Newport Library – impressive software

2CQR have been upgrading their software, moving to LIbrid, and with over 30 installations already completed across the UK and Ireland the response to the new software has been excellent, particularly liked are the clean lines and speed of the software and that the parameters are set from menus, not by editing files.

Having received a great response to their software upgrade at Newport Central Library 2CQR were keen to follow up the favourable review.

THE NEWPORT LIBRARY SERVICE

The Central Library is the main hub of the Newport Library’s nine service points across the city. Based in a building shared with the Newport Museum and Art Gallery, the Central Library is open 41 hours per week. In addition to over 54,000 titles available for loan the Central Library holds our reserve of 24,000 items. The Central Library is home to the local studies collection which contains over 50,000 items including printed materials, archive records, maps, photographs and newspapers that relate to the history, geography and literature of Newport and the historical county of Monmouthshire.

COMPLEMENTARY SERVICES

Newport Library Service also provides three complementary services to the static libraries:

The Housebound Service provides an alternative service to residents who are unable to visit a library. Managed from four of our libraries, volunteers provide monthly deliveries of books that have been selected by library staff.

Book Express is a unique postal service where residents of Newport are able to order up to 50 titles a year online that delivered to them by post.

A 24/7 library service is available through their designated web portal LION – Library Information Online in Newport. Through LION library members can manage their account, search the catalogue, renew and request titles and access a range of online information resources.

DELIVERING A BETTER SERVICE

As we walked around the library we discussed with Michael Green, Virtual and Systems Service Officer the facilities offered and how the self-service kiosks had helped deliver better services. On the ground floor two staffed information desks are equipped with 2CQR tagging units, as is the desk on the first floor. However it is the four 2CQR Totem kiosks at the entrance/exit to the library that take care of the booking in and out of the media. These kiosks, in the clients colour choice, provide check in and out of books and media and fines payment. As we watched the users coming and going the simplicity and speed when using the kiosks was impressive. Old, young and parents with children were in and out in no time at all.

The ground floor was populated with users, some casually reading, some searching for books or media and others using the online facilities. And in the children’s section we could hear library staff leading toddlers in song and games. Michael made the point that the time saved with the introduction of self-service had not led to any reduction in staffing but released staff to develop new services like these children’s activities. Other general service like an IT area regularly booked out to enable job seekers to search for employment are complimented by specific services including a complete archive of the local, Argus, newspaper, history and maps with micro film reader, scanners and printers. Online services provided through the LION (Library Information Online in Newport) are well used although Michael explained e-books have not taken off as much as the e-zines.

It is obvious that this public library has benefitted both from its recent refurbishment and reorganisation as well as the investment in self-service facilities.

TOTEMS & SOFTWARE UPGRADE- A CLIENT’S VIEW

Michael was happy to provide the following view of his experience with the 2CQR self-service kiosks, and their response to Newport’s software issues:

“Newport Libraries have had RFID machines installed in branches since 2015, starting with two stand-alone kiosks in Malpas and Caerleon libraries. Library reorganisation late in 2015 showed there was a need for the technology in Central Library to give library staff more time to engage with customers, work with stock and run events. The tender was issued for four new self-service kiosks which was awarded to 2CQR, a new supplier for Newport Libraries

Their Totem kiosks were installed in November 2016. The kiosks themselves were well-made and looked great, and the customer service provided by 2CQR’s engineers (who we got to know pretty well over the first few months) was excellent. However we began to have some issues with the software, we found it unable to provide some requirements of our service. The 2CQR team were great help over this period, as they worked hard to get the software performing to our requirements, however though it was working at this point it resulted in software that was somewhat patchwork inside.

REVIEW

In our first review with Lynn from 2CQR we were bluntly honest about our experience, and discussed the issues that despite our great faith in 2CQR’s technical help department and love of the Totems themselves we could not expand our installation programme using the existing software.

Lynn took our concerns on board and reported back to the management at 2CQR who were in the process of looking at replacing the existing software with Librid. Early in 2017, after a short trial, we installed the new LibRid software which we thought was a fast turnaround based on our feedback, and have been using it since.

Librid is a stable, simple software which was a great improvement right from the start, I have had little to no issues with them over the last 5 months and customers also find them faster and seem happier using them.

REMOTE MANAGEMENT SOFTWARE

One of Librid’s most useful improvements for me is the remote management software, which allows me to access the kiosks together or separately from my desk. This made the job of inputting Welsh language files much simpler for example, as well as giving me a heads-up when a Totem is misbehaving and allowing me to check and fix parameters quickly.

The other advantage of a remote management system is that is doesn’t require me to go to the floor and open up the machines. We found that the constant opening of kiosks and obvious repair work in the past undermined our customers (and staff) confidence in the RFID process. Now, being able to fix small problems remotely removes this visual evidence and restores confidence.

An example of the remote management system: If I needed to change an alert screen as the default language was a bit abrasive, previously this would involve opening each machine individually, attaching keyboards and mice then typing in the new message, probably an hour to forty five minute job across the four machines, with each machine out of order for around 15 minutes. With the new software it took less than 10 minutes altogether, and the machines were only down for as long as it took them to restart. This represents a massive improvement in time management for me.

CONCLUSION

Overall I feel that 2CQR have been very responsive to the changes they needed to make for us, their communication is good and they handled our originally, negative feedback well, going to lengths to resolve our issues as quickly as possible. Their support is excellent, they will always send an engineer if one is needed and their remote support is also of a very high standard. I feel that 2CQR’s new products and software have made a massive improvement in their game over the last twelve months, providing us with enough confidence in that if we do increase our RFID provision this year they are on an equal footing with any for the contract.”

 

It was confirmed that by Michael that Newport’s recent experience with 2CQR has been extremely positive and has influenced their decision in choosing a supplier for their future requirements.

 

2CQR – Top overall for post-sales service in the 2016 Library RFID Survey – UK