Syracuse, NY - May 25, 2005 – Polaris Library Systems announced today that the Henderson District Public Libraries (HDPL) has selected the Polaris Integrated Library System to replace its Sirsi Unicorn system. In addition to the core functionality available as standard with Polaris ILS – PAC, circulation, cataloging, acquisitions, serials control and system administration – HDPL will implement the Children's PAC and Spanish PAC, Outreach Services and Polaris ExpressCheck software for self-check.. HDPL will use Syndetic Solutions to provide enhanced data in the Polaris ILS PowerPAC and various modules from The Active Network, Ltd. for cash management, program registration and meeting room booking. Implementation is on the fast track, scheduled for just two months after contract signing.
Sean Hill, information technology manager at HDPL, pointed to several factors that led the library to select Polaris ILS. “We were initially attracted to Polaris ILS because of the Acquisitions subsystem,” Hill said. “With the way Polaris ILS optimizes the acquisitions process we will be able to gain one whole person in our Acquisitions and Bibliographic Services Department. The efficiencies we expect to realize are tremendous. For example, with Polaris ILS we can select one on-order title, many, or a complete PO, and, with a single click, receive the materials. The staff person will be visually alerted to any holds (including the exact number of holds) linked to one or more titles being received. In addition, with EDI invoicing, Polaris ILS offers the ability to automatically receive all on-order titles with no human intervention.
“These time-saving options -- and others like Web Services already in development at Polaris Library Systems -- will greatly increase the efficiency of our library operations,” said Hill. “Polaris ILS will give us the flexibility to engineer our Acquisitions workflow in the way that makes the most sense for us, rather than having to fit our workflow to the software, as we had to do with our previous system,” he added.
Hill said that a key reason the library selected Polaris ILS is its integration with The Active Network, Ltd.'s point-of sale system for cash management and payment processing. “The integration of Polaris ILS and The Active Network, Ltd.'s Payment Manager and Payment Authorization software modules will give us one place to handle all monetary transactions,” Hill said. “We'll be able to take credit and debit cards at the library or via the Web and all our monetary transactions will integrate with our district's finance system. This will eliminate a lot of manual work and the problems associated with duplicate entry of data. Our Finance Department will have a daily accounting of monetary transactions and be provided with auditable tracking of funds,” he added.
In addition to the cash management modules, the library also is implementing The Active Network, Ltd.'s Program Registration and Facility Booking systems. These systems allow patrons to view program schedules and register online and book library meeting room facilities via the Web. The Program Registration system can be integrated with the payment system if the library decides to charge for programs in the future. “When we register people for Story Time we have lines out the door,” Hill said. “Registration information is all kept manually. Now we'll have this information in a database accessible to multiple staff and families can register from home. This will save our staff an incredible amount of time and provide a much better service to our patrons.”
Commenting further on the relationship between Polaris Library Systems and The Active Network, Ltd., Hill said, “Rather than building it themselves, Polaris Library Systems took a proven system that is the premium point-of-sale (POS) system for government entities and integrated it seamlessly with Polaris ILS. This gives our library the best POS system that any ILS vendor is offering.”
Hill pointed to several additional reasons HDPL selected Polaris ILS, including:
- An open relational database that could integrate with their finance and internal purchase order system. “Our previous system had a proprietary database,” he said. “We are a Microsoft shop, so having a system based on the Microsoft platform will make everything easier. With all our systems running on SQL Server, integration across the library and even with systems outside the library will be so much more efficient.”
- The Polaris ILS group holds feature that allows holds on groups of titles on a single subject, any one of which will satisfy the patron's need. “We get a lot of requests for things like test preparation books for a specific exam where we have books from several different publishers. The patron doesn't care which test prep book he gets – he just wants the first one that comes in. With Polaris ILS, when one comes in all the other holds are automatically cancelled – with our previous system we had to remember to go in and cancel all the other holds separately.”
- Email notification. People are online all the time now, so this will be a real service enhancement, Hill said.
- An easy-to-use intuitive PAC interface. The library staff liked that the Polaris PowerPAC search doesn't default to a Boolean search like other ILS PAC search engines do. Hill pointed to the example of searching for the title “Bud, not Buddy” and how with other systems the patron would not be able to find this title. “From a patron point of view, defaulting to a Boolean search doesn't make sense,” Hill commented.
- Affordable pricing and annual maintenance. Simply put, Hill said, Polaris Library Systems would give their library “more for less.”
About Polaris Library Systems
From its beginnings thirty years ago, Polaris Library Systems 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 ILS facilitates all aspects of library operations by providing innovative workflow solutions packaged in a familiar Windows interface. In addition to its library automation systems, Polaris Library Systems offers workflow analysis, database enhancement, wireless access and network security services to libraries of all types.