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Jul 1, 2015
There are a lot of moving parts to coordinate in libraries today. Everything is changing very fast including everything related to the Internet, what we mean by “phones”, user expectations of customer service and discovery, DRM, funding levels, the increasingly long list of devices and technology that people use to create things, and the composition of our communities.
One of the things changing almost as fast as technology is our communities. Many communities are not just melting pots, they are roiling stews of people moving in and moving out with some communities getting older while others seem to maintain a permanently younger set. As people flee their countries of origin due to climate change, violence, or just to pursue opportunities, what were once static communities change and morph to accommodate the new arrivals with new cultures, practices, foods, and religions.
The good news is that there is data out there to help a library understand these migration patterns and to help the library understand more about the people living in the various neighborhoods within their service area. Using data in the library system combined with census data, and other spatial data, a library can learn who is and who is not using the library. They can identify areas of growth and plan for a new library and they can learn who lives in that growing area to ensure the collection and services reflect their needs.
Apr 20, 2015
I'm copying this very useful blog post from the CENIC website. It is a write-up of a session that was held at CENIC's 2015 Annual Conference held at UC Irvine from March 9-11, 2015. It describes the state of the roll-out of 1GB broadband Internet connectivity for California libraies. We've all heard about it, but it is so hard to find out where this thing is at. Finally, here's the answer!
Mar 30, 2015
The most recent issue of Information Technologies and Libraries (ITAL) has an article b Karim Tharani that does a nice job of explaining why BIBFRAME matters to libraries. The article, Linked DAta in Libraries: A Case Study of Harvesting and Sharing Bibliographic Metadata with BIBFRAME sounds less exciting than it is. It ends with this inspiring call to action:
Feb 17, 2015
NXP Semiconductors just announced a new chip, the ICODE SLIX 2, that they'll be incorporating in the RFID tags we use in libraries. RFID tags are composed of an antenna and a chip and adhesive backing. So this isn't a whole new tag but it will end up in a new tag eventually.
Feb 12, 2015
I just love this so I'm sharing it:
"Libraries must be places that create creators; foster makers, and push every man, woman, and child into active stewardship and becoming architects of great societies.
Are books valuable tools in that pursuit? Certainly…as are 3D printers, public access computing, technology classes, and community developed lecture series. Libraries in the states returned to the most fundamental definition of a library: a platform for the community to learn and teach.
Yes, libraries are safe places to encounter dangerous ideas, but they are also publishers of local culture and local expertise – not some paternalistic purveyors of literature. It's not about reading; it's about knowing. It's not about escape where libraries act as some sort of oasis, but engagement."
- R. David Lankes in Jelly Babies, Katrina, and Libraries (on CILIP blog)
Jan 20, 2015
As I've mentioned before, I'm always looking for ways to make a bigger impact in libraries. Moving more libraries into a state-of-the-art materials handling systems is one thing but getting them to redeploy staff to more productive activities is another. You can't just move someone who's been working at a circ desk all their career to a position where they are working hand-in-hand with community organizations or expect them to develop non-library services or develop non-traditional ways of delivering traditional services.
Dec 2, 2014
One of my former clients, the Vermont Dept of Libraries, recently developed their five-year plans for LSTA, and as part of that process, they identified how the needs of their library users are changing. After conducting surveys and focus groups, they identified Vermont's "most important community needs." State Librarian, Martha Reid, puts it this way:
"The first [need is] that citizens have access to library materials, resources, and programs to support educational achievement, lifelong learning, personal enrichment, and economic wellbeing. This speaks to providing electronic resources and statewide databases and also supporting resource sharing and expanded electronic linkages. We offer our databases to libraries statewide through the Vermont Online Library, and we’ve added some great products in the last couple of years that focus on lifelong learning and workforce development. Access to resources also means interlibrary loan, where our Vermont Automated Library System (VALS) is key."
Nov 2, 2014
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.
Oct 14, 2014
I just read (much too quickly) the Aspen Institute's report "Rising to the Challenge: Re-Envisioning Public Libraries" and wow, is it fantastic!
The paper states that this is a time of "great opportunity" for communities and institutions who are willing to "champion new thinking and nurture new relationships" and that it is a "time of particular opportunity for public libraries with their unique stature as trusted community hubs and repositories of knowledge and information."
The paper provides a vision for libraries that is based on an "emerging model of networked libraries that promote economies of scale and broadens the library's resource reach while preserving its local presence."
In this vision, the key assets of the library are people, place and platform; and, the platform "provides opportunities for individuals and the community to gain access to a variety of tools and resources with which to discover and create new knowledge."
There are very practical suggestions which support the work I do including the importance of resource-sharing and collaborations across libraries. The report strongly states that we must move away from the "go it alone" approach, which, and this is partly my interpretation, we are too locked into because of the the ILS (integrated library system) model.
Aug 21, 2014
I'm pleased to announce that there is now a demo version of the new Evergreen web-based staff client. Check it out here:
login: admin password: demo123
It's not done yet but it already looks pretty darn good! Congratulations to everyone who has contributed to this new development including: