Library undergoing technological and physical upgrades

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The Maricopa Community Library is expanding its services and gaining efficiency with the installation of a new online checkout system. With this system, one can search for books, place articles on hold and participate in inter-library loans – all via the World Wide Web.

The Pinal County Library District is implementing the system throughout the county, including the city of Maricopa. The decision to do so was based on years of feedback from system revamps. “It’s the logical progression,” said Marty McDonald, Maricopa’s director of parks, recreation and libraries. “It takes the library to the next level.”

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The library was taken over by the city of Maricopa last September. Prior to that time, it has been operated by the volunteer Maricopa Cultural Activity Center nonprofit organization. The library currently serves an estimated 20,000 people in Maricopa, Hidden Valley, Ak-Chin and surrounding communities.

In 2004, 200-250 items were in the library’s circulation each month. According to McDonald, the influx of people to Maricopa and increased awareness of the library has led to a circulation of more than 800 items per month. In fact, a record 1,000 books and medias were checked out in March alone.

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The library’s is getting ready to undergo more changes with additional physical renovations starting this month. The first of these began back in December when remaining funds from the Maricopa Cultural Activity Center helped pay for a new roof and landscaping.

Since then, Core Construction and the ADM Group have donated time and effort to the project preparing for the overhaul. Upcoming repairs include a new paved parking lot, floors, ceiling tile, furniture, bookshelves and exterior and interior paint. No taxpayer money will be used as all these changes will be made with donations from Core, ADM and other subcontractors.

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To visit the library, travel south on Maricopa Road (if coming from the north of the railroad tracks) and turn left onto Maricopa – Casa Grande Highway. The library is on the north side of the road, just a quarter mile east of Maricopa Road. As McDonald says, “If you’ve hit the tracks, you’ve gone too far!”