Thursday, 22 December 2011

Celebrating 2011 & looking forward to 2012

I had the opportunity of catching up with staff at Mitcham Council today to discuss all aspects of the LMS roll out.  While busily looking towards the LMS roll out for 2012, I think it is also important to look back to 2011 & celebrate what we have achieved.

It has taken us 9 months to go from an RFP in the market to a signed contract for a State-wide consortium.  This is quite a remarkable achievement given that we are doing this on behalf of 68 very diverse councils across the State.  

And to get an understanding of the magnitude of what we have achieved, it is interesting to note that SirsiDynix states that once we have completed our roll out we will be within their top 10 largest public library customers & top 20 all time customers.

We've come a long way this year, with councils representing over 50% of the State's population ready to join the consortium - subject to final contract details.  And the list of councils "ready for 2012/13" continues to grow!  We're over-subscribed for the next 18 months, but we will ensure that we have the resources to meet roll out expectations.

As the year closes out I would like to pay tribute to our partners the LGA, given their preparedness to take on contract ownership for the LMS.  I would also like to thank the 120+ library staff who have been involved in the project to date.  The amount of good will and positive energy focused on this project has exceeded my expectations and has made sure that the project will be a success.

We are deep into system configuration, rule setting and sorting through network set ups, along with the development of the contracts between each council and the LGCS.

I look forward to being able to provide the "early adopters" with certainty and a contract which will provide certainty as we go forward by the end of January.

So 2012 will see PLS managing a team of staff focused on LMS roll-out while also 
  • upgrading the State-wide telecommunications network, 
  • driving the National Year of Reading, 
  • looking at the outcomes of the review into library services in remote areas, 
  • gearing up for commencing the P2 replacement, and 
  • many other issues
And we look forward to working with all staff in the State's public libraries to improve services for our 900,000+ customers.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

LMS update

This is a short post to keep you informed about what is happening across various areas of the project.

Contract: Today we reached final agreement with SirsiDynix about the legal contract that will underpin the consortium. While this has taken some time, this has been more to do with time zone differences and the number of parties involved than in any gulf between us as we started on the project.

While we have not had a contract in place up until now SirsiDynix have been prepared to commit resources to the project to ensure that we can proceed as quickly as possible. They have appointed Mary Batley as their project manager for our project. Mary is based here in Adelaide, so that will make things easier.

System rules and configuration: As you're aware the Transitional User Group has been hard at work & their 4th paper is now out for comment. This paper covers borrowing suspensions, customer payment of fees, ILLs for non-participating libraries, management of the bibliographic database and default item prices. If you are interested in these areas your manager has a copy of the paper. Comments are due in by 13 January.

While the User Group has been hard at work nominated project lead people from the first 9 libraries have been working assiduously to set up their collection codes and borrower types with all of the attendant rules etc that go with this. I would particularly like to thank Kathy Haese from Onkaparinga who agreed to come & work at PLS for a few days a week to ensure that we keep this part of the project on track. Kathy's skills and time have ensured that much of the preliminary database configuration is almost complete.

Resources for the project: As you will know we advertised for the "Technical Lead" position & applications are due in by COB Friday. We hope to have this position filled and someone in place by the end of January - ready to join the 1st lot of training in early February.

We have also advertised for some project management support. We will be using some external, experienced private sector project managers to run the implementation. We have done this because the demand for such skills will fluctuate over the next few years. Sometimes we may need two project managers, sometimes one and perhaps there will be quiet periods where no project resources will be required. So using external resources allows us to flexibly alter our resource profile to match project requirements.

I will provide you with a further update in mid-January as we will be working on a range of issues between now and then.

I'm taking a couple of weeks holiday until 9 January, but know that a couple of LMS deadlines will need actioning during this time so will pop into the office as needs be during the holidays.  I trust that all who have some leave will have a great time & be ready to fire up for 2012 when you return to work.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

So what is included in the LMS?

I've been visiting a few libraries and groups of libraries lately & one question has been "So exactly what is included in the LMS package?"

Now that we are days away from signing a contract I think we can point you to the range of products that are included in the offer.  And rather than me try to explain all of the products and how they work, it is probably easier to point you to the SirsiDynix website and let you read what they say about their products.  I acknowledge that much of what you read will be "sales speak", but at least it will give you a sense of what is included. 

