street sign labeled change aheadThough this blog has been quiet for a while, big changes are happening behind the scenes in the Upper Hudson Library System.  UHLS includes all of the public libraries in Albany and Rensselaer Counties, and we are all working together toward a giant change in how our system is managed.

Currently, the libraries use a software named Horizon to manage all of our patron and item data.  This software is at the core of all of our online functions and sharing capabilities.  We are excited to announce that last year, the system voted to move to a new library management software – Sierra and its public-facing catalog Encore. Sierra/Encore is a newer system with a much more robust set of features for both staff and patrons.  The change is currently set to happen at the end of March, though that may change as the deadline gets closer.

While migration from one software to another happens fairly regularly in libraries, it is still an enormous undertaking.  Because terminology and functionality differ between the two programs, you would not believe how many things need to be considered, planned for, tested, and checked over and over!  We are doing our best to think of everything, but there are bound to be some glitches along the way.  Even if the transition is completely smooth, the new software will probably need to be tweaked for a few weeks while we get it customized just right.  Whenever possible, we will alert patrons of outages and issues as soon as possible on our website, Facebook and Twitter locations.  Your patience is very much appreciated.  As always, we welcome your feedback on the new system once we get it in place.

Here are some new features that will come with Sierra:

  • OverDrive integration – checkout and download our online materials right from the catalog
  • Option to email receipts/date due slips instead of printing
  • Option for SMS (text) notifications [edit 3/5: This feature will not be available when we go live on 3/31, but will be implemented soon thereafter.]
  • More reliable electronic notifications
  • Option to save your checkout history
  • Option to tag catalog items and search by tag
  • Better mobile interface
  • Enhanced account security – this will likely require a new PIN, but we are not 100% sure.

Please note: patrons who use the My List feature in our current catalog will need to print their list(s) or email to themselves before the software change happens.  My List items will not be transferred to Sierra.

If you have questions about the new system, please post them in the comments below.

Leave a Reply