Let’s Talk Libraries: The Hill School (US)

Let’s Talk Libraries: The Hill School (US) – Nancy Body, Catherine Clowes

Nancy Body (Head Librarian), Kari Merriam (Library Assistant) and Catherine Clowes (Digital & Automated Services Librarian) form a ‘small but mighty’ team that supports the library and students at The Hill School.

They switched to Accessit Library in 2019 after seeking a Library Management System that could support the school’s specific needs with Library of Congress call numbers, and has since helped with organizing books, managing their patron information, accessioning books and engaging their students with the Accessit Library Web App.

Above all, Nancy, Kari and Catherine discuss how the Accessit Library Support team played a pivotal role in their move to Accessit Library and how they have felt supported ever since.

Type  P-12 School
Roll 544
Campus One campus
Install Cloud installation
Teachers 80

Keywords:

  • Library of Congress
  • Call numbers
  • Information Management System
  • Library Management System
  • Accessioning and deaccessioning
  • Managing records & patron information
  • Customer support
Students reading throughout the library

The team at Accessit Library are responsive, polite and respectful. They’re just great. From the first rep I spoke to, to the people who helped with the transition, it is run by people experienced in both library work and Accessit Library.

Nancy Body

Head Librarian, The Hill School, PA, USA

What helped form The Hill School’s decision to switch to Accessit Library in 2019 and how did you find the transition process?

I did some research to see what Library Management System could support Library of Congress call numbers. I then got in touch with Accessit Library and was impressed with the thoroughness, friendliness, flexibility, and competence of the Accessit Library team.

The team at Accessit Library are responsive, polite and respectful. They’re just great. From the first rep I spoke to, to the people who helped with the transition, it is run by people experienced in both library work and Accessit Library.

I know that there are offices in Great Britain and now in the States, but there was a huge time difference between us and New Zealand. Shelley and the Accessit Library team answered everything and were supportive, saying “Yes, we can do this. We work with systems all over the world, so we can support you.” And from there, everybody was just so helpful. I swear Shelley was up at two o’clock in the morning to take our call!

The switch went seamlessly. To be honest, it was so uneventful and happened what seems like ages ago now. It was as easy as can be and we didn’t have to worry about changing anything. It also helped us improve our records which were messy. Accessit Library basically adapted to us. I think we all were like, ‘That was it?’. I don’t even remember ever using anything else.

Once you made the switch, how did you find the process of getting to know Accessit Library?

The training is amazing! Accessit Library’s training and service is heads and above that of our last system. And I think it’s even heads and above other products.

The training was chunked for us, so we didn’t burn out. The trainers had been librarians and understood how libraries work, which made all the difference. The training was not mind numbing (which we have experienced with other companies) and was responsive to our particular needs. They offered great tips from their own experiences which helped us a lot.

We’re excited when there’s training because it’s so engaging, friendly and very useful. It’s not talking in technical terms; it’s talking in terms we understand: Library terms. We get our questions answered. And if they can’t answer them immediately, they get back to us very quickly.

It seems as though Accessit Library’s Support team played a significant role in your move to Accessit Library, how have you felt supported since?

When I do need to work with Accessit Library Support, they’re so much better than the other system we had. I hear back, I get answers and I get help.

Support is always available, and if there is not a fix currently, all of the people at Accessit Library seem to try to work toward one with software updates. They seem genuinely interested in not only helping us learn new features, but also making sure any problems or questions we have are answered and/or addressed in the training.

The Accessit Library Support Portal is also a fantastic resource and is easy to use. Whenever I go to it, I can figure something out. We have also taken advantage of Accessit Library’s webinars that have come out over the years. Oftentimes I might know some of the information, but I always learn something else.

With Accessit Library installed and some training behind you, how has Accessit Library continued to support your work in the library?

Organizing Records

Organizing and appending records is efficient. Grouping resources has helped us with organizing by location and type. The system will also automatically find duplicate records so that you can fix them if needed.

We also like the Tidy Records feature very much. Accessit Library customized our records so that the classification numbers (call numbers) were as we liked them.

