Wednesday, May 05, 2021

American Libraries Journal Publishes 2021 Library Systems Report

American Libraries recently published its 2021 Library Systems Report, the latest in a series of annual reports on trends in the library technology industry:

"In a year complicated by a global pandemic, the community of vendors providing technologies to libraries made important strides to meet pressing needs and make ongoing progress in their longer-term initiatives. Though the pandemic disrupted library services—as well as funding—in 2020, concerted efforts were made to fulfill the demands of users to the extent possible. Almost all vendors made sharp turns to expand access to digital collections and services in order to compensate for diminished access to physical materials."

"Only a few minor acquisitions took place in this deeply consolidated industry last year. Unlike in 2019, none of these transactions altered the overall balance of power among competitors. Vendors made extraordinary efforts to help customer libraries cope with changed services while they continued product development agendas looking beyond current circumstances."

Library vendors readily provided support during the pandemic, especially through rapid development or implementation of functionality that supported newly instituted workflows, such as online selection and checkout of materials and touchless curbside pickup. Abrupt building closures prompted a need to update policy calendars controlling due dates and notices, along with other operational changes. Almost all vendors described delivering system interventions or functional enhancements to assist their customers during this challenging period. Many of these changes will have enduring value. For some libraries, the crisis accelerated transitions to increased digital operations already under way.

"In addition to changes in system policies and operations, some vendors mentioned other specific—and unprecedented—measures offered in support of their clients during the pandemic. Biblionix not only implemented 16 features designed to help libraries adapt to changes in lending and workflow but also offered financial relief to its clients. Since many experienced reduced lending during the pandemic, Biblionix lowered the fees for Apollo ILS according to use levels, an unusual practice in the library technology industry. Innovative Interfaces made its Circa Sierra mobile app free to libraries for a year to assist with curbside services. Ex Libris launched the “Best Practices for the Ex Libris Community during COVID- 19” initiative to provide guidance on building closures and reopenings. Soutron Global developed a Pandemic Recovery Program, providing customers with an extended support package, and donated 10% of its revenue to a financial assistance fund designated for Soutron clients. OCLC supported libraries implementing curbside pickup services through specialized workflows provided through its CapiraCurbside mobile app."

The report is written by Marshall Breeding, a well-known library tech expert. He also edits the Library Technology Guides website and produces the annual International Library Automation Perceptions Surveys.

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posted by Michel-Adrien at 9:09 pm


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