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Marlborough Girls' College Case Study

Upgrading from Alice to Oliver v5 was like moving from a Mini to a Ferrari.

Colleen Shipley, Library Manager
At a Glance
Chosen Solution
Flexible Options
Key Objectives
  • Deploy a joint library management solution catering to the needs of two independently operated schools
  • Provide online access to the catalogue
Core Benefits to Users
  • Future-proofed solution that will meet the needs of planned co-location arrangements
  • Improved student engagement
Supported Users
  • Approximately 2,000 students and 200 staff

About Marlborough Girls’ College

The Marlborough Girls’ College is situated in Blenheim at the top of New Zealand’s South Island. Almost 1,000 local and international students attend the all-girls college.

Opened in 1963, the Marlborough Girls’ College has a long tradition of academic excellence and a proven record of performance in drama, music, sports and leadership. The college encourages and supports students to develop the confidence and personal skills to succeed as 21st century citizens.

In 2013 a decision was made to co-locate the Marlborough Girls’ College and nearby Marlborough Boys’ College because of liquefaction and earthquake damage at the two campuses. The co-location will allow the colleges to remain independent while benefitting from the
ability to share resources. Work is currently underway on the new site with an expected opening in 2021.

In the lead-up to the co-location, the two colleges have formed a close working relationship and students are already moving between the two schools and sharing resources.

Sharing resources between libraries

Marlborough Girls’ College Library Manager, Colleen Shipley said that the library was seen as an ideal resource that could be shared prior to the co-location and in to the future.

The Girls’ College library was an existing Softlink Alice user, however the Boys’ College was using a solution from another vendor. To facilitate the collaboration between the libraries, Colleen said that Softlink’s Oliver v5 was selected as the new joint library management system.

Marlborough Girls' College library

“Upgrading from Alice to Oliver v5 was like moving from a Mini to a Ferrari. It was something we had wanted to do for a long time as we could see the advantages for staff and students. The joining of our library management systems with the Boys’ College has set us up for the future."

Colleen said that the joint Oliver v5 database now supports four collections - Girls’ library and textbook resources and Boys’ library and textbook resources.

“Both libraries hold approximately 9,000 books each but we also have magazines, talking books, videos and a few eBooks."

The library plays an important part in the Girls’ college. Two staff members manage the library collection and services and another staff member is responsible for the textbook collection. Library staff actively encourage reading for enjoyment and assist students in finding resources for their inquiry projects. They also provide lessons on researching skills, using databases and the catalogue.

Oliver v5 improving access and communication

Students have embraced the anywhere, anytime, any device capabilities of Oliver v5.

Colleen said that Marlborough Girls’ College is moving towards being a full BYOD school and as a result many students are using the college’s strong wifi network to access the internet and library resources from their mobile phones.

“The students particularly like the option of using Oliver v5’s Library Link app on their phone and it has given them ownership of managing their loans, renewals and reserves."

With students easily able to access library communications from their phones, Colleen said that Oliver v5’s email notifications have also helped to improve student engagement with the library.

“Oliver v5 generates notifications to alert students by email that a reserved item is waiting for them. Excited students have sometimes turned up minutes after the notification is sent! I also like the fact that the students can set up profiles to be alerted about new titles."

Further benefits of Oliver v5

Marlborough Girls’ College has access to the government-funded EPIC database and also uses LiveBinders for curating educational content. Colleen said that Oliver v5 has provided her with an easy way to customise the library’s homepage to highlight their availability and improve engagement with these resources.

“We also use Oliver v5’s reading lists for specific groups or themes, such as our senior English classes. It makes it very easy for the students to access reading lists for the subjects they are studying."

The college is also using Oliver v5’s Syndetics option and Colleen said the ability to populate the catalogue with further information and book cover images has made it more attractive for students to use.

Colleen said that Softlink’s support during the deployment of Oliver v5 was instrumental in ensuring a successful collaboration between the two libraries.

“The upgrade to Oliver v5 was tricky as it was a collaboration, but Softlink were experienced in dealing with this and helped us out. We weren’t disappointed when we finally were able to move to Oliver v5 and it should serve our purposes into the future."

Read more about Oliver v5 multi-campus libraries