Joining the Apollo Family: The Baker Free Library – Bow, New Hampshire
In 1912, Congressman Henry M. Baker, cousin of Mary Baker Eddy, donated $10,000 and the land next to his South Street home to the Town of Bow. It was for the creation of a public library and it remains the location of the library today. The Baker Free Library was dedicated two years later. The library has been an important part of the community’s cultural life for almost 100 years. In September 1999 the first floor of a 1967 addition was demolished to make way for the current addition and renovation of the original building. On October 21, 2000 the new addition and renovated original building were re-dedicated. The facility provides seating for quiet study, Internet access, an automated catalog and circulation system, and a friendly staff receptive to suggestions for improvements.
Lori Fisher has been the at the helm of the Baker Free since May of 2008. She’s served on the New Hampshire State Library Advisory Council since November 2009. Her roles there have included the publicity chair of the executive board of the Reference and Adult Services section (READS). Also, she was elected as NHLA VP/President-elect in November 2010, where she’ll serve until 2013.
Ms. Fisher was introduced to Biblionix at the New England Library Association conference in 2008. She was attracted to the fact that the Apollo automation software specialized solely in small to mid-sized public libraries. Also of interest was the on-line functionality which was not an option with the ILS her library was using. And pricing was a key. “For our Trustees it was really the top factor since we could get so much for quite a reasonable price compared to other ILS systems,” said Ms. Fisher. The Baker Free Library migrated to Apollo in June of 2010.
The migration process itself was “painless”. “Compared to other migrations I’ve lead in the past, the Apollo migration was super simple and quick.”
A NEW APPROACH:
There were new ways of doing things which required staff adaption. One example is the way that Apollo displays material records. And Ms. Fisher was successful in making sure that her processing staff was comfortable with these little differences. “Change can be hard even if the change is good.”
JOY FOR MEMBERS:
The Baker Free Library members loved the new ability to check their account on-line. They also loved being able to renew and reserve material on-line. In fact, as more and more members go through Apollo to renew and reserve material for themselves the staff workload has been eased, and the process has been more efficient for the members.
JOY FOR STAFF:
Ms. Fisher’s staff found that cataloging/ processing material in Apollo takes half the time that it took in their prior system. This has been a major time savings for the library and the staff has been able to apply the new found time to clean up the catalog. “I love how the materials screen shows the bibliographic record on the left side and the holding record on the right. In our old system, you had to switch between two screens. The new way is obviously easier and more efficient.”
The Apollo overdue notification process has increased productivity and saved the library money. “Using Apollo’s email/text/Auto-Calling for the first and second overdue notices has saved us approximately $600.00 a year in postage.” Biblionix sends email and text messages at no charge and the library does not make any phone calls. Calls are instead made by Biblionix using Apollo’s Auto-Calling option.
“This has made both our Trustees and the town’s budget committee happy. And since chasing people down to return or pay for materials is really the least fun part of any librarian’s job, we are thrilled that the Apollo Overdue process is so simple and cost-effective.”