Evolution and Survival in Technical Services

Technical Services… so many changes for better service!  Like many Technical Services departments in public libraries we are doing more “stuff” with less staff and smaller budgets.  Technical Services staff perform collection development and weeding duties, acquisitions, receiving and processing of physical library materials, cataloging of physical items and metadata for digital images among many other tasks.  What TS staff did 20 years ago or even five or ten years ago is quite different and much more expansive today.  Outsourcing some tasks is essential in order for TS staff to continue providing excellent service to co-workers and library patrons.  When I started working in libraries 19 years ago, Technical Services was mostly just placing orders, as well as cataloging and processing physical items for circulation.  Technical Services still does all that it traditionally did almost two decades ago plus way more today.  In addition to more duties and types of work, many Technical Services staff head up ILS management and staff ILS training.  At my Library we led three migrations: from Classic Dynix to Millennium, from Millennium to Sierra (beta-testing…yuck), and from a Sierra consortium to a stand-alone Sierra system. My Library moved from using mostly paper format selection materials with our vendors to digital copies and full EDI ordering. 

Reflecting on these changes and seeing how much more responsibility Technical Services has taken on, literally doing MORE with LESS staff and resources, I asked myself the question, “How did I [we] survive?”  ANSWER: Delegation and adaptation with good people and outsourcing some services with vendors.  Most of the technological innovations we adopted like ILS, RFID, and Full MARC have worked out for the better, allowing us to do more with less and more efficiently.   Adapting to new workflows and technologies at first often seemed the wrong path, but with diligence they have proved well worth the cost, time and effort.  Most recently, I had to really think about what tasks I did as Manager/ MLIS Librarian could be delegated out to my copy cataloger and processer.  With adaptation, delegation, staff training, and outsourcing, my Library continues to change for the better and improve quality service to staff and patrons.  Even though Technical Services is not considered public service, where/ what would the Library be without Technical Services?  We are not exactly the same as we were 19 years ago, but we kept the basics, changed and adapted for our patrons and I learned to delegate steps in the process to Technical Services staff and vendors so we could take on more things from other departments, like digitizing local history for a few years from Reference, which allowed Reference to shift focus into Adult Services and offer more adult programming.  The changes accepted and implemented by and for Technical Services in the last two decades were necessary, often uncomfortable and scary, but they prepared Technical Services staff for all the future changes in technologies, services, and responsibilities we will be faced with in the years to come.  More duties are always on the horizon to be delegated to my Technical Services department and I must continue to find ways for Technical Services to handle what comes next, but I am confident the future will be bright for Technical Services.

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SOA Annual Meeting 5/16-17

This announcement comes from our friends at the SOA Education/Planning Committee.

The Society of Ohio Archivists’ annual meeting registration is now open! Join us in Akron on May 16-17, 2019, for two days of Invention and Innovation!

Thursday, May 16

Pre-conference workshops led by Drs. Karen Gracy and Heather Soyka, held at the Kent State University Library.

  • Morning (9:00 a.m. – noon): Fundamentals of Born-Digital Archiving
  • Afternoon (2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.): Beyond the Basics: More Concepts and Strategies for Digital Archiving

Early bird pricing for SOA members: $30 for 1 workshop or $50 for both! Early bird registration ends April 30th.

Evening Mixer at the National Museum for the History of Psychology, where you can tour the museum and mingle with colleagues.

6:00-8:00 p.m. / $25 to register. Registration closes April 30th.

Friday, May 17

Annual Meeting at the Hilton Akron/Fairlawn Hotel from 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The day starts off with a plenary from Kathleen Roe, past president of the Society of American Archivists. Her talk, “Reimagining the Future of the Archival Past,” will focus on the future of archival work, including ensuring our institutions collect materials that reflect a comprehensive, inclusive past, conveying the value of archives in meaningful ways to a wide range of users and audiences, and stepping forward to strengthen our profession and its role in our communities and society.

Join us for sessions on building a diverse repository, collaborative projects, job hunting, processing collections, and teaching in the archives, as well as mini-workshops on advocacy and records management. Attendees will also have the option to attend poster sessions, mock interviews, and bid in the annual silent auction.

