The future of our library is bright
A major re-development of the learning facilities at Reynella had recently taken place. But the existing library management system wasn’t keeping up with the changing demands of students and teachers, especially when it came to retrieval of the range of materials in the library. It was time to take action.
Situated in Reynella, a Southern suburb of Adelaide, Reynella East College is a government school run by the State of South Australia. It caters for a wide range of learners from pre-school (under 5 years) right through to year 12 (up to 18 years) students. The school was formed in 2011 with the merger of Reynella East Primary and Reynella East High. It has recently undergone a major re-development of learning facilities – the largest ever undertaken by the Department of Education and Child Development – to provide an ideal environment for the focused educational development of its students.
Reynella East College’s library manager Gayle Sutter says, “It was becoming obvious that our existing library management system wasn’t keeping up with the changing demands of the library, especially when it came to retrieval of the range of materials we had in the library, including digital resources and online databases.”
The situation was made worse by the fact that the vendors of the existing system weren’t committing to any further development, leaving the school with a system that just wasn’t going to meet their future needs. Gayle started to explore alternative library systems. After attending an Accessit roadshow demonstration and visiting other schools already using the system, she decided it was the ideal solution for them.
“The existing system’s interface was dated and lacked interest, while the Accessit dashboard offered great features like the new book carousel, and the ability to add announcements and video,” says Gayle.
Improving student and staff access
To get agreement from the leadership and management team to make the change and migrate to Accessit, she needed to prove that what it offered would make a fundamental difference to resource management, teaching and learning at the College.
For her, it was important to improve student and staff access to resources through an online system. Accessit could deliver 24/7 access with a responsive and easy-to-use solution.
“With competing sources of information on the internet, it was essential for us to be able to promote all that the library had to offer,” says Gayle. “The federated search capability of Accessit expanded the scope of our library system beyond the physical library. The system synchs with our EDSAS Student Record System and Clickview Video Platform. The catalogue module is very quick and easy, and uses the Z39.50 server option.”
Quick and painless
Gayle says, “The prospect of undertaking a migration of the school library system was particularly daunting and my expectation was that this would be painful and time consuming.
“The surprise was how smoothly and cleanly this was implemented with everything done remotely – a very large and complex database migrated successfully with a high level of accuracy. The support team at Accessit were always available and responsive throughout the whole process, the transition went very smoothly.
“The initial online conference training was personal and extremely helpful. We were really pleased with how quickly we were able to begin using the new system with confidence. The ongoing support has been great. Any problems or questions have been resolved efficiently with little wait time, and the willingness of the support and development teams to listen to any suggestions we have, or ideas to enhance the platform, has been extremely encouraging.”
Benefits across the school
Gayle says, “Moving to Accessit has had benefits across the College. Teachers are now confident about encouraging their students to change their research habits and look beyond Google, as they’ve realised the potential through Accessit to access a broad range of quality resources in all types of mediums - not just websites.
“The profile of the library in the school has definitely been raised. We now take the lead in demonstrating to students how to access the system from home and at school.
“Statistics can be readily generated for a broad range of purposes and we can use these to highlight to school Leadership the importance of our daily operations and the level of service that we’re providing. Our library budget is better supported with the help of reporting on our borrowing statistics.
“Working together with our IT department, we’ve also used Accessit to register all the school’s laptop and iPads as assets, and we’re able to issue these to students and staff on a ‘one to one’ basis under our device program. Overall, library and IT staff and functions are working with a good deal more integration, which has resulted in a more effective service provided to all our students and staff.”
A better, more visible library
“Staff and students are now much more aware of our library and what we have to offer, as the profile of the library has grown and it’s now visible and accessible on the school intranet,” says Gayle.
For Gayle, the simplicity and capability of the Accessit system has made day to day library operations much more efficient and time effective, essential when coping with a very large number of students (more than 1,800) and a large teaching staff of 200.
“Our teachers are becoming more skilled and better equipped to support their students’ research through using the system. I would highly recommend Accessit to other librarians and library managers. Accessit delivers everything that it promises. The team behind it are responsive and accessible and we now have a library system that can evolve with the changing needs of our school. The future of our library is looking very bright,” says Gayle.