Big Ideas – Concurrent Session 6 – VALA 2012

Repositioning Brimbank Libraries for 21st century service deliver – Chris Kelly & Jarrod Coyles

 Libraries are competing for the time of their local communities. They have to have a good knowledge of not only their current users, but also of whole community.

Commenced a period of substantial change, which moved it from a collection service to a dynamic community hub. The change process incorporated three key areas – new technologies, building design and staff work practices. All changes were in direct response to community needs and aspirations.

One such change was self-service system. Sydenham gave them the opportunity to trial RFID. They ended up moving their self-serve kiosks which initially were too far from staff assistance. With the new model of having the kiosks and staff assistance adjacent, they were able to increase self-serve loans from 40% to 95%.

Lessons learnt from this were used in the deconstruction of the desk at Deer Park Library. That space ended up being more flexible and has since 2008, been moved and rearranged several times.

In 2010, they developed a customer self-sort returns system – in conjunction with their RFID vendor. It took some time, but it works and it works in an area where 1/3 of the residents have low literacy. They also changed back end functions to help the flow – including more floating collections, express holds and increased loan limit (without telling the users). Around 65% of items go through customer self-sorted returns. They have consisently maintained 95% of loans and 65% of returns through self-service.

Greatest fear was job loss. That hasn’t happened – instead, they have increased hours and got additional staff hours to support those extra hours. Staff have moved from passive to active customer support service – they have to be encouraged and trained in this. They have also doubled the amount of programs they offer, many focused on lifelong learning. Many of these programs have been delivered with community partners and many have a focus on literacy, reading culture, social connectedness and employment.

Staff are heavily involved in developing programs, through a variety of teams and management groups, where discussions are open and staff are encouraged to contribute to future directions and decision making.

In 2005, they had 35 PCs library service wide. Now they have 75 and have the highest PC bookings for a public library service in Victoria. They have designed spaces to accommodate PC and games use. Youth were using them almost like an extended living room and doing so together.

For young people, the spectator space is just as important as the gaming space, so at Deer Park, they have made the space and the furniture to fit this need.

Learned that Flexible Design is required, because your users will be the ultimate designers, the IT department relationship is vital, continuous improvement through incremental budgets and small wins help build resilience.

The big bang: establishing the Victorian Government Library Service – Laurie Atkinson and Bernie Lewin

Government libraries in Victoria have expanded and contracted over the years, quite like our universe. At present, it has again contracted, from multiple government department libraries to a single library service working across 15 departments.

Why did it happen? To give greater access to resources, equitable service across government, reduce the cost of providing services, reduce the effort, delays and costs associated with departmental restructures, professional development for staff. Although government librarians were quite informally collaborative, it has now been formalised, with all library staff now working for the Department of Treasury and Finance, although based in the various government departments.

The Vision – shared service provider and clients linked to resource identification, resource procurement and collection management – which result in access to the right information at the best price, for library users.

It has been a huge journey, taking more than 10 independent library services, over 15 sites, managed by over 50 staff, serving a workforce of 50,000 and with a mission to build one high-powered streamlined information machine and do so within a couple of years. Time invested in developing a common lexicon made further integration much easier. Even the range of roles that librarians undertook in their departments was very broad.

They had to integrate 40 in-house catalogues and related databases across a huge range of software and platforms. Ranged from large to small services, running from InMagic and Lotus Notes to Symphony and many more.

The vision was one interface for 50,000 staff, which incorporated the catalogue, inter-library loans and enquiry management, which had to include both physical, electronic and subscriptions services and had comprehensive reporting. No single vendor could do it, so they ended up with Sirsi Dynix for the system with extra modules, including Serials Solutions and Ref Tracker. Achieved it in a ridiculous timeline, but only achieved with a funding extension.

Some of the difficulties included:

  • departmental IT policies and setups made some changes more difficult and couldn’t always been foreseen

  • funding cycles and resource access to a single government library service has had its challenges with licensing etc

  • conflict with IE 6 needed for in-house software, but didn’t work well with SD discovery layer until one of the VGLS tweaked the style sheets

The implementation team was resourced internally, with backup staff were appointed temporarily to backfill them. Advantage that the team was totally involved in the change process. Libraries were clustered by subject area, then by process.

Staff communication was vital. Had regular management meetings and regular staff meetings which seemed to come too fast, but whose value was outstanding. Heavily used a wiki for staff communication and has a blog for news, calendar and wiki pages for whatever they needed. Incorporated a Q&A section – so that staff knew what they had to have done and by when.

Lessons learned: still learning, system integration is incomplete, a the bleeding edge of Whole of Government, the data is still a problem. Opportunities: scalable business model, stakeholder management. Integration is the way of the future.

Engaging student spaces: Library in the Deakin Online Learning Environment – Sharee Crocker

A Learning Management System is the most efficient way to get resources to students. Libraries need to be in that space, to help students get the resources they need.

Because of the plethora of resources that we offer and that are available on the web. Its all very confusing for students. Despite all their efforts, some students don’t attend library classes and are sometimes not embedded into courses. Even if they do attend a course, they may walk away still confused. They may not know about library guides, never ask or never come to the physical building.

How do they reach these students? LMS is used as a central teaching space and provides online learning anywhere any time. Library resources alongside unit specific learning materials – give seamless access to customised unit specific information and necessary to encourage searching beyond the web. If the extra information is one click way, they will use it. Its our responsibility to customise the user experience, designed to connect students in a familiar environment.

In 2010 – Deakin transitioned to Desire to Learn (D2L) LMS from Blackboard. Transition was a staged process over 12 months. Library began by embedding a permanent link to the top menu bar on D2L. Needed more. They then embedded the core library resources for each course, including databases, library guides and journal titles, into the D2L page for that course.

They also created a Library Showcase, which displayed all library resources. Anyone can see the page and if requested by faculty, a resource on this page can be imported into a course page, for easy access to those students.

A widget was created to further enhance access. Faculties were very supportive, so one was developed for each faculty, in conjunction with faculty staff and the LMS vendor. The content in each widget could include e-readings, library eresource guide, specific databases, ebooks, ejournals and external websites. Every widget also included a library catalogue search box. They started with 4 widgets in Trimester 1.However, 60 units going live in Trimester 2 meant a huge increase in the creation of customised course specific widgets.

However, with the need for 1200 widgets eventually, the view changed. Instead of course specific widgets, they moved to 85 discipline specific widgets, with a limit of 5 links – chosen by faculty. However, every course widget also includes a catalogue search box. Every student will have access to these.

Used dynamic linking that enabled the widget to recognise the course and then link to the appropriate e-resources. All widgets also link to at least one library resource guide.