Updating Patron Information

Updating our patron database is really easy every year and can be done using a spreadsheet and – we used to have to ask our Academic office to do this. Accessit Library will help you with learning how to format the spreadsheet so that it will update the patron database. We can include patron information to match our needed school information better and more thoroughly than we have in the past.

For example, we like to know what dorm students and advisors are in, in case we need to contact their dorm parent or advisor about a problem or overdue item. A feature I just learned about is the ability to change the titles of some of the patron fields to better match the information we need.

Cataloging

Circulation and reports are easy to use, highly customizable and very intuitive.

From the processing part of cataloging, it’s been so easy. Previously, I was very tentative about doing anything because I couldn’t figure out how the system works. But Accessit Library makes it so easy with Automated Cataloging and linking to different databases. The Automated Cataloging feature has been incredibly valuable to us. Most of the books can be automatically cataloged which saves us a lot of time when entering new books. And if I can’t do it by Automated Cataloging, it’s easy to fill in the form and do it myself.

And deaccessioning is super easy. I like how you can put it to the side, but don’t have to necessarily completely delete it. So, you can go back and look at what you have if you think you need to replace that copy, instead of forgetting what it was. It’s easy to scan it and is another great tool.

Automated Overdues

Automated Overdues is something that we set and then we forget about it – we only know that the students were sent overdues because they’re coming in and returning their books! This is great and shows it’s very effective.

With Accessit Library you can also group patrons in different ways, ie. by dorm, which allows us to see how many overdues are in a certain dorm.

Generating & Printing Spine Labels

The auto-generated spine labels from lists are super helpful, rather than having to type each spine label in.

You can easily make the label lists from the search feature or scan the books from their barcodes into a list. The labels are also customizable to whatever size you want and we can print them in the middle of the page so we don’t waste labels.

Web App

The Accessit Library Web App is also really nice. It’s colourful, easy to use and simple to read. It’s linked on our library webpage and is largely used by students and teachers to find books.

We call our Web App ‘Hill Cat’, and as far as formatting goes, I can set it up the way I like, making it easier to see information when searching for books. I have even used my phone when I’m down in the stacks and don’t have my computer. It’s easy to look up books and there’s a variety of ways to do so.

Also, Accessit Library’s One Search functionality is great and we love the carousel too.

The Accessit Library Web App is included with a number of features you love about Accessit Library, how do your students engage with it?

A student will come up with the Accessit Library Web App on their phone looking for books.

Students in library with a fire
This is always exciting because we strive to get the kids to realize that the library is a resource that they should know about, and that they should use.

This is always exciting because we strive to get the kids to realize that the library is a resource that they should know about, and that they should use. When we see a student using the Web App, or coming up to us, making a list, or just putting a hold on something – it means that they’re engaging, or that they’re figuring out how to use it.

Even when they know what our catalog is called is exciting, because they know this is where you go to look for a book.

I think Accessit Library helps them because it is easy to use. I think that the carousel particularly helps because it shows up immediately and has books pop up so a student can go, ‘Oh, I didn’t know they had that’.

Usage was hit really hard by COVID as students couldn’t check books out and still weren’t allowed in the library last year. It was very restrictive and we saw the searches go down dramatically. But I’m noticing that already this year, it’s up to where it was before and it’s definitely going to surpass it.

What comments would you share about Accessit Library to another school looking for an ILS or LMS?

Accessit Library is just a great system. I’m noticing more and more that there’s more than one way to do things. I think it’s logical: if you can’t figure it out the first way, there’s another way.

Also, the team at Accessit Library make the transition easy, make training easy and that make any kind of support easy – and it’s very affordable.

I would whole heartily recommend Accessit Library to another librarian, and have done so whenever I see that someone is searching for a new ILS -ase of use, affordability, great training and working with fantastic people are some of the reasons why.

Every time anybody is looking for a new system, I will ask, ‘Have you heard of Accessit Library?’.

Ask a question about Accessit Library

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