The Galecia Group, headed up by Lori Bowen Ayre, has established an excellent reputation for providing high quality consulting in technologies that are becoming necessities for the 21st century library: self-service technologies, automated materials handling, RFID, and open source software.

We partner with libraries to evaluate materials handling workflows from acquisitions to interlibrary delivery. We take libraries through a longer term Lean process improvement project or just recommend simple workflow and work space modifications. We seek to combine the best combination of self-service technologies, materials handling solutions and/or RFID to address the library's primary pain points and budget. We document long-term savings and benefits (for staff and patrons alike) from these smart investments. And, equally important, we provide support for the technology integration process (aka change management) to ensure the investment in technology is fully realized.

We help libraries make good software choices for their ILS, content management system, and resource-sharing systems by helping define the requirements that really matter and guide libraries through a highly collaborative procurement process. And recently, we've begun offering Drupal development and support services.

Keys to Self Service Success

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California Library Association Annual Conference 2014
Sunday, November 9, 2014
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Presentation at CLA Conference on the keys to implementing self-service technologies. It's more than choosing a nice self-check machine.  Here's what we came up with:

  1. Involve staff in redefining the patron experience and their new roles
  2. Make sure changes result in enhanced/new services
  3. Take needs of affected customers into account
  4. Keep initiative aligned with strategic goals
  5. Modify spaces, policies, and collection to support goals
  6. Support patrons with training and positive messaging
  7. Provide information throughout the library so customers have the information they need, when they need it
  8. Make it a happening! Be bold and colorful and have fun!
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Radicalize Your Catalog with Ebooks Your Patrons Can Keep Forever

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California Library Association Annual Conference
Saturday, November 8, 2014
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Presentation about our Pitch-an-Idea grant project in which we worked with Internet Archive to provide links in the Santa Clara County Library District catalog to freely available, out of copyright ebook files which patrons could download without leaving the catalog.  

Information about the project, where to access our code repository, and how to get started is available at https://foss4lib.org/package/openlibrary-utilities-sccld.

Slides with presenter notes are available at http://www.slideshare.net/loriayre/radicalize-your-library-catalog-with-ebooks-your-patrons-can-keep-forever.

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RFID and AMH in Libraries: State of the Art

Since the late 1980’s, libraries have been slowly adopting RFID (radio frequency identification) technology as a supplement to barcodes for library material identification and also as a way to replace legacy EM (electro-magnetic) security technologies (e.g. security strips).   RFID provides a single system for efficiently checking in, checking out, and securing library material and because it is based on radiowave technology, it does not require line-of-sight.  Unlike barcodes, which must be scanned one a time, multiple RFID-tagged items can be set on an RFID pad and checked in or checked out.

RFID helps staff work faster and more ergonomically than one-at-a-time barcode systems.  RFID  is also easier for patrons to use at the self-check-out machines.  Not only can staff and patrons check-out multiple items at a time, patrons are also less likely to be confused by the self-check-out process (e.g. distinguishing between barcodes and ISBN tags).

Although there are several benefits to using RFID, adoption has been slow because of the cost of implementing RFID systems and also because the technology was lacking key standards that made investing in RFID somewhat risky – until fairly recently. 

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RFP Development – Iterative, Collaborative and Empowering

Collaborative Librarianship, Volume 6, Number 1
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
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I’ve done my share of software and hardware procurements – not as many as some consultants – but enough to know my way around an RFP (Request for Proposal).   And the truth is that RFPs are really horrible.  They are full of contract language that few people understand and, unfortunately, they are often loaded with requirements that the Library doesn’t understand; or worse, requirements that the vendors themselves don’t understand!

I’ve seen the same RFP issued by many different libraries.  Some of these RFPs were actually created by the vendor and has a few gotcha requirements that ensure their competitors will get the boot.  I’ve also seen RFPs that have conflicting requirements – this happens when the Library doesn’t understand the requirements they’ve included.

But the development of an RFP has the opportunity to be an empowering experience for the library if it is done correctly.  However, this requires leadership and time.  It’s not as simple as doing a couple focus groups and checking off the requirements from someone else’s RFP.

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