New library catalog causing some delay


September 25, 2005

As a public institution, it is imperative that the Howard County Library continually seek ways to operate efficiently and cost-effectively while providing the finest services to its customers.

To this end, we implemented a new catalog at the end of August. Our previous system dated to 1993 and had reached the point where no further upgrades could be made. Moreover, the cost to migrate to a new catalog is consistent with the cost of maintaining the old one.

The new catalog provides new features that are convenient, powerful and easily customized. For example, searchers will be able to maintain their reserve lists as they might in Netflix, and Tom Clancy enthusiasts can request that they receive an e-mail each time we add new books by the author. We plan to introduce these new capabilities over the next few months.

While the look of the new catalog is slightly different from the old one, you will recognize many of the same functions: searching for titles, placing reserves, renewing titles, managing your account, checking the status of items on hold, customizing book lists and accessing databases and Live Homework Help.

We had anticipated that the roll-out of this new system would be nearly invisible to the public, and that we would need to have the system down for only two days.

The software developer with whom we are working is the largest and most successful library automation vendor in the world and has implemented this same system in other communities with no problems.

The company has been as surprised with the challenges we encountered; its staff is working around the clock with us to identify and correct those issues.

As of this writing, we are seeing significant progress. We therefore remain committed to our goal of making this new, improved system fully functional. Furthermore, it is important to exhaust every possible solution, as reverting to the previous system would result in lost data.

Thank you for using, and valuing, the library's Web site and catalog. We appreciate your patience and feedback during this transition. Our staff is ready to help if you need assistance. In addition, we provide one-on-one training sessions for customers; please call your branch library to set up a session.

We will continue to make every effort to ensure that you receive the level of service you expect and deserve from the Howard County Library.

Valerie J. Gross

The writer is director of the county library.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.