A new feature is now available to our library patrons who put books on reserve.

Previously, when you wanted to place a hold or reserve a title, all the books had to be checked out or on "Available Soon" status. Now, you can place a hold on the book and each library will print out what we call a Pull Sheet each morning.

The staff then retrieves the book(s) from the shelves and forwards them to the library of your choice.

One thing to keep in mind is we could have a hardback, large print, DVD or Book-on-tape of the same title.

You must choose the media type for your reserve request.

You will need to go to our library Web page (www.cclibraries.com), choose "My Account" and then put in your library card barcode (without any spaces) and PIN number.

If you do not know what it is, please call us and with proper identification (your library barcode number will do) we will give you your PIN number or change it to a number you want to use.

Over the past months the staff and I have been encouraging our library users to avail themselves of renewing books, checking the due dates and placing reserves through their personal computers.

You may have noticed we've lost staff since the first of the year due to the city-wide freezes and reduction-in-force.

We have lost one of our three library aides permanently.

We have been without a part-time senior library aide since February and, more recently, a full-time senior library aide.

Rhonda Dean was our full-time person and she requested a transfer to the Dr. Clotilde P. Garcia Branch. Many of you know and appreciated Rhonda Dean's friendly service at the desk.

Our senior aides primarily work the circulation desk and answer phones.

Since we are so short staffed, we've had to spread everyone out in order to cover the week and busiest times. As a consequence, I know you are finding that we can't answer the phone as quickly and the lines are getting longer at the desk.

No one hates standing in lines more than I do and I know that it grates on everyone's nerves to wait for service and hear a phone ringing, too.

We give the person in line priority over the phone and would hope that if you are calling, you will try again or call another branch if it is something they can answer.

Try to avoid calling us during lunch and supper hours (noon to 2 p.m. and 5 to 6 p.m.) when we are even shorter staffed. Actually, this applies to all of our libraries, since we are facing the same circumstances

Our staff loves working at the library and with our library users, so many of you are like family.

Jean is nearing her 22nd year here and I just completed 13 years in April.

We strive to give you excellent service, but if you feel we aren't spending as much time in conversation with you and you are waiting longer to be served, I hope you will understand why this is happening.

I received word this past week that we can start the hiring process for the two senior aide positions.

More than likely it will be two to three weeks before the positions are advertised on the City's job board.

To keep an eye out for them, go to www.cctexasjobs.com.

Prior library experience certainly helps, but good filing ability, excellent customer service skills on the phone and in person are helpful, as is handling money, and computer skills.

As soon as the position is open we will post the job description on our foyer bulletin board. It's good to know that there is light at the end of a very busy summer and that we can provide the level of service you deserve when you visit our branch.

Lynda Whitton is the branch manager for the Northwest Branch Library in Corpus Christi. Readers may contact her at 241-9329.