As of Tuesday, Montgomery County Public Libraries had restored online public access to most of its services following another bout of computer hardware failures last week.
Library administrators believe they have permanently solved the recurring problem by transferring data in the Integrated Library System, the software that manages materials and customer accounts, from the county’s servers to a site operated by a vendor on the Internet, a process called migrating to the cloud.
“It offers built-in redundancies, greater stability and fewer interruptions in service,” said Carol Legarreta, the library system’s public services administrator for human resources and community engagement, on Tuesday.
Last week, the county signed an amended contract with SirsiDynix based in Utah, which currently provides the county with the Integrated Library software to manage patrons’ accounts using county hardware.
The amended contract with SirsiDynix to manage the data on the Internet will cost $2 million over seven years, Legarreta said.
Because of the loss of online services last week, the library system will not fine patrons for late materials that were due May 13 through May 15, she said.
Online access for most services went down for two weeks in late December and early January due to failures with the county’s aging computer hardware, Legarreta said.
In January, administrators began looking for a permanent solution and decided to shift the data to the Internet, she said. When online services again went down last week, officials were able to sign an amended contract with SirsiDynix at about the same time, so that when services resumed, they would be managed from the Internet, she said.
The following online services had become available as of 3 p.m. Tuesday, according to a post on the library system’s website: My Account, online catalog, online databases, telephone renewal, placing holds, paying fines and fees, Overdrive, Freegal, Zinio and OneClick Digital.
Still to be restored as of Tuesday were online library card account renewal, Marina Interlibrary Loan, 3M Cloud Library and email notification.
For updates, go to the library website at montgomerycountymd.gov/library.