Making the Most of Your ILS
A User's Guide to Evaluating and Optimizing Library Systems
by Lynn E. Gates and Joel D. Tonyan
December 2022, 148pp, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
1 volume, Libraries Unlimited

Paperback: 978-1-4408-7637-0
$55, £43, 48€, A76
Please contact your preferred distributor for pricing.
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-7638-7
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Learn how to get the most out of your current ILS, take the time to review decisions made during implementation, and ensure that you are taking full advantage of features and updates offered by the vendor.

Systems administrators, librarians, and library staff will learn key principles and methods for securing their ILS and understand how to configure and optimize their library catalog by improving data management practices, streamlining existing workflows, and documenting their system's configuration.

The integrated library system (ILS) plays a central role in every library’s operations, but is your ILS optimized to ensure maximum productivity? Are you taking advantage of the features added since you implemented it? Walking readers through a wide-ranging ILS review, this book will help you ensure systems are properly configured, produce better documentation, and evaluate staff workflows.

The authors—a director of collections and content and a director of user experience—created a comprehensive plan for reviewing an ILS, starting with planning the project and deciding whom to include. They discuss basic ILS security principles, including keeping patron data safe and the importance of reviewing staff permissions. After the basics, the authors go in-depth on reviewing codes and figuring out how different parts of an ILS work together as well as how to review those areas, and they offer ideas on how to stay up-to-date with your ILS, such as where to look for information on issues, updates, and new features. Several methods for analyzing and documenting workflows are also discussed.


  • Come away with a better overall understanding of your integrated library system
  • Understand the importance of regularly reviewing your system configuration and revisiting past decisions
  • Learn how to increase the efficiency of your library by reviewing and optimizing existing workflows
  • Gain a better understanding of system security, including how to protect patron data and system configuration from hacking and unauthorized access
  • Learn how to provide better services and experiences to patrons through streamlined workflows and more secure data
Lynn E. Gates is director of collections and content at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, Kraemer Family Library. She started her cataloging career in 2004 as the cataloging librarian for the Davenport Public Library. During her career she has worked with several ILSs, including SirsiDynix Workflows and Symphony, Innovative Interfaces' Sierra and Polaris, and OCLCs WorldShare Management System. Her current research interests are focused on the impact eBook records have on collections and users.

Joel D. Tonyan is director of user experience and associate professor at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, Kraemer Family Library. He became a systems librarian in 2012 and has experience with Innovative Interfaces' Sierra and the open-source ILS Koha. His research interests include bibliometric analysis and usability studies focused on information behavior.


"Offering plenty of examples and samples, this concise guide offers useful strategies for those preparing for a system migration and not just those who want to tune up an existing system. Suggestions for documenting system configurations will help every library in this age of staff turnover. Many of us know we are not using our technology to its fullest potential; Gates and Tonyan should help many libraries optimize their significant investment in library systems."—Beth Juhl, Web Services Librarian, University of Arkansas

"A refreshingly hands-on, no-nonsense approach to a potentially intimidating and overwhelming process, this holistic and practical text has something to offer for new, aspiring, and seasoned technical services or systems librarians alike. Using concrete, real-world examples to illustrate, Gates and Tonyan combine project management with library technical services expertise in a comprehensive and easy-to-follow guide that addresses both the organizational and technical challenges of this work."—Laura E. Daniels, Assistant Director, Metadata Production, Cornell University Library

"Making the Most of Your ILS provides tools to understand and describe the work people are doing with the ILS, as well as being a great primer on the data involved. Alongside sensible advice on useful documentation there are worksheets and templates to get you started. The case studies are relatable and will spawn your own ideas on reevaluating processes to take better advantage of ILS features to save staff time and energy."—Justin Newcomer, Senior Systems Administrator, Rochester Institute of Technology
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