While the struggle for a satisfactory condition continues in the world of ebook lending for public libraries, some companies are still managing to make progress with digital catalogs. Today, 3M Cloud Library System and Polaris Library System announced that the two companies are fully integrated in the Baltimore County Public Library. This integration means library patrons have only one computerized catalog to search in order to find print or digital books available for checkout.
“Librarians want to offer their communities convenient, easy access to all of their resources, including eBooks. Unfortunately, until now, their hands have truly been tied,” said Steven Nielsen, vice president of product management for Polaris, said in a press release. “Many other ILS vendors say that they have a fully integrated eBook system for libraries, but unlike the others, this one is live and working at a real library, thanks to the hard work of 3M, Polaris and Baltimore County Public Library staff. Collaboratively, we listened, felt their pain and sense of urgency, and worked quickly to develop a working solution that fulfills the needs of patrons and librarians.”
One of the hurdles that librarians face is the ease of use for their patrons; after all, if patrons cannot navigate a cumbersome system, patron and librarian support and demand for ebook lending may fall. The ReadersFirst initiative that was undertaken by both companies aims to make the discoverability of all books, regardless of format, as easy as possible for librarians and patrons.
“We are trying hard to offer eBooks to our customers in a much more user-friendly way, and this system allows us to do that,” said Jo Pinder, assistant director of support services, Baltimore County Public Library, in the same statement. “Our service to the public is enhanced with this integration of two products that we love.”