As a small independent school in rural Virginia, librarians SJ Drummond and Laney Kortas were looking for a dependable, affordable system for Fuqua School that was powerful enough to be a gateway for their students in several ways.
With two libraries across two separate campuses catering to students K through 12, librarians SJ Drummond and Laney Kortas wanted a library system that would be a portal for their students – reaching a world beyond the four walls of the library and their town of Farmville, Virginia.
“Two years ago we switched from a massive system that was not user-friendly (and did not have an attractive interface) to an internal system that was included within our new campus management platform. Nine months into it, they announced that they were dropping the library option. After trying to reconnect to our previous system, we found that all of our data had been deleted (despite accessing it the week before) and that we would have to start from the beginning. Cost and unwillingness to work with us (after over 25 years of previous subscription) motivated our school to look elsewhere,” says SJ.
A big change
Dissatisfied and weary, SJ and Laney started the search for a new system.
“Initially I polled other librarians online, then researched their top three. Accessit looked amazing and, when I followed up, your rep Bonnie was brilliant and very helpful – demo-ing, explaining, and willing to really work with us on our budget. Additionally, her can-do attitude was such a refreshing change,” says SJ.
Knowing it would be a time consuming process to re-enter all the inventory manually after the disastrous previous transition, SJ and Laney worried about a repeat experience and loss of inventory, but “the actual process of cataloguing the books to add to the system went flawlessly. Once we did one or two we had the hang of it and it was smooth sailing” says Laney “and because we also worked with SCIS, barcode scanning to add titles was a dream,” added SJ.
For SJ and Laney, the training topped off the experience. “The training sessions, the tutorials, and the almost 24 hour support has been incredible. Plenty of time was taken to explain the system, and excessive patience given as we learned and questioned,” says SJ.
Engaging Web App
Having patrons engage with their library system was something brand new for Fuqua School. “Our Accessit home page can really showcase the best of what we have now – and the options to add news, reviews, and other pertinent info is just a really cool thing,” says SJ. She can see that over time the students will use the library catalogue to its full potential, “I am encouraged that the younger students are being trained to utilize Accessit more completely and efficiently and are therefore learning better habits,” says SJ.
A better way to search
After years of uninspiring library systems, and the endless deluge of new information via the internet, SJ and Laney noticed that the students had become very quick to resort to Google or social media for up-to-date information. As SJ notes, “While this is not necessarily a bad thing, it can lead to mis-information and fake news. The challenge our staff has is to channel them towards true research – impartial, relatable and current.”
Accessit’s One Search tool opens patrons up to curated scholarly material and reliable up-to-date information, doing away with the temptation to draw facts from Google and social media. “One Search inspires my students (and faculty) to browse more (both virtually AND physically),” says SJ. “Our school has just signed up for a subscription to World Book Online (which in itself is brilliant across the K-12 board). To be able to seamlessly tap into that resource using Accessit’s One Search is going to be AMAZING this next school year!”
A surprising bonus was Accessit’s international reach, “The international appeal is also very important to me. I can share with the kids that through our new library system, we are working with others around the globe – that you are based in New Zealand and that Mrs. Kortas and I were trained by someone in London, England. In our tiny corner of the world, to show that there are no boundaries here is very exciting.”