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It’s About the Patrons

by on April 15, 2014

Our ILS migration is complete—meaning, the data has migrated and we are actively live on the new system.  Even though we are tweaking and learning and listening to patrons, a couple of things stand out about the process and why this was still a good idea.

It was a long and arduous transition but the reason to migrate is to become better. This is what librarians and libraries do: we evolve. A colleague is fond of saying that we are organic organizations. I completely agree.  We think about our communities, as well as the trends and services that we can provide our users.  We discuss what new things we wish to try. Yes, some might fail. But some might work. We just cataloged over sixty seeds to circulate for our Seed Library.  I have planned my entire garden and it’s not going to cost me a dime.  What a service on multiple levels!  This would not have happened if someone hadn’t come up with the idea and someone else approved it, probably providing “seed” money and giving that staff person time to run with the project.

The same is true for changes with technology.We have to be organic, which means changing and adapting. Unfortunately (or fortunately) we changed the ILS and patrons see a new search and discovery tool. While you can now choose to checkout seeds, you cannot alter the fact that we have changed our library in a fundamental way. 

This goes for staff, too. They didn’t really have a say in this transition and were thrown into it.  I hope they like it.  Or, at least I hope they understand why we did it.  We all have to accept that procedures and policies will continue to change as we learn more about our new system and implement new technologies.  Also, we need to be prepared to talk to our patrons about what we do and why do it.  When patrons aren’t happy because they can’t search like they used to, we need to show them how things to use the new ILS ; empowering them with the new technology.

In the end, it’s about the patrons.  The vast majority of users seem to be happy.  We hope that those unhappy about the change will —given time—embrace the new search tool (it really is cool!).