The North Iowa Libraries Collaborating Board is uniting a score of public and school libraries so that all may share the benefits of The Library Corporation’s Library•Solution®
Calling it the BEACON project, the board issued information requests to several automation vendors last year and was quick to select The Library Corporation (TLC). “We liked the fact that you have a client system for larger library systems that have more need for patron information and development. Smaller libraries can run quite efficiently off a shared database,” North Iowa Libraries Collaborating Board Chairwoman Barb Shultz said. “What we really like about TLC is that all of the development is already done and we like what we see; the features are already fully fleshed out and developed and ready for use. And if we have any questions, we know exactly who we’re going to call and there’s going to be a voice on the other end of the phone.”
The new library consortium in North Central Iowa will utilize TLC’s Library•Solution® and Library•Solution® for Schools integrated library systems, along with the accompanying LS2 PAC, creating a Web-based automation solution that provides high-quality cataloging, circulation, and database management to every member of the BEACON partnership. Computer servers will be housed in Fort Dodge, Iowa, and centrally managed by the Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency in Pocahontas, Iowa, eliminating the need for smaller libraries to employ their own technicians.
Another benefit to partnering with TLC, Shultz said, is that each library will have its own Web site, “which will provide all library customers with 24/7 access to not only materials in their home library but any other BEACON library, as well as any online databases purchased by the libraries and a wealth of additional Web sites chosen specifically by the libraries for their customers.” She also noted her pleasure with LS2 PAC features that, among other things, allow patrons to create their own ratings, reviews, and search tags for library items. “Enrichment all the time,” is how Shultz described it.
The first phase of BEACON went live in mid-August. The consortium will include more than 70 school and public library locations by the time the three-phase implementation process is completed by late fall 2010.
“To be at this point … is really quite phenomenal, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the help and support and knowledge and experience we have received from TLC,” Shultz said. “I know our libraries are so excited. We can’t wait to show other people our product.”
Formal planning for the BEACON library consortium began in March 2008 with the creation of the nonprofit North Iowa Libraries Collaborating Board. Chairwoman Barb Shultz said the board formed after she and Harriet Adams, lending library and delivery supervisor for the Prairie Lakes Area Education Agency, expressed interest in improving operations among a diverse assortment of libraries that operate independently in communities ranging from fewer than 500 residents to more than 30,000. Shultz and Adams determined that a regional collaboration would allow public and school libraries of all sizes to pool resources and share the benefits of a quality automation system. They dubbed the project BEACON, Shultz said, because “we like the image of the beacon projecting the light of education and knowledge, shining out from all the libraries and school districts that will be participating.”
About The Library Corporation
TLC (TLCdelivers.com) was founded in 1974 to create technology for libraries and school districts of all sizes, including some of the busiest libraries in the world. The company has 200 staff members worldwide serving over 5,000 libraries. TLC’s library automation, authority control, cataloging, and online selection and acquisition products include Library•Solution®, Library•Solution® for Schools, CARL•X™, BiblioFile®, ITS•MARC®, LS2 PAC, and LS2 Kids – all backed by an unparalleled level of customer support and assistance.