Case Study: 
Culford School

In 2004 Culford’s Librarian Lesley Martin went looking for something to replace their ageing and poorly supported library management system. What she found was Accessit and she’s never looked back.

At a glance

Type
Independent, co-educational day and boarding school for students 3-18 years.
Roll
678
Campus
Three campuses (Pre-prep, Prep and Senior)
Teachers
100
Staff
15 (plus Admin and Sports Coaches)
Install
Hosted

From woeful to wonderful

Culford School in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, England is set in 480 acres of beautiful parkland, with an 18th Century mansion at its centre and three separate schools – the Pre-prep and Nursery (ages 3 to 7), the Prep School (ages 7-13) and the Senior School (ages 13-18). In 2015 Culford was proud to open its new £2.2 million landmark library building.

Lesley Martin is Culford’s Librarian and Head of Careers. Back in 2004, the school was facing ongoing issues with their existing library system and were concerned enough to start looking at potential alternatives. Lesley talked to other school librarians and visited libraries to see different systems in action. But it was a trip to the Library and Information Show that first put Accessit on Lesley’s radar. At the trade show, Lesley was impressed with the Accessit demonstration. And when she spoke to other librarians using it, they all seemed to be overwhelmingly positive. 

“I liked that the interface was more adult than other school library management systems,” says Lesley. For Lesley, Accessit had the functionality she needed, and was intuitive, flexible and easy to use. Many of the other systems at that time were being offered on a modular basis, but Accessit was all-inclusive and very competitively priced. “Moving from our old system was easy too. Accessit handled the transfer of the entire catalogue and management records without any problems,” recalls Lesley.

So many things to like

Lesley says, “There are so many things I like about Accessit. It’s easy for students and teachers to use and the dashboard is a fantastic gateway to e-resources and websites to support research. It’s a great window for promoting book and printed resources too. Being able to give our students year-round, off-site access to our library resources is wonderful.”

For Lesley, being able to design and update the home dashboard herself makes it super easy to promote particular resources, ensure students have the information they need, and keep it interesting and fresh.

“On the management side, I can run a range of reports for senior management and monitor my own statistics. I can add virtually anything to the library catalogue, and when we installed RFID security and self-issue, it was straightforward to update Accessit to integrate seamlessly. Automatic overdues have saved me hours of work, and our teachers appreciate the regular notifications of new additions in their subject area,” says Lesley.

No looking back

Culford and Accessit have had a long and successful partnership. It’s been over ten years now since Culford chose Accessit for their library, and for Lesley “it was a great decision”.

“A lot has changed over that time. It used to be that the library was the one place to go for information, and that’s no longer the case. Students want to access the library with their digital devices and now we’re facing the issues of ‘fake news’ and unreliable sources of information, as use of Google and social media rise. That’s where Accessit’s One Search function is so powerful – in that it outperforms Google in this regard. We’re teaching our students to use Accessit as their search engine and be more discriminating about the information they find on the web. Giving students the skills to undertake high quality, independent research is something that’s important at Culford.” 

“Accessit has kept pace with changes and supported us every step of the way. The system is continually being improved and updated, with small tweaks and improvements happening automatically and major updates at least every few years. We feel so well supported. The Accessit team has been responsive to any suggestions we have had, and the help desk are always quick to get back to me.”

Lesley would definitely recommend Accessit to any school looking for a new library management system. She says, “I hear a lot of other school librarians complaining about their library system and the service they receive. I’m pleased that we have Accessit, and that I no longer have these issues to deal with.”