Melbourne Cricket Club chooses Liberty

I really liked the Liberty interface and its cataloguing features. 

Melbourne Cricket Club Librarian, David Studham
At a Glance
Chosen Solution

Liberty Hosted


Flexible Options

Federated Search with customised connector for Vernon Collection Management System

Key Objectives
  • Improve the user experience
  • Share resources with other libraries and museums
  • Implement standard cataloguing methods
Core Benefits To Users
  • Ability to reserve resources online
  • Ability to access resources from multiple external collections
Supported Users
  • Over 102,000 Melbourne Cricket Club members and their guests
  • Media and researchers
  • General public

Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) Library was founded in 1873 and serves as a comprehensive Reference Library for MCC members, their guests and the media on match days and to the general public and researchers by appointment on non-match days.

The library houses over 200,000 resources relating to national and international cricket, Australian football and the Olympic Games as well as substantial holdings in a number of other sports.
The MCC Library is located in a purpose-built facility in the Members Reserve at the Melbourne Cricket Club. The new facility was opened in 2006 and includes space for exhibitions and displays as well as dedicated study, audio-visual and social areas.

The library is staffed by Librarian, David Studham and a team of three professional library staff and twenty volunteers.

David said that after 25 years of using their previous library system, the decision was made to look for an alternative system that was better aligned with their strategic goals.

“There were three key reasons that we needed to look for an alternative system. The first was that we needed to improve our user functionality, so we could better connect with our users. The second was that we wanted to share resources with Libraries Australia and several sports libraries and our previous system couldn’t manage the MARC exports we needed to make this possible. Lastly, we wanted a system that would allow us to move to a more standard cataloguing method.”

Liberty Impresses Library Selectors

During the MCC Library’s investigation of alternative systems, David was introduced to Liberty at a VALA conference. He was impressed by Softlink’s extensive industry experience and Liberty’s features, especially after having evaluated so many different systems.

“I really liked the Liberty interface and its cataloguing features. There are a large number of user designed fields that we could use to support the library’s previous idiosyncratic cataloguing, but it also allowed us to do Z39.50 cataloguing and supported our local authority files.”

“The library also needed a cloud hosted solution, but I didn’t want our data stored in America and it needed to be affordable. That’s definitely what Liberty’s hosting is!”

Liberty also offered improvements to login security. Volunteers and staff were required to access the previous library system with a shared login, which was a concern for auditors.

“Although no-one ever misused the previous system, it’s obviously very useful for us to be able to give our volunteers their own logins with appropriate security levels, instead of blanket access for everyone.”

“It’s going to make the auditors so much happier!”

Liberty And Vernon - A Winning Partnership In The Making

The Melbourne Cricket Club regards the preservation and display of its heritage collection as paramount and in addition to the library, there is also the MCC Archives and MCC Museum.
The Archives and Museum use the Vernon CMS collection management system for their cataloguing and activities.

During their search for a new system, the MCC Library investigated how they could link to the Vernon CMS so that library visitors could easily search the Archives and Museum collections alongside the library catalogue.

Liberty’s Federated Search module, with a custom connector to the Vernon database, was identified as the most streamlined option available.
This development work, when completed, will provide library users with a powerful, yet user-friendly, research tool.

Training Helps MCC Staff To Get Their Eye In

As part of the Liberty implementation, MCC Library staff received two days on-site training from Softlink to help familiarise staff with the basics of Liberty as well as some of the more advanced functions.
David said that he and his team benefited greatly from the experience.

“It helped us to understand the functions of Liberty and the trainer was also very good at explaining all the things that we didn’t know enough about yet to even ask about!”

David was also impressed with how much preparation Softlink’s trainer had done.

“He did his homework before he visited and understood where we were up to in the implementation process. This meant he was able to help us work through some of the things we weren’t sure about.”

The User Experience - Hitting It For Six

David says that he is also looking forward to seeing the library community interacting with Liberty’s Library 2.0 and Web 2.0 features.

“Our community is going to be able to personalise their experience and, using Liberty, create a profile of what they are interested in. Whether it is books about cricket, football, golf or even Melbourne history, they will be able to receive updates to let them know when new resources that fit their interest come into the library.”

Liberty is also allowing the MCC Library to offer online access for the first time. Under the previous system, library users needed to visit the library in person in order to browse the catalogue or conduct research.

David believes that the move to the online world will completely change the way the library interacts with the community.

“A researcher from India who is planning on visiting during a Test Match will be able to browse the catalogue online and book the resources they are interested in, even before they arrive in Australia. Our MCC Members also like to come in early on match days and read for a few hours and I can see them really enjoying that ability to reserve the books they are interested in.”

“There are going to be a lot of big changes for our users! Being able to connect with our library users through Liberty is going to have major benefits, both for the library and the sporting community across the world.”