Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Outcomes from our US trip

As I wrote on 3 December, Jo Freeman & I spent 2 weeks in the US meeting with staff at the Los Angeles County public library head office, Stanford University and SirsiDynix and Baker & Taylor.  This was as part of our P2 replacement project.

We're keen to preserve as much of P2 as is valuable, while also driving further reforms in the e-procurement area of ours and libraries' practises. We have been clear that we cannot take a step back from the efficiencies that we already have in our system. To this end we want to preserve the fundamental 5 step process we currently undertake, with libraries maintaining local selection and PLS managing ordering and payment on behalf of the libraries. i.e.
We are also keen to provide libraries with new approaches which will improve options for selection, increase efficiency and improve collection managment outcomes.  These options include providing a "standing orders" function, and access to "back catalogues" from suppliers.  The back catalogues option would allow libraries to see what is currently in print in particular areas and place firm orders when they want to refresh certain parts of their collections.

Following our conversations with SirsiDynix and Baker & Taylor we are quite confident that we have a way forward which will preserve and further streamline existing selection workflows while maintaining libraries' ability to seamlessly select from a variety of suppliers.

Jo Freeman and Tricia Knightly of PLS will be the key PLS staff working on this project. They will be working with SirsiDynix to document what we want to keep from P2, while also scoping the new selection mechanisms that we want to develop.  And of course we will involve library staff in further consultation as we progress.

While it is too early to go into specifics at this stage I will provide more detail as & when we can.

It is likely that it will take several years to work with SirsiDynix to develop, test and deploy this solution.  As soon as we have more definitive information that we can share publicly I will provide another update.

We have already begun talking to our suppliers to ensure that they are aware of our plans & will keep them informed as things develop. It is our intention that any solution will continue to provide libraries with access to multiple suppliers of materials in a supplier neutral environment.

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Opening of the new St Peters Library

Along with several hundred locals and other interested parties I attended the opening of the St Peters Library on Saturday.  The Norwood, Paynham & St Peters Council has re-purposed the original St Peters Town Hall to become a library and cultural heritage centre.  This is fitting, as the role of town halls as meeting spaces and places for public lectures etc has in part been replaced by the role of the public library in the 21st Century. (Also the amalgamated council has a very large town hall in Norwood which still operates to fulfil other "town hall" like functions.)

While there was some local disquiet about the changes, from my perspective the council has made good use of their limited space, and a disused building to create a modern library which will meet the needs of the community for years to come.  The addition of a mezzanine floor to house their non-fiction collection, and access upstairs meeting rooms has increased the available total floor space quite well.  And the use of the front rooms of the building to concentrate on the history of area looks great.  It will be interesting to see how this area develops over time.

Being able to attract $5M in Federal Grant money certainly helped in ensuring that the conversion has been done well and with high quality fixtures and fittings. 

The new library is part of a broader plan to also re-develop St Peters Street which runs alongside the new library. It will be an ANZAC memorial strip finished in time to commemorate the centenary of the Gallipoli campaign. When this work is completed it will provide an area that can be converted into a pedestrian plaza for community events.

Congratulations to the council and its staff on this outcome.  The library staff have achieved both joining the LMS and moving to a new building over the last 12 months - quite an achievement.

I should have used my phone to take a few pics on Saturday, but didn't. However I have popped back to the library - not jam packed with people & taken a few pics.

And while photos are great they can never really do justice to things, so I would recommend a visit if you're in the neighbourhood.

This is one of the new entrances that also connects the "town hall" (now library) to the rest of the council office. The shot is taken from the carpark.
The new entrance facing into St Peters st, with new landscaping
This is the circ desk close to the entrances from each side.  It is sitting under the mezzanine floor which can be seen above.

Blending the old with the new. The decorative plasterwork is retained and the shelves fit under it nicely. The stairs to the mezzanine can also be seen.

Some of the seating on the mezzanine - amongst the ANF collection
Coffee machine upstairs

Upstairs large meeting room with locked book cases with local history items
Childrens library with a variety of seating

more childrens library

DVDs and CD along the wall

Thursday, 13 December 2012

LMS Impacts on Customer Requests?

As part of the procurement management work done at PLS, the Business Development team tracks various KPI’s including the value and volume of orders being placed by the network.  A trend that we have identified is the measurable drop in the number of weekly customer requests since the implementation of the LMS. 

