By Matt Wiley

As technology continues to revolutionize American society and most things that previously were on paper now turn up on digital screens, the New Tampa Regional Library now also is getting with “the times.”

According to a press release from Hillsborough County, the 25,000-sq.-ft. library, located on Cross Creek Blvd. between Hunter’s Green Elementary and Louis Benito Middle School —along with the 29 other libraries across that are part of the Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative (HCPLC) — will be introducing online digital catalogs beginning April 29.

The catalog system, which is called Polaris, will help Hillsborough County’s libraries manage library resources, reduce costs, boost productivity and, hopefully, improve customer satisfaction.

“The main benefit will be improved functionality,” says Jackie Zebos, a spokesperson for HCPLC. “We’re going from a very old system to a very new one that will offer library users features we’ve never been able to offer before. I think people are really going to like it.”

Among the new library features, the Polaris system will offer free mobile applications that will allow readers to search a library’s catalog from any location, make payments for library transactions, get receipts by text or email, keep track of checked-out library materials, enhanced search and sort tools, as well as an option to receive a catalogue number sent by text message directly to the customer’s phone. The app also has a map feature that takes the customer directly to the book on the shelf, according to the HCPLC press release.

Zebos says that the current system, called Horizons, is nearly 20 years old.

She adds that the transition to the Polaris system is set to begin on April 8, but the New Tampa Regional Library will still function as usual throughout the process. However, the release says that, during the transition, customers will not be able to place holds on materials and that current holds will not be able to be fulfilled.

Of course, incorporating a new computer system into 30 libraries isn’t free. The Polaris integration will cost about $1 million, but is being paid for through funds collected by the Hillsborough County Library Taxing District.

For more info, please visit or stop by the New Tampa Regional Library, located at 10001 Cross Creek Blvd., next to Hunter’s Green Elementary.


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