Regina Public Library Joins SILS

Today was the big day when RPL joined three other library systems within the province who had already gone live as part of a province-wide library system called the Saskatchewan Information and Library Services consortium (SILS). 

By the end of the year, SILS will be comprised of a total of ten library systems covering the entire province plus Provincial Library, a government agency which coordinates library activities across the province. 

When all systems have joined, SILS will be the largest library consortium in the world in terms of geographic area covered and also number of individual sites (300+). 

For RPL's Go Live day, I split my time between three of our smaller, inner-city branches (the trainers I'd been working with for the past month plus our Deputy Director were each assigned to a different RPL location to help with trouble-shooting and any questions that arose during the day) and for the most part, it went incredibly well with only some very minor glitches (literally, most were on the level of “How do I make the font bigger on the Holds Slip?”)   

This was due to a combination of factors including:

– RPL was able to learn a lot from the three systems that had gone live before us about how to prepare and what snags to watch out for 

– RPL management creating a great team including a very experienced systems librarian who had been through four (?) different system transitions before in places ranging from Texas to Ohio

– and of course the fact that we had pizza delivered to every location so everyone had sustenance to get them through the day!

(I'd also like to think that the staff training sessions and other related activities I was directly responsible for such as preparing a manual and FAQ of commonly asked questions raised during our month of training helped!)

So anyhow, it's been a great learning experience to be part of not only the transition to a new ILS but to also be involved with a province-wide project of such enormous scope and complexity. 

But then again, I've always been somebody excited by big, bold ideas and although I had very little to do with SILS coming to fruition, believe it or not, this was my major Advocacy project in library school three years ago.  Spooky, eh?  

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