog simply by clicking on the Catalog link on the library home page and entering in keywords. Patrons who would like to place holds, post reviews, create a book shelf or take advantage of other advanced features will need to create a username. With a username, there's no need to remember a library barcode number, although entering a library barcode is still an option.

Patrons who prefer using the old library catalog may still do so by clicking on the Former Catalog link on the bottom right corner of every screen.

Bellingham Public Library's partner, Whatcom County Library System, has been using the BiblioCommons interface to our shared catalog for over a year with rave reviews from library users. Now Bellingham residents will be able to enjoy the same benefits, like the ability to group items on "shelves" marked Completed, In Progress and For Later, and to share these shelves with others if they wish. They may also opt to track recently returned materials, a bonus for many who have a hard time remembering what they've read.

For questions, contact the Bellingham Public Library at 360-778-7323.


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