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. Recognizing that technology is a catalyst of change, the author shows how librarians can and do work to help libraries harness the power of technology to navigate the changing reading and information needs of their communities.
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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.
Huntington Beach had an old conveyor system for moving books from one part of the Library to another. This system was very old and in disrepair. This consultation involved helping the Library develop a work plan for eliminating the conveyor, adding a new state-of-the-art automated check-in system, implementing an effective self-service environment and changing the ways many of the spaces in the Library to optimize staff and patron workflows.
Lori Ayre worked with Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library to meet with Library stakeholders and clarify the short and long-term goals related to their planned RFID procurement and to learn more about the realities of RFID use in libraries. Building on this initial meeting, Ayre worked with the Library to develop an RFP and procurement plan. Ayre drafted the RFP, developed a scoring instrument, and also created a demo script and scoring instrument for the demo.