Contact: Tom Kern, Library Director

September 30, 2011 847-526-6225, x209


New Online Catalog Will Improve Library Service at Wauconda Area Library

A new automated computer system is being installed at the Wauconda Area Library, and will make the library more user-friendly by providing easier, more enjoyable access to library resources. The new system will result in significant service improvements for library users and increased efficiency for library staff.

This system, called Polaris, will go live Thursday, October 13. Library Director Tom Kern said the new system will allow patrons to view their own personal library account and renew and reserve items from home, the office or a even a smart phone. "Using this new system is a joy for staff, and we think the public will love it, too," said Kern.

As the library installs the new system, some circulation services at the library will be limited from October 8 to October 12, Kern said. "We will only be able to check materials in or out, and register new patrons," he said. "People will still be able to search for materials online, but no other activity, including paying fines or fees, reserving or renewing, will be available."

When the new system is launched October 13, card holders will have the ability to browse and search the library’s thousands of titles from their home computers or even their smart phones. Users will enjoy a new library catalog with improved search options, reading recommendations, a spell check feature ("did you mean?"), and much more. The system also features automated notification by text message or email alerts for holds and items about to become due, as well as personalized automatic alerts of new materials within the user’s favorite subject areas. A wide variety of mobile devices will be able to access the Public Access Catalog (PAC). A social bookmarking feature allows Internet users to share bookmarks to titles in their search results with sharing sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Digg.

An integrated library automation system involves all aspects of library operations including acquisitions, cataloging, loans, returns and the public catalog. The library's current system, in place since 1997, had become outdated and is no longer being serviced by the vendor. The library requested proposals from the four top vendors in the industry. Polaris responded with a competitive quote and was ranked highest in user satisfaction in recent library technical literature. Most importantly – after a thorough review of all the alternatives -- the library’s Selection Committee found this system to be the most cost-effective, innovative, and user-friendly system available. When the library board approved the selection of Polaris earlier this year, library managers at the meeting cheered.

The first data transfer from the old system to the new went smoothly, and intensive staff training for the library took place September 19-23. The final transfer of data will be done the week leading up to the Go Live date of October 13.

The Wauconda Area Library is the first library in the north suburban area to select Polaris as its automation system. Other Polaris libraries include Baltimore County Public Library, Dallas Public Library and Denver Public Library. Most recent customers include Barrington Area Library, Urbana Free Library and Champaign Public Library, all of whom plan to launch their new systems in December this year.

Also new this fall, the library is upgrading its entire computer system from Windows XP to Windows 7, including upgrades of all Microsoft Office programs from the 2003 version to 2010, the most recent version.

The Wauconda Area Public Library District serves a total of more than 27,000 residents. Last year, checkouts of library materials totaled 643,423, and the library counted more than 256,000 patron visits. Library website (www.wauclib.org) usage reached an all-time high, with a record 322,010 visits and 244,650 logins to the library catalog system.

For further information, please visit the library’s website at www.wauclib.org or call Tom Kern at 847-526-6225, extension 209.