Boston Public Library
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Posts Tagged ‘User-Centered Institution’

Computer Systems Upgrade – ILS Timeline

Posted on December 7th, 2012 by David Leonard in Major Projects, Technology

Here’s what’s happening over the next week and beyond: On Sunday, December 9, the library will stop using the Horizon Integrated Library System (ILS) for most functions – indeed several functions have already been suspended. Staff begin using a limited version of the Polaris ILS on Monday, December 10, for 3 days while the final touches are made to the data mappings along with some record clean-up and de-duplication – after all, the database contains over 15 million records (when you count catalog entries, items, circulations statues, and patron records). This is not a quick process. Please see announcements on the BPL homepage or circulation FAQ page for service changes and impacts.

The new system will fully go live on the morning of Thursday, December 13. While staff have undergone training, we will be asking the public for patience as we become accustomed to the new system. Once we are used to new ways of doing things, we expect that our new ILS will be more stable, faster, and easier to use and thus help us do our jobs in servicing the public more efficiently. Polaris will also offer additional features and functions in the next release, planned for 6 months out, that will further enhance some BPL services. One new feature available on day one is the ability for library users to receive notification via phone, email, and text message, as well as faster circulation processing and more detailed data available in our catalog.

Computer Systems Upgrade – Why a new ILS ?

Posted on December 6th, 2012 by David Leonard in Major Projects, Technology

The current Horizon Integrated Library System (ILS) was selected more than 12 years ago. The BPL is in the process of moving to its new Polaris system. The library had begun the search for a replacement system in 2006, but had put off any decision due to a combination of staff capacity, funding,  and competing organizational priorities. The project was picked up again in late 2009 as the older system inched closer to its hardware and software “end of life” dates, and its lack of flexibility became more and more unbearable for staff. The ILS upgrade was viewed as a major component of broader technology upgrade plans. Requirements were developed and research conducted. This work was ultimately formalized in a City of Boston RFP procurement process leading to a Board of Trustee vote in February of 2012 selecting Polaris as the company and product to replace Horizon. Please look out for a future post on some of the new features that will be available and how they will help staff serve patrons better and more directly.

Computer Systems Upgrade – ILS

Posted on December 6th, 2012 by David Leonard in Major Projects, Technology

The Boston Public Library is counting down the final days to a major computer systems upgrade. The new system from Polaris will replace the 12 year-old implementation of our Horizon Integrated Library System or ILS. The ILS is the system that staff use to run the library, from checking in and checking out books, doing catalog searches, maintaining inventories of items, catalog data, and patron data and helps provide secure access to patrons for other services from wifi to printing and remote access over the web. It is also used for purchasing, acquiring, and processing new books, for filling patron holds and routing books throughout the system. The BPL ILS also services 8 other libraries throughout the Greater Boston Area as part of the Metro Boston Library Network, which also includes several Boston Public School Libraries. For specific information about the migration and its impact, please check here or keep an eye on this blog for upcoming posts with more background information.


Profiles – Thomas M. Menino, Mayor, City of Boston

Posted on July 19th, 2012 by Gina Perille in Profiles

Mayor Thomas M MeninoA national leader on neighborhood issues, Mayor Thomas M. Menino believes that government is about helping people. Elected five times as Mayor of Boston and five times as a City Councilor from Hyde Park, he has spent a lifetime building a better Boston for residents and businesses.

“The Boston Public Library is an important place for the people of Boston to make a connection – to learning, to history, and to each other,” says Mayor Menino. “Libraries are not only a place where families can find books to read, they are also the place where people can learn how to use a computer, search for jobs, and research their family trees. Libraries are opportunity.”

While Mayor Menino has been in office, Boston’s population has grown. According to 2010 Census numbers, the City of Boston population is 617,594, a 4.8% increase over the 2000 census or 28,453 more residents. The latest numbers mark the first time since the 1970s that Boston’s population exceeded 600,000.

“Now, more than ever, building connections in our communities is an important part of a great, growing city,” says Mayor Menino. “The public library was born in Boston. We can be proud of our history and prouder still of all that libraries do for the people of Boston today.”

Profiles – Josephine Bruzzese, Friends of the Orient Heights Branch

Posted on July 18th, 2012 by Gina Perille in Profiles


When Josephine Bruzzese’s parents moved from Italy to the United States, they faced a challenge that is common to immigrants to this country: ensuring that their children become fluent in a language they themselves could neither speak nor understand. They realized that the best way to go about it was to have their children mingle with native English speakers. So, when Josephine was just four years old, they began sending her to the library.

That decision instilled in Josephine a lifelong love of libraries—in particular, her neighborhood library. “The neighborhood branch is the center of the community,” she explains. And as her neighborhood has diversified over the years with the arrival of Latino, Chinese, and North African Muslim immigrants, she has seen how the library helps others for whom English is a second language, just as it once did for her.

Because she believes so strongly in the importance of the library to her neighborhood, Josephine today is active in her local friends of the library group. “The requirements of one branch location are different from another, because the demographics are so different in different parts of the city,” she says. “There’s a lot going on with the library, all over the city.”