A new partnership between the Hammermill Library at Mercyhurst and Erie County’s Blasco Public Library allows Mercyhurst students access to the latter’s online material. The association was created by Mercyhurst’s Director of Libraries Darci Jones, and Blane Dessay, the Blasco Public Library director.
The Blasco Erie County Public Library is one of seven public libraries in Erie County. Together they all form the Public Libraries of Erie County.
Blasco itself is located on East Front Street, next to the Erie Maritime Museum. Students can access resources on-line through the library including ebooks, audiobooks, databases, video streaming, and even a genealogy page. To access these online resources, students have to register for a free online-only e-card.
Unlike the traditional library card which requires an applicant to go to a local library branch to register and pick it up, the card application can be done online. The application can be found at erielibrary.org under the services tab.
According to Jones, students from outside of Erie County should apply using Mercyhurst’s address. Erie County residents, even if they live on campus, should apply using their home address. The card cannot be registered using an address located outside of Erie County.
Once the application is sent, the card should arrive in the mail within five business days. Students can then use the library’s online resources by signing in with their card number. The card cannot be used to check out physical material from the library. To do that, one must apply for a traditional library card. However, this card still gives access to all online material.
Jones noted that she first discovered that the Blasco Library offered electronic library cards when she researched ways to get her mother to access to the library. The restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic have limited peoples’ ability to go to a library in-person, so online library resources have become more prominent this year.
After doing some more research on the library, Jones said, “I knew that all libraries were limiting visitation to their buildings so I thought that since this e-card did not require actual visitation to the library that it may benefit Mercyhurst students and faculty perfectly to bring not only leisure reading to students in quarantine but also other resources that may not focus on scholarship, but rather entertainment while spending time in their dorm rooms.”
Jones maintained informal contacts with the other local library directors and used these connections to set up the partnership between Hammermill and Blasco.
She is satisfied with this new initiative.
“Having started out trying to bring entertainment to my 89-year-old mother and ending with the potential of having students at Mercyhurst discover new resources and reading material makes me feel good,” said Jones. She has further hoped that “students can discover new hobbies like genealogy and leisure reading and find supplemental resources for class projects and research.”