The Burlington County Library System will undergo a comprehensive, system-wide modernization in the next few weeks that will enhance user experience through improvements to virtual systems, cataloging, circulation policies and more.
The upgrades are part of the library system’s “Explore The Future” initiative, an ongoing effort to ensure that BCLS continues to move forward to meet the needs of the public in the fast-paced, ever-changing digital age. When completed, library customers will have access to an array of exciting new features that will make visiting the library — both in person and online — a friendlier, more rewarding experience.
“We are aware of how our customers use the library and these changes are an attempt to adapt to their needs,” said BCLS Director Ranjna Das. “Our analytics tell us our users are visiting us more and more on phones and tablets, and the new responsive catalog will enhance the user experience by adapting to this virtual environment.”
The planned improvements to the BCLS cataloging system include the option to track up to two years of reading history, online fine payment, the ability to link family accounts, the ability to save and re-run specific search parameters when logged into the catalog, the ability to reset PIN, contact and address information via the online catalog, the option to be notified of pre-overdue materials, fines and holds via text message, easy, one-click borrowing of ebooks, audio ebooks, and streaming video via the BCLScatalog and the ability to place holds on new movies
“Ultimately,” Das added, “library users want more convenience and we are positioned to offer it.”
During the transition from the library system’s current software to the improved software, some temporary disruptions in services are anticipated. Rest assured, staff is committed to minimizing these disruptions as much as possible, and library cardholders may continue to visit library locations to borrow and return materials throughout the changeover.
There will be, however, a few temporary service interruptions the public should be aware of to help ensure a smooth transition:
Beginning Nov. 5, no holds may be placed on library materials, although digital materials, including ebooks, audio ebooks and streaming video, will remain available at this time via the Overdrive app.
From Nov. 11 to Nov. 18, neither staff nor customers will be able to log into online accounts or renew items. Late fees will not accrue during this time.
The “My List” feature will no longer beavailable after Nov. 11. Those who wish to save their lists should print or email them by logging into their accounts via the online catalog. (Those who fail to save their lists prior to Nov. 11 will lose all information stored in their lists.)
From Nov. 12 to Nov. 18, BCLS will run in “offline” mode, meaning customers will be able to continue to check out and return materials in person with their library cards, but other services will not be available. During the transition, Items may not appear correctly in the catalog, for example.
In addition, unscheduled delayed openings and library closings are possible during the transition, and any changes in operating hours will be posted on the BCLS website.
The new improved system is scheduled to officially launch on Nov. 18 when all services are expected to be restored. At that time, customers will be introduced to the exciting array of new BCLS features that will provide an enhanced user experience when searching the catalog, placing holds, renewing items, and using other online tools. To ease the transition, the new catalog also will include a “Help” section with guides to demonstrate functionality and explain basic operation.
In addition, as part of the system-wide overhaul, customers who use the BCLS mobile app by Boopsie will find that service disconnected. Instead, visitors to the BCLS catalog will find a responsive design that will automatically reformat content to display properly on any device. Additionally, customers who use tablets and smartphones will be presented with this mobile-friendly view when visiting catalog.bcls.lib.nj.us. Customers who use the Overdrive digital app to borrow ebooks, audio ebooks, and streaming video will continue to use that service.