The Galecia Group, headed up by Lori Bowen Ayre, has established an excellent reputation for providing high quality consulting in technologies that are becoming necessities for the 21st century library: self-service technologies, automated materials handling, RFID, and open source software.

We partner with libraries to evaluate materials handling workflows from acquisitions to interlibrary delivery. We take libraries through a longer term Lean process improvement project or just recommend simple workflow and work space modifications. We seek to combine the best combination of self-service technologies, materials handling solutions and/or RFID to address the library's primary pain points and budget. We document long-term savings and benefits (for staff and patrons alike) from these smart investments. And, equally important, we provide support for the technology integration process (aka change management) to ensure the investment in technology is fully realized.

We help libraries make good software choices for their ILS, content management system, and resource-sharing systems by helping define the requirements that really matter and guide libraries through a highly collaborative procurement process. And recently, we've begun offering Drupal development and support services.

RFP Development – Iterative, Collaborative and Empowering

Collaborative Librarianship, Volume 6, Number 1
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
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I’ve done my share of software and hardware procurements – not as many as some consultants – but enough to know my way around an RFP (Request for Proposal).   And the truth is that RFPs are really horrible.  They are full of contract language that few people understand and, unfortunately, they are often loaded with requirements that the Library doesn’t understand; or worse, requirements that the vendors themselves don’t understand!

I’ve seen the same RFP issued by many different libraries.  Some of these RFPs were actually created by the vendor and has a few gotcha requirements that ensure their competitors will get the boot.  I’ve also seen RFPs that have conflicting requirements – this happens when the Library doesn’t understand the requirements they’ve included.

But the development of an RFP has the opportunity to be an empowering experience for the library if it is done correctly.  However, this requires leadership and time.  It’s not as simple as doing a couple focus groups and checking off the requirements from someone else’s RFP.

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Need Some Inspiration? Read this report! Rising to the Challenge: Re-envisioning public libraries

I just read (much too quickly) the Aspen Institute's report "Rising to the Challenge: Re-Envisioning Public Libraries" and wow, is it fantastic!

cover or reportThe paper states that this is a time of "great opportunity" for communities and institutions who are willing to "champion new thinking and nurture new relationships" and that it is a "time of particular opportunity for public libraries with their unique stature as trusted community hubs and repositories of knowledge and information."

The paper provides a vision for libraries that is based on an "emerging model of networked libraries that promote economies of scale and broadens the library's resource reach while preserving its local presence."  

In this vision, the key assets of the library are people, place and platform; and, the platform "provides opportunities for individuals and the community to gain access to a variety of tools and resources with which to discover and create new knowledge."

There are very practical suggestions which support the work I do including the importance of resource-sharing and collaborations across libraries.  The report strongly states that we must move away from the "go it alone" approach, which, and this is partly my interpretation, we are too locked into because of the the ILS (integrated library system) model.

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Finding Library Solutions in Adjacent Industries

Collaborative Librarianship, Volume 5, Number 4
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
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As much as we like to think that libraries are unique, they actually operate much like a supply chain system with central distribution centers and retail outlets. Obviously, there are differences but when it comes to materials handling, an area in which I do a lot of consulting, the similarities are striking. Both industries distribute material to outlets, require complex logistics systems, require accurate sorting and picking, and employ self-service technologies. As such, I spend a lot of time learning about warehouse management, logistics, supply chain technologies and best practices, and I use that knowledge in my consulting. Supply chain and warehouse management systems occupy adjacent niches to library materials handling. Not exactly the same industry but with lots in common. 

But I’ve noticed that libraries generally rely much more on one another than on other industries for ideas. And sometimes, people in libraries get uncomfortable when you suggest solutions that come from non-library vendors. Strangely, I’ve even found some libraries reluctant to try approaches that haven’t been proven by libraries in their state – forget about outside of library land! 

However, some very intriguing ideas have come from libraries that have stepped outside of the library marketplace and created strategic partnerships with non-library suppliers. I’ll give you two examples: Massachusetts Library System (MLS) and Grand Rapid Public Library. 

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Web-based Staff Client for Everyone!

I'm pleased to announce that there is now a demo version of the new Evergreen web-based staff client.  Check it out here:

https://webby.evergreencatalog.com/eg/staff/

login: admin password: demo123

It's not done yet but  it already looks pretty darn good!  Congratulations to everyone who has contributed to this new development including:

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Leaning Your Library's Material Handling Workflows

American Library Association Annual Conference, Las Vegas
Monday, June 30, 2014
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Presentation at ALA Conference in Las Vegas (2014). Sponsored by the Public Library Association. I really enjoyed doing this presentation because the crowd was very engaged. Got lots of good ideas from them. Thanks to all who attended!

The presentation introduces Lean and provides some ideas about how to look at library materials handling workflows with a Lean, customer-centric focus where the customer may be internal (co-worker) or external (patron).  Introduced concepts of Visual Management and 5S from Lean and identified where "waste" happens in libraries.

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