Illinois district manages textbooks, library resources

When the Rockford Public Schools issued an Request for Proposal (RFP) during the 2009-10 school year seeking library and textbook management resources, it was part of what information services coordinator Chris Taskey described as his district’s “technology system overhaul,” which also included a new student information system.

The two browser-based solutions were ultimately purchased last spring – the library product replacing the district’s outdated library management system and the textbook product representing a dramatic change from an inventory maintained in a spreadsheet. For the second largest K-12 school district in Illinois, the decision to adopt Follett Software Company’s Destiny® Library Manager™ and Destiny® Textbook Manager™ products simultaneously came down to a matter of selecting the “best of breed” in the marketplace.

“We knew the products well; it’s not a secret that Destiny is the best out there on the market,” said Taskey. “There’s nothing else out there that tops Follett Software’s products. It’s the best of breed.”

Destiny Library Manager is now implemented throughout the district’s 52 libraries, and Taskey confirmed that Rockford’s librarians are “very happy with the new system.” Following a complete textbook inventory over the summer, the implementation of Destiny Textbook Manager is well underway.

“No school district should be without it,” Taskey said of a textbook management solution. “When you’re talking about textbooks that cost $100 each, that is a lot of money moving forward.”

Some Rockford schools, Taskey said, have experienced significant textbook losses over the years, which helped spur the urgency to seek a textbook solution that manages inventory and distribution, lowers replacement costs and improves accountability.

When Mary Spevacek joined the district on July 1 as the new assistant principal of curriculum/library media, she came armed with past experience of Follett Software Company products. “I was thrilled the decision had been made to go with Follett; they’re top of the line and very user-friendly,” Spevacek said. “We’ve been going through Destiny training at the district and while change can be difficult, I could genuinely and confidently tell everyone that this (the move to Follett) is as good as it gets.”

Rockford Public Schools, which is located in northern Illinois near the Wisconsin border and has an enrollment of 30,000 students in 54 schools, opened its 2010-11 school year on Aug. 25.

“Customers are now viewing Destiny Textbook Manager in the same vein they’ve long viewed Destiny Library Manager – it is just as essential, as easy to implement and as user-friendly,” said Don Rokusek, product manager, Follett Software Company.