Last year Maroochy Libraries adopted a managed services approach for delivery of their library management systems to overcome technical limitations. Today librarians remain enthusiastic about the day-to-day benefits.
"We are extremely pleased with the service, especially with Civica’s constant watch over our facility," says Systems Librarian Clare Fry.
A user of Civica’s Spydus library management system since 1990, the library found that when Council introduced stringent security measures these impacted on the library’s ability to run Internet-based services and third party software programs for its customers.
"We could see major advantages in a Managed Service because it provided us with a server outside our firewall" said Clare. "Now our management systems run on servers at Civica’s data centre and customers and staff are benefiting from a faster connection and no firewall restrictions.
A visit to the Melbourne-based data centre made a big impression on Clare. She says: "I was most impressed with the security: all the technology is duplicated in a fail-safe set-up, with two power supplies backed up by a diesel generator, two ISPs and so forth – they cover everything exceptionally well and a real sense of stability and security is portrayed."
Civica runs other managed services data centres in Sydney, Singapore, USA and the UK and Australian libraries processing can be cut over to any of these at need. All are configured with backup systems that eliminate any single point of failure. They also feature fire suppression and smoke detection, redundant backup cooling units, and servers that are backed up to tape every night. The facilities have security guards and cameras in place, and entry is strictly controlled.
Clare Fry recalls that Maroochy Shire Library also had a business analyst assess the financial implications of switching to Civica’s managed service solution, and his report outlined significant financial benefits.
The cutover in September 2006 went smoothly, after the retrieval, clean-up and transfer to Civica’s server of the library’s database containing history, data and statistics going back 16 years. Civica’s solution integrates with the library’s I-Tiva tele-messaging system.
Ongoing support includes regular Civica Account Manager visits to Maroochy, technical support staff visits if required, Help Desk support and the expert advice of Managed Services specialist staff. Spydus software upgrades are part of the service, and Maroochy Library will be commencing an upgrade to Spydus 8.3 in the next few months.
Clare Fry has the utmost confidence in Civica’s managed services solution. She says Civica’s people maintain a complete overview of the library’s system, and report any problems. Since Maroochy’s infrastructure is complex, issues do arise, but these are quickly resolved.
"Heath Cooper is absolutely fabulous: he’s very helpful and a positive font of knowledge."
Clare also sees value in the Queensland Spydus User Group (SPUN), that gives the library input and influence into the future direction of Spydus.
She says: "Civica looks to continual innovation and has a philosophy of developing a product that aims to meet all library operational needs without the need for third party software solutions. Examples are their RFID solution, development of the cash drawer, homebound module and PC booking systems."
With four branches and a mobile library servicing a huge geographical and culturally diverse area, Maroochy Libraries caters for a wide range of customers. Two branches service the coastal area, while Nambour is a large hinterland town serviced by a large library. The fourth branch is a small rural library at Kenilworth. Overall staff total 78 EFT and there are 80 public PCs and online public access catalogues (OPACs). The library has 60,700-plus active borrowers and had 1,736,355 issues in 2006-07.