North East Lincolnshire Libraries has chosen to replace its existing library management system with Axiell’s Open Galaxy and has chosen a new customer-facing interface: Axiell’s 24/7 digital library website system, Arena. The installation went live in April, allowing the county to see a dramatic improvement in the library website as part of a wider upgrade of the Library Service system. Not only is the Library Service’s page on the web now more engaging and attractive but the introduction of a new online catalogue means searching for items to reserve or renew is smoother, faster and easier. Borrowers now benefit from cover images of DVDs and CDs being embedded in the new catalogue, making it a much more exciting way to browse and choose items. Visitors at any of the service’s 10 branches or online can also use the catalogue to search for information from the online reference resources to which the library service subscribes.
The library service has also moved to a ‘Software as a Service (SaaS)’ model. Steve Hipkins, Head of Cultural Services for North East Lincolnshire, explains,“We weren’t specifically planning to move to a SaaS environment but this has provided both planned and unforeseen benefits, such as significant financial savings with improved functionality. Also having a web-based library management system means that staff can now access it from anywhere with an internet connection which complements North East Lincolnshire Council’s ‘Agile Working’ strategy and also offers huge opportunities for promotional and outreach work for the library service. Staff can now register new members and immediately loan them library stock from anywhere, not just library service points, using mobile technology.”
Using Axiell Arena, visitors to the new 24 hour library website at library.nelincs.gov.uk will be able to read reviews that others have written or to contribute their own comments online and to share their favourite items with friends through Facebook or Twitter direct from the site. Customers will also be able to download audiobooks free of charge to their own computer from the catalogue.
Steve continues,“Customers will see dramatic improvements in the online catalogue such as the ability to read and contribute reviews and comments as well as the opportunity to share favourite items with friends through social media such as Facebook and Twitter. The growth in use of smartphones is a trend we wanted to tap into and customers will also now be able to search the catalogue using the mobile phone app.
“The new developments also enable us to have higher levels of interactivity with our customers and to build closer relationships with them. This in turn enables a better understanding of our customers’ requirements which allows us to deliver an even higher standard of library service.”