A suggestion was made recently that I seek out additions to our VHS video collection by asking Pawn Shops for donations or buying used videos for $1 or so from video stores.

While I have taken video donations, I will add some donations to our collection if they are suitable for family viewing or meet an educational need.

As a whole, the entire library system is switching to DVDs to add to our collections and withdrawing low circulating videos and ceasing to add video donations to the collections.

Northwest Branch has a larger collection of videos than the other branches because they still circulate well. I will be looking at the circ figures in the near future to determine where I can withdraw some of the videos. Even though we have adequate space right now, it is already full and as new books-on-tape, books-on-CDs and DVDs are added, something has to go.

Another aspect that limits me from going out and purchasing videos or books from any retail store is the contract the library system has with a book jobber. Every other year there is a bid between Baker & Taylor and Brodart to see who can offer us the best deal for purchasing our books through them.

For the past four years, Baker & Taylor has won the bid and we have benefited from a better discount on the books. Our book budget never seems to go up, but the price of books certainly does. With a deeper discount, our limited branch budget can go a littler further.

The only way we can buy items outside of B&T is if they are unable to provide the title.

Besides that, our purchases still need to be purchased through our book fund revenue and not through petty cash type purchases.

When the library started buying videos nearly 20 years ago, we had a small collection and had to limit it to classic movies for entertainment and to educational or how-to titles.

At that time it was thought that providing popular entertainment movies for free to library users was unfair competition to the video stores. Thus our collection was geared toward education. Since then we have added old movies and plays, mostly through donations.

In the last three to four years we have all been on the receiving end of many donations because people have recorded their VHS tapes to DVDs.

Starting Nov. 12, we will have a public computer registration system that will let you put in your library card bar code and assign you to a computer for two hours.

You can, of course, use it for less time, but you can also put it on pause so that you can take/make a phone call, get a drink, or go do something else for up to 15 minutes. No one can sit down and start using your computer during your time period.

In order to make sure that people waiting have a chance to get on a computer you would have to wait 10 or 15 minutes to re-register. You would be allowed three two-hour time periods per day at any library or combination of libraries. If computers are not being used, the system will extend your two hours for 20 minutes.

If someone does not have a library card we recommend you obtain one, just provide identification and proof of residency within the Corpus Christi city limits.

If you live outside the city limits, a non-resident card will cost $25. You can still use the computers without a card, just tell the staff and you will be issued a "guest card" that enables you to register, then return the card at the circulation desk when you leave.