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What should a modern Integrated Library System offer?

What should a modern Integrated Library System (ILS) offer to the library staff and patrons it serves? That is the question that SCLS libraries will try to find out as they do an evaluation of the current market place this fall. 

So where will we start? What are we looking for? Most likely we will start by making sure that any potential ILS meets the basic needs that we already have. We know that our ILS needs to handle the library staff functionality (circulation and technical services) easily and efficiently. Holds management is super critical to a very large public library consortium such as ours. However, much has changed in the ILS world since the last time we looked and we will need to make sure that we understand what new options are out there. One place to look is Marshall Breeding's annual Library Systems Report. In the most recent article, he speaks of the great changes in the market place (vendors buying up other vendors). 

Perhaps what will make the options available to us stand out from each other is what we are calling the "Patron Interfaces". This certainly includes the Public Access Catalog, but it is so much more. We need better integration with other databases and online resources such as digital books. We need integration of enhanced content such as reviewing tools. The mobile app has now become a critical component. We want digital library cards and better "discoverability", including through web browsers (AKA linked data). But, is there even more? Perhaps the next step up will be seamless integration of the catalog with a library's web sight. One of our library directors, Carrie Portz from Spring Green, just shared with me the following article about this: "What Library Will Create the First Real Website? (Please Stand Up)." I found this to be very enlightening reading and this idea may give us something new and exciting to strive for. 




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