It would appear that there is a cause & effect relationship here.  Now that many customers have access to over 1.9M items through the central catalogue, their reading needs are increasingly being met by items already available in the network.  The below tables show the use of customer requests over the last 4 complete financial years, with the first 5 months of this year.  It appears that from June this year there has been a considerable change in ordering.

From a network perspective, increased use of existing resources is always a better option than ordering new titles that are already available.  And from a PLS perspective, there are savings by not having to obtain catalog records for these items, and there is less staff time needed to track these individual orders.  Given the significant increase in the courier costs that the PLS budget is bearing, any slight savings are very welcome!

We will continue to track these and other measures over time & report anything that indicates changes in network operations.

Customer Requests cumulative by year

Customer Requests - Month to Month

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Salt Lake City Library

I am still processing the information from our trip to the US & will post about it soon.  In the meantime I thought I would share a few photos of an iconic library in Salt Lake City.  We had just a couple of spare hours at the end of our trip, so what do you do but visit a library?

Some of you may have seen pictures of this library before - as it is quite famous.  It was opened in 2003 & was one of the 1st to have an "indoor street" with sympathetic retail spaces inside the library - coffee shop, gallery, Friends' shop etc. It has 6 floors of library space which cover 22,000 sq M.It has an amazing childrens' library on the lower ground floor with purpose built cubby, craft room and activities room.  There is also a wonderful publicly accessible roof garden, great quiet study areas and other features of interest.  

We were in the library on Thursday morning & it was full of people, with several classes arriving by school bus while we were there.

Anyway here are a few pictures. which may be of interest.

This is the "indoor street" with the shops to the lower left with quiet study spaces above the shops (linked by the bridges you can see towards the end of the photo. The stuff in the foreground is a very large mobile.  (picture from Wikipedia)

These other pictures were snapped on my phone - so the quality is not that great, but they do provide some further sense of this library.

This photo gives you a sense of the quiet study areas on the left hand side of the street, that occupy a beautiful space of natural light & a sense of openness.

This is looking along the row of shops 

This one is quite dark as the camera tried to compensate for the light, but it shows the glass roof over the street.

Part of the roof garden - you can see that it was a really smoggy day.  Further up the garden there are seats.  In summer -  with the trees in leaf & the temperature being higher than the 5 degrees while we were there the garden would be wonderful

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Roxby Downs goes live today

I mentioned last week that Roxby Downs would go live some time this month, not knowing that in fact it would be today.

Roxby Downs has taken a different path to go live as they have combined this project with the separation of the joint use library in the town, and the creation of a new stand alone public library.  

Rather than going through a data conversion process Kimberley and her team have been re-creating records for all of the public library items and re-registering all of their public customers. They have done this because there had been significant issues with the LMS server in the past and they were concerned about the completeness and accuracy of the data. This has meant that rather than there being a data conversion process and a "big bang" go live, they are having a soft launch today - as they turn on the Symphony circulation system and also launch their iteration of  Enterprise.

The Roxby Downs Enterprise site can be seen here.

While the library will start with a soft launch today, they will continue to add data over the next few months as they prepare to also move into their new building in 2013.

With this launch PLS has finished the  "go live" sites for 2012.  We have connected 39 library branches representing over 565,000 customers and have over 1.9M items in the system etc.

I have mentioned earlier that while there will be no more "go live" libraries until early next year, but there are lots of libraries working on getting ready for their go-live in early 2013 & PLS staff continue to work with them.

Adding 3rd party products to Enterprise.

Earlier this year a group of staff from libraries met to evaluate a number of "3rd party" products which will enhance the user experience in Enterprise.  The group considered a number of options, and ended up recommending that the network purchase EZProxy and the ChiliFresh Reviews and Connections products. There was also a recommendation that we purchase Serials Solutions - subject to funding.

While the PLS Standing Committee endorsed the recommendations to purchase EZProxy and ChiliFresh they were also concerned about how to fund these products while also dealing with the $1M reduction in grants.  On this basis the Committee worked to resolve the grant reductions issue and then turned its attention to these products.

The outcome of this process is that new quotes for the products have been obtained and a mechanism to fund the purchases of EZProxy and ChiliFresh has been approved by the Standing Committee.

PLS has purchased EZProxy, and will implement it for all libraries currently using the LMS, as well as including it in the implementation for the libraries that join the network from now on.  This software will enable seamless, authenticated access to databases.

