Jimmy B. Keel Library patrons will soon be able to surf collections, pay fees and find materials for kids right from their smartphones and home computers.
The Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative has announced plans to switch to a new online catalog system on April 29.
Called Polaris, the new system will “enhance the Cooperative’s management of library resources, reduce costs, boost productivity, and is expected to improve customer satisfaction,” according to a media release from the library system.
Right now, the plan calls for starting to migrate to the new system starting on April 8. Once Polaris is online, library patrons will be able to:
- Use free mobile apps to access and search the library catalog
- Manage their library accounts using a custom username and password
- Make payments online and get receipts for transactions via email or text message
- Save personal searches and track items that have been previously checked out
- Browse a special children’s catalog to find materials for kids
- Sort searches
- Use smart tools to find library resources
- Use a special “Text It” feature to send a particular library catalog number via text message
- Use a special “Map It” feature to see the exact location of a book they want to check out
What You Need to Know
As the library system makes the upgrade, there are a few things patrons need to be aware of.
According to the media release, books can be checked out and returned as normal during the migration to the new system. Customers can even keep any of the materials they borrow between April 8 and April 28 until May 19 for their convenience.
Library users will also find that access to the subscription databases, Internet computers and eBooks shouldn’t be affected at all.
There are, however, a few things that will be different during the transition to Polaris:
- Holds will be put on hold – From April 8 through April 28, libraries won’t be able to fill existing hold requests and patrons won’t be able to put new items on hold.
- Catalog access will be limited – Customers may not be able to get on the library system’s catalog during the transition period, but they can still call on librarians for help in person or over the phone.
For more information, visit the Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative online.
What do you think about the switch? Would you use your mobile phone to pay library fines or find materials to check out?