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System Director’s Report:

May 2007

 

Looking Back at 2006
At our last meeting, the SCLS Board accepted the financial audit report for SCLS for 2006. It seems logical to follow up this month with a report of some of what was accomplished last year. Mark Ibach, Marketing & Public Relations Coordinator, with the help of many other staff members put together this report for our libraries.

 

Selected Accomplishments - South Central Library System, 2006

A recent study by the American Library Association documents that, despite the increasing influence of the Internet, public library use has increased dramatically during the past 10 years. People are turning to the library like never before, and librarians bear the primary burden of managing this increasing information demand. The role of libraries is more important today than at any point in our history, and helping libraries and librarians is the mission that drives the work of the South Central Library System. A brief snapshot of our 2006 efforts are highlighted here.

Library Technology
Keeping pace with new technlogies and finding ways to harness their potential for the benefit of libraries was a primary focus. Last year we added wireless Internet connectivity in more libraries, bringing to 23 the total that offer this service. There were 7,500 wireless sessions at those libraries from 1,700 patrons. SCLS now supports 403 computers on non-LINK networks, we formed a Citizen Technology Advisory Board to help guide our decisions, and we implemented new technologies to make communication and collaboration easier, including an online survey tool and a tool for project collaboration.
There were over 1 million public computer sessions booked on Telus, which is now used by 27 member libraries, and we began to implement Telus print management. Through membership in the Wisconsin Public Library Consortium, we completed our first year of OverDrive availability with increasing monthly popularity. Staff began using instant messaging, a Contribute grant provided web editing software and training to 11 libraries, and another six libraries redesigned their websites.

Automation
The HP K210 Dynix server reached end of life and was replaced by a Sun V240. Automation efforts were rewarded with increased production speed for reports and processes that finish in 1/10 the time they took on the HP.
Together with the newly formed migration committees, Applications staff began a thorough examination of Horizon 8.x functionality. The Circulation Standards Committee evaluated Dynix settings and succeeded with proposals for standardization in areas such as holds, loan periods, renewals and status conversions. The Serials and Acquisitions position was restructured to address the growing need for a Cataloging and PAC Specialist to focus on future development. A Dynix software hotfix enhanced the system with the ability to support 13 digit ISBN numbers. With the selection of ITG as vendor of choice for Self Check and RFID implementation, ten new Self Checks were installed in six libraries. Baraboo joined the list of libraries utilizing Unique Management and the Debt Collect module to retrieve long overdue materials.
Operations staff planned and executed the BadgerNet conversion (BCN) so proficiently from February through mid-August that they finished the Cisco router installations two months before the last BCN conversion.
The Windows upgrade progressed with the installation of the new server and months spent developing the XP patron image. SpamAssassin was introduced to contain the proliferation of unwanted email, producing rave reviews from participants.
Automation worked with Brodhead to procure their TEACH data circuit, to ready their site for installation of BadgerNet and LINK equipment, and to get their staff trained and set up to link the library’s collection in LINKcat.
The new Verona library opened in May and Cross Plains opened their green building in July. Several other libraries renovated their networks or buildings with consultation and deployment assistance from the Operations and Applications staff.
In addition to supporting the increasing hardware pool and the growing number of software packages and applications, staff worked diligently to improve communications through maintenance of email lists, issuing News and Tips bulletins, publishing Committee minutes, offering workshops, and providing an introduction to LINK for new library directors. Help desk and on-site technical support are two of Automation’s most appreciated services. There were 6,691 total requests logged with Applications and Operations staff, and technicians made 196 site visits.

