Browsing and checking out eBooks is about to get a lot easier for patrons of libraries using the Polaris Integrated Library System and the 3M Cloud Library eBook Lending Service. 3M Library Systems and Polaris Library Systems announce that the integration of these two services is now live at Baltimore County Public Library.
With this partnership, browsing and checking out eBooks is simpler than ever, as patrons at participating libraries can browse both physical and digital collections in just one catalog. This integrated service allows patrons to discover, check out and place holds on eBooks without ever leaving the Polaris library catalog. eBook hold notifications will come directly from the catalog, using the notification preferences the library patrons have already selected. Patrons will be able to see their eBook account information in the same view they see all of the physical items, and can even remove a hold right from the library catalog.
Because the 3M Cloud Library is truly integrated in Polaris, librarians are able to automatically receive cataloging records in real time as titles are purchased at 3M, without manually having to import MARC files. All circulation reports will reflect the digital circulation, which provides librarians with a more complete picture of circulation at the library.
Baltimore County Public Library is reviewing the system live for clarity and ease of use with both patrons and staff.“We are trying hard to offer eBooks to our customers in a much more user-friendly way, and this system allows us to do that,” said Jo Pinder, assistant director of support services, Baltimore County Public Library. “Our service to the public is enhanced with this integration of two products that we love.” The 3M Cloud Library’s integration with Polaris highlights its synergy with the ReadersFirst initiative, a movement to improve eBook access and services for public library users. Through this movement, libraries have asked e-content providers to offer products that allow users to search and browse both the physical and digital collections of a library within a single, comprehensive catalog. Additionally, the initiative is seeking solutions that allow users to place holds, check-out items, view availability, manage fines and receive communications without having to visit separate websites. Both of these criteria are satisfied by the 3M Cloud Library’s Application Programming Interface (API) suite, which has the ability to integrate with any ILS. “Librarians want to offer their communities convenient, easy access to all of their resources, including eBooks. Unfortunately, until now, their hands have truly been tied,” said Steven Nielsen, vice president of product management for Polaris. “Many other ILS vendors say that they have a fully integrated eBook system for libraries, but unlike the others, this one is live and working at a real library, thanks to the hard work of 3M, Polaris and Baltimore County Public Library staff. Collaboratively, we listened, felt their pain and sense of urgency, and worked quickly to develop a working solution that fulfills the needs of patrons and librarians.”