ocation: Ajax, Ontario, Canada
Library Information: With three branches to serve the entire community, the Library offers over 500 annual programs and events including workshops, training, book clubs, film screenings and information sessions for toddlers, kids, teens, adults and seniors. With a catalogue collection of over 150,000 items, including books, periodicals, music and movies, the library provides a substantive inventory of both print and digital assets for readers of all skill-sets and ages. Appointed by Ajax Town Council, the Ajax Public Library is governed by a nine member board, including eight citizens and one Councillor.
Library URL: https://www.ajaxlibrary.ca
Aspen Discovery URL: https://discover.ajaxlibrary.ca
The Ajax Public Library in Ontario, Canada, is the gateway to information and resources that improve the quality of life, foster life-long learning, encourage community involvement, and meet the varying educational and social needs of all members of its communities. They have migrated to Koha in 2018 and Aspen Discovery in fall of 2020.
Case study with Christofer Zorn, Coordinator of Technology Services at Ajax Public Library.
Staff from Ajax Public Library recently commented on the implementation of Aspen Discovery.
Staff feedback was positive about the transition and ‘findability' of materials. The ‘Netflix' type of display was also quite favourable to staff.
Why did you decide to move to Aspen Discovery?
The decision to move to Aspen was accelerated by COVID shutdowns. When comparing our existing Koha catalogue to Aspen, Aspen provided a much richer end user experience, giving our customers as close to an "in branch" browsing experience as possible.
Another key factor in our move to Aspen was that it allowed us to highlight and feature other aspects of our collections within search results. Aspen's tight integration with third party products (specifically Overdrive and Hoopla), along with its ability to integrate our other Databases into search results were paramount to our decision to move.
What challenge(s) was your library addressing by adding a discovery layer?
There were a number of challenges that our Library was attempting to address, but mainly it was keeping our customer base engaged during the shutdown. Aspen provided the opportunity to visually highlight our collections, which dramatically increased the number of holds placed.
A further push was made to highlight our virtual collection during the stay at home orders and Aspen also aided in this as well.
What integrations have you tied into Aspen Discovery?
Mostly Overdrive and Hoopla. Being in Canada, we don't have access or don't subscribe to many of the other services available in the United States.
How did this help patrons find more of what the library had to offer?
With our Koha catalogue, results were not grouped in an intuitive way. This caused multiple entries for titles such as Harry Potter. Aspen streamlined searching and provided customers with one search result for a title, but included all library holdings within that one result.
How much have you seen your statistics jump since moving to Aspen Discovery?
Completely and more than I had predicted.
We officially went live on Aspen in late October 2020. By the end of November, we had seen our average daily holds placed count increase to 113% of October's values. That number increased again slightly in December.
The return on investment for Aspen began to shine as the calendar year turned to 2021, where our average daily holds count increased from 157% to 198% over pre go live counts.