Friday, 20 January 2012

So what does "AG" mean anyway?

I thought I'd provide an update on the work that the initial group of libraries are currently working on.  They are actively working together to develop their system configuration, rules and mapping. Much of this work is being based on the outcomes of the consultation that has been occurring across the network, while some of the minutiae is based on local library needs.

Because of the time constraints that exist there have been a few times when decisions have had to be made relatively quickly. One of the decisions was to review all of the shorthand codes that have been used for ages within the SA public library network.  And of course the use of the code "AG" for large print books came up, along with "CA" for teen materials. The Transitional User Group had to make a decision on Tuesday as to what codes would be used, so that the libraries configuring their systems could move forward.  

I am not sure that you will be surprised, and many will be greatly relieved that there was unanimous agreement to adopt LP for large print materials and T for teen materials.  While these codes will appear in the staff part of Symphony the customers will see the terms Large Print and Teen. There will be no need to actively change existing labelling unless people wish to do so, however we will be working with suppliers to ensure that catalogue records of the future reflect these changes. (It should be noted that every Large Print book has this in print at the top of the spine of these items. So removing the AG stickers could suffice in making the transition to the new if people wanted to do this.)

These are only small changes, but I see them as indicative of the opportunities that this project has provided for the network to undertake reforms of long outdated or idiosyncratic ways of operating that have grown up over time.

I would like to pay a particular tribute to Kathy Haese of the City of Onkaparinga Libraries who has been driving the configuration and set up of the system.  Kathy works part time at Onkaparinga, but has come on board in what are her usual days off to work with PLS to drive this part of the project.  She has been exceptional in both the intellectual capacity and rigour she has brought to the project, and has been outstanding in her dedication to getting things right and done on time. (Phone calls to me on a Saturday afternoon & emails late at night to clarify things are indicative of the effort she has put in on behalf of everyone in the network.)

Kathy has been working on an ad hoc basis to fill a position within the project team that it has taken us some time to fill.  However we are just winding up that process & I will inform you of the outcome in the next day or so.


  1. Great to see some changes to most likely terms library staff are familiar with but do not mean that much to our customers. I know our readers can be a little confused when they say Large Print and we say AG or CA/YA for Teens.
    Here's another thought - in Brisbane City Council Libraries they do not put a call number on adult fiction and just file by the author on the spine - it works well without the stickers covering titles and authors. It also saves processing costs. Are we ready for more change? What do you think?
    Tania Paull - Barossa

  2. Great comment Tania. I have seen the Brisbane libraries & really like the uncluttered way the books aer presented. No spine labels on AF makes sense as the name of the author is on the spine anyway. And as the AG/LP items have the works Large Print in the spines you could have no labels on them either. Some libraries are doing mini-trials of this & others may wish to try it at some stage too.

    And the time or money saved could certainly be used elsewhere!

  3. As an addendum to this post - I really didn't answer what AG stands/stood for. There is not clear answer. Some say it was Adule "Grande" - Latin for great or large. Others that it was the next letter after AF. And of course at the time LP could not be used because many public libraries had LP (long play) records - you know those vinyl things that musci came on! My view is that if it was Latin it is time to get with the 21st Century - as we have to keep explaining it to everyone. If we are to be truly customer focused we need to use the language that they understand!

  4. And further to my last post. I meant Adult Grant - slippery fingers!

    From my perspective customer focus should eald to us using "plain English". This is a term which has been around for a while & basically means that governments and corporations should use language to assist the customer understand the message - not try to obscure meanings by using complex of outdated langauge. Just Google "plain English" - you may be surprised by the number of sites & wealth of information out there.

  5. Yeah....Moonta has been using the LP code on our library catalogue system and on our spine labels for years....who has patrons that knew what AG stood for anyway?