As David Bowie would say, “turn and face the strange,” because ch-ch-changes are upon us in library land. As of yesterday, BPL and its partner libraries are officially live with Polaris, a new ILS (Integrated Library System, which is fancy talk for “that computer thing what keeps track of all the books”) that will change your library catalog experience, hopefully for the better. When you go online to access the catalog*, it will now look like this:
Pretty spiffy, yeah? In addition to the new chic look, the Polaris-driven catalog has some neat features that will make librarying even more satisfying. A few that I think are particularly boss are:
-You can create a username so that you don’t have to type in your horrendously long barcode number every time you log in. You can do this under “Change Logon” after selecting “My Record” from the “My Library” tab. Just FYI, “ChuckyBooks” is taken (by me).
-If you’re tired of receiving phone calls from the lady with the funny automated voice, you can opt to receive hold and other notifications via text message. This can be done under “Contact Information and Preferences” after selecting “My Record” from the “My Library” tab.
-For you megareaders who devour so many books you can’t remember what you’ve read, Polaris offers the option to track your borrowing history. To enable this feature, check the “Manage Reading History” box under “Contact Information and Preferences.” Just know that your reading history can potentially be accessed by law enforcement without your permission, and Polaris warns you to that effect when you check the box.
-See how in the picture above, some of the books have little red stars below them? Those are ratings assigned to the books by library users. When you click on a book in the catalog, if you then click the “reviews” link underneath the image of the book jacket, you’ll be shown ratings and reviews by others who (hopefully) have read the book. The best part is, if you click the “Add a review for this” link at the top of the screen, you can register for a free ChiliFresh account and bless your fellow catalog users with your distinguished opinions.
*We’re currently running into some infuriating technical difficulties getting our website’s catalog widget updated for the change. While we get things sorted out, please ignore the “Advanced Search” and “My Account” links in the top right area of our homepage. Instead, click the link in the blue announcement area in the middle of the page.