by: Jan Ison
Lincoln Trail Libraries System
During FY 2008 the theme was Discover the Past, Present & Future @ your library. For LTLS libraries and the staff it was really a time of looking at the past, present and future. A Symposium on the Future of the Integrated Library System was held in September with over 175 attendees from Illinois along with seventeen other states and the District of Columbia. The new service, Digital Gems, has enabled LTLS and its members to use current technologies to make the past come alive for our users.
LTLS publishes 9 blogs to promote collaboration and increase communications among LTLS libraries. During FY08 the LTLS blogs had 52,742 visitors. Traffic on the blogs has increased during the past year from about 3500 visitors per month in July 2007 to over 8900 visitors in June 2008. The chart shows the percentage of visitors per blog.
One blog hosted by LTLS, Youth Source, is a collaborative project begun in January 2007 as a joint project with LTLS and Shawnee Library System. In May 2008 joint authorship of the Youth Source blog was expanded to include consultants at 4 library systems, Lewis and Clark, Rolling Prairie, Shawnee, and Lincoln Trail. This is one example of the cooperation and expertise sharing among library systems.
The LTLS Blogs are:
- About LTLS Members--http://lincolntrail.typepad.com/about_ltls_members/
- Library Jobs--http://lincolntrail.typepad.com/library_jobs/
- LINC Update--http://lincolntrail.typepad.com/linc_update/
- LTLS - Quick Connections--http://lincolntrail.typepad.com/ltls_quick_connections
- LTLS Services--http://lincolntrail.typepad.com/ltls_services/
- Trustee Connection--http://lincolntrail.typepad.com/trustee_connections/
- Working Together--http://lincolntrail.typepad.com/working_together
- Youth Source--http://lincolntrail.typepad.com/youth_source
One of the most important parts of the LTLS communications strategy is that for the past 2 years LTLS has placed Board Packets totally online. Our calendars link to the board packet and we encourage member libraries to take advantage of this open access to all the information that the LTLS Board of Directors receives.
In FY 2008 we continued posting a weekly poll on our website. The questions were about a variety of library issues including the purchase of Blue Ray DVD’s the utilization of Web 2.0 tools and whether the recovery of fines pays for the time spent in collecting them. These non research based polls provide for information awareness as well as give LTLS staff a sense of what members think. Here are a couple examples of poll responses.
The headquarters building at Lincoln Trail Libraries System is 36 years old and until FY2008 the original fluorescent ceiling lighting system and ceiling tiles had not been updated. Over the past ten years there was a gradual deterioration of this lighting system. The plastic fluorescent light tube sockets became brittle and broke easily; the electrical ballasts leaked which caused short circuits in the wiring; the insulation became hard and cracked and exposed the copper wire. All of this caused the fixtures to short out and trip the circuit breakers and was becoming much more frequent as the system continued to age. The light fixtures and ballasts were manufactured when electrical power was cheap and they were very inefficient by today’s standards. Finally, the original steel grid system for the lighting and ceiling tile is a non-standard size and all of the replacement tiles would have to be cut to fit the system. The grid system is an integral part of the cold air return for the HVAC system. It is welded to the roof deck and therefore cannot be readily replaced.
Due to the increased instances of electrical short circuits the Board of Directors authorized the replacement of the lighting system and ceiling tile to fit the current grid system. The replacement light fixtures provide more light and use less electrical power than the old fixtures.
Two additional major expenses for LTLS are gasoline and electricity. The gasoline increases resulted in LTLS needing to add $8,000 to the budget for this line item in FY 2008. The electricity rates have also gone up and LTLS joined the Electricity Co-operative organized by the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce. This partnership allows for group purchase of electricity, which did reduce the rate of rise in this expenditure item.
Another major accomplishment was the removal of files and paper approved for disposal from the garage storage area, inside files, and individual office files. A mountain of paper was dumped on the garage floor (8,778 pounds in all!) that was then hauled off by a company to be shredded. As a result of the LTLS experience, a workshop was offered to member libraries on retention of records.
A final operational project that began in FY2007 was the upgrade of the LTLS internal database that is used to support our programs. The tool which is referred to “in house” as LTDB has been in existence since 1996. Because of improved functionality in new versions of the software, FileMaker, LTLS decided to move from FileMaker 6 to FileMaker 8. Two consultants were hired to move all of the functionality of LTDB to the new version of FileMaker 8 and this will make it easier for the LTLS staff to track their contacts with individuals and automate some statistical processes that are now manually completed. This project was completed in FY 2008 and the new record keeping options are a great improvement.
