Oliver and Orbit are helping us to engage students in the library.Sheila O’Callaghan, Teacher Librarian at Our Lady of Good Counsel
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Our Lady of Good Counsel is a coeducational Catholic school located in Karrinyup on the north side of Perth. Founded in 1965, the school has 240 students from Kindergarten through to Year 6. The school also provides a pre-Kindergarten program for children as young as three.
The school library started using Softlink’s Oliver v5 solution in 2014 after 16 years with their previous library management system.
Sheila O’Callaghan, Teacher Librarian at Our Lady of Good Counsel, said the school was looking for a modern and innovative library system that could meet the changed technology requirements of the school following a substantial refresh of their computer equipment.
The old software wasn’t running smoothly on the new computers and couldn’t be installed on the Apple MacBooks being used by students in the one to one laptop program. Sheila said that their previous system was outdated and didn’t fit with the school’s policy of presenting the latest technology to students.
'We chose Oliver v5 because it is an online system that incorporates simplicity of use for our pre-Kindy 3 year olds and younger students, but also includes functionality that can challenge our 11 year olds who are very confident library users.'
It was also important to Our Lady of Good Counsel to invest in a solution that would meet their needs now and in the future.
'Our school is progressive so we wanted to find a provider that was actively developing the software we are using.'
Sheila said they considered a number of systems, many of which contained features that weren’t relevant to a small primary school and which made them cost-prohibitive.
'Oliver v5 offered the flexibility we needed, from both a functionality and a budget perspective.'
Softlink’s Professional Services team guided our Lady of Good Counsel through the conversion from their existing software to Oliver v5.
'The instructions from Softlink were very clear and although data migration was new to us, everything came together very easily. The change over period was much shorter than I expected. It was totally incident free!'
Sheila said the responses from the Professional Services team were exceptional.
'In our experience, on a busy school day you can ring a provider’s helpdesk and end up playing a week’s worth of catchup call. But Softlink was responsive and available and we were also lucky to have an IT Coordinator who is very on the ball.'
Sheila said that Orbit, Oliver v5’s junior and middle school student interface was very attractive to Our Lady of Good Counsel.
'It’s simple for younger students to use, but also offers more challenging tools for the Year 6 students who are more technically capable and require more advanced functionality.'
Students at Our Lady of Good Counsel can now logon to Orbit on their iPad or MacBook and move around the library with it, finding their books as they go.
'I really like the iPad idea with Orbit. Previously, students were going to desktop computers that were at the far end of the library, copying down the information and then moving down to different parts of the library to find books.'
Sheila said that Orbit has transformed the way students are interacting with the library.
'We see the children sitting down together on a cushion, sharing and saying to each other look at this book, let’s go find it. It’s very portable and you see the children behind the shelves, with their iPad on the floor next to them, fossicking through a shelf of books. They couldn’t do that before.'
Our Lady of Good Counsel is letting the students from Years 3, 4, 5 and 6 personalise their Orbit homepage by choosing avatars and backgrounds to reflect their interests.
'I demonstrated how to use the customisation tools on the Interactive Whiteboard and they had turns in coming up and changing the elements on the page. They were all very excited and talking about which of the avatars and backgrounds they wanted to use on their homepage.'
The younger students are using Orbit, but aren’t authorised to customise the screens yet.
'We think this will be something nice for them to grow into, a bit of a treat once they get to Year 3!'
Sheila said that the system has encouraged students to take an active interest in their reading history and how it compares with their peers.
'They love the feature of being able to see how many books they have borrowed over time and trying to work out who in the class has borrowed the most books.'
Oliver v5 is also helping students keep track of what they currently have on loan.
'Students would forget what they had borrowed and when they came in to the library they would have to go to the circulation desk and look it up on the computer. Now, before they even get here, they can check what books they have out and if they are in the classroom or in their bag.'
One of Sheila’s biggest goals is to encourage student interest in literature and the Oliver v5 system is helping her do just that.
'If students can walk in here passionate about literature and find 6 books by an author or on a certain topic, and the searching refines that, then I’m happy,' Sheila said.
Our Lady of Good Counsel wanted to provide students with independence and confidence to achieve success in the library and find the books and resources they want by themselves.