Library system to launch new software

The Cumberland County Library System will upgrade its core library-management software and customer online catalog on Jan. 23, Jonelle Darr, executive director of the Cumberland County Library System, said Tuesday.


The new library-operating software not only will improve services for customers but also reduces the library system’s technology maintenance costs about 20 percent, or $114,000, over the next seven years, Darr said.


The new software will give library customers access to an improved online catalog and better research opportunities when they visit the library or when they use the library system’s website.


The software provides the library system’s core operating technology, managing just about everything a library does from checking in and out items, to sending overdue notices by mail, email or phone, cataloging items, purchasing new books, managing cash and fines at service desks, or supporting library users as they search for the information that they need, the system said.


Darr said that for the past six months, the library system has been busy learning about the new software, working with the vendor to configure and install the new system and training more than 200 library staff members to use it.


“About four years of planning comes to an end with the launch of the new Sierra software,” she said. As the current software system became more outmoded, the library system researched and solicited bids for new software and hardware. Three companies responded, and the Sierra library management system and Encore catalog were selected after a lengthy evaluation process.


Some enhanced features include Encore’s online catalog and spelling and related search suggestions, integrated catalog and reference database searches, self-service checkout, hold request improvements, program and event registration linked to library card accounts, linked customer accounts and social networking integration, where the online catalog allows users to share records via social networking sites.


Darr said the software is the next step in providing library services in the digital age.


“The Sierra system is much more open, with a new database and a variety of API’s (Application Program Interfaces) that will help the library system adapt to changing needs and technologies,” she said.


The new software is slated to go live on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014. To make final preparations for the new computer system, the old computer system will be shut down from Jan. 21 to Jan. 23 for final loading of records onto the new servers.


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