Big Rapids and Ferris State libraries end 16-year relationship

Students wishing to check materials out at Big Rapids Community Library using their Ferris IDs will soon hit a brick wall.

As of May 2017, Big Rapids Community Library (BRCL) will no longer accept Ferris IDs as a result of switching online servers in late December of 2016.

According to Assistant Library Director Chris Cook, the change comes as a result of FLITE adopting plans for a new system designed for multiple schools and colleges and not public libraries. BRCL’s new system—Apollo—is an integrated library system (ILS) provided through vendor Biblionix. FLITE and BRCL had been a part of the same system—Sierra—since FLITE’s completion in 2001.

“Ferrisnet is changing,” Cook said. “[BRCL] had known about it for awhile. FLITE notified us that we would no longer be apart of their ILS.”

According to Cook, the new ILS is convenient for patrons and better designed for community libraries, whereas the old system was more student-aimed.

“People like the new catalogs,” Cook said. “They can receive automated text messages when books are due. They can request holds for unreleased books from their favorite authors. It is more customer-focused.”

Students who wish to check materials out will now have to obtain a BRCL library card. These are free for students or anyone living within the library area—which includes six townships and the city itself—but $25 for those outside of the library area.

For commuting students, this might come as an inconvenience.

“If it makes sense and you love it, you’re going to do it,” Cook said. “We understand if some opt otherwise.”

While FLITE excels in the region of reference and nonfiction, its adult fiction—or pop reads—section can be considered “on the thin side.”

“We have a good selection [at FLITE]—not going to lie—but if you want a bigger selection you go there,” said Ferris plastics engineering senior Angela Lovegrove referring to BRCL. “They have a lot more fun books. They have lots of DVDs, too.”

For students not wishing to obtain a BRCL account, both libraries are parts of the MeLCat system and allow for inter-library lending, though terms are different.