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Nov 12, 2015
I’ve been involved in several library remodels and building projects lately for public libraries in the 15,000-30,000 square foot range. My job is to help select self-check systems, and to implement RFID and automated materials handling technologies for the purposes of optimizing materials handling workflows. However, optimizing materials handling workflows is really about optimizing services to patrons. Selecting technologies and making recommendations about how to optimize their use is the easy part. The harder part is helping libraries transition from their traditional staff-based circulation workflows to self-service workflows which free up staff to focus on other patron needs without the constraints, and structure, provided by the traditional circulation desk model.
Traditionally, the circulation desk is the first thing you see as you enter the library. The staff at the circulation desk are not generally librarians although I’m pretty sure the public considers everyone at the library a “librarian.” So when the patron enters the library, what they encounter is someone working hard to get through a big pile of library material. There might even be a long line of people waiting to check-out their material. Maybe the staff person looks up when the patron enters, maybe not.
Oct 6, 2015
The recent acquisition of 3M Library Systems by Bibliotheca could be great or it could be awful. If it goes like their acquisition of ITG, it would be awful. Why? Because in the ITG acquisition, they kept the customers and a couple products and pretty much beheaded the company and made it disappear. There's a couple employees on the Bibliotheca staff but that's about it. Now, I'm not saying that that was a bad thing when it comes to the ITG acquisition. Bibliotheca acquired a very large number of US customers with that acquisition and that's really what they wanted and that was also where the value of ITG was.
However, with the 3M acquisition, they need to do a whole lot more than acquire customers in order for this to turn out well.
Oct 1, 2015
BIC (Book Industry Communication) today officially launched the Library Communication Framework (LCF). BIC is an independent UK organization that is "all about the book supply chain - both physical and digital, in retail and in libraries."
Why should we care about something that BIC launches? We should care because we all share many ILS and RFID vendors including 3M, Bibliotheca, D-Tech, Innovative and SirsiDynix. And all of these vendors (and more) have signed on, and we want to support them for doing so while making sure they follow through with that commitment.
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."