BRADENTON -- Streaming movies online, creating a reading list and increased mobile functionality are among the features of Manatee County Library's new catalog, which launched Thursday morning.
For the first time since 1996, Manatee County Library has a new catalog system, called Polaris.
"It's very feature driven," said Ava Ehde, the county's library services manager. "It's also going to look better every day."
But as with any migration to a new system, there were some bumps but relatively speaking the transition went smoothly, said Robbie Taylor, the library's supervisor of technical services.
"In any migration, there are bumps in the road. That's to be expected," he said. "We have managed so far to identify those bumps and come up with solutions."
The process of transitioning to the new system began last fall, and the Library Foundation's $100,000 contribution from the "Evening with Stephen King" event coupled with $150,000 from the county helped get the new system up and running.
One of the future improvements to the catalog system will be a community profiles feature allowing for better connectivity with the Manatee community. For example, if a patron is searching for a book about bikes, they will also be told about local bicycle clubs, events and local bicycle businesses, according to Kevin Beach, library operations manager.
"We can actually tie in community information," he said.
The new catalog will allow the library system to better serve the community, Ehde said. There are also Spanish and children specific catalogs in addition to a large print text option.
"The library is part of that continual development of responses to the community needs," she said. "It just makes life so much easier. ... I think they are going to be able to do more with whatever they need to. It is another way to make people successful."
Manatee County's new catalog system is one of the more advanced among libraries nationwide, Taylor said.
"A lot of our patrons and users expect certain level of connectivity," he said. "Now Manatee County is entering that arena as well. ... We have a county government that is supportive and progressive. They really do care about serving the community and meeting needs."
Claire Aronson, Manatee County reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7024. Follow her on Twitter@Claire_Aronson.