LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Arkansas library patrons will have a new tool that allows them to borrow items from any Arkansas library collection.

Mockingbird, the Arkansas Statewide Virtual Union Catalog, is being rolled out to the state’s libraries in stages. Mockingbird provides “a single point of access to participating Arkansas library catalogs,” according to a press release.

Library users can search this joint catalog and ask their home libraries to request items to be delivered to their libraries for them to borrow. Mockingbird is not a replacement for a library’s own catalog, as it works with different catalog systems around Arkansas to provide extended discoverability and access.

SHAREit by Auto-Graphics is the platform behind Mockingbird. The first phase of implementation for Arkansas libraries began in February.

Approximately thirty libraries or systems representing public, academic, and special libraries across the state went live in June. The second phase of libraries went live on September 6 and brought the total number of participating libraries to just over 50.

American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding propelled the Arkansas State Library to initiate the project this year to address a critical need for our statewide community of users. Library directors in Arkansas were surveyed in May 2021 on their interest in participating in a statewide resource-sharing platform.

Based on the response, the State Library moved forward with a Request for Proposal solicitation for a flexible and configurable commercial off-the-shelf platform. That process was finalized in November, and the Arkansas State Library received legislative approval at the end of January to use the Auto-Graphics SHAREit platform for this resource.

The cost of the platform implementation as well as the ongoing annual costs associated with the platform itself are provided for all participating libraries. Arkansas is Auto-Graphics’ 15th state to use the platform for its statewide system.

The overall vision is to expose multiple libraries’ catalogs and collections to library users in Arkansas. This will make it possible for library users of different library types and from all geographic areas within the state to discover items and potentially request them with or without the assistance of their library depending on the preferences of individual participating libraries.

Check in with your local library to ask how they are participating and how you can access this resource. A list of participating libraries is available here.