By Beth Sandore, Assistant Automated Services Librarian, andSharon Clark, Coordinator, Technical Services Division Do you need to have your library books charged or renewed? That special book saved? Perhaps a question answered about a bibliographic record in the online catalog? Or help with remote access? You can do any or all with a quick telephone call to the Library Telephone Center at 333-8400. The Library Telephone Center has been offering these services to faculty members, students and other library users at the UI for 16 years, and remains as popular as ever. Last year, Telephone Center staff completed more than a million transactions, with renewals continuing to be the most popular service. Before modems and dial-up access, the Library Telephone Center was launched to provide remote access to the online catalog so that faculty members and students could call in requests for materials, and have those materials mailed to a campus address without having to come in-person to any of the libraries on campus. Today, students and faculty members on the UI campus have direct access to collections of 48 libraries in Illinois with a database of more than 10 million records. Remote-access opportunities have expanded to include, in addition to dial up, the Internet through direct telnet, gopher menu or World Wide Web. Users on campus and around the world account for an average of 50 million logons annually to the online catalog and attendant bibliographic databases. Staff members in the Telephone Center are kept very busy helping users successfully connect to the online catalog. The services are so popular that at times it is difficult to get through. In 1987, the library contracted with the campus to install a queuing system, which has helped streamline service. The Telephone Center has been staffed over the years - approximately 100 hours per week - with a small number of dedicated staff members and students. Sue Joyce, chief library clerk since 1982, estimates that she has trained more than 300 students and staff members during those years. Even with the proliferation of computer expertise and general feeling of comfort with using the online catalog remotely, many faculty members and students continue to prefer interacting with a human being. International faculty members and students find the service especially helpful. It also is convenient and serves a real need for individuals who may not have a computer at home or do not want to stand in line for one on campus or who do not have time to come in to the library. New students in particular may find searching a database of more than 10 million records intimidating and therefore appreciate personal help in searching the online catalog. Further, the center recognizes that renewing books with lengthy call numbers - which can extend upwards to 35 characters - can be difficult for many users. Sixteen years of experience suggests that it is the interaction between human beings that may be the clue to the Telephone Center's continuing popularity. After all, it is the ultimate interface, interactive between people. The Telephone Center hours during the semester (hours are expanded during finals): Monday through Thursday: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday: 1 to 10 p.m.