Peninsula residents wishing to use the San Mateo County Community College District library system will need to register for a new account, as the school system overhauls its catalog.

As of Friday, Dec. 20, community members must visit a campus library at College of San Mateo, Skyline College or Cañada College to register for a new, separate account from the current model shared with the Peninsula Library System.

The requirement is prompted by the district adopting a new statewide, online catalog to be used by community colleges, alongside the California State University and University of California systems.

Recognizing the inconvenience faced by residents who will need to go through the process of registering for another account, Stephanie Roach, a district digital resources librarian and associate professor, said the new system will be worth the effort.

“This will really help support all of our community members who want to explore academic resources,” she said.

Roach added the new catalog will give an advantage to community college students who advance into the CSU or UC systems by familiarizing them with the widely-used search platform.

“That gives them a leg up when they are transferring as they move ahead,” she said.

The community college system will continue to be part of the Peninsula Library System, allowing residents to use the district resources. The only change is the catalog system, upon the adoption of the OneSearch model. District students will not be required to do any additional registration to use the new system.

College libraries in San Mateo County currently have 1,600 members with more than 2,200 items checked out. Over the fiscal year, 42,613 items were checked out from the college system’s libraries and 8,000 of those were renewed by those using the Peninsula Library System’s online catalog, said Roach. OneSearch will also feature an online renewal system.

Under the new system, the college libraries’ catalog will be a separate search from those in the Peninsula Library System. Roach said the forthcoming catalog will include not only books and digital media, but also an expansive collection of academic journals available online.

Aaron McVean, vice chancellor of Educational Services and Planning for the college district, expressed his excitement for the transition in a prepared statement.

“This is a game changer for the students we serve, providing greater access to resources to support their educational journey,” he said. “At the same time, we value and will continue our membership in the Peninsula Library System and are excited to bring this new resource to the community.”

Carol Frost, executive director of the Peninsula Library System, blessed the transition in a prepared statement too.

“We support the colleges joining the others in the state and we know that our relationship will continue to bring value to all residents in San Mateo County. Our staff will continue to help patrons find the resources they need, no matter if they are from the public libraries or the college libraries,” said Frost.

To that end, each school website will feature instructions regarding how to get help with accounts, ways to search the new catalog and other assistance.

For her part, Roach said she anticipates some challenges for those first using the system.

“Any time someone is introduced to a new user interface, sure there can be some hiccups … I think there will be some of that that happens, but honestly, the system is really user friendly and really intuitive,” she said.

She balanced that perspective though by sharing her enthusiasm for launching a new, more comprehensive system.

“We’re really excited about it,” she said. “I think it’s going to be a great change for the students and the community.”

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