Le Régent College
Building a library from scratch at a British International School nestled in the Swiss Alps is no small feat. As the sole qualified librarian charged with the task, Stephen Bull knew he had his work cut out for him, so he turned to a library system he could trust.
Finding the perfect system
When Cabra Dominican College in Adelaide reviewed their outdated library management system in 2013, Head Librarian, Stephen Bull, evaluated all the systems on the market. “We looked at Oliver and several other systems before settling on Accessit. I have used quite a few other library management systems over the years in all sorts of libraries, but I find Accessit to be the most stable, functional, affordable system with great customer service and brilliant technical help.”
So when Stephen made the move to the Swiss alpine town, Crans-Montana, in 2016, Accessit Library was the obvious choice. “I never regretted the choice to move to Accessit and thought only of Accessit for the brand new library I have set up here in Switzerland,” says Stephen.
Building a library from scratch
To put it lightly, building a library from scratch is “a shedload of work, lots of it manual,” says Stephen. “On the plus side, I’ve had carte blanche on the selection of nearly all the resources, in liaison with teachers, and students, of course. I have been able to start systems from zero, such as Textbook and Periodical acquisition, to develop an integrated resource management system for the whole school.”
“The experience of setting up with Accessit was almost seamless. I had no data conversion of existing collections, so that was a bonus, but I did find a lot of uncatalogued material purchased before my arrival that needed retrospective cataloguing. The Automated Cataloguing tools were perfect for this,” says Stephen.
Two libraries, one library system
Stephen built two libraries, a Junior School Library (Years 3-8) and a Senior School Library (Years 9-13). Both libraries are bright and spacious and provide an atmosphere conducive to reading for pleasure and academic excellence. With Accessit on board, “the student can connect electronic devices to the WiFi network, giving them access to the latest e-resources. With an up-to-date stock of journals and magazines all housed under one system, it fosters a culture in which students are encouraged to read widely, research and study.” says Stephen.
The modern reader
One of the major challenges Stephen has found is engaging his students in critical thinking and analysis. “The ubiquity of 1-to-1 mobile devices in schools and the over-reliance on technology can seems to have a detrimental effect on student (and staff) motivation and ability to read and think deeply. There is a much greater surface skimming of ‘content’, where before students were better at selecting and understanding the context of the information.”
Stephen feels that Accessit Library helps to provide users with “quick access to quality information. Building a hybrid print/digital collection and providing access with a great LMS is my main job, and Accessit makes it that much easier,” says Stephen. “The One Search function allows our users to search not only our own collection through the catalogue, but to search multiple free and subscriber websites and databases simultaneously. This facility enables students and staff to search broadly and deeply, across academic and popular electronic sources, all within the Accessit Library environment”.
Support behind the software
“The helpdesk support, even from Switzerland is outstanding. They are always quick to respond, friendly and I don’t think I have ever had a problem that wasn’t solved eventually,” says Stephen. “I would (and do) recommend Accessit to any librarians I meet who aren’t already using it. In fact, if I ever want a new challenge, I think working for Accessit could be quite rewarding. Any plans on opening an Alpine Swiss Office?”