Monday, 29 April 2013

Far North Group Goes Live

As Geoff mentioned in a post last week, he is off doing some work for the State Library for the next few months so I have stepped up to fill the Associate Director role during his absence.  Hopefully I’ll be able to keep our many projects and activities moving forward, with lots of help from the PLS team.

I’m delighted that my first blog post is to welcome the following group of libraries to the LMS consortium.  Having worked with these libraries in the early project days on their change plans including very important things like item barcodes and new library cards I know how long they have been waiting for this day to come and how much effort they have put into their preparations.  It is great to finally have you on board.

  • Pt Broughton
  • Andamooka
  • Leigh Creek
  • Hawker
  • Quorn
  • Coober Pedy
  • Woomera
I’m sure celebrations are well underway and I will happily share photos when they become available.  A special mention to our colleagues at the Quorn School Community Library who not only join the LMS consortium today but also celebrate their 30th anniversary in the public library network.  What a great way to recognise this special milestone with a new library system (and cake of course)!
Port Broughton's launch

The crowd gathers for Leigh Creek's launch 

Leigh Creek's spread for the launch

One Card fans at Leigh Creek

The Enterprise pages for these libraries reflect the diversity of the group and can be seen hereJust select the library you want to see from the list on the right.

The LMS Project Team now focus their efforts on the next libraries to go live which will be the Copper Coast libraries in the coming weeks followed by the LINK libraries in June.

Jo Freeman
Acting Associate Director, PLS

Friday, 26 April 2013

More than anecdotal evidence of the value of public libraries

After posting the last entry I got an email from Paula Coventy of Naracoorte Library drawing my attention to a study done by Flinders University School of Medicine.  It is called Effect of the Mount Gambier Public Library on community health.

The article is found here.  It is a "poster" - i.e. a very short summary of some quite detailed scientific research done on the impact of the library on the biological, psychological and social health of library users.  The short paper reports that 56.9% and 50.4% of respondents reported that the library had improved their social and psychological health respectively.  And the researchers went on to use standard statistical  analysis to determine correlations between the use of various library services and personal health.  The strongest correlations are outlined in the paper.

I am delighted that this work has been done & that it has been done on a local community.  We're often relying on anecdotal information when discussing the value of public libraries, but here we have an independently done, scientific study which demonstrates correlations between library use and personal health.  So, if this is the case then we have some data which we can use as part of our discussions about the value of public libraries.  (Of course - this study does look at one library only, and as it is a new, quite spectacular library which includes a coffee shop and other facilities, we would need to be careful in extrapolating from this study to make comments about other specific libraries or public libraries generally.  But it does provide a pointer for what can be achieved when a town is provided with a high quality public library.)

And thanks for the heads up to the article Paula.

Re-discovering the public library

I subscribe to a number of lists that send me through all sorts of articles - more than I have time to read.  But as yesterday was ANZAC Day (& I'd been up very early to attend the dawn service) I had time to trawl through some of these articles.  And I'm really glad I did as I want to share this interesting article from the Chicago Tribune about a professor returning to use his public library. Its well worth a read.

Given that he is a scholar, of course the article starts with some historical context - which is great.  Here is the start of the article;

For 60 years, I looked down my nose at the public library, even though it's one of the key inventions and discoveries that lifted humans above lesser beings.

Taming fire freed us from shivering in the cold. Agriculture filled our bellies. And the public library liberated us from what Marx called "the idiocy of rural life" — an inability to imagine the world beyond the minuscule slice we inhabit.

Here's to a bright future for our public libraries, continuing to deliver on this promise, of liberating people's minds and supporting people's desire for knowledge and aspirations for success in whatever field they choose - whether it be self-discovery, picture framing or other pursuits.

Monday, 15 April 2013

Changing roles

While this blog isn't about me, as its almost exclusive author up until now I thought I would let you know that I'm taking a break from Public Library Services and the LMS rollout for the next 4 months.  This will open up opportunities for others at PLS to contribute posts about both the LMS project and progress on other public library matters.

I'll be keeping an eye on the blog myself & may make the occasional contribution as & when appropriate.  Of course as my reassignment is temporary & my passion for public libraries is unabated I will watch with interest all that happens in our network over the next few months.  I know that PLS and the LMS project are in good hands, so I'll keep away and let things progress in my absence

I'll be working in the State Library - with an office about 40M from my "normal" one & look forward to bumping into PLS staff and public library staff in the corridors.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

A promotional video about eBooks for SA Libraries

Jon Bentick of PLS has created a 1 minute video about borrowing eBooks & eAudiobooks from SA Public Libraries.  It resides on You Tube here.

We're thrilled to be able to offer the service to all library users.  Of course we're a little disappointed that the service does not work with Kindles, but this is beyond our control, as there are no eBook lending arrangements for Kindles in Australia.  This is to do with the digital publishing & lending rights which are controlled by Amazon - the owner and maker of Kindles to sort out.

Kindle users in the US can use this service (from a company called Overdrive) & we've purchased it, hopeful that over time the rights issues will be sorted and our service will also include Kindle access.

Having said that - all other devices work on the system. So - better to provide a service for most users than no service at all.

We'll continue to monitor use of the service & continue to add new titles for loan.

Friday, 5 April 2013

PLS on the road

Chris Kennedy & Veronica Mathews of PLS were in Whyalla on 27 March to run a workshop on a range of online opportunities for libraries and their customers. 

The day covered how Overdrive (our e-Book & e-Audiobook platform) works - see here, as well as online databases such as World Book (available in all libraries) and how the new RDA cataloguing standard works. the day was also an opportunity for library staff to ask other questions about how the One Card system will work once it comes to the libraries which were represented at the day. 

The session made the local newspaper & included a pic of those who attended from Hawker, Quorn, Kimba, Wudinna & Whyalla as well as the PLS staff.  Here is a link to the article & photo in the Whyalla News.