Two of Sydney's busiest libraries--Hurstville City Library and Rockdale City Library--will each install Civica's Spydus Library Management System, after a thorough joint evaluation in which they co-operated in assessing 10 competing software solutions.
"It was a very thorough evaluation indeed," said Jennifer Burrell, Manager, Library and Information Services, Hurstville City Library. "We evaluated all 10 vendors that responded to our joint Expression of Interest. Our overriding concern at Hurstville was to find a system with functionality that fully met our needs. We also considered technical compatibility, robustness and price. Spydus was the best solution."
Susanna Waller, Library Services Co-ordinator at Rockdale City Library, said: "After experiencing detailed demonstrations of competing products, our staff liked Spydus best as it was very easy to use and all the testing we did across all modules drew a very positive staff reaction. We felt it had the best online public access catalogue (OPAC) we saw, and it had excellent references from current users."
The new software is scheduled to go live at Hurstville Library in December and at Rockdale Library in November. Staff at both libraries look forward to benefiting from a wide range of new functionality.
Jennifer Burrell said: "Hurstville Library will be looking at the strategic advantage of using a modern system with a very strong user group, backed by good support from the vendor. Spydus will give us many functional advantages over our former software--we see it as the foundation on which to build improved technology services for our clients."
She said management would take advantage of the Spydus implementation to review the library's processes such as the way in which overdue reminders are delivered. Spydus will allow the library to introduce notifications by email and further down the track they will have the option to introduce SMS notifications.
"The new software will open doors like that, and allow us to communicate more directly with our users, which we are very keen to do," said Jennifer. "It will also give us Chinese and Arabic language support, which we will be implementing immediately."
Spydus will allow Hurstville Library to introduce Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) self-service, which Jennifer says will be considered in the future, possibly as a joint process with Rockdale Library.
Hurstville is a suburban regional centre for south-east Sydney. The large central library, open seven days a week, is heavily patronised by residents, students and the area's work force. It will use some 30-40 Spydus workstations, including those at the Service Desk. The library has a branch at Penshurst, as well as a very efficient and valued home library service. Over the past year, Hurstville Library made 760,000 loans and logged 694,000 library visits from its membership base of 36,500.
New era at Rockdale Library
Rockdale City Library staff are looking forward to offering their customers a range of new services, including profiling and alerts for new titles when they go live with Spydus.
According to Susanna Waller, staff are also excited about using a graphical windows-based interface for the first time, since it is very intuitive, and clearer and easier to use than their previous system.
She said Spydus will allow customers to receive new title alerts for the first time, and when searching online they will be able to see thumbnail pictures as well as local history images. Borrowers will be able to renew their loans online via the Spydus Web OPAC, receiving notices online via email, with the option for SMS. The new technology will also allow Rockdale to introduce Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) of stock at some future date.
"Spydus will introduce new efficiencies in a number of areas," said Susanna. "It will give us better reporting that shows us a clearer picture of library use-- that's a big plus. It will also permit more efficient collection management, and allow better stock rotation, which is important because we have six branches and we need stock to flow freely amongst these."
"Overall, it will allow us to spend less time chasing stock and items we can't get a handle on at present, and enable us to connect with our users more effectively. Spydus will introduce a whole new era for us and our users--we think it will be terrific."
Rockdale City Library has six branches in Sydney's southern suburbs: Rockdale, Arncliffe, Bexley, Bexley North, Brighton-le-Sands and Sans Souci. Some branches carry substantial collections in the Chinese, Arabic and Greek languages, as well as smaller collections in Macedonian, Serbian and Croatian. Spydus' multi-lingual capabilities will allow staff to record stock and transactions, for the first time, in some language scripts.
The library has more than 41,000 registered members and a collection of around 215,000 items. Special collections include a Local History collection and one of the best music collections in a NSW public library.