Library Updates: Portage County Library System preparing for new ILS software
By Taylor J. Hale
PORTAGE COUNTY – Major changes are coming to all Portage County libraries. The entire South Central Library System (SCLS), housing 54 locations – including those in the county – will switch their integrated library system (ILS) software.
“The software system is the lifeblood of what we do,” explained County Public Library Director Larry Oathout. “Right now, we use an open-source program called Koha. South Central is looking to upgrade that to a new program. It’s from the same company, just an improved version.”
New ILS Software
The new software the library system will be utilizing is called Bibliovation, made by LibLime. LibLime was founded in 2005 under parent company Progressive Technology Federal Systems. The organization focuses on digital platforms for libraries. Oathout explained that the upgrade software would come at no upfront cost to the SCLS, due to existing arrangements with LibLime.
“Most of the price for the new system will be paid by LibLime since SCLS, LibLime’s biggest customer, has paid for most of the development in the past three years,” Oathout said. “In other words, no upfront costs for the libraries.”
The software’s interface is expected to be similar to Koha. Oathout said the new program should be more streamlined and accessible.
The new software will be fully implemented and available for use on Dec. 10. Oathout noted that there would be an installation process where county libraries will not be able to catalog returned items from Dec. 7-9.
During the installation, guests will not be able to search the system or reserve holds. Visitors will still be able to check out and hand in their return items.
Staff added they expect no issues during the interim period.
The SCLS will release public information on the change this November. Portage County library staff will receive in-house training on the software.
Self-checkout machines pushed back
The new ILS has pushed back the installation date for the Stevens Point branch’s self-checkout machines, originally slated to open at the end of 2019. The new devices will now be installed sometime in January, according to Oathout.
“If we order the self-checks now, we would get them shortly just before this happens,” Oathout said. “Because of the migration and software changes, we are going to hold off on the self-checks until the beginning of the year.”