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During COVID, we got busy putting together some services that would enable libraries to reach patrons without a broadband connection. With libraries closed, we knew these were the people who needed our help. From that inspiration, LibraryCall services were borne. We've created several services including:
Storytime Commons - a repository of high-quality, updated stories that we've adapted for the times. These are stories that our Dial-A-Story customers can select and schedule for their Dial-A-Story programs. We pull stories from this collection for our Storytime Direct service.
Dial-A-Story Studio - a service that enables libraries to implement their own Dial-A-Story service. They can use our Storytime Direct stories and may upload their own. Libraries set their own schedules, have as many phone numbers as they like, track their stats, and use our widgets so that the service is available to phone-only patrons as well as online patrons.
Storytime Direct - a service that allows libraries to deliver a new story every week without having to do any work to make it happen. We push a new story from our Storytime Commons collection each week. Libraries may have an English line or both an English and Spanish line. We set you up with the phone numbers, widgets for online users to enjoy the stories, and all the library needs to do is let people know about the service. Couldn't be easier or more affordable to reach across the digitial divide.
Resource Hotline - tools to deliver timely information to people by phone. Our interface makes it easy for libraries to change the content that gets delivered, and track how callers use the service. Callers can leave messages, be routed to another number (e.g. another community resource) or listen to recordings prepared by staff.
Community Calendar - this smart calendar reads whatever events are coming up based on the time the call is made. Callers don't have to listen to information about events that have passed. With one phone call, they can hear exactly what's happening and learn how to participate. Library staff choose what to include - could be library-only events or communty-wide events. It's completely customizable by the library.
These services are currently offered under the heading of LibraryCall. More information about the services (and others we have in the works) at LibraryCall.com.
The Barrie Public Library is a two branch system based in Barrie, Ontario. The Library serves one of the fastest growing communities in Canada and the Library expects to grow to a six branch system by 2031, with the first two branches proposed for 2022 and 2024. The Library seeks assistance in achieving higher levels of service performance and increasing efficiencies especially in the area of holds process, sorting, and delivery.
The scope of work with The Galecia Group includes a combination of materials handling analysis and recommendations provided by Lori Ayre along with change management, team building and leadership development workshops delivered by Cheryl Gould.
NorthNet Library System was seeking assistance evaluating their physical delivery options for libraries interested in joining the Link+ resource-sharing network. Link+ is a very popular resource sharing network that is composed of a software component (INN-Reach by Innovative Interfaces) and physical delivery of items (provided by Tricor).
The goal of the engagement is to develop a solution for fairly distributing the total cost of Link+ between existing Link+ libraries and the new ones so that no current library pays more than their current costs and to develop a delivery model for getting items where they need to be in an acceptable time frame.
"Faith in the City: Chicago's Religious Diversity in the Era of the World's Fair" [Note: the exhibit is currently offline while The Newberry re-organizes their digital exhibits.] is a digital humanities project focused on religious movements and figures in Chicago in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The project, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities and The Newberry Library, displays hundreds of historical points as well as essays from over a dozen prominent scholars related to the theme. The map technology allows visitors to toggle between a custom-generated modern map layer of Chicago and a georeferenced panoramic map from the 1890s, seeing how neighborhoods and the city itself have changed in the past 120 years.
Stark County District Library was pursuing a series of initiatives to minimize redundancy in materials handling practices and reduce the time staff spend in the back office so they can spend more time out in the library engaging with customers in a variety of ways. The Library’s strategic vision included a dramatic reduction of materials handling activities in each branch and the elimination of service desks. Instead of working behind desks, the expectation is that staff will work with patrons side-by-side in the branches and spend more time delivering high-quality programming inside and outside of the library buildings. In order to achieve this vision, the Library explored a “pure central processing” strategy in which material is returned at each library location but only checked in at a central sorter. This workflow would be supported by two times daily delivery service. The expectation is that this approach would result in material check-in within a four hour window, physical delivery turnaround times of no more than 36 hours and a traditional “bookdrop” workflow for patrons. The Library sought consulting assistance to analyze the “pure central processing” strategy and to identify critical elements of a materials handling strategy that would allow the Library to achieve their strategic vision.
Peninsula Library System (PLS) is a consortium of nine libraries providing. PLS hosts a shared integrated library system (Sierra) and provides delivery services to 41 locations daily. PLS asked Lori Ayre to provide a feasibility analysis for implementing an automated materials handling system to replace the manual sorting done by couriers.
Ayre evaluated the delivery volume, materials movement patterns, courier sorting, presorting done at the libraries, delivery turnaround times, and other aspects of the operation. She provided the PLS Council with several options for consideration including adding a smaller sorter that would operate two waves of sorting, a larger sorter for sorting all material in one wave, providing batch check-in of incoming deliveries at the libraries, and adding an additional delivery day on the weekends.
Cambridge Public Library was in the process of renovating two of their branches, Main and the Valente branch. Lori Ayre was brought in to work with the architects on both projects to help the Library identify ways to improve the materials handling workflows at each of the libraries. In both cases the architect teams were well into the Design Development phase so the options were limited as to what could be done. Materials handling considerations especially when automated materials handling is being considered should happen early (Schematic Design) so as to provide the most affordable options for optimizing workflows.
Worked with San Mateo Public Library to replace the existing automated materials handling system with a state-of-the-art system. Project involved consultation related to RFID and automated materials handling configuration options and includes development of RFP, guiding the library through the procurement process and assisting with selection of a new system.
The existing system was installed in 2006 and provides convenient patron returns from numerous locations including drive-up returns, outside walk-up returns and two inside returns. The project will include evaluating options for retaining some of the conveyance and only upgrading the sorter as well as full-scale replacement of all components. Ayre worked closely with the team to develop specifications for the new system and guided them through the procurement process. The new system has been successfully implemented and is now up and running.
Historians and genealogists searching for historical records can often be challenged by geographical changes over time. As county and state borders have shifted throughout US history, locating physical records can be tricky. Over ten years ago,