Monday, March 25, 2013

Ready Or Not, Polaris Is Here!

Although patrons may not be able to see most of them, the Mississippi Valley Library District (which includes both the Collinsville Memorial Public Library and Fairmont City Library Center) is currently in the middle of some huge changes regarding its Automated Circulation System.

The MVLD, along with over 400 other libraries throughout the southern half of Illinois, are a member of SHARE (Sharing Heartland’s Available Resources Equally), the largest library automation consortium in the country. In order to better provide for their patrons, the libraries that make up SHARE are changing to Polaris, a new automation system. This change will increase the number of items available to patrons from approximately 2 million to over 10 million! It will also increase the number of patrons that have access to items at the MVLD from approximately 250,000 to nearly 1.6 million.

There will also be a new online patron access catalog, where patrons can search for items that they’re interested in, place holds, pay fines, and so on. The new online PAC will be available beginning April 9, which is the first live day of circulation with Polaris.

"Your current Library Card will gain you access to all of those collections through the new online card catalog as well as your ability to walk into any of our Illinois libraries and borrow onsite," said Barbara Rhodes, Director of the Mississippi Valley Library District.

From April 1-8, libraries will be using an offline version of Polaris. During that time, libraries will be unable to issue new Library Cards and will only circulate their own materials to their own patrons. The MVLD encourages you to hold on to any items from other libraries during the week of April 1-8. In an effort to make things as smooth as possible, no new Overdue Fines will be charged from April 1-15.

The biggest hiccup of the transition has been that patrons’ Hold Lists and Reading Histories were not able to be transferred from Millennium (the old circulation software) to Polaris. As a result of this, patrons will have to reenter their requests starting on April 9.

"The Library Staff will do everything in its arsenal of expertise to make this an easy transformation for you. We will appreciate your patience while we learn and perfect our control of the new software," Rhodes added.
Posted by Jed Robbins, Library Assistant