With the rollout of a new unified library services platform across the University of Wisconsin System libraries, the UW—Madison Library’s Verona Shelving Facility can expect an even greater uptick in business.
On May 20, the cloud-based service Alma was launched, putting the UW System libraries on a first-ever unified library services platform. Alma will enhance the discovery and sharing of resources available to UW System libraries, while reducing duplication. For the Verona Shelving Facility, it means library users can now request materials kept at the off-site facility directly from the library catalog.
“While our users have technically been able to request the materials we’ve moved to Verona for a while, there have been some limitations,” said Heather Weltin, Facilitator for Cooperative Sharing & Storage at UW—Madison. “With Alma up and running, those limitations are gone. It’s just another example of the efficiency a System-wide unified platform brings.”
Verona opened in October, but the majority of the fall and winter were spent moving selected materials from on-campus library facilities out to the 10,000 square foot Verona space. Requesting materials was available in the spring, but users were still limited in their access.
“The materials at Verona are requested statewide and beyond, so it’s critical that we have an efficient structure in place to provide these resources,” says Doug Way, Associate University Librarian for Collections and Research Services. “Alma gives our users another layer of accessibility to these materials that aren’t available in a digital format. We are thrilled to have this service up and running.”
The decision and two-year preparation to launch Alma grew out of the UW’s desire to provide greater user efficiency, collaboration, and unification between its libraries. In addition to an improved user experience, Alma enables high levels of integration and/or centralization of library business processes and workflows in core functional areas of library services – including access to Verona materials.
“Improving efficiency and collaboration are critical to both sustaining and advancing the work of a 21st century research library,” says Lee Konrad, Associate University Librarian for Technology Strategy and Data Services. “We pride ourselves on showing leadership as technology and needs evolve, and ensuring our user experiences are nothing short of exceptional.”