SYRACUSE, New York, August 17, 2004 -- GIS Information Systems, Inc. announced today that the North Olympic Library System (NOLS) in Port Angeles, Washington has selected the Polaris integrated library system (ILS) to replace its Dynix Classic system. "We were very taken with the Polaris PowerPAC and think it will put a beautiful face on our library," said Maureen Lindh, NOLS technology manager. "It's powerful and can be customized by staff with just a basic grasp of Web administration. The System Administration interface is absolutely elegant and easy enough to use so library staff will be able to participate in the administration of their functional areas, rather than relying on one person to make changes for them. As we looked at the way the operating system and the backend services and application would be tied together with our network into a neat package, we knew that Polaris was the one."
Lindh said that one of the key factors in their selection was the workflow efficiency they will gain with Polaris. Lindh pointed specifically to the ability to move easily between subsystems and to share information among subsystems. Also important is the work that GIS has done to integrate Polaris with the third-party products important to NOLS, including Unique Management Services for collection agency functionality, Libramation self-check, SAM from Comprise Technologies for PC management, and Baker & Taylor and Ingram Library Services for electronic ordering with advanced EDI capabilities. With Polaris, NOLS will implement enriched content from Syndetic Solutions, bringing book jacket images, tables of contents and book reviews to their patrons for the first time. NOLS also will implement the Polaris PowerPAC in Spanish to serve their significant Hispanic population.
NOLS Director George Stratton praised the staff committee's work. According to Stratton, "The library's selection process was extensive, involving months of work on the part of the committee charged with evaluating our options. Systems were compared on functionality and input gathered from current customers of each vendor being considered. The ILS evaluation committee report to the library's Board of Trustees relates that GIS and Polaris were the unequivocal choice for the best new automation solution for NOLS."
Polaris attributes that were attractive to the NOLS staff include:
- Highest ratio of support staff to customers in the library automation industry.
- Easy-to-use interface of the Polaris PowerPAC. Patrons are empowered and can access more information about their accounts and save searches to be run at periodic intervals using the personal search agent feature.
- System Administration with discrete levels of access so that staff can be given permission to make changes in designated but not all areas. This will allow knowledgeable staff to control parameters that directly affect their areas (e.g., the Circulation Manager can make changes to circulation policies in designated areas of System Administration but not make changes in any other areas).
- Support for all open standards within a single operating system.
- Customizable “dashboards” that will allow the library to promote its own events and collection throughout the PowerPAC.
- Option to use free RSS feeds for news and weather.
"Comparing systems on functionality was a major part of our evaluation process and we definitely liked what we saw with Polaris," said Lindh. "We also were very impressed with what we heard from customers who gave very positive reviews about GIS and Polaris. Throughout our selection process we felt comfortable with the GIS staff who were accessible, helpful and very open in their communication with us. The fact that the company president is a programmer and one of the primary architects of Polaris gave us even more confidence that we would get what we needed from Polaris as our automation system." And, she added, "Moving to Polaris will be good for our library and inspire innovation here."
NOLS serves all of Clallam County, Washington with four branches on the North Olympic Peninsula. The service area includes 1,753 square miles and a population of about 66,000. The library has almost 40,000 registered patrons, which is close to two-thirds of the total number of residents in the county. The library system consists of four branches, the newest and largest of which is located in Port Angeles. Annual circulation for the system is 790,000 from a collection of 261,000 items.
"We are delighted to add the North Olympic Library System to our family of Polaris libraries," said Bill Schickling, GIS president and CEO. "GIS has a strong following in the Pacific Northwest and we see that momentum continuing to grow as more libraries recognize the value of Polaris and the personal pride every GIS employee has in the company and the product. We are committed to ensuring that Polaris customers are the best served in the library automation industry and, according to recent surveys, we are succeeding."
Other Polaris libraries in the Pacific Northwest include Eugene Public Library (OR), Klamath County Library Service District (OR), Mid-Columbia Public Library (WA), Pierce County Library System (WA), Southern Oregon Libraries Information System (OR), Tigard-Tualatin Public School District (OR), Washington County Cooperative Library Services (OR) and Yakima Valley Regional Library System (WA).
About GIS Information Systems
Headquartered in Syracuse, New York, GIS Information Systems is a Microsoft Certified Solutions Provider and the developer of the Polaris integrated library system. 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 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. The Polaris staff client offers a complete solution for acquisitions, collection management, cataloging, circulation, interlibrary loan and serials control. The Polaris PowerPAC extends this innovation to the end-user by providing a fully customizable library portal to the library's catalog and other library resources, including enhanced bibliographic data such as book images, tables of contents, and reviews. With embedded metasearch capabilities, patrons can search the library's catalog, the web, other library catalogs and Z39.50 databases at one time using one common interface.