Do More With More

My consulting practice seems to go in phases and lately I’ve been in the consortia phase.  It’s a gratifying place to be.  In each case, I see the power that comes from libraries coming together to do something better than any one library could do on its own.  In some cases, it creates opportunities that would be completely beyond a library’s capability due to lack of resources (be they human or financial or both). 

Initiatives that require costly technology or costly technology experts are particularly good projects to handle at the consortial level.  The integrated library system (ILS) is one of those big, complicated, costly technologies that can be leveraged in many ways. There’s the underlying platform (server and operating system), the application (the ILS itself), and there are the people involved in managing the system (ILS Administrator) plus the staff using the system.  Some, or all, of these components can be shared across libraries.

For example, a group of libraries can use the same server and application yet operate as independent libraries.  That’s what a group of libraries in Northern California is doing.  They are each part of a shared Koha system hosted by a service provider.  Each library administers its own system and has its own patron records and collection. But they save a lot of money by sharing that platform and that vendor contract, and by not having to manage the operating system and deal with backups and software updates.

Join me for the Discovery to Delivery: Rethinking Resource Sharing PreConference at ALA2013

Discovery to Delivery: Rethinking Resource Sharing

Preconference– June 28, 2013 in Chicago 

ASCLA’s Physical Delivery Interest Group and RUSA’s Rethinking Resource Sharing Steering Committee have teamed up to plan an important preconference on June 28, 2013 at the ALA Annual Conference in Chicago, “Discovery to Delivery: Rethinking Resource Sharing.” Please join us for this important discussion.

This event will provide valuable insight for academic, public, and consortia librarians/staff who manage or work in the areas of interlibrary loan, physical delivery, systems (ILS/discovery), circulation, and ebooks/ejournals on the challenges and opportunities libraries face in the future of discovery and resource sharing.

Resource sharing is approaching a crossroads. Our current models may not be effective in the coming years. The circulation and physical delivery of traditional library materials is flattening after years of double-digit growth.

Copyright laws are not the same as a library license agreement for access to an ebook or ejournal article. Many academic libraries are expending 75% or more of acquisitions budgets on econtent and public libraries are spending 5% and this proportion is rising. How will we lend and borrow with our resource-sharing partners as content becomes more and more virtual?

Library vendors and the open source community are developing and improving discovery tools. Are they library patron centric? Which features of our discovery tools hold promise for the future? How can libraries develop the most effective tools?

The speaker lineup includes, Anya Arnold of the Orbis Cascade Alliance, where resource sharing is a primary goal. Anya will deliver the keynote address on the latest trends in discovery to delivery. The program also includes three panels on the topics: State of the art in discovery; Costs and innovation for ILL and eBooks; and Innovations and trends in physical delivery. Jamie LaRue, an ebook pioneer from the Douglas County Colorado Library will discuss the economics and innovations of ebook access. Lars Leon, University of Kansas, will speak on recent cost analysis for ILL. Marshall Breeding, library consultant, will discuss his recent findings on discovery as part of a panel of librarians from shared ILS systems in the public and academic environments.

Lori Ayre, library consultant, will discuss the state-of-the-art and a vision for the future of delivery.

Future of Illinois Library Cooperation: Exploring Effective, Efficient Service Models

The Illinois Library Association had been leading an effort to provide for cost-effective solutions to the changing library landscape in Illinois. After nine regional systems were merged into two (RAILS, and IHLS), they hired The Galecia Group to provide an analysis about how best to go forward with merging the delivery operations from each of the nine regions and to share best practices.  

NISO Publishes "Recommended Practice on Physical Delivery of Library Resources"

Today the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) announced the publication of the new recommended practice: Physical Delivery of Library Resources (NISO RP-12-2012)

The document focuses on three key areas: the physical move, automation, and the management of physical delivery ranging from labeling and containers to automation and contracting with courier services, this Recommended Practice addresses both the lending and the borrowing library’s activities related to delivering and returning a physical item.

I laud the effort made in putting these recommendations together.  There is a lot of detail and you are bound to pick up some new good ideas.  However, there were also a lot of "it depends" and I found it descriptive in places when it should be have been prescriptive. As we all know, just because many libraries do something a certain way, doesnt' make it a good idea!  Still,I think the work is useful and certainly a worthwhile read for anyone involved in library delivery.

Label-Less Library Logistics: Implementing Labor-Saving Practices in Massachusetts' High-Volume Resource Sharing System

This article is the culmination of my three year project with the Massachusetts regions as it pertains to their delivery operations. The paper presents important aspects and issues related to the merging of six regional library delivery services in a single statewide system that serves more than 550 libraries, that together circulate more than 15 million items annually throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The purpose of marrying the six distinct systems was to reduce redundancies and incorporate innovative features to improve library processing efficiency. Most libraries are members of one of nine separate shared integrated library systems. The paper covers the background, objectives, benefits, issues, lessons learned, and a successful request for proposal procurement process for this complex project.

Delivery Service Consultation

Contract began with evaluation of delivery service in the context of other services provided to METRO members. Analyzed costs associated with providing delivery and alternative approaches to improving service. Continued engagement to help METRO maintain excellent delivery service.

Materials Handling and Collection Development Study

Conducted materials handling and collection management analysis. The project addressed space shortage issues, materials handling workload, how to reduce turnaround time and expand services, and ways to improve central delivery and sorting. The analysis will also included a comparison of RFID versus bar codes solutions and provide suggestions for how to implement AMH solutions into their libraries.

Autosort RFI-RFP Project

Assisted with development of RFI/RFP to implement central, automated sort for all Massachusetts regional systems. Assisted with research, RFI and then RFP development, evaluation, and procurement. The project is a follow-up to the delivery evaluation performed in 2008.