ACPL System Upgrade
Beginning in October, we’re undergoing a system upgrade! We’re making it easier to browse our catalog, find new materials, and modernize our system. We’re excited to offer a more intuitive user experience for our patrons. This system upgrade will make it easier than ever to find what you’re looking for and to discover new things along the way!
This page is your one-stop-shop for all things related to the upgrade, so check back often to learn the latest and greatest news, important dates, and any actions you need to take. Our goal is that you will experience minimal impacts during the transition. We anticipate those impacts to be limited to October 17 – 31, which we are calling our limited-service status period.
As always, ACPL staff members are available to answer your questions and help in any way you need! Reach out any time at firstname.lastname@example.org or 260-421-1200.
There are a few dates to keep in mind:
Beginning September 21, new physical materials that come into the library cannot be added to the catalog. This means new physical materials won’t be available to check out until approximately November 15.
Don’t worry! Materials released in September and October are still being purchased, they will just be a little late hitting our shelves.
The last day to process Interlibrary Loan requests will be Oct. 16. After this time, requests can be submitted but will not be processed until Oct. 31.
Between Oct. 17 - 31, you must have your physical library card to check out materials. Also, PLAC and subscription library cards cannot be renewed or updated during this time.
After Oct. 17, we recommend you call ahead to confirm the availability of any items listed as “available” online before you make a visit to the branch.
Library materials returned after Oct. 17 will not be checked in until Oct. 30, at the earliest. Also don’t forget – we went Fine Free for Everyone last year!
All ACPL locations will be closed on October 30 for staff training on the new system.
October 31 – the new system goes live. Happy Halloween!!
Why is ACPL doing this upgrade?
We're upgrading our system to an integrated library system (ILS) called Polaris because it will make it easier to search our catalog and find the books or materials you’re looking for. The web and app will have a modern interface and features including multiple languages, simple filtering, and direct streaming. It’s going to combine a variety of systems into one that makes the experience easier for patrons and staff. The goal is to make sure that everyone can find what they need and, maybe along the way, discover things they didn’t even know we had.
This upgrade is no small undertaking. But we feel it is necessary because we have heard feedback from our patrons that our current system is not meeting their needs. They want more and better. We feel strongly that this upgrade will be the answer!
What is Polaris or an Integrated Library System (ILS) anyways?
Polaris is the name of the ILS that the ACPL has chosen for its upgrade. ILS refers to the system that manages the Library’s collection of books and materials, ordering, cataloging, checking in/out, patron accounts, and more! It’s really everything we need to operate as the library. With this move to Polaris, ACPL has chosen a product that integrates a modern mobile app, website tool, and patron communication platform that allows the patron experience to connect seamlessly with the library catalog and behind-the-scenes library operations. It will allow our systems to “talk to each other” with fewer glitches.
What will this new system mean for me?
Our new system, Polaris, will give patrons a fresh look with an intuitive interface including:
• Reliable functionality
• Access the catalog on any device
• Simplified searching – find what you want quickly and with less scrolling!
• Save searches of your favorite topics and authors
• Save your reading history
• See all available materials with matching titles on multiple tabs
• Enhanced patron exploration tools, including series information, reader reviews, reading levels
• Increased ADA website accessibility and adaptive formatting
• Improved account access:
– Simplified login with just your library card number and pin
– No more unexplained logoffs
• Customize how we communicate with you including text messages
• Access and support in multiple languages
• Ability to link multiple accounts in the mobile app (ex: parents and children)
• Digital library card available on your phone
• Patrons may edit their account to reflect their preferred name
How will the transition affect my access to library materials?
As you can imagine, transferring millions of library records is a big task, but our Polaris partners are ready to make it as seamless as possible. In most cases, you should see very few impacts. There is, however, a limited time where we will be in a limited service status which will affect your typical user experience from October 17 – 31. Ultimately, our system is being managed in an offline mode while the records are transferred so your patron account on the web and app won’t be able to be talk to our system. Here’s what that will look like in real life.
• You will not be able to place holds on any materials in the mobile app or online. You will need to call to place holds.
• When you check out a book, it won’t show on your patron account on the web or the app until October 31.
• When you return books or materials, it will still show as “checked out” on the web and app. Don’t worry, we’re going to get it checked in once we’re live again.
• You will not be able to renew books.
• You will not be able to use self-check-out kiosks at any ACPL location.
• You must have your physical library card to check out materials.
• You cannot renew PLAC or subscription library cards.
• You cannot update library accounts.
• New patrons will need to sign up for library cards in person at any ACPL branch.