Marketing/Advocacy
Advocacy was an ongoing priority for 2006, and we continued to promote and expand the “Speak Up for Your Library” campaign (a database of library supporters), which included nearly 1,600 patrons by the end of the year. Working with the Wisconsin Library Association, we provided materials to five other systems that implemented the program—Eastern Shores, Southwest, Waukesha County, Winding Rivers and Winnefox—and we used this database in 2006 to reach out to patrons about legislative issues affecting libraries.
We also developed outreach and fundraising materials for the new SCLS Foundation, including a brochure for libraries that would like to invest, and a packet of materials for individuals or corporations interested in making sizeable contributions.
For the annual Summer Library Program we scripted and produced a 10-minute school visit DVD with help from librarians Susan Santner, Ruth Sias, Karen Wendt, and Sun Prairie Cable Access Television. We made copies (at no charge) that libraries distributed to schools.
We produced promotional packets to help libraries observe National Library Week, Library Card Sign-Up Month, Teen Read Week, Children’s Book Week, and Banned Books Week, and we created promotional materials for NoveList, a new fiction database that became available late in 2006. SCLS also took the lead in the development and distribution of promotional materials for the statewide launch of AskAway, and we planned an event at the State Law Library with State Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson.
We also produced library specific materials like:
•           bi-weekly production of Online Update
•           a fundraising brochure for Albany Public Library,
•           press releases for Dane County Celebrates…Larry Watson
•           an updated Green County library budget flyer
•           miscellaneous press releases.

Delivery
After 27 years at the helm, Bob Blitzke successfully passed the keys of SCLS delivery to the next generation. This created an opportunity to restructure the duties of the management team and add an in-house mechanic to the staff. The addition of the fleet mechanic has proven to be more cost effective than outsourcing our fleet maintenance. At the same time, a dedicated fleet mechanic increases the knowledge of and the attention being paid to our vehicle’s maintenance needs.
Delivery continues to adapt to volume changes, and last summer we began using a new cart delivery method on Madison Metro routes. There were tweaks and adjustments as this was phased in, but in the end, having done this just on local Madison routes to date, we’ve reduced an estimated 200,000 to 250,000 pounds of lifting done each week by SCLS delivery staff. Routes have been consolidated resulting in fewer miles driven and ultimately less fuel used. We are continuing to look at vehicles and the remaining SCLS routes to determine how we can reduce lifting and consolidate mileage even more. 
We have begun to work with libraries on the Madison Metro routes to have further separation done of outgoing delivery material. What is separated is determined on a library-by-library basis, and the benefit is that delivery can sort more items per hour. Other models and methods of how library delivery is being done around the country are being explored in an effort to best support libraries in meeting the resource needs of patrons. 
The Library Emporium went through a makeover. The updated Emporium web page provides resource links to help libraries sell those materials that are lower in value, and we have updated information about participating with the Emporium. As more and more businesses arise in this growing sector of library material resale, we will continue to explore and post options for libraries to consider.

Graphics/Buildings
Last year saw continued activity in both new library construction and remodeling, and staff spent significant time on these various projects.
Cross Plains—Interior furnishings
Cottage Grove—Provided input on program statement and have been attending Facilities Committee meetings. Worked with library director and architect as needed for updates and changes.
MPL—Consulted with Technical Services, Reference & Circ on layouts and space needs/changes
Albany—Worked with architect and director to layout new library. Ordered shelving, coordinated electrical, etc. as needed.
New Glarus—Advised on space needs; YA and magazine shelving.
Belleville—Worked on a new library design for the referendum.
Monona—Worked on ideas for identifying the “new” Young Adult area.
Stevens Point—Created several scenarios for Young Adult space.
Rome—Worked on space needs assessment and general advice for an addition or new building.
Lodi—Provided input on new circulation desk and how to add more display space and shelving.
Oregon—Provided advice and pricing for new internet stations, as well as ideas for furniture and pricing for YA, school-age, adult reading area, staff workstations, etc.
DeForest—Advised on how to redo the YA area with furniture and color.
Prairie du Sac—Advised as needed on site/pricing/etc. for new building.
Sauk City—Provided layout of an addition and also did some space needs assessments.
Waunakee—Advised on space needs and ideas for children’s area,
Completed approximately 700 graphics requests.

