Friday, 23 September 2011

Libraries Board and LGCS Board sign off

As I  posted last Friday, the Libraries Board and the Local Government Corporate Services (LGCS) Board were both meeting this week & ratification of the LMS purchase recommendation was on their agenda.

I'm delighted to let you know that both Boards have signed off on the purchase recommendation.  Both Boards were also very positive both about the selection process and the decision that has been taken.

With these two sign offs we can now go to our Minister seeking his endorsement of this decision and his approval to expend PLS funds on the project.  Following Ministerial approval we can make a public announcement of our preferred vendor.  However we still have some finer details of contract negotiation to complete over the next month or so.

We are also working with the LGCS to have all of the documentation required to give councils certainty as to what they are signing up for.  This will include what the software is, how it will be delivered, the price, what is epxected of councils participating etc.  We're aiming to have this information to all councils towardsd the end of October.

I look forward to seeing some of you on Monday, and for others I will be emailing library managers with information about the content and outcome of Monday's meeting.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Update on Strathalbyn

In my post about Strath last Friday I asked if Jill P had any photos to share. So here are a couple just to whet your appetite.  Jill tells me that there will be some professional ones taken & available at some future time.

As you can see this is a very bold mix of the old and new.  And while this is a real contrast on the outside (which I happen to like) the smooth but interesting transition between the two buildings once inside works really well.  Features like the bluestone walls are highlighted rather than covered up.

Jill has some other great action shots but they are of customers enjoying the library & as there was no consents for publication done I can't publish them here.

As I said last time it really is worth a visit.

As you approach the building you can see the old school, but the new sign, which is mounted in the bluestone of the old building.

This is the modern addition on the back - and you can just see the old building to the right.

Here is a shot from near the entrance, looking through the new part of the building,

and here is a part of the library inside the old building (and the person is staff member Robyn).

Friday, 16 September 2011

LMS Steering Commitee - Sign off!

The LMS Steering Committee met on Monday to consider the Purchase Recommendation which had been signed off by the Evaluation Team last week.  The Committee were very complimentary of
·         the professionalism and diligence of the Evaluation Team,
·         the significant contribution by members of the Subject Matter Expert groups, and
·         the rigour and thoroughness of the process used to get to this point.

The Committee signed off the Purchase Recommendation, which effectively concludes the evaluation process.  We have now moved into the stage of completing the approvals process, and finalising contracts etc.  The Libraries Board meets on Monday (19th) and the LGCS Board meets on Friday (23rd).  Subject to their acceptance of the Recommendation we will be seeking Ministerial sign off and then a public announcement.  As per the original plan this is scheduled for mid to late October.
I want to add my personal thanks to that of the Steering Committee to all who have been involved in this process.  It has been large, complex and exhaustive (not to say exhausting at times too).  We have ensured that people who will be using the system on a daily basis have used their expertise to inform and shape the outcome.  To have almost 100 people from a range of libraries across the State committed to this has been really positive, and will ensure an outcome that will work for us for years to come.  So, again, THANKS!

I will keep you informed when we get to the next step.  And of course – I have invited Managers (& any staff who want to attend) to a gathering on the morning of the 26th.  I hope to see lots of you there.

Great new library opens at Strathalbyn

I was delighted to attend the opening of the new / relocated Strathalbyn public library last night.  It is another very positive addition to the list of excellent new libraries springing up across the State.  

The library is a combined council customer service centre, community centre and public library.  It uses the beautiful old bluestone school house by the lake as part of the the centre, with a spectacular new addition across the back of the building.  This has been another triumph for Brown Falconer - the architects of the Mt Gambier Library.  I really love the juxtaposition and blending of the old & the new.

The Alexandrina Council website has some photos of the progress of the build, however they stop in July & don't quite do justice to the finished product.  Jill Patmore - can you post some new photos up there of last night's opening?  That would be great.

Strathalbyn has had a public library since 1985.  It was a School Community Library at the local high school on the edge of town.  The library served the community well for many years, however the population of the town and district has continued to grow from the village it once was to a bit of a boom town.  While the old library has undergone renovations and extensions over the years the time came for the move into the centre of town as a stand alone library - as a branch supported by the Goolwa library. 

I am sure that this new library will be a real hit for the local community.  And I would really recommend that all from the library community take a drive to the beautiful town of Strathalbyn and visit our newest public library.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Book Launch - Prohibited Zone

I went to the book launch of Alastair Sarre's 1st novel Prohibited Zone last night.  It was held at the Blackwood Library & local resident (& Greens Senator) Penny Wright did the launch.