Annual meeting early bird registration is $45 for SOA members! Early bird registration ends April 30th. Register at http://www.ohiohistorystore.com/Product.aspx?ProductId=9197

Visit the SOA conference website for the latest information and follow along on Twitter at #soaam19.

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Vending Machines Now Offering Books

After two separate articles about book vending machines appeared in my email, I decided to find out more about this trend. I had questions about how these machines are being filled, who is choosing the materials, and how often are the collections being replenished.

The articles that I read indicated that the majority of the books and materials being offered in these machines are geared toward younger readers, rather than adults. Some accommodate DVDs as well as books. A few of the machines seem to be located in areas that have been described as “book deserts”, or areas where there is no other access to these types of materials. The new machine in Spokane, Washington is located in a community center in a neighborhood that does not have a nearby library.

Other machines are located near, or inside, library buildings. In Evanston, Illinois the vending machine is a temporary measure to fill in for the new library branch that is under construction.

The machine in Lafayette, Indiana is also located near a library. Its location is intended to provide access to library materials 24/7 in order to accommodate people who work late shifts and other people who want to check out a book after hours.

In Buffalo, New York there is even a book vending machine inside an elementary school that allows kids to earn tokens and choose books for themselves. Sounds fun to me!

The most comprehensive article I found was published online in Urban Education. Two researchers studied the use of book vending machines in Detroit, Michigan and Anacostia, D.C. over the course of a summer. Their research revealed many interesting facts about the types of materials that were most often selected by the users of these machines. Their research also found that adult support was a strong factor in improving reading test scores among the young readers they studied. A short summary is available in the first article. The full text of the research paper may be available online through your library’s databases.
Neuman, S. B., & Knapczyk, J. J. (2018). Reaching families where they are: Examining an innovative book distribution program. Urban Educationdoi: 10.1177/0042085918770722

I was surprised to see how many locations have turned to the vending machine concept to provide materials and 24/7 access to books and other library materials. Some of the articles referred to these machines as 21st century bookmobiles, serving a population that has become used to constant access to materials at any time of day or night. Will this become a wider trend in libraries and will we see them in Ohio in the near future?

Jill Baird, Mansfield-Richland County Public Library

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The Constant Cataloger

You’ve heard it before.  From Heraclitus.  “The only thing that is constant is change.”

Despite all the conventions and standards of cataloging, it is essential to approach our work with a constant affirmation that libraries are changing; access to information is changing; and, search behaviors are changing.

Especially vexing is the realization that change is happening faster than ever.  There are many minds with inspired ideas. More information is being generated than ever before. Technical innovation is flourishing, and, communication methods are transforming.  So, for a cataloger, it’s a challenge to sustain a historically rich and meaningful database of library records that will be utilized in a relevant way.

Persistently bringing this challenge into the cataloger’s everyday workflow is a necessary practice. It means always looking forward and establishing priorities.  It means staying engaged, informed and energetic.  It means sharing cataloging practices, both general and local. Decisions must be made mindfully. It’s a lot.

But remember, “the sun is new each day.”  Also, Heraclitus.

Fortunately, there are some especially bright days ahead, that you won’t want to miss!  This year, the OLC Convention and Expo will be held September 25-27, 2019, in Cincinnati. It promises to be a great opportunity to be invigorated.  Also, you can look forward to the 2020 OLC Technical Services Retreat next spring. Details will be forthcoming.

Rise and shine!

Gayle Martinez, Toledo Lucas County Public Library

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What year is it?

We’re only a little over a month into 2019 and already books are arriving on our shelves with a 2020 copyright date. Having dealt with more than a few records where catalogers struggled with ©2019 while it was still 2018, I thought I’d take a moment to offer a refresher on how to deal with post-dated publications.

One of the basic tenets of RDA is to “take what your see.” And this make sense when you think of describing a resource several years after its publication. If there’s nothing on the item in hand to say it actually came out the year prior to the copyright date, you’re not going to describe it that way in, say, 2024. To identify that resource correctly in the future, you need to use what’s on the item to describe it.

