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Library system to reveal new computer system

By Staff | Jan 13, 2009

If you have renewed any checked out items from the Lee County Library System lately, you might have noticed an extended period of renewal that is a bit surprising.
The extension is in anticipation of the library’s new automated computer system, which comes online Jan. 21.
The current system, Dynix, will shut down Wednesday as the planned “migration” begins toward the new system, Polaris.
All of the data contained in the current system, including 1.4 million item records and 311,00 patrons records, will be transferred during the seven-day period.
According to library staff, Dynix software is no longer being developed, essentially leaving the library’s online presence in a state of suspended animation. The move to Polaris gives the library not the ability to live on, so to speak, but to offer patrons a “destination Web site.”
“Our goal is to be a one-stop destination for our patrons,” said Mindi Simon, manager of technology and staff development for the library. “I think a lot of the new features are the same that people will be able to find at other Web sources.”
During the transition, library users may continue to check-out materials, while those with materials currently checked out are encouraged to wait to make returns until the transition is complete.
According to Simon, the extended check-out periods are aimed at keeping returns at bay.
“It would help us tremendously if people would not return items during this period,” Simon said.
Also during the transition, new library cards will not be issued, holds will not be accepted and payments on fines will not be taken.
Patrons are going to be required to use their library card during the transition period. Normally, photo identification is sufficient to check out materials as long as you have an existing account.
Those minor inconveniences will pave the way for the much easier to use Web site, complete with added features and a user friendly interface.
Some of the new features include:
— A children’s and Spanish catalog
— Ability to create and save searches that notify you of new items
— RSS feeds
— Ability to simultaneously search multiple databases
— Links to reviews and book jackets
— Reader review submissions
— Ability to purchase items directly from the library catalog
— Online library card registration, and ability to pay fines and fees online
While the transition period may be a bit bumpy, Simon and the library staff are anticipating rolling out the new online red carpet for patrons countywide.
“We’re very excited,” she said finally. “The staff is very excited about offering this new system.”