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College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University

Focus your time on your library's strengths

Students in the library at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University

"We've looked at this migration as a way to now put the ILS more appropriately into its place in the work of the library… . Acquiring and cataloging is not really where we want to be putting the bulk of our time anymore."

Miranda Novak
Technology Services Manager, College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University

The College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University Libraries wanted to direct more funds toward library materials and more time toward supporting faculty and students. The library's existing integrated library system (ILS) "was eating up a larger part of our budget each year, which affected the materials that we could purchase," explained Technology Services Manager Miranda Novak. It was also "very complicated and used a lot of staff time to manage. We wanted to be able to realign staff to be more student-focused, but we needed to find a way to free up time for that."

After enjoying the benefits of WorldCat® Discovery for several years, the library migrated to WorldShare® Management Services (WMS) to align their back-office and front-end services. "We've seen a lot of improvements in our workflow in lots of different areas," Miranda said. Before the migration, the staff removed bibliographic records for electronic content from the catalog. The library now relies on the integrated WorldCat knowledge base to maintain its e-collections. "We wanted to activate those in the knowledge base instead, and let the system that was better equipped to deal with the ever-changing nature of electronic resources actually do its job," she said.

Allowing the WorldCat knowledge base to handle the maintenance of e-collections has saved the library's staff a lot of time. Now, Miranda said, "we let the catalogers do what they do really well—catalog physical items—and let the knowledge base person, which is me, do what I do." She added, "We have found that cataloging in general is just a lot simpler." They no longer print paper slips for new titles, and the circulation department handles barcode changes without technical assistance. "That has been a little bit of a cost and time savings for us as well," she said.

"We spend a lot less time doing work in the system now, which means more time is spent working with our patrons."

Before WMS, the library staff spent a lot of time managing book delivery between the two campuses with separate circulation and interlibrary loan modules. Because WMS integrates circulation, discovery and WorldShare Interlibrary Loan, the staff saves a lot of time. "We are able to offer a single button in Discovery for our patrons to use to request an item depending on whether we own it or not. The system then funnels the request to the appropriate department, and we use the routing functionality to get items to the proper campus for pick-up." This means a streamlined process for staff and a simplified interface for patrons. Working within the system makes the entire process more efficient and less error-prone.

Most importantly, the library can now reallocate staff time to supporting students and faculty. "We want to be able to be more responsive," Miranda said, "and where we're finding the biggest growth is in the work that we do facilitating the use of technology in the classroom." She added, "That's where we see the strength of the library—not just in the materials that we make available, but in the expertise that we bring into the teaching and into the classroom." WMS gives the library staff more time and freedom to "more deeply move into that collaborative work that we’ve been doing with our faculty."

Map showing location of the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University

Library at a glance

  • Jointly run libraries that support two liberal arts colleges with about 2,000 students each
  • Combined collection includes approximately one million volumes
  • Special collections include a significant archive of sacred music, religious artifacts, and manuscripts

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