Within the Mid-Pen region, traditional library automation (circulation and catalog functions) was accomplished through a group purchase of Brodart LePac software for stand-alone systems in libraries. Two libraries had already automated with Dynix systems. Interlibrary loan is done through OCLC Group Access, and plans are under way to create a union CD-ROM catalog of Mid-Pen libraries. Mid-Pen purchased reference material for each library to use on public workstations and negotiated a group contract with OCLC for access via the Internet to the FirstSearch online reference service.

Of the many services Mid-Pen has provided over the years, librarians cite computer repair and maintenance servicing as the most important new thing that Mid-Pen does for them. In October 1995, Silver reported to the Mid-Pen board of directors that the cooperative’s technical support is cost effective now that each member is heavily computerized. For example, the Ontonagon Township Library (pop. 5,260) is typical of a small Mid-Pen library. In 1995, Ontonagon had one telefax machine, two Macintosh computers, and eight IBM clones. Of these, one IBM clone is used for OCLC/GAC interloan, five IBM clones are used for the library’s online catalog, one IBM and one Macintosh are for public use, and one IBM and one Macintosh are used for administrative purposes. The telefax machine is used for document delivery and interlibrary loan.

At the Mid-Pen office, a central Power Macintosh 8150 World Wide Web server supports the full range of Internet host services and the local area network for the Mid-Pen offices and training center. The Internet training center is a classroom with 20 networked workstations (ten PCs and ten Power Macintosh 6100/66 with DOS cards).