The Houston Public Library (HPL) will unveil a new library catalog and customer accounts system for its customers on July 11, 2013. This transition will result in improved service delivery and more efficient processes. As a result of the transition, there will be a service interruption in the catalog and customer accounts system beginning July 3, 2013.
About the new system
HPL is transitioning from the Innovative Interfaces, Inc. (III) Millennium system to the SirsiDynix Symphony system. The new system was chosen to provide an optimum online experience for HPL customers, and it provides improved usability, a more stable infrastructure, and the platform to add features and additional options in the future. The new interface will have easier navigation and easy-to-understand instructions.
Timelines and Impact
July 3, 2013 – existing catalog and customer accounts system goes offline
July 11, 2013 – new catalog and customer accounts system goes live
The new HPL catalog and customer account interface is scheduled to roll out on July 11, 2013. To prepare for the transition, library accounts and transactions in the existing online catalog will be unavailable beginning July 3, 2013. The catalog will still be searchable. Customers will still be able to check out materials and create new library accounts. However, most library transactions will be done offline during this transition period. In addition, HPL will not fill or take new hold orders during this transition period.
Improvements and Changes
The new library catalog will search better and provide suggestions when a keyword is misspelled. Customers will still be able to limit by material type such as e-books or DVDs. In addition, customers will be able to exclude by material type so if they wanted only books and audiobooks, they can exclude e-books, and music CDs from the search results. Customers also can choose to have the item information sent to them as a text message.
Library account numbers will remain the same but with the transition customers will be required to have Personal Identification Numbers (PIN) to access their accounts online. The addition of a PIN provides an additional level of security for HPL customers. The default PIN is the last four digits of the primary phone number listed on the account. If customers are not able to log in, they can contact HPL and the library staff will reset the PIN.
In addition, there is going to be a change in check-out periods: starting July 3, most items will check-out for three weeks with the possibility of one three-week renewal. DVDs will check-out for three weeks but cannot be renewed. The three-week renewal period will be calculated from the date of the renewal and not the end of the current check-out period.
For more information on the new system and its features, check out the HPL FAQs at http://blogs.houstonlibrary.org/?p=2659.
About the Houston Public Library
The Houston Public Library (HPL) operates 35 neighborhood libraries, four HPL Express Libraries, a Central Library, the Houston Metropolitan Research Center, the Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research, The African American Library at the Gregory School, and the Parent Resource Library located in the Children's Museum of Houston. Serving more than seven million customers per year in person and online, HPL is committed to excellent customer service and equitable access to information and programs by providing library customers with free use of a diverse collection of printed materials and electronic resources, Internet, laptop and computer use, and a variety of database and reference resources with live assistance online 24/7.