Support the RAILS consortium through a process to automate under- and non-automated libraries so they can partcipate in the Find More Illinois resource sharing environment. The engagement includes evaluating the offering from AutoGraphics to provide a Verso instance to be shared by the incoming libraries and to then have that Verso instance integrate with AutoGraphics' ShareIT product (Find More Illinois).
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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.
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.
Libraries in Clackamas County (LINCC) provides services to 13 independent partner libraries in Clackamas County. Primary services include a shared library system and courier services. As a result of our work with LINCC, the libraries now also share RFID self-service and materials handling equipment and LINCC staff manage these systems centrally.
The Galecia Group worked with LINCC to assess the materials handling processes and facilities at all member library locations as well as courier operations at LINCC headquarters. We then facilitated a decision-making process and provided consulting to consortium staff as they planned the procurement, provisioning and implementation of the new systems.
Presentation at the Black Hills Area Librarians Conference addressing the types of services being provided by consortia around the country. This group was considering forming their own consortium but wanted to have a better sense of the pros and cons.
I'm heading off to Colorado today to talk with a library consortium about some of the exciting opportunities for expanding their services by taking advantage of open source technologies. What I'll be talking about is the openings created when a library migrates to an open source library system product like Koha or Evergreen.
Here's my starter list of the things library consortia can be (okay, I mean should be) doing: