Emeryville, CA—Innovative Interfaces announced today that the Greater Victoria Public Library (GVPL) of British Columbia, Canada, has selected Millennium as its integrated library management system. A team of 40 librarians with an eye toward enhancing public service examined ten companies offering library automation solutions. "In the end our decision was unanimous: 40 out of 40 agreed that Millennium was the right choice for our library management system," says Jim Scott, Manager, Systems and Technical Services at GVPL. Ilka Abbott, Manager of the Central Library, says, “The overwhelming reason that we all decided on this system was the flexibility and functionality of the catalog. The public interface has enormous potential for customized design. There are very generous searching options and the functionality is forgiving. It's so intuitive—it even anticipates potential spelling mistakes in a search. With so many people searching remotely, it has to be easy.”
Installing Advanced Self-Service Features
In a common scenario for today's public library, usage at GVPL is up and effective self-service is becoming a necessity for staff and patrons alike. In fact, patrons borrowed over 4.5 million items in 2004, a nearly 7% jump from the previous year. "Millennium will give patrons the online experience they have been asking for. There is huge potential for how integrated, online self-service features like paying late return charges, registering for library cards, and placing holds will all work together for the benefit of our patrons," says Scott.
In a new service capability for the library, Innovative's Ecommerce will enable secure credit card payment of late return charges and fees directly through the online catalog. Transactions are accepted in real time and any usage blocks caused by charges are automatically removed upon payment.
This suite of self-service options enables sophisticated, personal interaction with the library. Scott said: "With a glance at their patron record, our users can see how much they might owe in charges and pay them, as well as how many items they have on hold and their estimated time of arrival." Better holds service is a must in an environment in which holds activity has increased at least 20% each year since 2000. "We're also excited about patrons' ability to freeze requests, so they can keep their requests going and not lose their 'place in line' if they are away or simply can't get to a branch," added Scott.
Getting the Most out of Materials
Resource sharing has long been a solution for libraries since they cannot possibly buy everything their communities want or need. GVPL will pursue one such "Innovative" alternative: Mobile Collections, which allows libraries to manage the progression of hundreds of item groups through routes of their choice. This product dramatically boosts efficiency of resource sharing and saves considerable staff time. Using Mobile Collections, library staff can define multiple, independent collections and their respective routes and lengths of stay at each destination. Staff can move items from library to library on any basis they choose including month-to-month or quarterly.
"Now we are planning to mobilize materials such as large type books and video collections that get stale," said Scott. "We can freshen up our community's experience without buying multiple copies of everything." A fully integrated product in Millennium Circulation, Mobile Collections offers the ability to rotate up to 3,000 collections (each with 1,000 items) and gives library staff up-to-the-minute information about the status and location of each item.
Considering Technical and Financial Issues
Libraries know that switching to Millennium does not demand significant investments in hardware. Since the Millennium client is Java™-based there is a modest requirement for workstations. Scott added, "There's less impact with Java-client installation, so branches can keep using their existing hardware."
Better workflow was another financial consideration. Scott said, "When Millennium was demonstrated, it became clear to us that features like global updating and checking in serials were really well-planned and organized. We thought: It's so simple, how could we not choose Innovative!"
About Greater Victoria Public Library
The Greater Victoria Public Library (GVPL) serves ten municipalities on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada, that represent a population base of close to 300,000. It has grown steadily through the last decade when six new municipalities joined the system, three new branches were opened, and two others expanded to create a 50% increase in library space. GVPL experienced another record year in 2004. The number of items borrowed increased by 6.9% with annual circulation reaching 4,689,399. It's no wonder with figures like these that the GVPL is ranked first in all of Canada for the number of items borrowed per registered library cardholder. At this annual rate of increase library staff anticipate the five million milestone will be reached in 2005.
With over 25 years of partnership with the library community, Innovative Interfaces (www.iii.com) is the leader in providing Web-powered, Java-based automated library systems. Its flagship product offering, Millennium, is an acknowledged market leader installed in thousands of libraries in 42 countries. The company is headquartered in Emeryville, California, with offices in Australia, Canada, France, Hong Kong, Korea, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, and the United Kingdom.