Patrons of the Liverpool Public Library, as well as all Onondaga County public libraries, now have a variety of new ways to locate and reserve materials.
On Oct. 23, LPL held a launch party for the new Polaris Integrated Library System, a new catalog system. The new system will make it even easier for library patrons to view the materials held by the library.
The Polaris system represents a technological upgrade from the existing system, said LPL Executive Director Elizabeth Dailey.
“We keep all of the good things we already had, and we add all kinds of new features,” Dailey said. “It continues what we have been doing with technology at the library.”
This summer, LPL unveiled a new website, designed by Director of Information Technology Jean Armour Polly.
Dailey said the new catalog will closely resemble commercial sites like Amazon.com.
“[Patrons will be able] to see book covers, book summaries, tables of contents and various enriched content,” she said. “And you can set yourself up to get e-mail notifications that your materials are almost due, or that new materials have been added.”
The Polaris system also allows users to select their primary language — English, Spanish, Vietnamese or Korean. They can also take advantage of “real simple syndication” (RSS) feeds, book reviews, news on CD and DVD releases and saved searches. A new children’s catalog specially designed for young readers uses animated tools and graphics and a customizable search screen.
Denise Headd, public information specialist for the Onondaga County Public Libraries, said the system will make everything easier and more accessible.
“With the new system, library users can easily check personal accounts,” Headd said. “Patrons can check the status of holds, cancel requests, review fines and fees and quickly renew materials online. An online patron registration feature makes library card sign-up easier than ever.”
Countywide design created by Liverpool company
All of these new features are thanks to Polaris Library Systems, based on Morgan Road in Liverpool. The company began 30 years ago and develops, supports and sells time-saving technology solutions for libraries across North America. The system now in place at LPL has been installed at over 1,000 libraries across the country.
Polaris has a long history in the area, according to Chief Operating Officer Anita Wagner; the first circulation system it ever installed was at the Liverpool Public Library in the mid-1970s. When the county began looking to upgrade its library systems, Polaris seemed a natural choice.
“It was a lengthy selection process involving input and requirements from library staff at all levels across the county,” Wagner said. “After looking at a number of products and weighing the advantages and disadvantages, Polaris was selected as being the best to meet the needs of the citizens of Onondaga County.”
Wagner said the company was very pleased to be selected.
“As a local company, Polaris is delighted to be collaborating with OCPL and its member libraries to serve the citizens of Onondaga County,” she said.
In addition to library catalog systems, Polaris offers workflow analysis, database enhancement, wireless access and network services to libraries. For more information on the company, visit polarislibrary.com. For more information on the new catalog system, visit onlib.org or your local library.
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club's Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.