Thursday, 22 November 2012

Adelaide City goes live

The City of Adelaide libraries went live on the One Card network this morning.  Their addition means that the shared One Card database now contains over 2M items and over 550,000 customers (though we know that there are duplicate customers in this number.)

The Adelaide version of Enterprise can be found here.  Because Adelaide has been running a range of online communications channels these have been activated on their 1st screen.  These links include their Facebook page, their Twitter feed and their online magazine called "the shoosh".  They're also promoting the BookMyne 3.0 App with links to how to download it.

Adelaide is an RFID library - our 3rd on the network. Adding RFID libraries means a little more complexity as there are additional devices that connect to the LMS through a SIP2 protocol. RIFD libraries need to have a chip (or tag) placed in each item that circulates. It also usually means that the library has customer "self check" machines.  Belonging to a consortium where the majority of items do not have such a tag in them has challenges for RFID libraries.  I will have more to say about this in another post.

Like Marion and a few others they have also placed links on this screen that connect into existing content on the Council's website.  And this also provides the key to the colour scheme that they're using - it matches the council site.

Adelaide has provided some unique challenges for us from a delivery perspective.  This is because their main office is not in a library, but on the 3rd floor of their Pirie St council office tower.  Delivering pallets is not an option!  However we have agreed to an arrangement to deliver to a few sites, which we believe should meet the needs of the libraries.  We will monitor how this works over coming weeks.

One of Adelaide's concerns is that they may be swamped by commuters dropping off their items at Adelaide libraries, which must then be shipped to other libraries that own the items.  Given the number of commuters who come into Adelaide this is a risk, and one that we will be monitoring and dealing with should it become too great a burden.

I popped into the Library's North Tce branch (which is within the State Library) at 10 o'clock as they opened.  They have had some of the pull up banners as well as some "One Card is coming" publicity up for a while & now it says  "It's here".  See below - snapped inexpertly on my phone. I really like the use of the bookmarks as a 3 sided self supporting mini display. 

The team is busy putting up balloons and other material while also needing to address a "pull list" of about 2,000 items!!  I will take a few more pics as the day goes on and load them up here too.

Friday, 16 November 2012

2013 LMS draft roll-out schedule

The PLS project team has been working with SirsiDynix to plan for our 2013 roll out.  Our challenges are the capacity of the system to add new libraries to a live operating system without causing disruptions to other users, as well as the time it takes to do date conversion.

Having said this - adding 38 databases in a 9 month period, while taking into account school holiday requirements for some libraries, public holidays, the usual need for staff to take leave etc is still a major undertaking. While we believe that this is achievable, there will be some challenges to maintain this schedule. However it is better to aim realistically high than not to.

The schedule below is locked in until the end of June, after which it is more indicative & there is some flexibility to shift things around if necessary. 

You will note several occasions - in April and July where there are a considerable number of libraries grouped together.  We will be using a different methodology for these libraries, which should allow us to speed up the implementation.

The information below should not be a surprise to the libraries on it, however I am aware that there are some libraries that are keen to move to the consortium soon whose names do not appear in this list.  As I said to someone the other day, while I would like to wave a wand and make it all happen over night, there is only so much that we and the vendor can achieve each month.  If you have any concerns with what is here please give me a call or email to discuss things.  

New LMS Staff at PLS

The LMS project budget was constructed with funds to provide some for project management support to libraries.  At the start of the project we needed to ramp up resourcing really quickly and we were also unsure as to the level of longer term, ongoing resources we would need for ongoing project implementation.  We therefore engaged a project management company KDN to provide us with project management staff.  Over the last 8 months we have had anywhere between 1 and 4 KDN staff working part time for us assisting a number of councils with their implementation.

Now that the LMS implementation process has settled into a very busy but predictable path we have decided to directly engage staff to work on the project and also to bolster our support for the help desk function for libraries which are beyond implementation and needing ongoing operational support.

To this end PLS now has Tanya Hurkmans and Leeanne Duvnjak working at PLS, as well as formalising Kathy Haese working with us 2 days a week.  (Kathy has been working with us for about 12 months - but on a less formal arrangement.)  These staff will support the existing team to both take on the project management responsibilities for implementation and to provide operational support.  These additional staff will also allow us to provide leadership for libraries beyond the immediate "go live" part of the project.
Tanya comes to us from Salisbury public library where she worked in information systems support & before that worked at BAE systems where she worked as a database administrator. She will be working to support both the usual PLS IT functions as well as being part of the LMS daily operational support team.