• Some items may incorrectly appear as "available" online. We suggest you call ahead to confirm their availability before traveling to the branch.
I can’t see my patron info or it isn’t updating! What is going on?
From October 17 – 31, the library’s system will be a limited service status. We’re still tracking everything, it is just occurring in an offline mode and will be updated when we “go live” on Oct. 31. You will not incur overdue fines during this time, or any time, because we went fine free for everyone last year! If Oct. 31 comes and it still doesn’t look right, please reach out.
What about holds?
You will be unable to place holds online or in the mobile app from October 17 – 31. During this period, you can still place holds over the phone by calling any ACPL location and we'll see if a copy is available. If it is, we'll have it sent to your favorite location and held for you.
What about checking in or checking out books and materials?
You’ll still be able to check out materials throughout the upgrade. However, from October 17 – 31, checkouts and returns will not be reflected in your patron account on the web or app. You will also be unable to renew items. You will not incur overdue fines during this time, or any time, because we went Fine Free for Everyone last year!
Don’t worry, we’ll have it on record in our system and will update your account once we are live in the new system. Reminder, you will still have 24/7 access to our thousands of digital materials!
What about my book lists?
Okay, this one is a little tricky. As you know, your privacy and the books you read are your business. As a result, it is impossible for us to find and transfer your private book lists to the new system unless you help us with that. We know these lists are important to you, so we’ve created a process for you to receive direct assistance from one of our staff who can look at your individual situation and come up with a plan. Here are the basics of list transfers during the upgrade:
• Lists in your patron account on the website: You can save your list to a .pdf and then rebuild it in the new system. Click here for the Website PDF booklist transfer guide for step-by-step instructions.
• Lists in the ACPL mobile app: these exist outside of the current ILS system and need to be saved so they can be rebuilt in the new ILS. You can start this process on your own by clicking here for the Mobile App booklist transfer guide. Or, if you need help, reach out to us.
Can I still search for books and materials online?
Yes, you can still search via the web and app, you just cannot place holds from October 17 – 31. Due to the limited service status, some of the search results may be inaccurate, so we suggest calling (260) 421-1200 before you come to the library to double-check that the item is available.
Reminder, you will still have 24/7 access to our thousands of digital materials!
What will be different in the branches?
Here’s the good news – very little will change about your in-person experience even during the limited service status dates of Oct. 17 – 31.
• You must have your physical library card to check out materials.
• You will not be able to use the self-check-kiosks and will instead need to see a librarian to check out your materials.
• If you’re a new patron, you’ll need to use a guest pass for the computers. Other than that, it should all feel the same!
• All ACPL locations will be closed on October 30 for staff training on the new system.
What do I do if I don't have my physical card anymore?
You're going to need your physical library card during the limited service status (Oct. 17-31). But we know a lot of you don't use a physical card and instead use the mobile app barcode. We suggest you take a screenshot on your phone of that barcode prior to October 17 and then you can just scan that screenshot when you stop in the branch. Don't worry, when the new app goes live on Oct. 31, your barcode will be in the new app as well!
What about digital library and streaming services like Hoopla, Libby, etc.?
Will the ACPL mobile app or website be impacted?
The web and app will have a modern interface and features including multiple languages, simple filtering, and direct streaming. It’s going to combine a variety of systems into one that makes the experience easier for patrons and staff.
ACPL Mobile App:
You will not need to download a new app. When our upgraded app is live, an update will be automatically pushed to your device and the next time you open the app, you'll be prompted to update. When the app is updated, you'll need to login with your library card and PIN. Easy peasy.
IMPORTANT: If you have booklists in the current app, you're going to want to take action before Oct. 17 to save that information. See "What about my book lists?" above for more information.
You will not need to do anything. The new website will live at our current domain (acpl.info) and you'll just need to login with your library card and PIN.
Will new patrons be affected?
New patrons can still sign up for a library card during the transition, however, from Oct. 17 – 31, they will need to do so in person at any ACPL branch.
When will things be back to normal?
October 31 is our official go-live date. Happy Halloween!! There may be a few goblins here or there, but we anticipate smooth sailing from 10/31 on! We appreciate your patience with our staff and other library users as we all learn and get familiar with this new system together.
How does ACPL protect the privacy of its patrons?
Our Commitment to Our Patrons
The Allen County Public Library is committed to protecting the privacy and confidentiality of patron records. The library will not sell, share or trade our patrons’ names, personal identifiable information, or library account information with any other entity except those working under contract or as required by law. Nor will we send mailings to our patrons on behalf of other organizations not directly affiliated with the Allen County Public Library.
Read our full Privacy Statement.