Croydon College, located in Greater London, UK, has approximately 25,000 students ranging from 14-16 year olds, who come to the college to study vocational courses that their schools cannot offer, through general 16-19 "Further” education students, to those studying on Degree and Post-Graduate courses.The college library is tasked with ensuring delivery of a high quality, and personalized, service to this diverse range of learners.
The college is the largest provider of Further Education and the sole provider of Higher Education in the London Borough of Croydon. The college library has around 60,000 items in stock including nearly 5,000 audio-visual items and 250 journal subscriptions. In addition the library subscribes to over 50 on-line resources of which several of the key ones are searchable through the catalogue using Infor’s V-spaces federated search software.
The college can trace its roots back to the creation of a school of art in 1868 and has always had a strong focus on the arts. A significant proportion of the university level courses are in art, design, theatre and the visual arts. Consequently the library has a large art collection which accounts for over a sixth of the entire book stock. Previous students of the college have included David Bowie and fashion designer John Rocha.
The Need for Scalability, Analysis, Self-Service and a Robust Workflow
For the Croydon College library, system scalability, analysis, self-service and a robust workflow are fundamental requirements. When the college opened a new library location within a very tight time-frame, Vubis Smart had to accommodate new parameters and be up and running from day one. Says Thomas Butler, Library Operations Manager for Croydon College Library: "The team at Infor was able, very quickly, to change our system over to create the second site and to set up all the parameters to be able to transfer stock between sites. From putting the initial request into Infor the new library was up and running, on the system at least, within a couple of hours and we were able to make the very tight timeframe of opening the new library with all the stock on the shelves at the right location.”
Thomas Butler continues:
"One of the strongest features of the Vubis Smart system is the integrated reporting module called SSP. The ability to build custom reports that can take data from any part of the system has enabled us to produce, quickly and easily, detailed statistics that previously wouldn’t have been available.
From a workflow perspective, one of the most useful functions is the ability to change user in the middle of a transaction. A number of the higher level functions on the system are not available to staff working on the issue desk, and at times it is necessary for a senior member of staff to step in to be able to complete a transaction, or to authorize an exception on the account. For that person to be able to log straight in without having to backtrack out of an account, log in and then get back into the account is critical.
The on-line account management functions have also helped to reduce the pressure of work on front-line staff. During the final term of the 2007/8 academic year our on-line reservation requests accounted for over 50% of all requests for the first time.”