You are our inspiration!
"In the end, it seems crazy not to listen, and I mean really listen, to what our clients want, because if we deliver what our clients want then our clients are happy. "
As librarians, you tend to be detail focused, systematic people who really care about getting it right. You may like to get your cataloguing, loans, finance and serials management out of the way efficiently so you can give personal help to your library users or work on strategic direction.
This presents a challenge, as so many library management systems (LMS) that you use present a series of isolated modules that don’t work together. The result is that many librarians, perhaps even you, are using a dis-jointed LMS that adds to your work load. Frustrating!
A poorly designed LMS can result in duplication, overlap, gaps, and potential for error and time wastage. Reports can be difficult and time-consuming to produce.
At Bailey Solutions, we are an IT company with that all-important difference…
…. our systems are designed by a consultant librarian for librarians. It’s all about perspective and understanding! Bailey Solutions’ Managing Director, Penny Bailey, steers development and is always looking for new ways to help librarians do their jobs.
Each of Bailey Solutions’ library systems has been the result of trying to solve a practical problem and listening to clients. Penny explains that ideas for new products and system enhancements don’t come out of thin air – the ‘eureka’ moment seldom occurs: ideas don’t occur in a vacuum.
In the late 1990s, PenLib evolved from my own frustration with existing library systems available on the market which were ‘sledgehammers to crack a nut’: too complex and expensive for the smaller libraries in which I was working. I wrote my own LMS and then realised that other libraries shared my frustrations. What started as a working tool for me became the working tool of other librarians, and PenLib took on a life of its own. I encouraged feedback and took on board users’ suggestions, incorporating them into later releases of the software.
But it’s not just about functionality. We listened to user’s concerns with other suppliers, including:
- Expensive software;
- Having to buy more functionality than required;
- Slow and unresponsive support;
- Being charged for new versions that fixed existing errors;
- Being charged the same price as a new customer when upgrading from one product to another;
- Time consuming and complex updates;
- Updates requiring on-site visits from the supplier charged at expensive consultancy rates.
I knew I wouldn’t have accepted this, so it is a challenge to avoid these pitfalls and deliver easy-to-use functionality.
New ideas and improvements continually come from encouraging feedback from clients and talking to librarians at such shows as CILIP’s LMS Showcase, CILIP Conference and other conferences. Librarians give us ideas all the time, which is why I really enjoy attending the shows myself – we are truly grateful to our clients for their input. Currently we are delivering a new version once a month to include fixes and client’s ideas for improvements and new features.
Our latest product, Simple Little Library System (SLLS) has come about because Microsoft withdrew support for the development tools we were using. The system is named “Simple” because that’s what professional librarians and non-librarians told us they wanted: “something simple to use…” and “Little” because it is for the smaller libraries in the marketplace from professional, legal, school and charity libraries to individuals and collectors. Also, because it comes with an affordable price tag compared to other LMS.