Broadband Quality in Public Libraries
Broadband speeds in U.S. public libraries continues to lag behind national broadband connectivity standards, according to “Broadband Quality in Public Libraries: Speed Test Highlights,” a new report released jointly by the American Library Association (ALA) and the Information Policy & Access Center (iPAC) at the University of Maryland College Park as part of the Digital Inclusion Survey.
A more detailed report, Broadband Quality in Public Libraries: Speed Test Findings and Results available from iPAC examines the quality of broadband access in more than 2,200 public libraries from data collected on upload and download speeds in 49 states.
Library Systems Landscape
From Library Journal (April 7, 2015) - Selecting a library management system is never an easy decision. Vendors of integrated library systems (ILS) offer solutions tailored to public, academic, and special libraries, but even when organized by type, libraries are hardly one-size-fits-all organizations. Choosing a new vendor tends to mean a major investment, with a multi-year commitment to a solution that often will require new training, adaptation, and trade-offs among cost, features, and functionality. Still, it’s a tough choice that many libraries are facing once again. The second edition of Library Systems Landscape examines the impact of recent mergers, the continued adoption of next-generation library services platforms, the emergence of mobile-optimized staff clients, and new partnerships and feature development in the open source arena. (...Read more)
COLAND Work Group Directives
From Nita Burke, COLAND Chair - This is the first of a series of articles for those of you who are following the progress of COLAND regarding library systems and the process of Lean.
The Council on Library and Network Development (COLAND) Work Group completed a 9- month project, writing the Strategic Vision for Library Systems in the 21st Century. The Work Group made a few changes to the strategic directives before Work Group Chair Kathy Pletcher, COLAND Chair Nita Burke, Library System Director Krista Ross and Bruce Smith from WILS recommended the document with COLAND’s full support to Superintendent Tony Evers last month.
Of interest to most librarians, Directive 3a was changed from suggesting a statewide ILS to a statewide discovery point; this meaning that COLAND agreed to recommend moving to a single discovery layer of some type, but not to mandate a single shared catalog. Other directives in the Strategic Vision for Library Systems included recommendations about library consulting, technology support, coordination of electronic resources and a transition to a multi-hub delivery system.
The directives were partially developed by consulting key ideas from the Lean Study conducted by the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) Lean Study Group last year. The Strategic Vision is heavily steeped in Lean principles and supported by the group, which includes many system directors. Lean Study members wrote an accompanying Roadmap to the Vision including a timeline to move forward the strategic directives for library systems in the future. COLAND unanimously moved to support the Strategic Vision with the accompanying Roadmap. The strategic directives received full support from the Wisconsin Library Association (WLA) on Friday, February 13, 2015, a few days after Superintendent Tony Evers received the COLAND recommendations.
The Lean Study Group and the COLAND Work Group are both in agreement that the Lean process is a methodical way to take a look at library services to identify efficiencies as well as inefficiencies in order to determine cost effective and value-added library service for Wisconsin patrons. The new efficiencies will allow reallocation of resources in order to deliver broader and even more new services to deal with the flat-line increases to library budget in the past year.
If you are interested in reading the Strategic Vision for Library Systems in the 21st Century as well as the Roadmap for implementation of the directives, please check out the Wisconsin Council on Library and Network Development website at COLAND.dpi.wi.gov.
The discussion will continue about the Vision and next steps at the COLAND virtual meeting this Friday, March 13 at 10 a.m. A copy of the agenda is on the COLAND website also, under "Agendas and Minutes . . ." This meeting is open to the public and input is welcome.
New Public Library Survey Results
The Public Libraries in the United States Survey (Fiscal Year 2012) has recently been released by the Institute of Museums and Library Services (IMLS). The report examines when, where, and how library services are changing to meet the needs of the public. These data, supplied annually by more than 97 percent of public libraries across the country, provide information that policymakers and practitioners can use to make informed decisions about the support and strategic management of libraries. The report describes shifts in funding, as well as changes in the services and programs of public libraries that reflect changes in public demand.
The report ranks Wisconsin #1 in interlibrary loans received per 1,000 population and #8 in Circulation transactions per capita. Wisconsin also ranks high in video (#5) and audio (#6) collections. The report reveals positive links between investments—particularly in staffing and collections—and public library usage. Visit IMLS to view report details.
Helping Readers Find the Perfect Read
NWLS rolled out fantastic new features for the Merlin catalog this year to help readers answer one of their most important questions, ‘what should I read next?’. The enhancements take the guess work out of finding similar titles to read or the next book in the series. Now you can discover new titles as you search in the Merlin catalog based on reader reviews, similar appeal (e.g. bleak and disturbing, or funny and offbeat), reading levels, award winners, book discussion guides, and recommendations from the NoveList information services.
