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.

How to Sabotage Your Automated Materials Handling Implementation

If you are designing a new building, you shouldn’t be considering automated materials handling (AMH).  You should be planning for it. 

\When we talk about AMH, we are usually referring to two components:  a self-check-in machine and a sorter. With prices well under $30,000 to get a 3-bin AMH unit, nearly every library can afford one – budget-wise and space-wise.  They cost less than one FTE and can take up as little as 8’x10’ in floor space meaning it costs less than the FTE it saves.  And your AMH unit will never have any ergonomic injuries no matter how many returns it checks in every hour. 

A 3-bin AMH is the smallest size that makes sense.  It allows you to get items checked in immediately-which patrons really appreciate.  And, it separates the material that needs staff attention from material that can go right back up on the shelves-which staff really appreciate.  I usually recommend that the third bin be used for sorting out the returns that need to “go home” so they can easily be moved to delivery bins.

The most common size sorters fall in the 5-bin to 9-bin range.  It turns out that there is a point of diminishing returns (no pun intended) when it comes to sorter sizes and these 5-9 bin sorters hit some kind of sweet spot.  They are available for under $200,000 and can do the work of 2-3 FTE.  They eliminate numerous steps from the materials handling workflow, and improve services to customers (instant check-in, better turnaround of library material).  Every new library being built should assume they’ll have one -- and libraries that don’t have one now, should be looking into buying one.

And, in fact, many libraries are getting AMH systems for their libraries. Vendors report installing 3-4 systems per month.  But, something is going wrong with many of these installations and I don’t think it is the AMH equipment that is at fault.  It has everything to do with whether or not you and your staff are on the same page with the reason you’ve introduced an AMH system into the mix, and whether you've effectively planned for the changes that are required to leverage the new technology.  So, what’s going wrong?

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Learn How to Manage Your Holds in Evergreen - Nice Screencast from NOBLE

The folks at NOBLE, who are part of an Evergreen consortium, have put together a nice, clear YouTube video showing their users how to manage their Holds including how to Suspend and Activate Holds without losing your place in the Queue.  

Everyone needs this video for their users!  Check it out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57UJDqaMeqY

Submit Your Proposal for California Library Association Annual Conference to the Crowd!

Yo!  California Libraries!  We're going to be crowdsourcing the vote for the proposals for CLA Conference 2014 in Oakland.  Last year, we submitted only a small portion to the crowd vote but this year, our plan is to submit most of them to you to decide.  So, don't you want to know if what you have to contribute is just what people want to hear???  You've got to submit a proposal to find out!

Conference is in fabulous Oakland, CA November 7-9, 2014.  Info at http://conference.cla-net.org/2014/.

Deadline for submissions is March 14 at 5pm PST.
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The Skinny on RFID and Automated Materials Handling in Libraries

Patron Experience Workshop (Dayton Metro)
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
first page of powerpoint slides

This presentation was part of a three-day workshop that I delivered to Dayton Metro Library with my colleagues, Cheryl Gould and Sam McBane Mulford.  Dayton is remodeling and building new libraries as well as consolidating some of the smaller branches.  They have been looking at automated materials handling and RFID as possible technologies to incorporate into their new buildings.  

Rather than focusing on the requirements of the technology and letting that drive the project, we wanted to help them focus on their core library values and envision how they might change the patron experience for the better.

It was an intense three days of very hard work for the group but it went very well. They not only learned more about RFID and automated materials handling (and other self-service technologies) but they also came up with core service elements that they want to see as part of their new service model. They made informed decisions about the technologies they would like to see implemented and they even made a tentative staffing plan.  That's a LOT to accomplish in three days!

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Optimizing Materials Handling on the Cheap: How to Lean your Workflow

Infopeople Webinar
Thursday, January 30, 2014
Title Slide

Infopeople webinar to introduce attendees to some key principles of Lean and to provide some tips on how to apply Lean principles to library materials handling workflows.

Focused on some traditional library practices that get in the way including how libraries use bookcarts to define batch size, reliance on staging areas, acquisitions practices, and rigid staff roles.

Hopefully people came away with a new way to think about workflows from the customer perspective and not just from a staff productivity perspective.

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