RESOURCE SHARING SERVICES
The demand for core resource sharing services once again exceeded expectations. Once again resource sharing and circulation of materials was at an all time high. The borrowing of books and other physical materials from libraries using LINC was 4,754,608 in FY 2008 compared to 11 years ago when 2,815,076 local library items circulated by member libraries of LINC. As with the previous year the circulation increase is not as dramatic as the increase in Online ILL. In FY 2008 ILL was 675,600 compared to 146,081 eleven years ago. This increase in the number of physical items being borrowed between libraries and the increase that users are making of this service is wonderful. An even more interesting number is that Reciprocal Borrowing was 714, 210 and eleven years ago it was 387,847. It is interesting in that the increase in ILL is much more dramatic than the increase in Reciprocal Borrowing. The chart shows that overall ILL and RB each represent about 14 - 15% of the total circulation. These numbers represent an accomplishment of the LTLS membership and the staff. Together we encourage sharing and LTLS wants our constituents to think of LINC as a single resource available to all. By the numbers again, ILL circulation as a percentage of total circulation has increased from 5.19% 1998 to 14.21% in FY 2008.
Another exciting growth number is the expansion of users searching the online catalog. The chart shows how this has grown since FY 2003. In FY 2003 it was 133,000 searches, and in FY 2008 there were 3.8 million searches. Our users really enjoy the online discovery process.
The growth of LINC membership is always a time for celebration. During FY 2008, LTLS had the opportunity to work with 10 new libraries to prepare them for becoming online members of LINC. At the end of FY 2008 there were a total of 105 libraries that were members of LINC and 103 were circulating online and 2 were union list libraries.
Resource Sharing would not be nearly as successful if were not for delivery. In FY 2008 LTLS staff delivered 808,199 items from member libraries. In November 2007 LTLS began counting the number of items picked up. For the year LTLS picked up 813,000 items for a total of over 1.6 million items that travel through the delivery system. This happened during a year when we had a driver out for an extended period of time with a serious health issue. It should be noted that 9 libraries accounted for 60% of all the delivery volume.
As part of the overall resource sharing activities one must have quality bibliographic records. LTLS manages a Cataloging Center for libraries that do not have sufficient trained staff to do copy and professional level cataloging. The Cataloging Center was reorganized in the beginning of FY 2008 and that reorganization was very successful. The LTLS Cataloging Center cataloged 29,435 items during the year and reduced the backlog of old items by the early fall. Following the elimination of the backlog the average turnaround time was 5.11 days. Reduction of turnaround time has eliminated libraries’ complaints about slow return of items, thus improving the Cataloging Center’s relationships with customers. Member libraries have been pleased about being able to make new materials available to users more quickly while continuing to take advantage of the Cataloging Center’s low-cost, quality cataloging.
CONTINUING EDUCATION AND TRAINING
In FY 2008, once again LTLS offered a variety of training and continuing education events. This was the fifth year LTLS had offered a Continuous Learning Subscription Service (CLaSS). CLaSS allows a library agency to pay one fee that covers all CE/Training workshops for all their staff and board for the entire year. In FY 2008 there were 63 libraries that subscribed to CLASS. During the year we had 956 people attend 66 events for a total of over 6400 contact hours.
Our biggest education success for the year was the Symposium on the Future of Integrated Library Systems. The Symposium was held on September 13-15, 2007 at the Hilton Garden in Champaign, IL. Over 240 people attended the two and a half day event. LTLS has received very positive evaluations and follow-up thank you notes and have also sighted blog postings about the great speakers and presentations, the thought-provoking discussions, the diversity of attendees, and the local arrangements. We posted all powerpoint presentations and audio recordings of all presentations from the symposium on the conference agenda web site (http://www.lincolntrail.info/ilssymposium2007/agendapage.html) In addition, there is a Symposium blog (http://www.lincolntrail.info/ilssymposium2007/agendapage.html) that provides summaries of the presentations. It is the intent of LTLS to offer a similar Symposium during FY 2009.
During FY 2008 LTLS staff worked in conjunction with the Rolling Prairie Library System and four other library systems, to begin offering Plinkit to its membership. Eight libraries from the LTLS area have created and launched Plinkit websites. Plinkit, a webpage authoring tool, allows even the smallest library to have an attractive, easy-to-update web page. There is no need to know HTML or Front Page. If you can copy and paste from a word processing program, you can use Plinkit.