And as is typical at a Wakefield Press launch I bumped into a few old colleagues and friends, the wine from Fox Creek was great and the speeches were entertaining.  After all I heard about the book I've decided that I need to read it.  It is one of the books under consideration for the National Year of Reading's One Country Reads program.

Congratulations to the Mitcham Library Service team for their coordination of a really positive event.  Having over 100 happy and entertained people in the Blackwood Library on a cold midweek evening was an achievement.  And given how cramped Blackwood is and how much furniture you had to move to create some space I know that you will be spending this morning is a serious rearrangement of furniture & shelves to get ready for your 10am opening.

Great Conference eh?!

I just wanted to say thanks to all who were involved in the PLSA conference that many of us attended on Monday and Tuesday.  It is another example of PLS and key library staff working together for a great outcome for all network members. 

If you didn’t make it go look at the program here & sadly see what you missed.  While I could not get to all of the sessions what I sat in on was inspirational and others told me what I missed was also excellent. 

PLS has copies of both the audio and the powerpoints.  These will be loaded to the website shortly and an email will do the rounds to let you know where to find them.

As PLS had sponsored Seb Chan we took the opportunity to get him to repeat his session up at the State Library.  We invited people across the cultural sector (Museum, Art Gallery Botanic Gardens Arts SA) as well as people such as the Lord Mayor.  It was pleasing to be able to say to them that Seb had just delivered his presentation to the public libraries conference as the sorts of things he was talking about are important issues that public libraries are vitally interested in.  (Another way to spruik the value of our public libraries.)

The other things I always love at conferences is the professional engagement with people from across the network and elsewhere, and also being able to talk to the industry representatives who come to show their products and services.  It was great to catch up with so many in an atmosphere where our brains were being overloaded with new or interesting ideas to take back to work. 

A couple of people said to me “We should do this every year.”  But if you knew the hard work that goes into organising such events I am sure that you would not wish this on the organising committee!  Also most other State Associations as well as ALIA also run excellent conferences, so if people are looking for an annual “fix” I can recommend checking out other options interstate.

Thanks again to the conference organising team & here’s to a wonderful 2013 conference.

Meeting with 1st Year Libraries

We took the opportunity of people being in Adelaide for the PLSA conference to hold a meeting with libraries which had indicated that they had funds to participation in the 1 LMS project this financial year.
About 30 library and IT staff met at Campbelltown (thanks to Tamara and her staff for hosting us) on Wednesday for a couple of hours. 

Despite not being able to release vital information about a preferred system etc, there was still quite a bit that we could work through.  We talked through the proposed approach to implementation as well as a structure for decision making which includes all libraries across the state.  There was also quite a bit of Q & A & suggestions from libraries which will assist us in shaping the project to meet libraries’ needs.

Regarding implementation, we have always said that we thought that we would be going “live” with the 1st group of libraries in about March.  Our aim is to use a group of geographically contiguous councils as our “pilot”.  This will mean that we will bring about 4 councils onto the system as a group and ensure that all of the settings and parameters are working as we expect them to before we move on to add other libraries.  While there is some excitement about being 1st, this group of pilot libraries will be doing more work than any others, as we will be learning with them & we will all be in slightly uncharted waters. 

Regarding decision making, on Tuesday the Libraries Board’s PLS Standing Committee approved (with modifications) a draft Terms of Reference for a Transitional LMS User Group.  They also considered the ToR for the substantive user group which will come into effect as the project moves beyond implementation.  We need to include the modifications made by the committee and then we will release these to the network. 

We are very cognisant of ensuring that everyone needs to have an opportunity to contribute to the development of policies, procedures and rules which will impact on daily library operations.  The model used will ensure that this does happen.

We’ve also been working on a “project charter”.  We have had one for the procurement phase of this project but we also need one for the next stage of the project.  The project charter will outline what we are attempting to achieve through the project and sets some broad parameters that we will work within.  This document will be important for councils as they sign on to the project.  It will give them certainty about what to expect when they participate.  As soon as this project charter has been signed off we will release it to all libraries.

While this is a bit of a “Claytons” post (anyone under 40 go ask an old person for the cultural reference) I did want to give you an update as to work being done around aspects of the project other than just the selection and procurement processes. 

I anticipate being able to release more "concrete" news in coming weeks.