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(Interim) System Director’s Report:

Janurary 2006

How are we doing?

Many people I talk to these days ask “how are you SCLS folks doing?” an unspoken sub-text of the question being “… without Peter.” The simple answer is “We’re doing just fine, thanks.” Despite the rousing retirement party we had for him on Jan. 12, and the fact that he is no longer on the payroll, Peter is still here with us in many ways. The values, attitudes and priorities he brought to SCLS did not leave with him. Over the years they have become part of our collective DNA. Peter’s office may be empty now, but he will always be with us at South Central. (As will his close friend Chester Pismo Snavely, who just made a generous donation to the SCLS Foundation.)

Other milestones

January 2006 marks the 10th anniversary of Adams, Portage and Wood counties officially joining the South Central Library System. One of the goals we set at that time was to somehow connect LINKcat with the separate automated catalogs of Marshfield and Portage County Public libraries, so that citizens in our area could search all three catalogs at the same time. Ten years later we are close to a solution and, not surprisingly, it looks nothing like we used to think it would. We will be combining the catalogs instead of linking the automated systems.

Portage County Public Library will soon be sending a copy of its current library catalog to OCLC Inc. to be added to the WorldCat database and will use OCLC for their ongoing cataloging. Since the LINK libraries and Marshfield already maintain their catalog records on the OCLC database, all three major public library catalogs in SCLS soon will be available from a single search of that database. This solution is far simpler than trying to maintain our own links between the systems with ever changing software versions and telecommunications protocols. Even better, in early March all OCLC libraries in Wisconsin can be searched in the same way through a new group of scoped searches called BadgerCat.

The LINK libraries reached a major milestone by circulating more than 10 million items in 2005, which represents a 4.6% increase over their 2004 total. Holds placed in LINKcat in 2005 were up more than 14% to 2.8 million.

Keeping busy

The changeover from one year to the next, with end-of-year processing and generation of voluminous statistical reports, is always busy for our automation staff. But this year the staff is also dealing with two other major projects. The time commitment and detailed planning required for implementing the new statewide telecommunications system, BadgerNet II, at headquarters and at all the LINK libraries is enormous. At the same time, the SCLS Automation staff is working hard to find a solution for the situation created by the delay in delivery of the Horizon system as our LINK server hardware approaches its end-of-life date. We will keep you posted as things progress.

Delivery staff are close to finalizing a design on some new carts that we hope will reduce lifting and increase the volume that one driver can handle. They hope to start the pilot in the next couple of months. Bruce Smith gave a presentation about our delivery service to the Council on Library and Network Development (COLAND) in January and, along with Bob Blitzke, will represent us again at the statewide Delivery Advisory Meeting on Feb. 2. Bob also has been working with Jodi Sweeny on the SCLS Foundation feasibility study, and Jodi will present her report at our SCLS board meeting on Feb.13.

At Administration, Char Paglini is moving to a new version of accounting software, Quickbooks Pro 2006, in the next month or so. Cheryl Becker just presented a workshop on filing the annual report required by the state for all libraries, and most of her time in February will be devoted to annual reports as well. Nichole Fromm presented our first “Brain Snack” in January, just one of a planned series of web-based, hour-long lunchtime learning opportunities that staff in libraries can “attend” without leaving their offices. Mary Wepking and Heidi Moe are working with Michele Dries of the Automation staff to plan for a new online calendar and workshop registration product we plan to begin using soon. Automation and Administration are also working with libraries on projects ranging from wireless Internet access to patron self-check stations. Shawn Brommer and Mark Ibach are busy with Summer Library Program 2006, and Mark also is scouting locations for System Celebration in September. Library building projects are keeping Deb Haeffner hopping, which may be a subject for a later system director’s report.

This is far from everything that is going on right now, but I hope it gives you an idea of what is happening as we begin this new year.

See you on the 13th.