Can't believe a week has flown by since I last posted. We've been busy!
We are in the process of selecting a new Integrated Library System - the software that runs all of our core library operations -including acquisition of books and other library materials, cataloging, circulation (checking books in and out), inventory control, and the public access library catalog. So far we've had full-day demonstrations from 3 vendors with one more planned for next week.
Our current system is over 10 years old, won't be supported beyond next year, and is incapable of providing many of the services our customers are asking for without major modifications. The new system will cost approximately a quarter of a million dollars and will need to last for the next 10 years so its a big decision!
PVLD employees know what we want, and aren't shy about asking tough questions, so I'm sure the vendor representatives have been relieved when their day with us was over.
The good news is that while all of the systems we've seen have strengths and weaknesses, whatever we choose will be a BIG step forward, especially for our customers. We won't be able to take advantage of all of the new features right away but these are some of the things that are on the horizon:
- Email or telephone alerts to let customers know what items will be due soon
- Online payment of fines and fees, and also online donations
- Ability for customers to post "reader reviews" on the catalog
- Ability for customers to choose to save their borrowing history so they can check if they've read something before
- Much more intuitive searching of the library catalog
We can't wait!