2016

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.

2016

Where Does This Book Belong? Let the Patron Decide.

In this article, I propose a way we could apply a living, breathing, context-sensitive classification system to parts of our collection instead of basing the organization of physical items on the static, subjective and sometimes arbitrary classification system.

I was inspired by a book I read called The Dynamic Library: Organizing Knowledge at the Sitterwerk – Precedents and Possibilities.  The book is a collection of essays from a symposium held in Sitterwerk, Switzerland in 2011. At the symposium, participants explored classification systems and new orders of knowledge in the context of an art collection.

As they noted in the book, the primary purpose of classification systems is to assign a place for a book so that it can then be found. Most classification systems we are familiar with such as the Dewey Decimal Classification System (DDC), LCC (Library of Congress Classification), UDC (Universal Classification System) and BISAC (Book Industry Standards and Communications) support this primary purpose and also support serendipitous discovery by organizing related things together.  

However, the person browsing the physical shelves will only enjoy the serendipitous benefit from one of the subject headings associated with an item. So, for example, I might not find that book about scientific breakthroughs by lesbians because the book would have to be placed in either the 509.2 Dewey range (with science) or possibly somewhere in the 306.7663  (with lesbians) but it wouldn’t be in both places.   And if you were looking for a book about Islamic lesbian scientists, you’d really have a hard time because many of the classifications systems are still struggling with how to incorporate material about Islam. 

2016

The Impact of Information Technology on Public Libraries

Abstract: In the real world of library service, librarians have to keep up with change by answering specific questions. They need training because technology, the character of populations, and local economics all are changing.

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=

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

Using Technology to Increase Community Engagement

Conference presentations are a lot about bragging rights. Libraries do something awesome, they go to conference and brag about their awesomeness. Nothing wrong with that! This is how we learn from each other. As Program Co-Chair for the California Library Association’s Annual Conference, I review all the proposed sessions, and as a result, get to see not only what California libraries are doing but also the initiatives of which they are most proud.