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Monday, November 21, 2011
Letter to the Public Regarding SCPL's New Automation System
Dear SCPL Customer,
Thank you for your patience and kind consideration as we implement a new Integrated Library System (ILS). As you may not be aware, our previous system was a quarter century old and no longer supported by the vendor nor was it being developed (new features, improvements, etc). A library's ILS is like the engine that runs a train with many cars. It includes back room services that help us order and get materials on the shelf for you to check out. It includes the public face which is the online catalog and "my account" features. And it covers the circulation function which is essentially inventory management--where materials are, who has them out, when are they due back, holds, etc.
Any time a library takes on a change of this magnitude there are some glitches that have to be resolved. New features are introduced and capabilities added. Unfortunately, often, some functionality in certain areas is lost; usually only temporarily. This is precisely what we are currently experiencing. I think of it as giving up an old worn out comfortable pair of shoes for brand new but slightly pinching ones that need to be broken in.
We are working closely not only with our vendor but, because the new ILS is Open Source, with a much broader community that can help with development of the system. We are fortunate and honored to be part of a national grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services to further the use of Open Source in libraries. Among our partners is our neighbor the Peninsula Library System and the renowned King County Library System in Washington State.
Within the next two weeks, we plan to post a document on our home page that will show you the various features and issues we are facing that most directly affect you as a library user, along with an anticipated timeframe for solution or attention. We are also offering classes on how to use the new catalog and I encourage you to check www.santacruzpl.org for more information and updates. If you are having a problem that you do not see posted, please contact the service desk at any of our branches, and staff will assist you directly or refer you to staff with more specialized training.
Thank you for your continuing support and interest in YOUR Santa Cruz Public Libraries.