It’s also important to note that a copyright date is NOT the publication date. In fact, a stated publication date outranks the copyright date when they conflict with one another. A book with statement that says “Published in 2018” accompanied by a 2019 copyright date is rightly 2018 in field 264 1 subfield c. To be helpful, the copyright date can (and should, IMO) be transcribed in the 264 4 subfield c. But a publication date derived from the copyright date is only inferred (that’s why it’s placed in brackets 🙂 )

Finally, if you need the opinion of a higher authority than me…

The second instruction in LC-PCC-PS for RDA (Date of Publication not Identified in a Single-Part Resource) tells us:
“If the copyright date is for the year following the year in which the publication is received, supply a date of publication that corresponds to the copyright date.”

So until you receive your first ©2021 book…happy cataloging!

Barbara Satow, Cleveland Public Library

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Call for programs

Program proposals are now being accepted for the Ohio Library Council’s all-new Community Engagement Conference, set for May 15, 2019 at the OCLC Conference Center in northwest Columbus.

The conference planning committee is seeking presentations that will enhance the skills of library staff and that are tied to the Core Competencies of public library service. The educational programming for the conference will include breakout sessions that will focus on a variety of community engagement topics including how to assess community needs, build partnerships, manage expectations, and empower staff. The event will also include a panel discussion featuring Ohio library staff who have done notable work as well as poster sessions on successful collaborations in Ohio.

The deadline for proposals is February 1, 2019. For more information visit the conference website at: http://olc.org/blog/event/community-engagement-your-library-creating-vibrant-diverse-and-inclusive-communities/

Program proposals are also being accepted for the 2019 Convention and Expo, Sept. 25-27, at the Duke Energy Convention Center and Hyatt in downtown Cincinnati. The theme for 2019 is Sharing Our Stories. There are two forms for submitting program proposals: one for Ohio library presenters and one for library presenters outside of Ohio.

The forms and links to contact information for any of OLC’s divisions and committees can be found at: http://olc.org/convention-expo/

The deadline for proposals for the Convention and Expo is also February 1, 2019.

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Call for proposals: SOA Annual Meeting

Invention and Innovation
Society of Ohio Archivists Annual Meeting
Friday, May 17, 2019

To be held at the Hilton Akron/Fairlawn Hotel in Akron, Ohio.

Deadline to submit proposals: Monday, January 21, 2019, 5:00 p.m.

The Society of Ohio Archivists’ 2019 annual meeting travels to Akron, Ohio, the “City of Invention,” this May. In the spirit of Akron, the Program Committee seeks proposal topics on the theme of “Invention and Innovation” in archives, collections, or related work. Creativity is encouraged!

Session, poster, and discussion proposal topics can address a broad array of topics, including, but not limited to:

  • Longstanding institutional projects or collections in accordance with the ‘Invention and Innovation’ theme
  • Current and forward-moving tools for archival discovery, maintenance, and/or marketing
  • Outreach and instruction that employs new methods, or addresses innovative or inventive topics
  • Inventive and innovative student, intern, and volunteer experiences and projects
  • Unique collection development ventures
  • Best practices and new methods for handling preservation, description, and access to analog, born-digital, or hybrid collections
  • Diversity, access, inclusion, and community archives

The Program Committee encourages proposals of panel sessions, student and professional posters, as well as alternative formats such as a debate, fish bowl, lightning, mini-workshop, pecha kucha, world café, and other session formats that encourage interaction between presenters and attendees. Please see the proposal form for more detailed information about alternative sessions.

Proposals must include:

  • Session/Poster title and type
  • Abstract of 250 words describing the session/poster and how it will be of interest to SOA attendees
  • Description of 150 words for the printed program
  • Contact information for the primary presenter and any other participants
  • A/V or technology requirements
  • Any additional special needs

Proposals will be evaluated on clarity, originality, diversity of content and speaker representation, and completeness of proposal and presenters. The Program Committee also encourages proposals from students*, new professionals*, first-time presenters and attendees, individuals from related professions, as well as those from outside the state of Ohio.

Please complete the proposal form by January 21, 2019, at https://goo.gl/forms/FvVtPGednEWI5rSz1

More meeting details will appear as they develop at http://www.ohioarchivists.org/annual_conference/ & follow the conversation online at #soaam19.Questions? Contact:Stephanie Bricking (Stephanie.Bricking@cincinnatilibrary.org) or Stacey Lavender (lavendes@ohio.edu)Co-chairs, Society of Ohio Archivists Educational Programming Committee

*Note that applications for travel scholarships for students and new professionals are due by February 25, 2019.

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