Through their SHAREit product, which was the first Web-based library resource management solution in the industry, Auto-Graphics will build, host, and maintain a secure hybrid union catalog and library system-neutral resource sharing system for the state of Arkansas. The new system will allow users to search across all participating library systems in the state and request library materials using an unmediated request.
“The Arkansas State Library has long recognized the need for a statewide virtual union catalog (VUC), connecting participating libraries’ existing catalogs and making their collections discoverable in real time,” said Jennifer Chilcoat, Director of Arkansas State Library. “Funding through the American Rescue Plan Act has allowed us to finally take the plunge and get this project underway.”
Implementation of the new system began in February 2022 and plans to be live by June 2022, with 55-75 libraries estimated to participate in the first year. The contract runs through January 2024.
“[The statewide VUC] can be used as a tool for collection management, benchmarking, and overall broader knowledge of the resources around the state that may be of use to our community of users,” Chilcoat said. “We are grateful for the ARPA funds that have allowed us to address this critical need.”
Arkansas’ decision to sign with Auto-Graphics stems from several reasons; namely, that SHAREit can work with any ILS. “The statewide VUC will facilitate resource sharing among Arkansas libraries of all sizes and types,” said Chilcoat. “We most certainly didn’t want to end up with a VUC that excluded full participation by all libraries, regardless of finances and geography. Full access was what we were aiming for.”
Albert Flores, Auto-Graphics’ VP of Sales and Marketing, said that SHAREit is the “perfect model to support a state without a history of providing resource sharing.”
“Our greatest satisfaction with implementing a new statewide system like Arkansas is leveraging SHAREit’s inherent value,” he said. “It shows the utility of SHAREit that it’s flexible to adapt to a state’s ecosystem and their origins. That has always been its strength.”
Flores added that he and the Auto-Graphics team are pleased and eager to welcome Arkansas to the SHAREit family.
Arkansas will be Auto-Graphics’ 15th statewide system, continuing an expansion throughout the southeast United States, including Mississippi, Florida, Louisiana, and Tennessee.