LTLS libraries participating are:
- Blue Ridge Township Public Library
- Camargo Township District Library
- Casey Township Library
- Moyer District Library
- Newman Regional Library District
- Oakwood Public Library District
- Sarah Bush Lincoln Medical Library
- Tuscola Public Library
Plinkit, using an open source software called Plone, was developed in Oregon by the Multnomah County Library with an LSTA Grant. The software with its webpage template was given to the Oregon State Library. Oregon invited states to join them in the development of this software for use by small, primarily public libraries. Subsequently, Colorado, Texas, and Illinois joined Oregon. This four-state collaborative is looking to expand the program to other states and other types of libraries.
During FY08 the PolyTalk Library Interpreters Network expanded participation to 115 volunteer interpreters, and 450 registered users from 175 Illinois libraries.
PolyTalk presentations were made at the Reaching Forward South Conference in Springfield and at DuPage Library System in Geneva in September. PolyTalk presented an exhibit at the Health Science Librarians of Illinois conference, presented a program at the ILA Conference, and participated in the ILA Diversity Fair in October. The PolyTalk display won second place in the ILA Diversity Fair. PolyTalk was featured in Sarah Long's radio podcast. In October, ISL LSTA Coordinator Karen Egan made a presentation on PolyTalk at a meeting of the 50 state LSTA Coordinators at the Institute of Museums and Library Services in Washington, D.C. to spread the word and encourage other states to join PolyTalk. PolyTalk presented an exhibit on PolyTalk at the Public Library Association Annual Conference in Minneapolis on March 25 - 28. This conference gave us an opportunity to promote PolyTalk participation to librarians from outside Illinois. PolyTalk also presented an exhibit in the Illinois Capitol Rotunda as part of Illinois Library Day in April.
PolyTalk was the featured project profile on the home page of the Institute of Museums and Library Services (IMLS) at http://www.imls.gov in January and February. The profile was part of a series that highlights exemplary LSTA projects funded through IMLS grants to the states.
The PolyTalk database was enhanced to support out-of-state addresses and different time zones for library staff and interpreters to accommodate membership in PolyTalk by libraries and interpreters outside Illinois.
LTLS received a second year LSTA grant to continue the process of testing WorldCat Local in Illinois during FY2008. Much of the work for the year involved adding new pilot participants, working with OCLC/ISL staff to configure, setting up WorldCat Local, WorldCat Link Manager, and WorldCat Direct in Illinois, database cleanup, resource identification and harvesting through OCLC, completion of a statewide electronic resources survey, extensive work on identifying/troubleshooting issues related to the CARLI I-Share Voyager system, and development and implementation of end-user testing documents and instruments.
In FY2008, the following significant accomplishments were completed:
- •Nine new pilot libraries, including representatives from a new system – Lewis & Clark Library System – joined the pilot. All agreed to update holdings in WorldCat daily, have an OCLC number index in their system automation system, and have bib records with OCLC numbers in local catalogs.
- •WorldCat LINK Manager was configured for 20 additional libraries who needed a link resolver product.
- •Project staff worked with resource providers to ensure that Illinois digitized content and other resources were integrated into WorldCat Local’s search results.
- •New this year was the addition of a home delivery service for interlibrary loan fulfillment. WorldCat Direct, a service of OCLC that provides for delivery of interlibrary loan materials to the borrowers home address, is being tested by a pilot group of 9 WorldCat Local libraries.
In FY2008 the Illinois State Library granted LTLS funding for a digital project. The project included digitizing 539 photographs from the private collection of William R. Thompson and the Chanute Air Museum. One of the positive outcomes of working on this grant, was the development of LTLS’ new Digital Gems ContentDM site. Fully hosted by OCLC, the site now has two collections on it. And the third will be added shortly. LTLS has also been contacted by the Champaign County Historical Society to house their items as well. This was part of the School Library Day workshop and will be again next year, as well.
The previously described accomplishments are only part of the picture for the year. LTLS continued its partnership with the Mortensen center for International Librarianship since the program began in the early '90s. In September, librarians from the Mortenson Center visited LTLS for a program on Library Cooperation, and a program on OCLC Services. The group of Mortenson Center Associates were from Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Ghana, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Korea, Tanzania, Uganda, Uzbekistan and Viet Nam.
These and all other successes are part of what makes working in library cooperation in Illinois a terrific job. When we think about the many lives that we have touched through resource sharing, education, consulting, training and more it is clear that library systems are an important and essential part of library service in the 21st century.