2016

Who's Out There? The Power of Spatial Data

Library communities today are not just melting pots, they are roiling stews of people moving in and moving out.  Sometimes it seems like our communities are changing almost as fast as technology! So how do we get a handle on serving that dynamic community? How can we identify the services they need if we don’t really know who they are?

The good news is that there is data and expertise out there to help a library understand more about the people living in the shifting neighborhoods that make up 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. https://digitalcommons.du.edu/do/search/?q=author_lname%3A%22Ayre%22%20author_fname%3A%22Lori%22&start=0&context=7293930&facet=

2016

The Holy Grail of Library Automation: The Shared Library System

Over the last year, I’ve been working closely with consortia in my home state of California. I’ve participated in something of a “listening tour” to hear what is working and what isn’t working at the consortial level and to find out what they really need that the consortium could provide.

What I’ve learned is that it is very hard for get beyond the basics:  shared e-resources, shared delivery and networking with their peers. Initiatives much bigger than that, strike them as beyond the realm of possibility.  What I would love to see is some “hive mind” where the members suddenly become aware of their ability to address many of the challenges that hold them back with one big change – moving to a shared library system.

The shared library system is the holy grail of library automation. It’s awesome and yet so difficult to acquire. For libraries lucky enough to have gone down this path years ago, it might not seem so magical, but the shared library system has many wondrous qualities.

2016

From Transact to Transform: Seizing the Opportunity of an RFID Implementation

The ALA Libraries Transform campaign communicates that libraries are more than places where circulation transactions take place, libraries can be transformative. And technologies like RFID, automated materials handling and self-service technologies are the tools that increase opportunities for libraries to provide enriching experiences to their communities. Although RFID projects involve technical hurdles, they can be a fantastic opportunity to transform library services! If libraries only install the technology without changing how they use staff, they miss the chance to change the dynamics of patron-staff interaction. 

2016

Everyone Deserves a Badge!

There’s something great happening in California, Arizona, and Virginia and it’s all about summer reading. It began when Maricopa County Library District (MCLD) developed the first ever open source summer reading program (SRP) software. Their software, The Great Reading Adventure, (http://greatreadingadventure.com/), was the brain child of an MCLD staffer who garnered support from his library and received a nice infusion of IMLS grant funding.  Their software was hugely popular.  For one thing, what a great name!  And for another, the kids loved it.  They earned badges for reading and other activities -- and it was fun!  Another reason is that The Great Reading Adventure (GRA) was the first opportunity for many libraries to deliver a web-based summer reading program.  Though there are other products available to libraries, those products are commercial products requiring subscriptions that many libraries cannot afford.  The Great Reading Adventure was something any library could afford. After that first year, the California Library Association began working with the folks at MCLD and brought in my company to support California libraries that wanted to use the GRA software. With LSTA funding and our help, even more libraries were able to use a web-based SRP. 

2015

MARC Isn't Dying Fast Enough

In 2002, Roy Tennant wrote a Library Journal article entitled “MARC Must Die.” Sadly, the article remains relevant today. We are still saddled with MARC and we are still operating in a technological backwash when it comes to our library systems. And worse, we are isolated technologically because our attachment to MARC makes it impossible to participate in a meaningful way with the rest of the interconnected, web-based world.

2015

Core Working Group Member, 2015 NISO Privacy Principles

Lori Ayre served as a core working group member on the NISO Consensus Principles on User’s Digital Privacy in Library, Publisher, and Software-Provider Systems.

2015

Liberated From the Circulation Desk - Now What?

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.

2015

Location, Location, Location - Putting Your Library On the Map

Over the past several years, we’ve witnessed a virtual explosion of geospatial software, services, and tools—that is, software and tools that enable us to easily map people, places, things, and data.  Libraries are uniquely poised to take advantage of these new tools to improve operations and decision-making and to engage their patron communities.  These software tools are frequently referred to as geographic information systems, or “GIS.”

GIS can be (incredibly) oversimplified to the concept of “digital maps.”  Humans have been using maps for thousands of years—we’re “location-aware,” to borrow a phrase from the software industry.  Maps are a way to visualize data, much like pie charts or bar graphs—but in the case of maps, we’re visualizing the physical world around us.  And even as libraries deliver more services virtually, they remain physical centers of the neighborhoods and cities they serve. And spatial data can help us learn more about the neighborhoods and cities where our libraries are anchored.

2014

Optimizing Materials Handling on the Cheap: How to Lean your Workflow

Infopeople webinar to introduce attendees to some key principles of Lean and to provide some tips on how to apply Lean principles to library materials handling workflows.

Focused on some traditional library practices that get in the way including how libraries use bookcarts to define batch size, reliance on staging areas, acquisitions practices, and rigid staff roles.

Hopefully people came away with a new way to think about workflows from the customer perspective and not just from a staff productivity perspective.

2014

The Skinny on RFID and Automated Materials Handling in Libraries

This presentation was part of a three-day workshop that I delivered to Dayton Metro Library with my colleagues, Cheryl Gould and Sam McBane Mulford. Dayton is remodeling and building new libraries as well as consolidating some of the smaller branches. They have been looking at automated materials handling and RFID as possible technologies to incorporate into their new buildings.  

Rather than focusing on the requirements of the technology and letting that drive the project, we wanted to help them focus on their core library values and envision how they might change the patron experience for the better.

It was an intense three days of very hard work for the group but it went very well. They not only learned more about RFID and automated materials handling (and other self-service technologies) but they also came up with core service elements that they want to see as part of their new service model. They made informed decisions about the technologies they would like to see implemented and they even made a tentative staffing plan.  That's a LOT to accomplish in three days!