Hello again -- It has been quite a while since I posted and once again I am committing to posting on a regular basis -- 3 times per week.
My new dedication is starting with the "....." C words. Gregg A. Silvis, Assistant Director for Library Computing Systems at the University of Delaware, brought this conundrum (another c word) up during a discussion about the definition of Member for the Membership and Governance Protocols committee of OCLC. His point was that the committee, Members Council, OCLC and all of us struggle with these words -- collaborative, cooperative, consortium, collective, contribution, and commitment. They certainly reflect what we do in OCLC and what we do as Lincoln Trail Libraries System, but sometimes they do get a little fuzzy when trying to define who we are as organizations.
I have decided to focus on these words for the next few posts of working together. I will start with a post on cooperation and continue through these "c" words. Hopefully when I finish this series, it will be clear which c words should be used when.
Every Friday afternoon of ALA OCLC holds a symposium. The symposium for this conference was about library mashups. Susan Gibbons, University of Rochester, was one of the panel speakers. The library has been doing research on expectations of the students and faculty. One very useful idea that she described was printing out a copy of the library's web page and asking customers what they used. At the same time the asked what they needed that was missing. By simply having users circle what the use and then write on the copy what then needed they gained insight into how to re-design the web page to better meet user needs. From this information they will create a new front page that supports customers better. In the future the front page will include not only library information but also the hours of the cafe on campus. An easy and great way to work together with customers to create a better experience.
It has been a long time since I posted and that doesn't mean that there aren't a lot of great examples and stories about people working together. Today is the New Year for this blog. I am going to diligent about posting once a week minimum on the theme of working together.
Last evening I had the opportunity to participate in a workshop at ALA about making meetings work great. I am the new chair of the ALA Conference Committee and it was as a result of that appointment that I attending this orientation event. Eli Mini, ALA Parliamentarian, was the speaker. Eli reminded all of us as chairs that a good meeting is about everyone working together. It’s not about egos; it’s not about personal agendas; it’s not about a subgroup of the committee; it’s about making the work of the committee meaningful for the organization and moves the organization forward. In order to achieve this work everyone must work together and be engaged in the discussion. It is about everyone being prepared to be open-minded about the discussion and the topics in order to achieve meaningful results.
For the most part meetings that we have in LTLS do consider the big picture, however, it was a good reminder to me to be sure to work with all members to be sure we achieve a balance in order to more our organization forward.
I have been clearing out some of my "older things" in my office and came across a publication of AASL from the mid 90's. The occasional paper is called "Collaboration" and of course the document is still relevant. I found a lot of reaffirming ideas but the one I want to share is the comparison between the words Cooperation, Coordination, and Collaboration. These comparisons tell a real story.
On October 15th LTLS and OCLC launched the 1st of the pilot WorldCat Local sites in Illinois. The sites launched were 3 libraries in LTLS using Horizon as the local ILS. In the future pilot sites will be launched testing Unicorn, Voyager and III. WorldCat Local is a new interface to the local ILS with more functionality then currently exists with the OPACS for those ILS systems.
This partnership will more than 30 libraries and OCLC is every excitiing and I can't wait to hear the results from the users of the library. I can attest that thus far I am enjoying and excited about using the WorldCat local interface. It is much more user friendly the current catalog. One simple search box and the results are easy to understand and I quickly know where the item is that I am looking for and if it is available for check out. If you haven't tried the pilot -- check it out at the following url's:
Yesterday I had an opportunity to hear a program at IFLA about new partnerships that libraries are creating. It takes "Working Together" to a new level. At the National Library of Canada the libraries program and the archives program came together under one agency Library and Archives Canada. The convergence of Libraries and Archives has been in existence for approximately 2 years. The result is that this has helped them to connect better with the users. The National Library of Canada prior to this time had worked mostly for the profession and for collections. The new focus is the user and what the user wants. That description resonated with me as LTLS has often been seen as about the staff and the libraries and not about the user. It is important that the system focus on the user to the improvement of the service. If we all focus on the user together then we can truly improve service.
On Saturday evening June 23rd OCLC formally introduced World Cat Local to the library community. This small reception was a demonstration of the pilot that is in place at the University of Washington libraries and recognized the other pilot libraries. LTLS is taking the lead on this pilot in Illinois and there are LTLS libraries participating including the University of Illinois Library, Hoopston Public Library, Mattoon Public Library and Central High School Library in Champaign. The Illinois pilot will be up in August and we look forward to the comments and reactions to this exciting opportunity.
It is interesting to note that Karen Schneider, Free Range Librarian Blog, observed at a program of Do Libraries Innovate? that libraries really don't need multiple looks to the catalogs. Why not save our resources and have one look for all libraries and also make it easier for our users. World Cat Local is a step in that direction. Of course -- to achieve that will require all of us to "Work Together."
The Shawnee Library System and the Lincoln Trail Libraries System have created a shared Youth Services Blog called Youth Source. The purpose is to provide posts about Youth Services information for the librarians of the two systems. This opportunity to work together to create something better for the members of LTLS and ShLS is what we are striving for. If you have any suggestions of information to add to the blog please contact me.
This week Joe Sciacca and I are headed to Southern Illinois to facilitate 5 input sessions for the ShLS membership. I am really looking forward to meeting a lot of new people and also getting a chance to go to Metropolis, IL, the home of Superman. The reason all of this is part of the "Working Together" blog is that LTLS and ShLS are sharing expertise in the plan development. Last week we used 2.0 Tools (or Collaboration 2.0) to refine the draft needs statements for the upcoming meetings. ShLS staff posted the needs statements on Googledocs and the LTLS staff reviewed those and made some additions directly on Googledocs. As we continued the process the collaborating partners from ShLS and LTLS worked on the document together and communicating via Instant Messaging to clarify and enhance the document. The best part -- working together; using 2.0 tools, using free tools, and accomplishing a product in less time than in the past. If you haven't tried working together using these marvelous 2.0 tools that are available, I highly recommend it.
Crystal Megaridis, Library Services Manager, Praxair Inc. has written an article for the SLA (Special Libraries Association) Illinois talking about the value of the Regional Library Systems in Illinois. In her article she talks about taking advantage of all systems have to offer and calls it a "smart business decision to get involved and utilize the resources and services...." Read this great article and while you read it explore the SLA Illinois Web Site.