Children's Hospital Boston Case Study

We were looking for a hosted ILS product with a totally automated circulation module.

Alison Clapp, Library Director, Children's Hospital Boston
At a Glance
Chosen Solution

Liberty SaaS


Key Objectives
  • One point of access for distributed collections
  • Easy Management of different media and collections
  • Cost effective and sustainable solution
  • Hosted solution
  • Totally automated
  • Circulation
Core Challenge
  • Implementation by a busy sole charge librarian
Core Benefits
  • Managing dispersed collections
  • Providing access to staff from single point
  • Making the most of a tight budget – a lot of functionality for a good price
LMS Users, Resources and Library Staff
  • Approximately 1,300+ users
  • Approximately 10,000 resources
  • One library staff member

High value solution on a tight budget

Busy doesn’t begin to describe Boston Children’s Hospital. The lobby is buzzing with parents and children, hospital staff in scrubs grabbing a bite to eat, and helpful staff greeting new arrivals. The library, available to hospital staff, patients, their families and the public, is up one floor from the main entrance. Alison Clapp, the Library Director, manages a valuable library collection in a welcoming and tasteful environment.

Alison heard about Liberty from a colleague in another medical library in the North East region and she filed the reference away on a hunch she might need a replacement ILS in the future. In 2007 that need became a reality.

So why did Alison decide to replace her EOS GLAS system with Liberty?

“You know I like Liberty … I’ve told that to the people that you have referred to me” said Alison.

But “Price!” she said, was the key factor at the time. Liberty provided a cost effective solution for a busy medical library on a tight budget. “We were looking for a hosted ILS product with a totally automated circulation module”.

Alison opted for the SaaS solution with Liberty. Softlink provides the hosting for Children’s Hospital Boston’s system in a secure, professionally managed facility with up-grades, maintenance and back-ups all taken care of along with on-going Support in one annual fee.

“There are a lot of features in Liberty that I don’t use, and when we were trained, I didn’t know what I didn’t know.”

That’s one reason why Softlink recommends allowing for some training for later in the implementation: not just to learn the application, but also to find out about Best Practices and more advanced features once the day-to-day operations are running smoothly.

Since implementing Liberty she has also noted that “Softlink has great service people!”

One of the chief benefits of using Liberty has been to offer one-stop look up for the small collections spread throughout the hospital. One of the departments that retains its own collection is Radiology. In Radiology, the books are classified according to the part of the body they cover. With an online catalog, it is possible to have combined access to the collections regardless of where they are housed or how they are classified.

Alison started her career as a pre-school teacher. When she went to library school at Simmons, she had a part time job in a medical library and “the rest is history”.

The Library at Children’s Hospital Boston opened in September 1994, and now it’s bursting at the seams. There are private study rooms that medical staff use when they need to get away to quiet space.

“We host a book group which meets at 7:30 am or noon, once a month. It’s very popular and includes a mix of staff from different departments.”

Lately, the group has read ‘The Help’ and ‘Strength in What Remains’.

“We can’t keep the books on the shelves”, says Alison.

The library publishes no newsletter but is featured prominently on the large monitors that are distributed throughout the hospital.

Staff don’t use self-checkout, partly because the librarians want to be sure that the books are issued correctly and a security system alerts staff to any problems. Once checked out, the staff can renew online for a second three week loan period. Materials may also be put on Hold.

In addition to books and serials, the library also collects DVDs of Medical and Surgical “Grand Rounds”. These DVDs may be checked out by staff.

“Our circulation figures are going up, not down,” Alison summed up before shifting her attention back to the research request she was completing. Another busy day in the library.

As one of the largest pediatric medical centers in the United States, Children’s offers a complete range of health care services for children from birth through 21 years of age. The hospital’s clinical staff includes approximately 963 active medical and dental staff, as well as 897 residents and fellows, 1,570 nursing and clinical personnel, and 5,200 other full and part-time employees. There is also a diverse, trained team of more than 800 volunteers. Children’s is the primary pediatric teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School and home to the world’s largest research enterprise based at a pediatric medical center.