SYRACUSE, New York, December 7, 2004 -- GIS Information Systems, Inc. announced today that the St. Petersburg Public Library System (FL) has selected Polaris to replace its DRA Classic system. St. Petersburg administers the South Pinellas Interlibrary Network (SPIN) consortium whose members also will be implementing Polaris. In addition to St. Petersburg, SPIN members are Gulf Beaches, St. Pete Beach, and Gulfport Beach Public Libraries.
Located in Pinellas County and with a population of 248,232, St. Petersburg is the fourth largest city in Florida. The library serves 160,203 patrons from six locations with a collection of 677,869 items. Annual circulation is approximately 1.6 million. In addition to the core Polaris subsystems of PAC, circulation, cataloging, serials control, acquisitions and system administration – which are standard with every Polaris system purchase – St. Petersburg will install the Polaris PowerPAC Children's Edition and interfaces for self-check, collection agency management with Unique Management Services and inbound/outbound telephone services.
According to Library Director Mary Gaines, staff were excited by what they saw with Polaris and what they heard from current Polaris customers. “We did our homework and talked to a lot of libraries, including the Maricopa County Library District which also moved from DRA to Polaris. Everything we heard convinced us that Polaris was the right system for St. Petersburg and SPIN.
"We could see that Polaris would bring us new capabilities that we didn’t have with our current system, especially the ability to interface with other libraries," Gaines continued. "The Clearwater Public Library System is also a Polaris user and we hope to work closely with them to provide connectivity between the north and south parts of Pinellas County. In April 2005 we are opening a 50,000 square foot joint use facility with St. Petersburg College. At that time, our goal is to have our Polaris system communicate with the college's Ex Libris system. Expanding service to our patrons through library cooperation is critically important to us. GIS’ ability to provide what we need in this area was a key factor in our decision to purchase Polaris."
Elaine Birkinshaw, Manager of Library Special Projects, pointed to several areas of Polaris functionality that helped drive their decision. She said library patrons will welcome two features in the Polaris PowerPAC – the ability to indicate on a hold request that they are on vacation so they don't lose their place in the queue and the capability to keep a reading history if they choose to do so. "Now they won’t have to mark their initials in the books anymore" she commented humorously.
On the staff side, Birkinshaw said, the power of the acquisitions subsystem and fund accounting capabilities will allow the library to be good stewards of their public funding. She also noted the ease with which staff can move from task to task. “Polaris gives us the ability to have multiple windows open at one time, instead of having to back out of one task to do another. This improves our productivity and means we can serve patrons faster and better. And after all, isn’t that what public libraries are all about?”
St. Petersburg went live on Polaris on November 30, 2004 with 108 user licenses. "We were delighted that GIS was able to take us from contract signing to launch in just two months," said Birkinshaw. "This was important to us and their team of trainers and our GIS implementation manager made it happen."
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.
In addition to its library automation systems, GIS Information Systems, Inc. offers workflow analysis, retrospective conversion, database enhancement and network security services to libraries of all types. Thirty percent of GIS staff is composed of professional librarians. More information is available via telephone 800-272-3414 and at www.gisinfosystems.com.