Syracuse, NY - April 20, 2005 – A new flexible, customizable outreach services module is now available with version 3.2 of the Polaris Integrated Library System. Polaris Outreach Services are designed to manage outreach and homebound programs from the most basic manual process to large programs with dedicated collections and multiple delivery schedules.
According to Kenny Hearlson, Application Developer/Assistant Trainer at Pierce County Library System in Washington, Polaris Outreach Services give the library an opportunity to rethink the way they handle reader services and reader's advisory for homebound patrons. Pierce County served as a beta test library for Polaris 3.2 Outreach Services. “Polaris Outreach Services will allow us to eliminate a lot of manual and duplicate work,” he said. “We can create a profile for each homebound patron, noting reader preferences. Polaris will do the searching and provide us with a list to match the profile – by subject, author, genre, and even format type (e.g., large print, audio book, etc.).
“Outreach Services will save us time in other ways, too,” Hearlson said. “Once we have a selection list for a patron we can use Polaris to place holds on items that meet the specified preferences. We don't have to rely on an individual staff member's knowledge about a patron in order to serve that patron well. We can track the last time the patron was visited, any special needs the patron has, and even manage how delivery is made to the patron.”
Polaris Outreach Services allow the librarian to store patron reading preferences based on a profile of subjects, authors, genre and other parameters specified for each patron and then automatically create selection lists based on these preferences. Libraries can continue to use their manual workflow for selection and delivery, aided by quick notes in the Polaris patron record, or they can create a list of titles automatically based on a patron reading profile, avoiding titles previously checked out by the patron.
In addition, Polaris will manage delivery routes and schedules and process groups of patrons simultaneously. With Outreach Services, the library can create a printed selection list to be mailed to the patron for personal selection. For libraries that circulate items to institutions such as long-term care facilities, Polaris can set up a record for the institution and designate the institution as an outreach services patron, allowing the library to easily track and control the items that circulate to the institution.
Highlights of Polaris Outreach Services
- Allow library staff to save a patron reading profile and execute a search for library materials that match that profile. The profile includes author, subject and genre preferences, as well as qualification by language, format and publication dates.
- Let library staff establish multiple delivery routes and schedules. “Staff can automate groupings of patrons for efficient delivery,” said Hearlson. “If a driver changes, there's an automated routing schedule established for a new driver to readily follow.”
- Allow the user to select and save a selection list of titles for each patron or a group of patrons (for example, all patrons on a specified delivery route). The library also can print packing lists and mailing labels, if materials are to be sent rather than delivered.
- Give library staff the option to view all outreach patrons at one time on the Outreach Services page. This allows staff to manage the whole program quickly and easily.
“We can see that Polaris Outreach Services will save us time and help us manage the whole process,” commented Hearlson. “This will free staff up to serve the patron with materials instead of spending time on process.”
About GIS Information Systems
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 integrated library 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. In addition to its library automation systems, GIS offers workflow analysis, database enhancement, wireless access and network security services to libraries of all types.