Under the "Products" tab take a look at Integrated Library System and choose Symphony.  As well as the screen of information and various links to other pages on the site here are also a number of .pdfs that you can download.  Going a bit further to the Patron Discovery section you will see a range of offers - most of which we are buying.  We will be getting:
  • Enterprise (the name of the discovery layer)
  • Portfolio (the digital asset management system which is searchable in Enterprise)
  • E-Library (the name of the standard OPAC) &
  • Bookmyne (a mobile App that works on both iPhone and Androids).
You may also want to check out eResource Central - which gives an update about SD's intention to provide direct access to a range of e-content including e-books directly from SD and discoverable and downloadable directly through Enterprise.  I had a detailed conversation with the company's Chief Technology Officer Talin Bingham about the plans for this product - it looks awesome!  You can see a link to some information about eResource Central here.

If you go further down on the "products" tab to the Management & Productivity section you will also see a range of products.  Of these we will be getting:
  • API & Web services (we will get access to an API library which will assist in integrating many other products should we choose to use this feature)
  • Director's Station (a powerful reporting tool)
  • Staff Web
  • Web Reporter (another reporting tool that runs differently to Director's Station.  Both have different features, so we have bought both so that people can use the one that best suits their needs)
We will also be getting the Social Library product which provides a native Facebook application - i.e. create a Facebook page which integrates catalogue searching, "liking" items management of loans and hosds etc.  The link to information about this product is hereBurdekin Public Library in QLD is the 1st library in the world to deploy this App & they tell me that it has driven lots of addtional traffic to the library & resulted in ongoing increased new memberships too. 

As part of the subscription we will also be getting Syndetics Enriched Content.  This is both the cover art and the reviews that you can see attached to most records in Enterprise.

I think that is about it for now.  I hope you will enjoy searching the SD website and looking at the features of the variously named products that will be available through this project.

LMS Specialist role advertised today

We've finally got approval to advertise for a contract LMS expert to join the LMS team.  The position went up on Seek this morning. You can either search using the term "Technical Lead" & location Adelaide, or you can click on this link HERE.

If you are working in an SA Council and would like to apply for this position there is a possibility that we may be able to arrange for a secondment to undertake this role whilst maintaining your status as a council employee with a right of return.  However this is not guaranteed.

We're looking for someone who will be working with a number of expert IT project managers.  Your role would be as per the job spec. It would involve working as part of the team using your expert LMS system knowledge to support smooth multiple implementations of the LMS in libraries of various size and complexity.

The successful applicant will not need to know anything about "Symphony" but will have good skills in LMS system administration and management, as well as good project management and teamwork skills.

How we will work - 1st set of policies published

Well, the Transitional User Group has been working really hard over the last few months & their work is now beginning to see the light of day.  As many of you would be aware, the Group has been considering the fundamental policies and rules which will govern how the consortium will work.

 The Group's considerations were put out to the Network for consultation and to gain feedback.  this feedback was considered, the Group's recommendations modified, and then these recommendations went to the Libraries Board's Standing Committee for approval.  At its meeting on 6 December the Standing Committee approved the Group's recommendations.  All of these are now found on the Intranet here.

The Group met yesterday and considered your feedback to the 3rd paper.  A 4th paper was also considered by the group.  The Group's recommendations from this 4th paper will be out for consultation in the next few days.

Thanks to everyone who has provided feedback on these papers.  It has been invaluable to both hear your views and to know that you are engaged in the discussion.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Changes in membership of PLSA Executive

At its AGM on Monday PLSA voted in a new Executive Committee.  The new membership list is on the Intranet here.

From a Public Library Services perspective I would like to congratulate those members who have been elected to their new roles, and particularly note and welcome Judi Cameron as the incoming President. I also thank the members of the Committee who have served in the past but are no longer on the Committee. PLS has enjoyed a positive professional relationship with the Committee and this relationship has delivered benefits for all public libraries and their customers.

I would particularly like to pay tribute to Janice Nitschke as outgoing PLSA President.  Janice has undertaken this role for as long as most of us can remember & has been a leader for the profession over this time.  In this role Janice has been instrumental in supporting the growth and strength of the public library network. 

Janice's dedication to the role is legendary.  Her preparedness to give large amounts of time to the profession is a testament to her professionalism and her commitment.  I know that the public library network owes a debt of gratitude to Janice for all that she has done.  I would also note that such commitment can only be achieved with a supportive family and staff.  The time that Janice spent at countless meetings in Adelaide, getting up at 4am to either drive or fly to Adelaide or staying overnight to attend to PLSA business is time away from family and other interests. 

I believe that Janice and her previous committee members have left a really positive legacy which the new committee can build on during 2012.

New Libraries Board member

I'm delighted to let you know that Lynn Spurling, the Manager of the Copper Coast Library Service has been appointed to the Libraries Board for an initial term of 3 years.  The deliberations of the Board will be enhanced by the addition of a practising librarian to its ranks.

I am sure that you will join me in congratulating Lynn in her appointment to the Board.