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.
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Continuing engagement with Charlotte Mecklenburg as they plan their transition from barcodes to RFID and from manual processing to automated materials handling. They Library is in the unusual position of having to renovate one of the branches and will introduce their first automated materials handling system there. In order to plan how best to transition to RFID systemwide and how best to use automated materials handling, Lori Ayre has worked with the Library to evaluate potential vendors. With Ayre's support, the Library has selected an AMH vendor and will roll-out a longer term plan for implementing RFID in a way that will reduce the workload for Library staff throughout the transition. The project is ongoing.
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.
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.
One of my clients requested that I put together some case studies that would demonstrate Best Practices for implementing RFID, self-check, and automated materials handling. I was able to put together two excellent examples of how to do it right.
This case study was written based on a document prepared by JCL staff after their RFID implementation. It was their own evaluation of the process so it includes a description of things they did right and what they could have done better. It provides great information on how to plan and manage the implementation and includes useful and impressive outcome metrics.
This case study was written based on telephone interviews with the staff. They describe another excellent process for implementing automated materials handling and then RFID and self-check. Even though I recommend implementing RFID before AMH, this process worked well for them and they are now achieving 90% self-check use systemwide.
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.
In November of 2014, Charleston county residents passed a $108.5 million referen-dum to address the Library’s building and technological deficiencies. The Library then sought the services of an architectural/engineering firm to develop a program guide manual for the subsequent Charleston County Public Library (CCPL) Capital Improve-ment Project (CIP) that would affect all 16 outlets of the CCPL system. Lori Ayre of The Galecia Group was included in the proposal submitted by McMillan Pazdan Smith to provide guidance related to RFID, automated materials handling, and workflow optimization.
The CIP project includes building five new library buildings as well as a new Operations Center. In addition, virtually every one of the other branches would be remodeled. The scope of the original engagement included developing guide specifications for certain building systems including security, access, A-V, RFID and product standards for other library items.
Once the program guide had been completed, Ayre was hired by Charleston County in order to assist the County in finalizing RFID and AMH product specifications and help- ing the staff to re-envision how service delivery could be changed with the help of self-service and materials handling technologies. Ayre also developed the scope of services that would be used to identify suitable AMH and RFID vendors.
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.
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.
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.