BiblioCommons has named a new general manager, its top executive position. When Volaris Group purchased the company in February 2020, Matt Goddard was appointed as its general manager to lead the company through its initial phase of business integration. As of December 1, 2020, Sebastien Lopes has assumed the role of general manager, following a three-month recruitment process. This transition in leadership was expected and does not necessarily portend any major changes in product or business strategies.
Volaris Group recruited from within its ranks of executives in its portfolio of more than 70 companies. Lopes was previously associated with Wynne Systems, a Volaris company that produces software supporting the industrial equipment rental and transportation sectors. From 2012 through November 2020, he served in a variety of positions, most recently vice president of international operations. Volaris acquired Wynne Systems from United Rentals in May 2012. Tapping talent from existing companies ensures continuity of the preferred software development and support models and business practices that Volaris Group instills in its portfolio businesses. According to Lopes, despite the differences in products and target customer base, the companies share similar approaches to technology development and deployment of interfaces and in customer support.
Matt Goddard, after concluding his tenure at BiblioCommons, has shifted to another Volaris Group company, equivant, which produces software supporting the justice profession, including courts, attorneys, and organizations involved in supervision and custody (see https://www.equivant.com). Since its business transition, BiblioCommons has continued to develop its core products and recruit new customers. The company released improvements to BiblioCore, its core discovery platform. The new features help emphasize staff recommendations and other content, an important capability when library workers may be hindered from providing in-person services. Most of the enhancements relate to the BiblioCore Bib Page, the display presenting all the information on a given work. The new Bib Page features an improved layout design, larger cover art images, collages of staff recommendations of related items, and improved metadata. Early implementors of this new version of BiblioCore include the Arapahoe Libraries in Colorado.
BiblioEmail, a new product to support library marketing initiatives, was delivered in its initial version. Chicago Public Library was the first library to place BiblioEmail into production. BiblioEmail taps content created in BiblioWeb for distribution through selected communications channels and uses Mautic (https://www.mautic.org), a marketing automation package based on open source software, to manage the selection and distribution of content. BiblioCommons had originally planned to use marketing automation components from Salesforce to support BiblioEmail, but shifted to Mautic to gain flexibility and to reduce cost to customers. BiblioCommons announced the BiblioEmail product in June 2019.
BiblioCommons has also recently delivered its new BiblioApps mobile app to customer libraries. Initially released for iOS for Apple devices, it is now also available for Android. Chicago Public Library is also an early adopter of BiblioApps. Libraries that have subscribed to BiblioApps using earlier versions will migrate to this new version.
The Outagamie Waupaca Library System in Wisconsin recently subscribed to BiblioCore and is expected to place it into production in early 2021.
BiblioCommons products are designed to engage with library patrons, employing some concepts similar to social media platforms. This social approach naturally brings to mind concerns regarding patron data and patron-created content, which must be handled in ways consistent with a library's privacy policies. Business acquisitions can heighten such concerns. Addressing this, Erica Reynolds, BiblioCommons' vice president for library engagement noted, “All BiblioCommons data and privacy practices have remained the same under Volaris Group and Constellation Software, Inc. User-generated content is owned by the patron who contributes it, and BiblioCommons just has a license to use it. Patron data that comes from the ILS belongs to the library.”
BiblioCommons recently assembled a new Partner Advisory Board. This group of customer stakeholders will advise the company regarding new products and features and will provide feedback on topics such as product roadmaps.
In the first year of its transition from ownership by its founders to becoming part of Volaris Group, BiblioCommons has maintained continuity in its product and business strategies. While the company has made some minor adjustments along the way, its library customers have not experienced abrupt changes or disruptions.
For more information on BiblioCommons see https:// www.bibliocommons.com.