Leeanne comes to us from TAFE SA where she was a systems librarian. She will be working as part of the project implementation team as well as working in the daily operational support for LMS customers who have implemented the system.
We have a number of project objectives to be achieved in coming months & the team is now sufficiently resourced to achieve these objectives. This includes:
  • support libraries to utilise Portfolio, 
  • implement EZProxy to allow for seamless authentication, 
  • work on a few known bugs in the system,
  • test and then roll out the next Symphony & Enterprise software upgrades, 
  • load the Libraries Australia authority files,
  • get Paypal to work in the Australian context,
  • Implement other 3rd party product/s as agreed,
  • Develop a suite of statistical reports to meet the business needs of libraries
  • integrate e-books into Enterprise - a longer term goal
We are looking forward to working on these parts of the system, along with supporting libraries in their project implementation in 2013. We are working on the project plan for next year's roll out & hope to release it in the near future.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Beginning the design of a post-P2 world

Part of the LMS project includes a sub-project - finding a way to electronically select, procure, receive and pay for library materials.  In the office we call it the "post-P2" solution or project.  

The original business plan for the LMS set the post-P2 solution as being in place about 2 years after we commenced the LMS roll out.  There is some pressure to replace P2 because it is ageing, it is quite inflexible & also because it is costly to operate.  However the amount of work required to map a new model is considerable, so it isn't something we can do too quickly.

So we're just kicking off the P2 replacement project. We've already done considerable desktop research, talked to our library material suppliers, to libraries interstate, to SirsiDynix and to some current P2 library users to gather information.  This approach includes the recent invitation for staff to participate in a workshop at PLS today looking at the issues related to selection, procurement, receipt and payment for library materials. (Thanks to those who were able to attend.  The information we gleaned will be used as part of our planning.)  We will be following up this session with other opportunities for library staff to provide input into the project.

One option for a P2 replacement is for us to maximise the functionality of the Acquisitions module of the Symphony LMS - with some modifications to meet our business requirements.  To explore this option we have decided to meet with and discuss acquisitions processes with several current Symphony users who in some ways use acquisitions a bit like our consortium wants to - i.e. multiple library groups all using one LMS to manage their ordering processes while maintaining control of their own funds.

SirisDynix has indicated that the LA County public library system and the Stanford University libraries in the San Francisco region are the best library systems to examine.   Therefore Jo Freeman & Geoff Strempel will be visiting these libraries as well as meeting with SirsiDynix technical staff in Utah to work through what is possible. (With the engagement of new staff at PLS Jo is able to begin a transition process out of the LMS implementation team and into the role of project manager for the P2 replacement process. I will write more about our new staff soon.)

We are hopeful that we will bring home some information from the US that will allow us to begin moving the project forward.

What do we think we will end up with as a post-P2 system?  While we don't have any concrete ideas at this stage we do have some overarching principles that are informing our thinking. These are the principles that underpin P2, but will hopefully take advantage of the technologies of 2012 & beyond. 

We will be looking for the best possible system that meets the operational needs of libraries regarding selection and receiving of new items, while also ensuring that there are efficient mechanisms to managing orders and payment, while also maximising choice and discounts. There are some tensions between some of these principles, and so getting this balance right is an important part of our decision making.

We are hopeful that we will be able to utilise existing software from Symphony, supplier websites and accounting systems to meet these needs rather than writing any new software. These are the principles which will inform our decisions.  We will be working with library staff, suppliers and SirsiDynix to turn these principles into a reality within the next two years.

Of course we will keep everyone informed along the way, and provide ongoing opportunities for input as we progress.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

National Year of Reading wrap up day

On Monday a group from PLS travelled to Canberra to participate in the National "wrap up" day for the National Year of Reading.
The value of the Year has been recognised by the Federal Government & has led to a partnership being announced by Minister Crean on the day. We don't entirely know what this partnership will look like, but we will hopefully be involved in shaping it.
The day was an opportunity to celebrate the success of the year, and also to consider what we take away for further action. 

The "founding partners" (15 organisations that put in the seed funding to kick off the year) aimed for 1,000 events across Australia for the year.   However there have been over 3,700 events identified with more still to come.  We were looking for additional government funding as well as public and private sector partners, and achieved funding and partnerships very successfully.  We were looking for real engagement by the library sector & this happened in spades. So on all of these measures it has been a very successful year. 

However we all know that the job is still not complete.  We're aiming to work towards having a literate, reading nation, but we know that 46% of Australians aged between 15 and 74 are considered to be "functionally illiterate".  So the work must go on.

The founding partners are looking at a range of strategies to keep the messages built up over the year out in the public space. We want to use the momentum of the year to continue to brand our events and promote the work that libraries do in promoting lifelong learning, adult literacy, digital literacy and the other related skills that are needed in today's society.

I want to acknowledge everyone who worked that little bit harder this year to add an extra event, or ensure that your local media published an article about the work you've always done supporting early childhood literacy, or the displays that you've run around "Love2Read".  They've all raised public awareness and will hopefully translate into increased reading & library use.

