Researchers and book browsers can scour Spokane Public Library shelves and magazine files without leaving their home or office.
The library is now offering those with computers and modems access to its collection and to more than 2,000 magazines that can be searched by keyword or topic.
The service is part of the $2.5 million automated information system installed in city libraries last fall.
Those with city library cards can use the dial-in service after obtaining an identification number from the downtown main branch.
County residents can only use the dial-in service if they pay $100 for a city library card.
A computer and modem lets a person dial the city library’s system, connect to the database and get information about books or other materials, said Dolly Richendrfer, library spokesperson.
The dial-up service operates 21 hours a day (3 a.m.-midnight) and can handle up to 10 calls at the same time. That number will increase in several months to 20 calls at a time, said Richendrfer.
Library users will not pay extra for the dial-in help.
The new system also allows users to put holds on books at any library branch. And it tells users when a checked out item or book is due back and then, after its return, has it mailed to the caller.
Users also can print articles or research summaries on their home printers.
Modem speed for the service runs as high as 14,400 bits per second. Eventually, that speed will jump to 28,800 bits per second.
Library staff said about 60 people per day are using the service, though the city hasn’t publicized it.
Very few users have had problems connecting to the dial-in number - 747-3166 - said Richendrfer.
“We should be able to take care of 99 percent of people wanting to use it,” said Richendrfer. Those with questions on using the system can call 626-5336.
Dial-in sessions will be limited to one hour.