Automation Optimizes Library Resources at Slinger School District

Article excerpt

For many years, automating the School District of Slinger's foursite just a dream. The district, nestled in a rolling, lake-speckled area of Wisconsin 30 minutes north of Milwaukee, has traditionally been very conservative in its fiscal management. Nevertheless, they regularly previewed vendors' products with an eye toward optimizing staff efficiency on a tight budget.

Even though no system exactly fit their specifications, library staff remained optimistic. They participated in a multi-type LCSA grant that funded retrospective conversion of library records to machinereadable format using WISCAT (the Wisconsin Catalog), matching over 95% of their records. Records were continually updated for the next two years so that the libraries would be ready to go when a system was finally approved.

* Finding the Right Solution

Eventually, Slinger found the Scholar system from Ameritech Library Services, in Provo, Utah. They were impressed with the system's ease of use, varied search capabilities and flexible programming options, notes Lynn Ondercin, Media Services Coordinator for the district.

"We were especially excited to be able to perform all library functions-including searching the full union catalog-from anywhere on the network," says Ondercin. "This connectivity was one of the deciding factors in choosing Scholar; it offered us the best strategy for finding and sharing all the district's resources-the most cost-effective and practical answer to our automation needs and budget."

The district's administration and school board realized that the union catalog feature would allow schools to share resources; thus, fewer duplicates would need to be purchased. They could then afford to provide improved scope and depth of the combined collections, even with limited funds.

Since optimizing the staff budget was another reason to automate, it was successfully pointed out that staff in automated libraries spend more time with patrons and less time with routine clerical chores.

Support from administration, school board and the entire library staff was instrumental in acquiring Ameritech Library Services' sophisticated automated library circulation, cataloging and public-access catalog modules on a shared database with the wide area network now in place. …

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