At the Canberra event Jon Bentick got to talk about how the Reading Hour came about (it was Jon's idea) & I got to talk about the great things that happened in SA this year.  It was so great to showcase the multitude of innovative programs and events that occurred throughout the State. I talked about the partnership with TAFE to deliver digital literacy to regional library staff, book crossing & book cafe programs, photography competitions, the multi-lingual Wilbur program & additional author events all of which were great.  However I think the one that grabbed the audience's attention was the Cummins picture (taken from a local's crop dusting plane) of the school oval full of students reading, in the shape of the Love2Read logo - see below!   I had so many positive comments about what you've all been up to, so I wanted to pass on the positive acknowledgements from others around the nation.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Swap Celebration - One Card Launch

Last night Prospect hosted a celebration of the SWAP network which has served the customers on inner north east Adelaide so well for 22 years!  This celebration was also a recognition of the changes that the One Card system has brought to these libraries and their customers.  Thanks to Anne Gowin and her team at Prospect for a great evening.

It was wonderful to see colleagues from public libraries in attendance, as well as councillors and community members.  And what made the event really special was to see people who had been instrumental in setting up SA's 1st multi-council library consortium there in attendance.  The 3 founding library managers, Ann Short (Prospect) Anne Reece (St Peters) & Noel Hayman (Walkerville) were all there, along with founding, and long-serving Sys Admin / IT coordinator Leonie Edwards.

On behalf of the staff of the early days Ann Short (now a Libraries Board member & key driver of the One Card system) gave a great speech reminding us of the leap of faith it took in the late 80's to undertake such a venture.  She also took us on the journey of the changes that also occurred - through council amalgamations, which added Payneham & Norwood, and then Campbelltown joining as well. 

Their consortium started with great trust between the founders and a real sense of "can do" which also allowed the libraries to agree on shared policies and shared collections with borrowers being able to freely use any library in the consortium - all of which was a precursor to what we're now doing at a state-wide level.  One of the SWAP founding elected members has mentioned to me that he was delighted to see that what started over 20 years ago is being completed with the State-wide consortium.

Prospect's Mayor David O'Loughlin also commented on how difficult it is to get 68 councils to agree on sharing their resources with others & noted the example which was being set by librarians to the benefit of all South Australians. He also noted the role that PLS has played in being the catalyst and coordinator of the roll out.

As always libraries do celebrations, food & drink really well so people stayed & reminisced for a few hours & got out the old SWAP photo albums to see how they all looked 20 years ago - all a lot of fun.  And of course there was the obligatory cake!  See below (taken quickly with my phone before it was cut by Ann Short and David O'Loughlin - apologies for the quality.)

There were also several people with cameras recording this moment for the councils & I am sure that there will be some great shots that we can share at some stage.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

ForwardIT public launch

I have blogged about ForwardIT before - here, so I wont say too much more about the program / website other than to say a) while it was great then, it has moved on considerably with more content than when I wrote about it before, and b) check it out here.

I'm writing about ForwardIT again because I went to their launch yesterday afternoon at the State Library & it was great to see the DFEEST Minister Tom Kenyon doing the launch & also seeing staff from the City of Onkaparinga libraries presenting on how they have embedded ForwardIT into their community computer training sessions.  And the screen behind the presenters recognised a whole range of partners that they have worked with.  While I couldn't see all of the names & logos I did note Playford, Berri Barmera, Marion, Tea Tree Gully and Onkaparinga.

I know that ForwardIT is keen to expand its reach and share its programs and support with libraries.  So if you're looking for the ideal source to support your technology training I would really encourage you to get on board.

Kingston Go Live

After 12 months planning and hard work Kingston School Community Library went live this morning. And they're delighted to share some photos of their celebratory morning.

As you will see below, community members, councillors and council staff along with school staff & students were on hand to enjoy the festivities.  And library staff got dressed up for the occasion.  It is great to see that the changes that the One Card system will bring to all communities in the State are being celebrated so positively.

The chair of the local library committee and local councillor Darryl Morley said at the launch  "On behalf of the Library board I congratulate the staff on their monumental efforts to get to today. They have put our school in line with the rest of the state. The facilities provide world shattering access to millions of items for students and community members. Once again SA is leading library technology. It shows wonderful cooperation between the Libraries Board of SA, the Local Govermnment Association and DECD. Congratulations." 

Senior Mathematics coordinator Barry Medwell said ,  "How fantastic to have all of the resources from across the state available at our finger tips."  And one of the workers on the project - ICT manager / technician Thomas Barich said "Thank goodness it is over. The cake is awesome".

The library has used this changeover of LMSs as an opportunity to also undertake other changes in their library.  They have created a new very attractive, informative and easy to use website - seen here. And they have followed the colours and theme of this website into their Enterprise look & feel that can be found here.  They have also had new library cards designed which mirror this theme.

To be able to participate in the One Card Network Kingston has had to replace all of the barcodes on their items - a task that has been a significant one over the last 12 months.  While this has been a mammoth task, it has been an opportunity to actively engage with the collection & make decisions about what to keep & what to discard.

Below are some photos from today's launch

Some of the staff and community who attended the launch

The Library staff in their new t-shirts 

Students and public members with the celebration cake
A customer borrowing using the new system.

Students sitting in front of the "One card" posters that they produced in preparation for the launch