Celebrating 10 Years of Polaris Leap


This Leap Day, the Innovative team is jumping for joy – not just because we have an extra day in the calendar, but because we’re celebrating 10 years since the launch of Polaris Leap, our web-based interface for the Polaris ILS.

When Polaris Leap launched in 2014, it was designed to help librarians get out from behind the desk and work in the stacks, in the bookmobile, or at the park. With Polaris Leap, the library could be anywhere with internet connection.

A decade later, Polaris Leap still empowers exceptional flexibility for providing patron services outside of the library walls – and has continued to evolve along with the latest technology and customer-driven enhancements. Today, more than 14,000 library staff log in to Polaris Leap every day.

We spoke to some of our colleagues who have worked closely with this product to learn more about what makes Polaris Leap special, and how it continues to evolve.

Senior Product Manager Sam Quell said “I’m simply passionate about libraries. I believe that librarians deserve to have the best possible software to do their jobs, so they can focus more of their time on the community service and community outreach aspects of librarianship.”

“I was working in Customer Support at the time the Leap project started,” she recalled. “The scope for Leap was small in the beginning, but in the last couple years, we’ve added a significant number of technical services features into Leap. These developments marked a major milestone for the product because it allowed library staff to use Leap to manage their day-to-day workflows for the first time. I’m grateful that after I moved into product management, I was able to keep the momentum going with Leap.”

Software Engineering Manager Jeff Young, who was – and is still — part of the original development team behind Leap, shared, “I would not have wanted to go on this journey with any other group of people. They are a passionate bunch that all have their own stories for why they love working on library software.”

“For many of us, it began as an opportunity to write code in our preferred computer languages and quickly became a passion built on the feeling that we are all playing a small part in supporting a noble community institution,” he continued. “For me personally, I tell everyone I have found my ikigai. A sense of purpose doing what I enjoy for something I think the world needs. I loved spending time in the library as a kid! I like the idea that software we write might be used by kids to find books that expand their imagination too.”

Sales Director Carrie Pearson struggled to limit herself to just a couple of her favorite features in Leap, but the first thing that came to her mind is “mobility – this tool helps libraries meet patrons where they are. One library told me they bought iPads for their staff due to the mobility they now have with Leap.”

“Second,” she said, “the UI is just beautiful. It is elegant in its simplicity.  All the tools a librarian needs are at their fingertips. Staff training for new staff members becomes easy – instead of spending three days training a new public services staff member, they are ready to go in just a few hours!”

Many of our new libraries today know Polaris Leap simply as Polaris. It’s the web-based ILS they use for all of their day-to-day responsibilities. And they can take it with them on the go (in the bookmobile) to everywhere from parades and festivals to business expos, school events, and senior living facilities.

The success of Polaris is based on our balance of librarians and technical experts working together to create a solution that serves libraries well now and is already looking forward to future development. We know that changing your ILS can be overwhelming, but you don’t have to go it alone. Over 600 libraries can attest that it’s safe to take a leap with us! We’re confident Polaris can meet the needs of your library and we’ll walk you through it every step of the way.

Are you ready to take the leap? Schedule a demo or download the fact sheet to learn more.

Already using Polaris? Log in to Idea Exchange to share suggestions and up-vote enhancements for our future releases. Or view our roadmap to see what’s coming.