The keynote address was given by Bradford Eden, AUL for Technical Services & Scholarly Communications at UC Santa Barbara. The topic was “The New Information Landscape: Technical Services Future”.
Questions posed by Mr. Eden to the attendees were: What has changed our perspectives of libraries and how we gather information; what lies within our control and what is out of our control; and where does Technical Services go from here?
Mr. Eden also stressed the importance of media literacy for librarians. Obtaining information has changed greatly due to video (YouTube), social networking and the amount of information that is accessed with our mobile devices. What is out of our control is the economy, state support for higher education and the impact of the Google digitization project. These digitized collections will not be cheap and will greatly impact library budgets.
For academic libraries, providing access to our special and unique collections will play an important role in our future. Collaborations with other lending institutions will require moving to a network level. This could help free up collection space and relieve some budgetary constraints.
If you are interested in his entire presentation, it will be posted on the NCLA website in the RTSS section. It is well worth the read!
Purchase on Demand
Purchase on Demand (POD) for print and electronic books is a hot topic and a relatively new patron service offered in libraries today. Librarians from three universities (East Carolina, NC State, and UNCG) discussed the incorporation of this service in their respective libraries. UNCG only purchases e-books, while NC State and East Carolina purchase only print books. Used print books are not bought because the state of North Carolina frowns upon it. There are several POD models from which libraries can choose to incorporate and customize. Requests come from patrons via ILL, Circulation, Reference, Acquisitions, or through a subject liaison. POD supplements approval plans, standing order plans, and firm orders.
Each library represented had their own criteria and procedures for POD requests. UNCG utilizes YBP, Coutts, and MyiLibrary for e-book purchasing for the following disciplines: Computer Science, Physics, Chemistry, Nursing, and Public Health. Cataloging records for e-book titles are downloaded via FTP site and are dumped into the online catalog. Once a book has been used twice by a patron, only then is the library charged for that particular title and these purchases are charged back to a departmental fund code. The library is invoiced monthly for second use books, and it hopes to eventually make this service available to all disciplines. The other two libraries established their own individual selection criterion that is adhered to when purchasing POD books. Factors considered when purchasing POD requests include age (i.e. published within the last two years), shipping, language, cost ($100 limit for NC State, $125 for East Carolina). For theses/dissertation requests, East Carolina patrons access ProQuest full-text database for these items. Requests for series/sets, audio/visual, juvenile fiction, textbooks, manuals, and guidebooks are excluded from purchasing. East Carolina’s ILL-centered POD service handles their requests in a unique way. ILL purchases items online with a credit card and then notifies Acquisitions by sending them a purchase notice. POD shipments are received by ILL, and these items are treated as ILL loans. Cataloging and new book processing occur after the patron has returned the title. NC State fully processes their POD purchases before handing them over to patrons.
Some drawbacks of ILL-centered POD as reported by East Carolina’s librarian:
• Lines of authority and responsibility are blurred.
• Collection Development loses some control of collection.
• ILL emails have been overlooked by Acquisitions.
• Duplicates have arrived by liaisons and approval plan.
• Patrons cannot place holds for on-order items.
• Many ILL offices cannot get a credit card.
• POD takes time away from regular ILLs.
• ILL pays more in shipping and does not get discounts.
• It can bolster unrealistic patron expectations.
E-Readers in Libraries
This session was entitle “Pioneering E-book Reader Lending at a Public Library, University Library, and Community College Library” and the presenters were David Woodbury, Kimberly Balcos, and Ruth Ann Copley.
In this session three different libraries discussed their E-Readers programs. The first library that presented was North Carolina State’s David Woodbury. When they started programs they had 6 Kindles, Nooks, Sony and some iPads. When these devises went online the usage went crazy. The Kindle is the main device they use at this time. The purchase titles for the Kindle are patron driven. They purchase books that are in high demand or are not available any other way. Sony is loaded with public domain titles; one Sony is loaded with E-Reserves and magazines and is placed behind the circulation desk. As of the day of the conference they had hundreds of iPads and Kindles on order and were waiting for them to come in. There next step is to create a porthole on the main web page that will link a patron to all the e-reader books and devices.
Central Piedmont Community Colleges Kimberly Balcos discussed her 39 week study that allowed only faculty to check out the 4 e-readers. The e-readers only had popular browsing titles loaded. They kept one in house for trouble shooting problems. The patron had to sign a borrower’s agreement. They had a positive response, but the majority of the borrowers wanted more titles.
The final presenter was Ruth Ann Copley from Davidson County Public Library. Their program uses the Sony e-readers and the Kobo. They choose these readers because they worked with the NC Digital library program. They load many free e-book titles. In Davidson County each branch has one e-reader. When they loan the reader they do not allow the cord to be loaned. They also have a borrower’s agreement.
Diagnosing Damaged Books
This session was titled “Recycle, Repair, or Rebind: Diagnosing Damaged Books”, and was the presenter was Krisan Gregson.
Deciding whether to discard, repair, or rebind a damaged book in your collection is not an easy or intuitive act. In or to make the choice to repair a book, we need to look at all parts of the books. The different steps were shown on repairing a book. She said that best and most economical way to repair your books is to have someone with-in the institution that has the knowledge to keep up with the repairs in-house.
The closing session was titled “Technical Services Today: Living with the New Normal.” Heads from three area libraries presented.
Perhaps the most dramatic case was that of Charlotte Mecklenburg Library. Linda Raymond, Collection Management and Materials Manager, has had her materials budget halved. In response, the Library has outsourced its tech services staff to the branches (with the incidental benefit of freeing space in the main building for re-purposing); centralized selection (four selectors in the main library now select for the branches); and cut spending on reference materials (a step Raymond took with much reluctance, but cites evidence that users haven’t really noticed the change!). Raymond also introduced the concept of the “floating collection”: allowing materials to reside in whichever branch users return them to, instead of assigning them fixed locations. This places materials where they are in greatest demand, and also gives the public the impression that you have plenty of resources, even when you aren’t buying many new ones.
Mary Rose Adkins, Head of Technical Services at Atkins Library, UNCC, recounted, with much humor, views commonly held by library administrators on tech services operations: that traditional in-house cataloging is time-consuming, makes no difference to users, and that with the new discovery capabilities of latest-generation ILS’s the extra references and access points in-house catalogers supply are less important. Likewise, physical processing of materials is viewed as time-consuming, requiring extra staff, costly (in both supplies and staff time), and questionable as to whether the materials really need the attention. Adkins reported a recent UNCC decision that reflects future trends: its tech services staff will be cataloging only unique materials in-house, in non-MARC metadata schemes. She recommended a metadata course offered by University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Gloria Kelley, from CPCC, has the relatively rare background of being a head of technical services before becoming a library dean. In her presentation, she reflected on the delicate balance she finds herself having to maintain, in her current role as an administrator, between her sympathies for tech services needs and contributions, and keeping in sight the library’s overall interests. She pointed out that the oft-chorused view “technical services is dead” is a “myth” that has been around since the 1970s, when libraries first began automating and outsourcing!