WBRPL is in the final stages of switching to a new electronic catalog system. This substantial system change is a big undertaking because it houses all of the data for our library materials and patrons. The transition to Polaris began on March 16, 2017 and continues behind the scenes today.
We Apologize for Any Inconvenience!
Be assured that we continue to move through the transition and train users on the enhancements provided by Polaris as quickly as possible. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
When did you start working for WBR Parish Library?
I moved to Port Allen 36 years ago. I have two daughters Kim and Amy and an almost one year old grandson, Elijah. I started working at the library in January of 1996. I started at 20 hours per week then went to 30 hours a week and eventually went full time in 2002.
You work with Interlibrary Loans and Serials. What’s a typical day like?
My day coordinates Interlibrary Loan and Serials or magazines. I locate books our library does not own from other libraries for our patrons. These range from novels to repair manuals and all things in between. I can search all 50 states and usually get whatever a person would need fairly quickly. I have received books from probably 35 different states over the years. It’s very satisfying to call a patron and let them know a book they really wanted is here at our library for them to check out. All you need to do is return it to us and I’ll mail it back to it’s home library. I also check in approximately 135 magazines monthly and get them ready for you to check out. We have a wide variety of serials and always take suggestions from our patrons for those we do not own.
If you could another job for a day, what would it be?
I would love to help cancer survivors. When their treatment is over, it’s time to celebrate and have some fun. I would want to make their dreams come true and do something special they’ve always wanted to do.
What are your hobbies outside of work?
My hobbies outside of work are playing with my new grandson, Elijah. I also love playing my electric bass, and my favorite upright bass. I was brought up listening and playing bluegrass and country music.
What’s one food you can’t live without?
Tomatoes are my #1 absolute favorite food, followed by crawfish and anything my mom cooks.
What is something that people probably don’t know about you?
People probably don’t know that I love having jam sessions and playing music. I have had many sessions at my home with some notable musicians. I’ve hosted folks that have played at Jazz Fest and a guy that knew John Lennon and Paul McCartney!
My favorite book: All of the Sweet Potato Queens’ books. They kept me laughing the entire time I read them.
After much serious thought and deliberation, my husband and I have come to the decision that it’s time for me to think about retirement. I’ve had a wonderful career in a field that I am absolutely passionate about, and I’ve had many opportunities to touch and change lives – I hope I have lived up to most of them. And I’ve certainly loved being here in West Baton Rouge Parish with our “small but mighty” library! But April 30 will complete 50 years of drawing a paycheck from libraries for me; that should probably be enough for anyone. I am looking at retiring effective June 1, 2017.
I feel good about what we’ve accomplished since I’ve been here. We’ve been able to upgrade and increase technology, which has offered much more to the public and allowed us to shift staff from behind-the-scenes tasks to face-to-face public service. When I arrived, we only had two positions working in public services, and one of those was vacant! We now have good staffing in the Circulation Department, an Adult Services Librarian, a Network Administrator for technology services, and improved staffing in the Youth Services area. We’ve added e-books and e-audiobooks for downloading, added Blu-rays, and expanded the DVDs and audiobooks on disks. We’ve weeded all adult fiction twice, almost all of the non-fiction, and juvenile materials are spot-weeded each summer. The collections are current and appealing. Programming continues to be exemplary, both in-house and out in the communities with funding assistance from a Parish grant each year. And we’ve done a bit of a face-lift to the Youth Services area to spruce it up.
There’s never a time when everything is finished and it’s easy to hand the reins over to someone new, but May 1 is as good a date as any. The migration to the new Polaris computer system will be complete, with our “go live” date estimated to be the end of March. Weeding of the adult non-fiction collection is nearly done. The building project will still be on hold. We probably won’t know what the State is going to do with the Inventory Tax until the session ends and the Governor signs the budget. To me, that is the single most important issue since it affects our ongoing revenue; it truly controls the future for the Library.
There is always more to do! I will always be excited by what libraries do each and every day! But I think it’s time to close this chapter of my life and start the next one.
Many, many thanks for allowing me to serve you, the people of West Baton Rouge Parish! I will always be grateful for working here. I truly appreciate the many friends I’ve come to know and the professional relationships that I have had here. I hope that they carry over to ongoing friendships in the years ahead!
Since ancient times, mariners have named as “Polaris” the star on the tip of the handle of the “Little Dipper” because it points the direction to the North Pole. It is also the name of a software product from the company Innovative Interfaces, Inc. (www.iii.com) that we are now using at WBRPL to guide us, like the North Star, to a “pole” or goal of better service to you, our patrons.
Polaris ILS is our new Integrated Library System: www.iii.com/products/polaris-ils/. It went online two weeks ago, and we have been fine-tuning it since to offer you a more streamlined and effective service in acquiring, finding, and retrieving the books, talking books, serials, DVDs, and other resources that you request of us, your library staff. In licensing this software, WBRPL joins the technical ranks of the Chicago Public Library among other major urban library systems and several Louisiana libraries that already use Polaris. Polaris this year integrated with Amazon Web Services (AWS) as its cloud platform. As a company, Innovative Interfaces, Inc. maintains its edge in the field of information technology. Their brochure states:
“The Polaris ILS is designed from the ground up to provide a robust and scalable software solution with powerful staff tools and an intuitive experience for patrons. Built on a Microsoft SQL server database platform with documented APIs, the Polaris ILS is open to connections: with your patrons and their social media, with third-party vendors, and with resources beyond your walls. The future of library services is open.”
The best thing about Polaris is that its “…open system architecture with APIs and cloud optimization to ensure our system is open, scalable, and extensible for the future.” This is “techie talk” but what this means to you, our patrons, is that our Network Administrator (in-house IT manager) can create customized modules and reports according to our every need, allowing us to use every means at our disposal to speed, target, and facilitate your transactions at our Library, using computers and software to bring 21st century library service to West Baton Rouge Parish. You may not see many changes on-screen, but we hope you “feel” the change as you use the services of our parish Library. Come visit us and give us the opportunity to help you find something fun and/or useful!
Until next time, this is…Librarian Lou, signing off!