Opening miniature drawer after miniature drawer, flipping through rolodex-like cards — not too long ago it was a treasure hunt to find a specific book in analog card catalog systems. Row upon row of drawers were filled with tiny cards, one for each book and directions to its home on the shelf.
Now our web-based system can instantly recall information with a few quick pecks on the keyboard. Behind the scenes, this complex system seems similar to the inner workings of Gringotts Wizarding Bank in Harry Potter (not that our staff members are goblins, mind you). During those few seconds of recall, the catalog system combs more than 200,000 physical and digital items, conversing with five outside content platforms, all while keeping track of 27,000+ cardholder records.
And soon, your catalog experience will be even better with a move to the Polaris system.
“Over the last several years, we’ve noticed that our catalog hasn’t kept up with other library systems’ improvements, and we wanted to create a better patron experience,” said IT & Technical Services Manager Bud Hunt. “As we looked into the easiest and most cost effective way to make this happen, we discovered that the move to Polaris could radically improve the day to day patron experience.”
The switch is underway with staff working to bridge the gap between the current system and the new system for a seamless transition. The new catalog system will launch to the public later this year.
“When we make the transition, you’ll notice a more modern interface and an improved search and exploration experience,” Hunt shared. “Also, our item records will now include additional information like book reviews.
“And, you’ll have the convenience of being able to reset passwords, change contact information, and update your notification and other preferences independently of staff.”
In addition to a better patron experience, Polaris integrates with the Prospector Interlibrary Loan system, which vastly increases our borrowing network. The system will allow you to check out 30 million materials from more than 50 public, academic, and special libraries — more extensive than our current Interlibrary Loan system, SWIFT. Prospector will be available shortly after the initial Polaris launch.
Moving from SWIFT to Prospector was a repeated request in the Strategic Plan feedback process. It also helps us to better maximize our space while increasing collection options.
“Requests for items from other libraries were high on the list of desires in the strategic planning process,” Hunt said. “Polaris will make connections to other libraries easier to accomplish.
“At the end of the day, our hope is Polaris will lead you to more finding and less wondering.”
More information about the transition to Polaris will be shared in the newsletter and on our Facebook Page. Stay tuned for updates.