New Britain City Journal

New Britain's Weekly Online Newspaper

Commentary

Stepping into the Future

Coming soon, the library moves into the future, with our consortium, Library Connection, to a new Integrated Library System, Innovative Interfaces’ SIERRA. On June 2, if all goes as planned, when you use our library’s online catalog, Encore, you will see a whole new look. Not only will the look be different but more importantly it will deliver a top notch user experience to meet the needs of today’s users. The catalog will be unavailable on Sunday, June 1 so that the final data can be loaded.

This computer system, shared by thirty member libraries, provides a patron and collection database, makes it possible to check materials in and out, and provides the online catalog which you use to find what the library has. Being a member of the consortium is advantageous. It puts the collections of 30 other libraries at your fingertips. It gives us better buying power, allowing us to have resources we could not afford on our own, such as this and the downloadable collection.

We are excited and looking forward to all the rich features this system will provide. For the first time, our catalog will be available, not only in English, but Spanish and Polish. A search will not bring up only the usual items, such as books, CDs, books on CD and DVDs but any relevant information in databases we subscribe to, in one search. A few of the other features that will be available – an impressive auto fill and spell checker for those times when you aren’t sure of a book title or author’s name. You don’t even have to be close – it’s a good guesser. There will also be the ability to pay fines online. It will provide library staff with mobile experience and allow us to move the library to offsite library events. A possibility in the future – library cards

on the go!

There is much work going on behind the scenes in order to move from one system to the next. Staff is receiving training, exploring a test version and practicing so they will be ready when we go live in June.

Please be patient and bear us when we make the move. As with any upgrade, there is always the expectation that there are glitches, although we hope the opposite. Staff might not be as fast as they usually are, as we have been using our present system for 10 years. The new system looks different, does things different and brings many new processes that staff will need to learn. There will be a learning curve and a huge adjustment. Our staff is up for the challenge – especially as it promises to deliver so much more for our library users. They will be ready to show you how it works and introduce you to the new features it brings.