“We were able to provide Auto-Graphics with a real challenge, and they were up to it.”
Booth & Dimock Memorial Library Gets More Than Just Better Usability and Increased Functionality From VERSO® Integrated Library System Implementation
In early 2007, the Connecticut Library Consortium (CLC) acted as conduit for member libraries to purchase the VERSO® integrated library system (ILS), offering enhanced functionality and more streamlined access to existing state funded, Library Management Platform-powered resources: iCONN, Connecticut’s research engine, and reQuest, Connecticut’s statewide bibliographic database and interlibrary loan system. The Booth & Dimock Memorial Library was a perfect candidate for VERSO, having outgrown the functionality of the library’s former ILS product, which Booth & Dimock had been licensing for 20 years. The library’s management team decided to move forward with the VERSO implementation utilizing the Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery method, joining 10 other CLC member libraries to bring the total number of libraries utilizing VERSO in Connecticut to 28.
In mid-March, Booth & Dimock presented the Auto-Graphics implementation team with both a patron and bibliographic file to review in anticipation of a phased implementation approach scheduled for the coming months. When the Auto- Graphics implementation team arrived at the library in mid-April to meet with Library Director Sharon Pacholski, they discovered that the current system had experienced catastrophic failure.
“When the Auto-Graphics team came into the library on Thursday morning, our ILS server had crashed, with both drives failing. Our server was literally in pieces on the floor, and we were running the library on paper, taking down names, barcodes and titles,” said Pacholski. “From there we learned that the system that we thought had been performing back-ups had also failed, leaving us without a system and no access to our patron or bibliographic records.”
As a short term fix to quickly get Booth & Dimock’s loan process back online, the Auto-Graphics implementation team immediately began setting up VERSO’s standalone circulation system with a window into reQuest, the statewide database containing electronic records from both the main circulation and children’s desk. Concurrently, the library’s IT resource, a part-time town network administrator, employed a company specializing in data recovery to extract the library records from the crashed server.
“My main goal was to minimize the downtime at the library and to get them up and operating as quickly as possible. Once the standalone circulation systems were put into place, the library was business as usual from the patron’s perspective,” said Mark Hewes, Auto-Graphics’ customer service manager responsible for the Booth & Dimock implementation. “Having received the library’s patron and bibliographic databases prior to the system crash also meant that — if the data couldn’t be recovered from the server — we would still be able to go live with VERSO with all but three weeks of lost transactions.”
Luckily the database files were successfully recovered from the crashed server and the Booth & Dimock team delivered the most current patron and bibliographic files for the VERSO implementation by Friday afternoon. The Auto-Graphics implementation team worked diligently over the weekend to process the records from the recovered files, as well as the records from the standalone circulation system that had been put into place as a stop gap.
By Monday morning, Pacholski approved the loading of data into the VERSO web-based system. That evening, the Auto- Graphics implementation team worked to load the data and during the next several days proceeded with the set-up and configuration of the VERSO system to Booth & Dimock’s specifications. On Thursday morning, just one week from the date of the server crash, Auto-Graphics’ Hewes held the first of two training sessions for the Booth & Dimock library staff before opening hours. “This was a great example of the Booth & Dimock library community coming together — from the part-time IT resource to the entire library staff — with Sharon leading the team and maintaining a level-head through the technical difficulties,” commented Hewes. “The Auto-Graphics team was ecstatic that we could get the library up and running in such a short time after what could have been a catastrophic failure.”
When the doors opened on Thursday morning, Booth & Dimock was operating as a fully functional VERSO library utilizing the web-based OPAC, splash page, circulation modules, cataloging and administrative features. With VERSO, the Booth & Dimock Memorial Library is also able to actively participate in reQuest, Connecticut’s AGent-powered statewide bibliographic database and interlibrary loan system, and offer 24/7 remote and onsite access to its resources.
“While we have been a little shell-shocked with the quick implementation of the new system after having utilized the same system for over 20 years, we are truly enjoying the functionality of the VERSO system,” said Pacholski. “Our catalogers have found that cataloging through VERSO is seamless, and the library staff likes having all the patron information on one tab with the ability to easily renew, reserve and delete reserves in one fell swoop. VERSO also provides detailed statistics about circulation activity in an easy to understand graphical format that we use regularly for town council meetings.”