Case Study

Knowsley Council had a requirement for the supply, support and maintenance of a new library management system to replace its Symphony system from SirsiDynix. Knowsley has 5 library sites and operates a housebound service and a schools library service. The system has over 180,221 holdings and circulated over 151,857 items in 2018/19 to 38,280 active customers across the borough. PTFS Europe was awarded the contract to implement Koha in February 2017. The project commenced during March and the Koha system went live in July. The contract includes the supply and support of the WordPress content management system, integration with the LLPG gazetteer and SIP2 integration with PC bookings and Bibliotheca self service systems.

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Knowsley Public Libraries

February, 2017 | Koha LMS | Public

The Challenge: Web-based interfaces for both staff and public are a priority as is a mobile-ready solution for our customers accessing the system by phone or tablet. There is also a requirement for the new system to integrate with a content management system to enable the library service to create and manage its entire web presence, supporting a wide range of content. An easy and accessible system to administer is essential owing to the limited number of library staff, backed up by a competent support company who can carry out most of the administration tasks on our behalf. A reduction in the overall annual spend on a library management solution is highly desirable.

The Implementation: The implementation was completed within a 4 month period on time and to budget. The data migration process included a significant amount of data cleansing including the removal of a number of unused branches and associated stock, the tidying up of pseudo borrowers and borrower types and a complex process of combining similar item categories with the same circulation behaviour. Our staff generally found Koha to be an intuitive, easy to learn system, providing access to a number of configuration options not available in our previous system. PTFS Europe also carried out training on WordPress allowing staff to create their own themes and/or using templates provided by PTFS Europe.

Positive Impacts for the Library: Moving to Koha has allowed the library service to become closer to its users. We make full use of Koha’s social media features to share information about new stock, hot topic material and promotions. Library staff can and do provide reviews on new material and we now can actively encourage user feedback. Our WordPress front-end allows access to the library catalogue, events, calendars, bookings and local Council information in an attractive and easy to navigate format. We now know more about the borrowing patterns of our users – Koha’s SQL and Guided reports provide the ability to generate almost any kind of report and statistics. The move to Koha has also enabled the Council to make savings in our annual budget.

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