Answers to questions are now showcased in the resource readers can use from their own computer – the library catalog. For fans of series, reading order is now easy to find in Merlin. Just click on a title link below the beautiful display of book jackets and request a copy! To view an example, take a look at the "The Giver" and scroll down to the links of titles. NoveList provides expert recommendations combined with reader reviews from Goodreads. Reading levels for younger readers are perfect for finding books at a skill level, regardless of age. If you’re looking at a title with a score of 700, just click to search the catalog for titles with a similar score to find just the right book.
The Merlin catalog is shared by libraries in eight northern Wisconsin counties. It offers a “borderless library” that provides equal access to over 800,000 items that can be delivered to a home library free of charge, including over 600,000 books and more than 70,000 movies.
Rural Library Funding Resources Webinar
WebJunction and the Association for Rural and Small Libraries will host Rural Resources and Funding December 10 at 1:00, a webinar showcasing information and funding resources for rural public libraries provided by The Rural Information Center (RIC). The RIC was established by the USDA to promote the vitality of America's rural communities with resources for funding and information, including assistance in economic revitalization, local government planning projects, funding sources, technical assistance programs, research studies and other related issues.
An appealing, user-friendly eReading Room has been added to the OverDrive-powered website that displays content only for kids or teens. Once inside the eReading Room, all searches will show only kid or teen content. No adult content will appear in the search results. All titles in the eReading Room are also cataloged by reading level and other reading metrics to help parents and teachers select titles to aid in literacy campaigns. As with all eBooks in your full collection, all titles can be sampled in OverDrive Read prior to borrowing or placing a hold. Parents can feel comfortable knowing their children are browsing and borrowing books that are age, grade, and reading-level appropriate. The Kids and Teens eReading Rooms can be found at:
• http://dbooks.wplc.info/kids • http://dbooks.wplc.info/teens
Library Volunteer Programs
Volunteerism is on the rise. A growing number of young people (the "net-generation") highly skilled with technology and the Internet are seeking work experience and opportunities to make a difference in their community. Retiring "baby boomers" are seeking opportunities to use their skills in ways that will be intellectually challenging. Public libraries are positioned to engage these talents to benefit the community.
Like any resource, good management is key to a successful volunteer program, and includes knowing how to attract volunteers, finding the right person, and being realistic about expectations. Having volunteers team up on short term projects and programs makes it easier to adapt to their lifestyles. Outreach teams for special interest programs such as crafts, technology, literacy, and travel are attractive to baby boomers who enjoy the social benefits of volunteering with others and being involved in public events. You can also appeal to volunteers by emphasizing the opportunity to make a difference in the community: "Technology Tutors Change Lives!" “Teach an Adult to Read – Change a Life!”
Library Volunteer Program Resources: • Resources for managing a volunteer program (WebJunction) • Policies for library volunteers (Wisconsin) • Screening guide (Canada) Screening Handbook
Integrated Library Systems Report
Earlier this year, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) contracted with WiLS to study and report on the current state of shared Integrated Library Systems (ILS) operated by Wisconsin’s public library systems. The consultant was asked to collect information from each ILS consortia and to develop cost and operational comparisons that will be valuable when considering larger units of service for systems and ILS in the state. The report would also identify the remaining larger stand-alone libraries and counties in the state and determine their reasons for non-participation in the consortia.
Some facts that were shared about the ILS consortia in Wisconsin:
- most of the consortia in the state are using one of two products from Innovative Interfaces, Inc.;
- as independent entities, there is very little consistency among the consortia, including how the budgets are structured;
- no mechanism is in place to measure satisfaction with the ILS consortia.
The DPI also has some recommendations for how to move toward more consistency and cost-effective centralized services. A second phase likely will continue into 2015 to analyze the results and propose changes to the current structure for savings or efficiencies and to avoid duplication of resources and efforts. The DPI’s recommendations based on the results of the study are available at http://pld.dpi.wi.gov/files/pld/pdf/ILS_snapshot_2014.pdf. The full ILS study developed by WiLS is available http://pld.dpi.wi.gov/files/pld/pdf/WiLS_ILS_study_final.pdf.
Libraries: More Important than Ever
"Why Libraries are More Important than Ever" is a presentation by Sari Feldman, President Elect of the American Library Association, discussing with a Cleveland City Club audience the increasing relevance of libraries and their impact on our communities in the digital age.
Sari Feldman is the Executive Director of the Cuyahoga County Public Library honored with Library Journal's 5-star rating and the busiest per-capita library system in the nation. In 2013 she was the recipient of the PLA Charlie Robinson Award, established to recognize innovative public library directors.