PLS is also working with ChiliFresh to get the software operating on the Enterprise Test system before it is rolled it out to the public "Production" system.  We anticipate that we will be able to implement the ChiliFresh products before the end of the year.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Flinders Mobile Library - live today

I'm half way across the world, so don't have photos yet, but I'm delighted to say that the Flinders Mobile Library went live on Symphony / Enterprise today.  Congratulations to Louise and her small dedicated team who have had considerable work to do to get to this stage.

The Flinders Enterprise site can be found here.

You will note that the Mobile provides services to three councils - Northern Areas, Mt Remarkable and Port Pirie.  Northern Areas also has the Jamestown Library & Port Pirie has its new main library as well as a depot at Crystal Brook.

This Mobile library, which has its base in Gladstone covers quite a large area, including fortnightly stops at:
  1. Laura
  2. Gladstone
  3. Port Germein (where the launch was held today)
  4. Mt View 
  5. Booleroo Centre
  6. Wilmington
  7. Melrose
  8. Gulnare
  9. Spalding
  10. Georgetown
  11. Wirrabara
  12. Murraytown
  13. Appila
  14. Redhill
  15. Koolunga
  16. Yacka
At PLS we've been colouring in a map of the State as libraries goes live.  As you can see from the list of locations above, this patch covers quite an area in the Mid-north.  And we're looking forward to adding Jamestown and Pt Pirie to the program to complete access for all members of their respective councils.

As photos become available I'll add them here.

I should also comment that Roxby Downs is also headed for "go live" this month, but not through a data conversion process.  I'll write more about this next week as they get ready for turning on their iteration of Enterprise for their community.

Below are a few photos from the launch, which was attended by Teresa Brook & Jo Rivers from PLS.

The Mobile Library with the Network logo and a word cloud cleverly used to advertise the range of services provided by the library
Jo Rivers (of PLS) and Candice Ellis from the library at the circulation desk in the truck

Library Committee Chair & Councillor from Northern Areas Geoff Lange cutting the launch cake

Representatives of the three councils served by the Mobile Library along with library staff
Library staff Candice Ellis, Louise Simpson &  Trish Evans with Cr Geoff Lange

Monday, 3 December 2012

Beginning the P2 replacement project

The "One Card" project, requires us to convert approximately 80 databases onto the new system. however it doesn't stop there. It also includes a 2nd sub-project; developing a selection/acquisition system to replace P2.  Why are we doing this?  There are a number of answers to this question. 

Part of the answer is that P2 is now over 14 years old & despite some cosmetic tweaks it is showing its age! Also the library supply chain has been transformed over the last 10 years & we need to provide libraries with the best & most flexible system of selection while also maximising access & discounts , and also ensuring speedy delivery.

There are so many workflows and assumptions about the way to supply library materials embedded in P2 based on when the system was developed in the 90's that PLS has to go back to basics & re-examine every assumption embedded in our current systems.  

The original "OneCard" business case stated that once we'd got the LMS project underway we'd start with the "P2 replacement". So as 2012 closes out & over 50% of the State's population has access to the "One Card" system PLS needs to actively investigate an effective post P2  selection/acquisition solution on behalf of the network. 

To this end PLS staff have been thinking about what the future procurement environment may look like. Our primary focus is "How do we effectively procure library materials that meet the needs of libraries & their customers - at the best price?"  This question has so many components that it will take us some time to totally de-construct each issue & assumption before we begin to consider what the future system may look like. 

Like any issue, the best place to start is with information & analysis. And that is where we are at right now -gathering information. We will need to find out what is possible from suppliers, talk to library staff to test out some options & look at what software we may need to achieve what we think is the best way forward. 

I see these three areas of exploration as being so inter-related that our investigation will need to be iterative. That is we will need to know what libraries need, then talk to supplies and software people to s what is possible & at what cost. From there we will go back to library staff and consult some more etc. 

We have started our process along this road.  Jo Freeman called a forum of staff to provide us with information how libraries use P2 and what they value in the current P2 arrangement.  We have also talked to suppliers and looked at how libraries elsewhere manage their selection through to payment process.

We have also looked at the Symphony Acquisitions module to see how much of the functionality it has can meet our needs. We have talked to SirsiDynix about who is using the Acquisitions module effectively & in a complex environment such as we will need.  They told us that the LA County Public Library is one location & the other is Stanford University.  So we've decided that we need to look at how these libraries use the system, as well as meeting with SirisDynix staff to look at possible changes to the Symphony Acquisitions module to meet our needs.

Jo Freeman & I are therefore in the US meeting with the two libraries and also the SD staff.  I will say more about these visits in a future post.