Frimley Park Hospital is a large, 700-bed Trust serving a catchment population of 365,000 and employing a staff of around 2,500. Opened in 1974, it is located just inside the West Surrey Health Authority boundary and provides a full range of district general hospital services to the population of North East Hampshire and West Surrey.
NOTE: Since completing this case study Frimley Park Hospital have been moved to a region-wide system and no longer use Heritage, but since this change was imposed on them and they did not wish to leave Heritage the information below was still deemed useful!
The library at Frimley Park Hospital is managed by Suzy Thompson. The stock consists mostly of books and journals, which are catalogued on Heritage. They also hold a few video cassettes.
Suzy first heard about Heritage from other NHS librarians, and had seen advertisements in the Library Association Record. Before arranging an on-site demonstration of Heritage she looked through the IS Oxford website, which she found to be “very informative … [it] contained all you needed to know (apart from prices!). The ‘Putting the case forward to your manager’ web page was a very good idea)”.
Suzy is referring to a document available from us in which suggestions are given of how the case for a library management system can be put to a librarian’s own superiors who do not necessarily have an idea of how broad ranging the benefits of a good system are. Add it to your basket if you would like to request a copy.
Frimley Park’s existing library management system was Soutron’s Inmagic, which, according to Suzy “drastically needed replacing. Luckily, it was reliable as we had no support on it, so we were just on borrowed time”. They obviously required a data conversion from Inmagic, and this was a very important consideration when choosing a replacement system. Suzy explains her requirements:
We wanted a user-friendly, flexible system which would:
- convert the data from our existing Library Management System without problems (especially as it was complicated by the existence of two databases – a Loans one containing reader and book data and a Catologue one which just held book information); ideally the supplier would have experience of converting data from the InMagic system
- be compliant with the regional catalogue, allowing us to export our newly catalogued stock to the regional library catalogue without us having to key all the information in again
- include a Serials module so that we could automate the checking in of our new journals
- include an inter library loans module so that we could produce requests to send to other libraries
- include a user-friendly public access module
- come with good user support (very important) and also be used elsewhere within our network so that we could call on local support and advice too
- have flexible reporting and searching facilities
- be able to be networked around the hospital."
Suzy invited IS Oxford to her library to give a demonstration of Heritage. This enabled her to take a thorough look at the system and to have all her initial questions answered. IS Oxford then provided her with a copy of Heritage for her to trial so that she could evaluate the system at her leisure. She also spoke to existing Heritage users: “I emailed and/or asked regional colleagues already using it for advice/opinions/feedback and all of us saw it in operation in our nearest local libraries”.
After a detailed evaluation, Suzy eventually decided to go for Heritage. This decision was based on a number of factors:
“I was very impressed by the quick response rate of the IS Oxford staff to my queries and by their helpfulness and professionalism. We liked the user-friendly system and it satisfied most of our selection criteria. More regional libraries used this system than the other one that we were considering; colleagues provide a good source of support, especially as there has been talk of launching a local Heritage user group”.
The installation and implementation of Heritage at Frimley Park was a very simple process, Suzy liaised closely with the sales, training and data conversion teams at IS Oxford to ensure that everything went smoothly:
“The process was thought through – getting the funding through the Finance department, receiving the software, going through the trial data conversion and ironing out any problems with it, having training before the final data conversion (which meant closing the library for a day), implementing the system on one of our quieter days so that we could get used to it in less pressured conditions and noting down any problems to report back to IS Oxford as we came across them.”
Heritage immediately made a difference to Suzy’s workload, particularly the everyday circulation facilities:
“It has made the whole circulation process much more efficient. It is much quicker to issue and return books using Heritage and much more flexible as you can easily switch between screens. More information is at our fingertips – e.g. users’ loan histories and their current loan and overdues information etc. We can see if they are nearing, or have exceeded, their loan entitlement. Any operation is now just one click of the mouse for us, as opposed to multiple keystrokes.”
Automating the more routine library management tasks has released much-needed time, enabling Suzy to concentrate on the more interesting and rewarding aspects of library administration such as the creation and customisation of management reports and document templates.
Having used Heritage for a number of years now, we recently contacted Suzy to ask him how she now feels about Heritage and working with IS Oxford:
The support service has been excellent - the staff are very patient on the phone and explain things well and follow calls up to check they've been resolved satisfactorily.
Good product and good company.
Frimley Park Hospital operate Heritage with three additional full access user licences, Heritage Online, the Inmagic data import module, the Fines module and the Serials Cataloguing & Enquiry module. Their data was converted from Inmagic DB/Textworks by IS staff.
Suzy would be happy to talk to prospective Heritage customers. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.