The Philadelphia–Neshoba County Library, in Neshoba Mississippi, has undergone many changes over the years. Since its founding in 1929, the library has had several locations—the courthouse, a log cabin, the courthouse again—and then, in 1976, Neshoba County built a brand-new library. In the past two years, the building has undergone many renovations, and the library continues to work to improve services and outreach.
Today, the library serves some 15,000 members, or more than 50 percent of the population of Neshoba County. The library houses about 30,000 items—a number which continues to grow each day.
Jacob Starks has been the library director since August 2013, and decided to migrate to Apollo from Auto-Graphics’ VERSO system in February of 2015.
Mr. Starks was seeking a new ILS when he received a postcard from Biblionix and decided to look into Apollo online. He liked that Apollo was designed specifically for public libraries and that it seemed very efficient.
He also found that the new Apollo system would save the library a great deal of money. The Auto-Graphics system had a setup fee of five figures when it was installed in 2009. Apollo required no on site servers and had a setup fee of three figures.
Formerly in his career, Mr. Starks performed software installations and, in contrast, found the Apollo migration to be incredibly smooth. He remembers that there was one minor hiccup in the process, but Biblionix fixed it in less than a day. “It was really smooth compared to what I was used to,” he recalls.
A New Approach
The Neshoba County Library has found Apollo to be simple, appealing, and user friendly. Mr. Starks found Apollo to be a sharp contrast to VERSO, which he described as “clunky.” The library also found that Apollo integrates seamlessly with Mississippi’s ILL system, the Statewide Virtual Union Catalog, and that it was easy to set up.
Neshoba County Library patrons love Apollo’s text and email auto-reminders for reserves and due dates. They also find it much easier to find materials in the catalog. The old system made it impossible to truly weed materials from the system, so books the library no longer owned continued to show up in the online catalog. Patrons often complained that they couldn’t find anything in the library. With Apollo, those complaints have completely disappeared.
One of the biggest benefits that staff of the Neshoba County Library have seen is that cataloging in Apollo is “ridiculously simple,” and is much more efficient than their old ILS. Mr. Starks says that Neshoba used to have a backlog shelf full of materials waiting to be cataloged, and that it has gone away because they are able to catalog an entire shelf of new materials in under an hour. “Being able to free up that time is like being able to free up an employee,” he says. As a small-to-medium-sized library, it doesn’t have a separate cataloging department, and Apollo’s easy cataloging capabilities free up more time for librarians to focus on programming.
Neshoba has recently seen 13 record circulation months, and Mr. Starks says, “Now I’m able to view my numbers in an accurate way, manage my circulations, and make my decisions based off the reporting from this interface that you guys have; it really is a useful tool.”