Libraries Online had a relatively tranquil year. We settled into the operation of the Millennium ILS, adding a few new features. We had no staff turnover. The most significant occurrence was the addition of a new member – Case Memorial Library from Orange.
SYSTEMS AND TECHNOLOGY
The operation of the Millennium ILS continued with relative calm. In the Fall, we upgraded the OPAC to Innovative’s WebPac Pro standard and also upgraded the general software to the latest release (2007 1.1). We initiated some new features: Reading History in the OPAC; Preferred Searches in the OPAC; custom hold and transit slips for the circulation staff. The complete bibliographic database was sent to a vendor, Marcive, for full authority processing – the modified records were reloaded with a matching authority file.
We continued to offer downloadable audio books through Overdrive, adding about 25 titles per month. We now have over 750 titles and patrons have downloaded more than 12000 times. We began to offer a new format (MP3) which is accessible by iPods and the Macintosh computer. We started with one hundred titles.
Library Thing for Libraries
At the beginning of 2008 we implemented an OPAC enhancement from LTFL which added subject tags and “similar titles” to most bibliographic records. Patrons have clicked on these links over 20,000 times. In November we incorporated a new feature which adds patron reviews and allows our patrons to add their own reviews.
We are into our second year of the continuing PC replacement strategy. This year we began spreading the process over the entire year to soften the effect on the LION staff. The new approach seems to be working well.
No major changes in the day to day operations.
The Case Memorial Library from Orange joined Libraries Online on July 1. Their full database (bibliographic, item and patron records) was transferred from the LEAP system.
LION has been working on a strategic plan for much of the year. An attempt at blog communication has been less than fruitful, so we will resume face to face meetings to finalize the process.
A new web design for the Libraries Online website is nearing completion.
For the second straight year the LION staff remains unchanged. Andy Gardner continues to maintain the Millennium configuration. This year included the major projects of bringing Orange onto the system and coordinating the full authorities processing of the database. Rick Widlansky keeps the network humming. Matt Beardsley has fine-tuned the PC replacement process and has scheduled the work throughout the year. As always, Rick and Matt support all of the LION equipment in all of the libraries. In addition this year saw the completion of major building projects, hence network configurations and equipment installations, at Wallingford, Guilford, Westbrook, and Durham. Karan Conover maintained the bibliographic database and provided multiple training sessions for the libraries. Patty Hovick, Office Manager, maintained our financial records and as would be expected, received compliments from our auditor. Mary Nimani processed the weekly notices.
Andy attended the Advanced System Access & Administration training at III headquarters. While not going to any specific training sessions, Andy and I spent many hours in meetings where we learned a great deal about the current offerings in Open Source library systems. Rick attended a CEN event on Network Monitoring and Troubleshooting. Karan took a Non-print Cataloging Workshop. Patty did the TIAA/CREF Open Plan Solutions online training session. She and I attended an annual Labor and Employment Seminar.
LION was represented at ALA Midwinter, the PLA annual meeting, the Innovative Users Group meeting, the Connecticut Consortia Quarterly meetings, and State Library Technology Roundtables. Andy and I attended the III Public Library Consortia meeting for which I was a volunteer on the steering committee. Andy and I have participated in the state’s Project reQuest replacement meetings. We have attended a number of meetings on Open Source software for library systems. The LION staff has driven over 18,000 miles to serve the member libraries.
Libraries Online continues with a strong financial position. Our conservative investment strategy (money market funds) has kept us out of this year’s market turmoil.
We will finish our strategic plan which will set our expectations for the next few years. Generally the goals are to maintain a stable system environment while adding cost effective features to enhance the patron experience. While adding libraries to the membership is a desire, we do not want to grow without maintaining the existing strengths of LION.
I can no longer say I am new to LION, but the activities and possibilities are still exciting. The LION staff continues to be a great resource for the consortium and deserve much praise.