Youth/Special Needs
Summer library program—SCLS libraries served more than 24,000 children last year through programs and special performances as part of the summer library program “Paws, Claws, Scales and Tales @ Your Library.” SCLS coordinated the statewide program and helped member libraries prepare by holding SLP workshops, coordinated state orders and provided funds for special performances. SCLS sponsored an online teen book discussion blog (which received publicity in the national Young Adult Library Services journal), provided online registration forms and created the first school visit video for member libraries (see Marketing/Advocacy section). SCLS also began looking into the developmentally appropriate assets of summer library programs and helped member libraries see the monetary value that a high quality summer program provides to their communities.
LSTA—A Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant helped member libraries reach out and serve young children and families in their communities. The LSTA grant provided funds for the research-based workshop, Every Child Ready to Read, which was held in April 2006. This program teaches youth services librarians methods for teaching early literacy skills to parents and caregivers and provides a background on infant brain development.
Wisconsin Public Television partnership—Since 2002, Wisconsin Public Television (WPT) has provided free on-air messages after three children’s programs, Reading Rainbow, Between the Lions and Plaza Sesamo. The messages (broadcast in English and Spanish) are provided by an in-kind agreement between SCLS and WPT and they encourage parents to take time to visit the public library with their kids. By partnering with WPT on their Outreach efforts, SCLS receives approximately $5,500 worth of on-air messages each year. (Value is approx. $27,500 since beginning the partnership in 2002.)
In early 2006 SCLS partnered with WPT on a public television outreach grant that provided funds for children’s programs that celebrated local history in public libraries. SCLS coordinated the statewide library program and three SCLS member libraries received funds for these programs

Continuing Education
During 2006, more than 40 continuing education workshops (not including LINK) and training sessions were held, serving the professional development needs of nearly 800 staff members. Programs were conducted in person, via satellite downlink, via teleconference to Stevens Point, and in hands-on lab settings. Topics of these programs included early literacy, technology tools and competencies, genealogy research, disaster planning, and Spanish for library workers.
Beyond the continuing education programs sponsored by SCLS, our grant program allowed member library directors and staff to participate in training and workshops sponsored by other agencies, attend state and national conferences, and register for online learning to meet their individual needs. CE grants were awarded to staff from 27 member libraries.
Technology projects also were a focus of our CE efforts. We rolled out an online calendar and registration program to streamline CE enrollment. We encouraged libraries to attend more programs from their desks, including programs paid for and offered by SCLS (DuPage series), programs offered through other library groups (WebJunction, OPAL), and our own programs, including a bimonthly series of hour-long programs on a variety of topics (BrainSnack). This saved countless hours of travel time, and it also gave more staff members the opportunity to attend programs they couldn’t have traveled for. We joined the OPAL (Online Program for All Libraries) group, which allows us to offer online training for up to 25 libraries at a time anytime we want, for less than $300 a year. SCLS continued to provide funding and support for staff from member libraries to enroll in online classes that provided customized computer applications training, at a convenient time and place.
Each of the 10 SCLS Library Directors whose DPI licenses expired during 2006 successfully renewed certification, providing evidence of 100 hours of continuing education during the previous five-year period. The six new library directors who joined the SCLS community last year applied for and received certification. Two directors received temporary one-year certification and four directors received their first five-year certification.

Ongoing Activities
•           Orientation of six new directors
•           Annual reports
•           Explanations about Act 226 and 420 (online update, documents for county library boards, info about payments to and from adjacent counties)
•           Assisted libraries with strategic plans
•           Web pages and presentations on management topics—such as library law, open meetings, internet safety
•           Assisted libraries with various governance issues?
•           Continued to maintain professional collection
•           Coordinated and attended two closed border meetings again (Mt. Horeb and Marshfield)

 

I hope you enjoyed reading this 2006 overview and I will see you on the 12th!