What a day!

Over the past few months our library service has been gearing up for a change in library software. I work in the Greytown Library, one of four libraries that make up the Wairarapa Library Service. The WLS may be unique in New Zealand in that it is a collaboration between two local authorities (the Carterton District Council, and the South Wairarapa District Council). We run the same software and residents of the Wairarapa can join up and use the resource that is distributed over four separate towns. I tell customers that we are one library, it’s just that our rooms are very far apart! They can borrow from, or return a book to, any one of the four libraries – it’s a great service.

The new system we have adopted is Kotui, the National Library-backed New Zealand consortium (using Symphony by Sirsi-Dynex, if you’re a librarian and this means something to you!). I found it very affirming when my SWDC colleagues nominated me to go to Christchurch to be trained as a trainer in the new system (along with a Carterton colleague). We had a busy few days back in February and had to keep our knowledge alive for nearly three months before it was time to train all the staff.

With my Greytown Library colleagues

With my Greytown Library colleagues

Staff training has taken up much of May and then, on Saturday 2 June, we used our old software for the last time. The libraries were shut to the public for two days after the Queen’s Birthday holiday weekend and we worked hard with the Kotui Implementation Team over that time, getting up to speed with all the new things we had to know and do. Kotui was ‘live’ by Wednesday afternoon, and they let me do the first ‘discharge’ (the new vocabulary term we have had to learn – it means ‘return a book’!).

Discharging the first book using our new Kotui system

Discharging the first book using our new Kotui system

Phew, it worked!

Today we were open to the public for the first time, and had to put everything we learned into practice with customers! Since our community had been without library service for an unprecedented four days, we were very busy!

kotui_launch_library_w_patrWe learned a few more things and found a few glitches in the data, but survived that all-important first day. It’s good to know the Kotui Implementation Team will be around for tomorrow and that (one way or another) they’ll sort out the glitches!

The Kotui team know what a big deal this is for all the library staff and for the communities they serve, so they insisted we hold a launch party (hooray!).

Greytown's lovely Town Centre Forum (to which the library is attached) - complete with Kotui Launch Party guests

Greytown’s lovely Town Centre Forum (to which the library is attached) – complete with Kotui Launch Party guests

The Kotui team also provided lovely cakes….

kotui_launch_cake…which needed cutting! The Mayor of the South Wairarapa District Council, the Director of the National Library and the Kotui Board representative all jointly ‘cut the cake’ to celebrate the launch of Kotui at the Wairarapa Library Service.

kotui_launch_cutting_cakeAnd then we all enjoyed the party!