Bellingham and Whatcom County libraries announced today they have contracted with Innovative Interfaces Inc (III) for the planned replacement of their shared Integrated Library System (ILS), the software used to keep the records on library collections, patrons and circulations. The new ILS will be III’s Polaris.
These automated systems are critical to library operations, from ordering items for the collection, to communicating with patrons about items they’ve borrowed, to reporting on the work we’ve done. Replacing these systems is a significant expenditure and commitment of staff time to migrate data and learn to use new features and tools.
“While our ILS is largely a behind-the-scenes tool, it supports everything we do and is essential to quality, timely, accurate library services and communications,” said Rebecca Judd, director of the Bellingham Public Library. “The end result will be a better, more robust system for staff to interact with, which in turn will lead to improved public service.”
The Bellingham Public Library and Whatcom County Library System have an agreement to share an ILS, and are undertaking its replacement jointly. With a contract now in place, the libraries begin a replacement process expected to extend through the end of 2018. While most of this process will be invisible to library users, there may be times in the future when library services are temporarily suspended. These times are expected to be infrequent and communicated in advance.