SYRACUSE, New York, January 27, 2005 -- GIS Information Systems, Inc. announced today that the Elkhart Public Library (IN) has selected the Polaris integrated library system (ILS) to provide the technology it needs to serve its growing and diverse population. "With its flexibility, ease of use, and functionality suited to a multi-branch system, Polaris will give us more control over our library operations than we’ve had with Dynix Classic," said Deborah Stewart, Assistant Director. "We're excited about having a system that will work for us, rather than a system that dictates how we do things."
Located in the northern part of the state in one of the fastest growing counties in Indiana, the library serves 90,000 people of the city of Elkhart and three townships with a collection of 550,000 items and annual circulation of 1.2 million. Over the last decade, the area's population increased by 17 percent and includes the second fastest growing Hispanic population in Indiana. In 2004, Elkhart was named as one of five "Most Livable Cities" by America's Most Livable Communities www.mostlivable.org, a project of Partners for Livable Communities, a national non-profit organization working to restore and renew America's communities.
According to Stewart, the library began its ILS selection process by customizing a sample Request for Proposal (RFP) and identifying and ranking the criteria most important to them. She highlighted several areas that were the drivers of their decision to purchase Polaris.
- Reporting function. "We do a lot of statistical analysis," Stewart said. “We want to be able to write our own reports, to compare any part of the database to any other part without having to rely on a single technical person. Polaris" Reporting Services will give us exactly what we are looking for."
- Ease of use. Stewart said that the Windows functionality of Polaris will make it easy for staff to learn and use, since the interface is one they are familiar with.
- Customer service. “Throughout the sales process GIS staff responded to our questions quickly, openly and honestly,” commented Stewart. “We talked to several GIS customers who affirmed that this level of responsiveness is typical of how GIS relates to their customers. GIS also gave us a trial database to play around with, which the other vendors didn’t. Customer service was a big decision factor for us and our experience gave us the confidence that we would be well served as a Polaris customer.”
- Patron services. According to Stewart, the library staff appreciated the functionality that Polaris would bring to their patrons. The ease with which patrons can access their own accounts and the ability to keep track of their own reading history if they choose will be popular features, she predicted.
As Elkhart looks forward to implementation by June 2005, Stewart said Polaris will help their main library, four branches and two bookmobiles "think as a system." With Polaris, she said, "It will be easier to share information, easier to provide uniform procedures, and easier to produce and share reports. This will free up time for patron service and better collection management."
In addition to purchasing the core Polaris product with PowerPAC™, cataloging, circulation, serials control, acquisitions and system administration, Elkhart Public Library also will install PowerPAC Children's and Spanish Editions, inbound and outbound telephone services and the collection agency interface for use with Unique Management Services. Unique Management is fully integrated into the Polaris circulation system.
The system will run on a Dell PowerEdge 2800 with 81 staff client licenses and 42 dedicated PAC workstations.
About GIS Information Systems
From its beginnings thirty years ago, GIS has served libraries with innovative technology, from its first circulation system in the mid-1970s through its third-generation Polaris integrated library system. Ranked higher by users for the quality of customer support they receive than any other public library system vendor, Polaris facilitates all aspects of library operations by providing innovative workflow solutions packaged in a familiar Windows interface. In addition to its library automation systems, GIS offers workflow analysis, database enhancement, wireless access and network security services to libraries of all types.