August 24, 2009

New Troy Library Computer System Coming September 30

As many of you might know, the Troy Library is in the process of changing to a new Integrated Library System (ILS). I would like to take this opportunity to update you on the status of this change.

An ILS is the software that knits together all the processes necessary to manage a modern and busy library. There are several modules -- for acquisitions, cataloging, serials, patron services, circulation and administration -- that make up the modern ILS.

In February, the Library chose the Polaris system as our next ILS. Moving to Polaris means we are leaving an older, UNIX-based ILS that is cumbersome, "cranky," and no longer cost effective. During these tough economic times it may not seem to make sense we would be investing in a significant software purchase, but not only is Polaris a much more efficient and standardized Windows-based environment, it is actually significantly more cost effective over the next five years. So the Library will gain functionality, improve efficiencies, and save money all at the same time. And our patrons will see it directly in better service, better response times, and a friendlier interface to our Public Access Catalog.

While it is no small task to accomplish this new system, the conversion offers an opportunity to reassess our internal processes, developed years ago for what is now an outdated system. To date we have installed new virtualized server hardware, developed new profiles for our array of internal processes, cleaned up a lot of bad data (orphaned records, errors, non-compliant records, etc.), developed new data code models for managing our collections, developed more automated ordering systems, modified our patron support processes, and begun the preparation for our staff for a September 30 launch date.

We are truly excited about this opportunity to improve our patron experience at the Troy Library while improving internal processes that are invisible to our patrons, but extremely important to that experience. All these changes are welcomed, timely, and another sign of the desire of the entire Library staff to better serve the Troy community.

I will continue to post updates as move forward. Please feel free to post questions in the comments section and I will be happy to respond to them.

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