In April of 2017 the Ashtabula County District Library (ACDL) Board of Trustees approved Administration’s request to move from a stand-alone Integrated Library System (ILS) to the Serving Every Ohioan (SEO) consortium.
The SEO Service Center, located in Caldwell, is a branch of the State Library of Ohio which supports a consortium of 98 Library systems at 258 service points throughout 49 counties across Ohio using the OPLIN network. SEO supports a centralized shared catalog database that includes over 8.1 million items with a patron database of nearly one million users and an annual circulation of over 15 million.
The SEO team provides to member libraries all technical and software support, library policy-related services, and management of third-party vendor integrations, alleviating them of the burden of specialized technology and software functions. SEO also provides and maintains training through the On-Demand Training, SEO DigiHub, and the F. Ward Murrey Annex facility (located next to SEO Service Center) to state agencies and public libraries across Ohio.
ACDL’s decision to join the SEO consortium was weighed against two alternative options including remaining a stand-alone system, and joining the CLEVNET consortium. Ultimately, leadership was swayed by two principal factors: price of migration and annual recurring costs, and maintaining the ability to continue to provide, free of charge, ILS services to all public school libraries of Ashtabula County.
By making the decision to join the SEO consortium, not only did ACDL realize a 23% annual decrease in the cost of its ILS (as opposed to a 35% annual increase proposed by CLEVNET), SEO also allowed ACDL to maintain its partnership with all 11 public school libraries across the County—something to which CLEVNET administrators absolutely would not concede.
Because the ACDL Board of Trustees feels strongly that students benefit from access to school libraries and librarians, ACDL has assumed the full fiscal responsibility associated with the continuation of ILS access to each participating school library in Ashtabula County.