That’s a Wrap: Highlights from the IUG 2024 Conference


The spirit of community, collaboration, and celebration prevailed at the Innovative Users Group (IUG) Conference March 25-27, in Detroit, MI.

The event was attended by more than 400 IUG members and Innovative staff, including executive leadership, product experts, User Experience (UX) specialists, customer support and others. Participants took advantage of the opportunity to share knowledge and expertise, learn from each other, collaborate and network, and come away inspired to deliver patron-centered library experiences for their communities.

Photo of a full conference room at IUG 2024

Innovative product announcements
An AI-assisted future for patron discovery

During the opening presentation, Yariv Kursh, Innovative General Manager and Senior Vice President, discussed what an online catalog might look like with an AI-powered online assistant. Users could engage in more conversational interactions, asking the AI assistant to help them find a certain type of book or get help with homework projects.

“We are always focused on our different user personas, asking ourselves ‘How can we help libraries personalize services for patrons? How can we help libraries offer a seamless library experience across all platforms and channels?’ And we think AI will play a part in those answers,” said Kursh. Read more.

Vision for Vega Library Experience Comes Full Circle with New Solutions

During this next development phase, Innovative announced continued focus on key tenets of library experience that make the existing Vega LX modules so appealing: personalized, accessible, and effortless.  Major developments on the roadmap include a unified staff interface for Vega LX modules, a membership portal for library cardholders, and more multi-channel communication options for libraries with advanced email journeys.

Innovative proactively solicits library feedback on product development through a wide variety of channels like the development partner program, beta testers, the Idea Exchange, and regular customer meetings. In 2023, the product management team spent over 2,000 hours with libraries listening to their feedback. Read more.

Vega Library Experience Platform Expands Support for Consortia

“Every consortium I speak with is completely unique from the next, each one has a custom way of handling administration, shared resources, policies and procedures, branding and more,” said Kat Cuff, Director of Product Management. “We’ve been listening closely to their needs and have taken our time to build a strong foundation that can support the complex and individualized needs of consortia.”

To provide consortia with more options for managing their organization, members, and community engagement activities, Innovative is developing a layer of features and functions specifically to serve consortia in these efforts. Read more.

Congratulations to all the IUG Award Winners!
Beacon Award

Winner Daniel Messer was honored for exceptional service to the Innovative Users community. He hosts the Cyberpunk Librarian podcast and literally wrote the book on the Polaris Transactions database.

IUG Chair Wes Osborn awards Daniel Messer the IUG Beacon Award

Crystal Awards

The Crystal Awards honor members who have participated in 15 IUG conferences. This year we celebrated:

  • Terri Barton, Manhattan Public Library
  • Sarah Frieldsmith, University of San Diego
  • Xuemei Ge, Tennessee State University
  • Shad Harder, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs
  • Ryan Gessner, Middle Country Public Library
  • Donna Spychala, Toledo Lucas County Public Library

Photo of IUG 2024 Crystal Award winners standing on stage


“Best of Show” was awarded to Scott Murray at the Saskatchewan Information and Library Services Consortium (SILS) for his idea “Spotify ‘Wrapped’ but for your patrons.”

IUG 2024 Hackathon award

Honorable mention was given to the Hackathon project “Appless Checkouts – It’s a big deal.” Read more about this creative preconference event.


Keynote speaker Greg Schwem brought the laughs

To add levity between technical presentations and roadmap conversations, the IUG featured corporate comedian Greg Schwem as the keynote. He had conference attendees in stitches with his presentation and even spent time digging into the IUG online chat forum trying to understand what inspires librarians and system administrators.

Photo of a handwritten note from IUG 2024 saying: Greg Schwem was Sooo funny... and So needed!




Banned books poll

Conference attendees were invited to review the Top 13 Most Challenged Books of 2022 and use green stickers to indicate which books are available at their libraries, and blue stickers to indicate which titles they have read.

Photo of a display of banned book titles, with many stickers next to each title, showing books in library collections and that IUG attendees have read

DJ, dancing, and donuts!

The annual dessert reception brought back the dance floor, giving everyone a chance to stretch their legs. Attendees enjoyed a photobooth, smores and sundae bars, dancing, and drinks. The tunes were so good, even Yariv Kursh was spotted on the dance floor!

Photo of doughnut sundae bar at IUG 2024

Opportunities to keep the momentum going

While the annual IUG conference is an incredible opportunity to meet, collaborate, and celebrate in person, the real work of the Innovative community happens all year round. Here are some of the ways to keep up the momentum from this successful event:

  • Monthly virtual discussion. The IUG holds a monthly virtual discussion group with a different topic each month. Topics range from Sierra cataloging to Polaris Technical Services to library marketing tips. It’s a great way to get connected and learn from other Innovative libraries.
  • Online user forums. The IUG hosts independent online forums where users can submit questions and get answers from other libraries. For example, two of the most viewed posts are a custom Polaris database query and a post on how to use with Sierra SIP2 self-check machines. This is a great place to consult other users.
  • Product Enhancements. The Idea Exchange is a platform where any Innovative user can submit enhancement ideas for Innovative products. IUG Members can also get involved with the Member Exclusive Enhancement Process (MEEP).
  • IUG Conference Presentations. The IUG posts all user presentations from the conference on their membership website. Even if you didn’t attend the conference in person, you can still benefit from the great presentations and best practices shared at the conference.

You can learn more about membership on the Innovative Users Group website:

The IUG is an organization independent from Innovative that fosters incredible community and connections for Innovative users. Innovative is a sponsor of the annual conference and an enthusiastic support of the IUG organization.