This article has been edited to include additional information from 3M and Polaris.
The 3M Cloud Library ebook lending service will now be integrated with the Polaris Integrated Library System (ILS), so patrons of participating libraries will be able to browse and check out both physical books and ebooks from one unified interface.
The system will also enable unified account profiles, where users will be able to view status updates or receive notifications for all of their materials, both physical and digital. With Polaris integration, the 3M Cloud Library apps will allow patrons to view and place holds on physical materials as well as check out and read ebooks. For librarians, statistics on 3M ebooks will be collected in real time and included in circulation reports.
Steven Nielsen, vice president of product management, Polaris Library Systems, said in a statement, “For the first time, library patrons will no longer have to leave the library catalog to get their ebooks, and the library will remain the main source for all of these materials.”
The system will be demonstrated at the Public Library Association 2012 Conference, beginning March 13 in Philadelphia, at both the 3M booth, #204, and the Polaris booth, #1223.
The 3M Cloud Library service is currently in use at 10 beta sites across the country, and in April, general release installations will be performed for 30 additional library systems. Polaris estimates that approximately half of the Cloud Library initial beta sites are also Polaris users. Tom Mercer, 3M Digital Business Development Leader, told LJ, “we will be working with our beta accounts to deploy during Q2.”
While the deal is functionally exclusive for now, both Polaris and 3M are open to the possibility of partnering with other providers. Said Mercer, “Once we have perfected how this can work we plan to open the system and work with others in the future.”