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Maricopa County Library District selects Polaris

Press Release: Polaris Library Systems [June 06, 2003]

Copyright (c) 2003 Polaris Library Systems

Abstract: GIS Information Systems announced that the Maricopa County Library District the largest county-wide library system in Arizona, has selected the Polaris library automation system. Polaris replaces the Library District’s DRA Classic system.

Syracuse, NY - June 6, 2003 – GIS Information Systems announced today that the Maricopa County Library District (MCLD), the largest county-wide library system in Arizona, has selected the Polaris library automation system to support their phenomenal growth and serve as the backbone for innovative services for their community. MCLD will implement Polaris' integrated subsystems for PAC, cataloging, circulation, acquisitions, serials control and system administration as well as the Spanish language and children's versions of the Polaris PowerPAC. Polaris replaces the Library District's DRA Classic system.

Maricopa County Library District is located in the fastest growing large county in the country, with a current population of 3.5 million and a net gain in population of 280 people a day. The Library District's materials usage is increasing 20-30 percent a year. MCLD has a collection of more than 617,000 items with an emphasis as a popular reading materials library. Their marketing slogan, Your Unexpected Oasis, echoes the MCLD spirit of giving customers what they want. Multiple copies of bestsellers are prominently displayed on bookstore-like shelves near library entrances and a large collection of DVDs is extremely popular with library customers. MCLD's annual circulation was more than 3 million in the past fiscal year, representing an increase of almost one million over the previous year.

The Library District operates three Regional Libraries and ten Community Libraries. It also has an Outreach Service and two bookmobiles outfitted with high speed mobile satellite units with wireless laptops on board, so that the new Polaris system will be accessible to remote customers throughout the county. In 2004 a new 29,000-square foot combined school and public library facility will open and a fourth Regional Library is planned.

“To meet the needs of our rapidly growing community and continue to provide the highest quality service within the constraints of our budget, we need our technology to help us work smarter,” said Harry Courtright, MCLD Director. “Buying an automation system is not like buying a piece of furniture. We were buying a partnership, a relationship with a vendor who would embrace the innovative spirit of our library and help us use technology to realize our vision of customer service. Of all the ILS vendors we talked to, we found GIS to be the most responsive in understanding our needs today and where we want to go in the future.”

“Maricopa is an innovative library with a high standard for customer service,” said MCLD Technology Officer, Vicki Terbovich. “Our new system needed to provide the technology platform on which we could build and afford us the opportunity to work with our vendor to continue to ‘push the envelope' on innovation. We expect to work with GIS in partnership to develop new ways to deliver even better library service to customers.”

In addition to the importance of relationships, Terbovich outlined four major reasons MCLD selected Polaris.

  • Flexibility provided by the SQL Server environment. MCLD staff already has some of the skills and expertise necessary to manage SQL. It was a requirement for them to operate in a Standard Query Language environment to extract data from the system that will enable them to deliver easier ways for the customer to locate information in the online catalog environment.
  • Ability of the customer to register online for a library card in a Web environment. Customers are used to the Web and to accessing the services they need from their home or office. With the ability to register for a library card online and be authorized to use it instantly customers can access library services from any location, without setting foot in the library until they're ready or able to come in.
  • Polaris PowerPAC Portal that ties all the library's resources together. With the portal concept “at the heart of Polaris,” customers can access the online catalog, other Web resources, and the library's full-text electronic resources all with one easy-to-use interface.
  • Seamless integration with other vendors. To deliver enhanced service to customers and work smarter, MCLD needed a system that would interface with the systems of their other vendors. Polaris will allow them to enhance their acquisitions productivity by implementing Electronic Data Interchanged (EDI) with Brodart's and other vendors who use the EDI X12 version 4010 standard. MCLD also will implement the 3M™ Patron Access Management System for PC personalization, print cost recovery, and managing and scheduling customer use of the library's PCs and 3M™ Digital Materials Flow Management with RFID for self-check in and out. The library will enhance the customer's experience in using the PAC by adding enriched content from Syndetic Solutions.

“The Maricopa County Library District represents the type of leading edge library system that is a perfect fit for Polaris,” said GIS President William Schickling. “The library is 100% focused on expanding access to information and making it easy for their community to enjoy the library's resources. Polaris, with its powerful portal and metasearch capabilities, will help them achieve their mission.”

“The staff of Maricopa have a vision of library service that matches the GIS vision. As a customer they will help guide Polaris development to ensure the product is ahead of the curve in meeting the needs of public libraries and their customers,” Schickling added.

About GIS Information Systems

Headquartered in Syracuse, New York, GIS is a Microsoft Certified Solutions Provider and the developer of the Polaris integrated library system. From its beginnings as a division of Gaylord Bros., the company has for more than twenty-five years served libraries with innovative technology, from its first circulation system in the mid-1970's through its third-generation Polaris system. Ranked number 1 by users for the quality of customer support they receive*, 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. Today more than 300 libraries use Polaris every day to serve the information needs of their communities.

View Citation
Publication Year:2003
Type of Material:Press Release
Language English
Issue:June 06, 2003
Publisher:Polaris Library Systems
Place of Publication:Syracuse, NY
Company: Gaylord Information Systems
GIS Information Systems
Polaris Library Systems
Products: Polaris
Libraries: Maricopa County Library District
Subject: System announcements -- selection
Online access:
Record Number:10421
Last Update:2012-12-29 14:06:47
Date Created:0000-00-00 00:00:00