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2021: A Year In Review


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Well, that was quick! The end of year is in sight (and hopefully the end of lockdowns!) and the countdown to holidays has begun! With the festive season fast approaching, let’s take a moment to look back and reflect on what has been another exciting year, filled with highlights. 

New features in Oliver v5

This year we introduced a number of new features to Oliver v5, that have been developed to help users get the most of their library experience. We know the library can be a fast paced and busy environment, so this year our focus was on rolling out features that have been designed to save our user’s time.  

2021 saw new enhancements to reporting, allowing users to design and produce reports the way that they want them. LearnPath statistics that give users access to a new report with statistics on how students are making use of your LearnPath guides.  With our most recent update you can now change your display language on-the-fly with multiple language translations.  

These are just a few of the new features that were introduced to Oliver this year. To find out more about some of our other recent developments, watch this video.  

LearnPath Hub

Joel Loveridge, LearnPath Specialist
Joel Loveridge, LearnPath Specialist

This year we were excited to launch the LearnPath Hub, a cloud platform for LearnPath users to exchange content with one another. 

The LearnPath Hub was developed to provide a space for LearnPath users to share their own original guides with the LearnPath community, as well as discover content and collaborate with other members of the community.  

By having this space to share and create, LearnPath users will see a richer variety of curated sources become available, saving users time.  

This collaborative approach can allow everyone to benefit from the combined knowledge and expertise of other LearnPath users, by developing collections of educational resources that have been curated by the school library community.

Have you created an original guide for your school library? Why not share it with the community by publishing it to the LearnPath Hub?

To find out more about the LearnPath Hub, watch this video

Oliver and LibCode road trip

Earlier this year, Softlink Education’s, Sandra Vince and Nikki Curtis headed north to visit Cairns and Mission Beach, for some in-person Oliver and LibCode training events.  

These sessions were attended by library staff from a range of schools from North Queensland, who were able to learn valuable tips, covering a range of topics across both Oliver and LibCode systems.  

To hear more about this trip, read this blog.  

On the road with Russell

Russell McGrath, Training Manager for Softlink Education, was happy to be back on the road this year delivering group training sessions and catching up with Oliver v5 users. 

In November, Russell was excited to fly to Perth to hold group training at the Perth State Library for the Western Australia schools that recently joined the Oliver Community. 

In four packed out sessions across two days, our new users were provided training covering a range of topics including basic searching, navigation, cataloguing and circulation.  

Russell McGrath, Training Manager
Russell McGrath, Training Manager

Virtual training 

This year our free online webinars and training sessions continued, with 57 sessions run throughout the year. There were a wide range of topics covered including overdue reports, stocktake and smart cataloguing, that are designed to help users get the most out of their library system.

Candice Nicholls, Technical Support Analyst
Candice Nicholls, Technical Support Analyst

We have also continued our New Feature webinars which run each term. These webinars are used to showcase upcoming Oliver enhancements and provide users with an understanding of how they work ahead of release. 

The Softlink Education team looks forward to seeing everyone at the next webinar! To find out when the next one is scheduled, and to register, watch our events page.

CELib Web Conference

In August, members of the Softlink Education Team had the pleasure of attending the CELib Web Conference, where we had the opportunity to present some exciting new developments.

Dion Dias, Softlink’s Development Product Champion, shared details of upcoming new features in Oliver v5 and LearnPath which included borrower merging, reporting and circulation desk enhancements just to name a few.  

LearnPath Specialist, Joel Loveridge, gave a demonstration of the new LearnPath Hub that enables LearnPath users to publish and share their guides with each other. Recently launched, Hub content is rapidly growing with many Diocese schools sharing.  

We look forward to many more meetings in the future (and hoping to return to face-to-face meetings soon!).

Annual School Library Survey

The School Library Survey continued this year with the Australian and New Zealand surveys, despite COVID challenges, receiving responses from over 1,900 participants. We would like to give a massive thank you to those who participated in and helped promote the survey.  

To view the early findings from the Australian and New Zealand surveys, click the links below.  

The United Kingdom School Library Survey is now open! You can read this feature for more information about the survey.

These surveys build a critical reference point for understanding changes, impacts, and trends over time. Survey responses provide the basis for informative articles, infographics, and reports to support school library advocacy worldwide.

To read the 2020 School Library Survey Reports, published early this year, click on the links below.

The responses from these surveys also reflect the level of commitment and enthusiasm that library professionals bring to their role and their desire to promote a love of reading and learning with their students.

Softlink is proud to support this in the form of feature documents that share the voice of school library staff by collating and presenting responses in the open comment’s fields in the survey.  

2021 features include:

You can read a summary of these feature documents in this blog.

Guest blogs

It has been our privilege this year to welcome a number of guest bloggers, who shared about their experiences working in a school library, ideas that you can use in your school library, school library advocacy and more!

We’re always looking for more guests to contribute to our blog. If you have something to share, Softlink customer or not, we would love to hear from you! If you would be interested in contributing to our blog email communications@softlinkint.com.

Click on the images below to read some of the great guest blogs featured this year. 

Guest blogs

A day in the life blogs 

A final word  

We would like to thank our Softlink customers for yet another great year and extend a big welcome to all those that have joined the Oliver v5 community in 2021! Wishing everyone a fantastic, and well deserved, holiday season and we look forward to working with you again in the New Year!


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