Hoover Library launches new catalog system

June 29, 2010

In its first major overhaul in nearly two decades, Hoover Library has launched a new catalog system that is designed to make students’ academic, research and campus lives a lot easier.

Called Polaris, the enhanced catalog and library system provides students with improved searching capabilities, online access to their personal accounts and RSS feeds to receive updates on the latest DVDs and newest books available.

“It’s all about convenience,” Sally Jones, library reference and instruction coordinator, said of the system that went live at the end of May. “We’re hopeful that students are going to get a lot out of this new system.”

The change was prompted by a decision involving the Carroll Library Partnership, which includes Hoover Library, Carroll Community College’s library and the Carroll County Public Library system. Through this partnership, patrons of any of these libraries are able to borrow materials from all of the collections.

Jessame Ferguson, Hoover Library’s director, said the consortium decided to go with a newly developed system – as opposed to a newer version of the previous catalog system – to take advantage of a program that is most suited to the way students are using libraries these days.

With the new system, Hoover Library patrons – students, faculty and staff –can easily track down materials in the building because the call numbers include floor locations. If a needed item is not immediately available, patrons can reserve it and then track the item’s availability online. For example, if 10 other people have reserved the same book about the Gulf War, Polaris allows an individual to see where in line he is to get an idea of how close he is to receiving it.

Patrons also can renew their checked materials online, receive email date due reminders and overdue notices, receive email notification of new books by favorite author or subjects of interest, save their personal reading histories, and publish reviews.

The system also provides “one-stop shopping” by including many of the library’s online capabilities in one place. Students won’t need to track back to find the online dictionary or thesaurus, for instance. It will all be accessible from within the library’s online catalog.

A student who starts a search but doesn’t have much time to stick with it can save it in a section called “My Lists,” which can then be emailed or printed for future reference.

Under “Patron Accounts,” students can see a list of all materials they have checked out and their due dates. They can also see whether they owe fines and how much is owed. (Fines would still need to be paid at the Bursar’s Office).

“Overall, this system has more features, but it’s also more user-friendly,” Jones said.