Thursday, August 10, 2017

"Back to School" at Armacost Library: ILS Update #5

Early August is typically a time to savor the last few weeks of summer. The rhythms of the school year are already in sight, but still far enough away that we can safely focus our attention on other things.

This summer has been different for all of us at Armacost Library. Our integrated library system (ILS) migration project proceeded at a brisk pace all summer long, reaching a milestone on June 29 when we went live with Ex Libris Alma and Primo.

Going live was only an inflection point in our steep learning curve. During July and August, we've focused on setting up the parts of our system that changed the most from the previous environment, cleaning up lingering data discrepancies, and thinking through how these new technical capabilities are changing the way that we work and what we are able to offer to students and faculty.

Alma electronic resource infrastructure

Our choice of Ex Libris Alma and Primo represents a commitment to innovation. This is not simply lavishing money on new technological "toys" or expending a burst of time and energy on a one-time project. Innovation asks us to cultivate new attitudes, intensive collaboration, and continual learning.

John Larson explains how Alma processes fine payments

In that spirit, Armacost Library employees invited John Larson of Ex Libris to campus for a two day onsite training workshop earlier this week. We met in the library instruction classroom, a space where our librarians have introduced countless students to the wonders of research. This time, we were the students, learning about what Alma and Primo can enable us to accomplish together, under the guidance of an expert trainer.

Access Services staff Debbie Alban, Behnoush Nahavandi, Gerry Collins,
Sandi Richey and Eugenia Livngston take notes during the workshop

We came away from the two days with many individual questions answered, but also an awareness of where we need to continue to learn about the capabilities and potential of our new systems. My hope is that this deep learning will pay off, not only in the short term by getting our systems up and running faster, but also through our library's ongoing effort to support you, our students, faculty and staff, in your own academic journeys.

Snacks brought by our director, Shana Higgins, sustained us during the workshop

Here's to the last weeks of summer.

Sanjeet Mann
Arts & Systems Librarian
Interim Assistant Director
Armacost Library

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