September 25th , 2013 10:00 am Leave a comment

Software issues could push library to abandon new system for another

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Less than a year after switching to a new software system, the Elizabethton/Carter County Public Library may soon face the task of updating the software system again.

Library Director Mel Goff told Elizabethton/Carter County Library Board members on Tuesday that the ECCPL and the regional library system were having problems with the new Sierra integrated library system software. The software tracks the library transactions and patron information.

Goff said the software took several minutes to warm up in the morning before any items could be checked out or back in. She said if an employee has to use more than one function, the software slows down and takes several more minutes to catch back up. Another problem is that the system does not accurately count the circulation transactions that occur in the library.

For the 2013 fiscal year, the system calculated that 136,885 items were checked out and renewed through the ECCPL. However, Goff calculated those totals using other reports and received a total of 144,160 circulation transactions, which she believes is more accurate.

Public libraries in Northeast Tennessee, along with the East Tennessee State University and Northeast State Community College, share the system. This helps with inter-library loans when a patron requests a book from another library. Goff said the regional library’s governing board has met and decided a new software system would be best for the libraries.

“They have decided that Sierra is not the way they want to go,” Goff said. “It is likely there is nothing out there that will meet the needs of the academic and the public libraries. I don’t think it can be worked out to maintain the functionality we have now.”

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