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

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.


The Skinny on RFID and Automated Materials Handling in Libraries

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!


Leaning Your Library's Material Handling Workflows

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.


On Creating a Public Library Consortium

Presentation at the Black Hills Area Librarians Conference addressing the types of services being provided by consortia around the country. This group was considering forming their own consortium but wanted to have a better sense of the pros and cons.



Radicalize Your Catalog with Ebooks Your Patrons Can Keep Forever

Presentation about our Pitch-an-Idea grant project in which we worked with Internet Archive to provide links in the Santa Clara County Library District catalog to freely available, out of copyright ebook files which patrons could download without leaving the catalog.

Information about the project, where to access our code repository, and how to get started is available at& https://foss4lib.org/package/openlibrary-utilities-sccld.

Slides with presenter notes are available at& https://www.slideshare.net/loriayre/radicalize-your-library-catalog-with-ebooks-your-patrons-can-keep-forever.


Using Technology to Increase Community Engagement

Conference presentations are a lot about bragging rights. Libraries do something awesome, they go to conference and brag about their awesomeness. Nothing wrong with that! This is how we learn from each other. As Program Co-Chair for the California Library Association’s Annual Conference, I review all the proposed sessions, and as a result, get to see not only what California libraries are doing but also the initiatives of which they are most proud.


Top Trends and Libraries - 2015 is our Year

I always enjoy those end-of-year activities that provide a synopsis of important things that happened, important people who died, and the endless lists of top ten songs, books, movies, and of course, trends. I particularly enjoyed the “10 trends shaping consumerism in 2015” put out by trendwatching.com. Although the title may be off-putting for some librarians, there are plenty of good ideas for libraries in that document. In fact, many of these new trends have been trends in libraries for decades, and it’s the rest of the world that appears to be catching up!


Keys to Self Service Success

Presentation at CLA Conference on the keys to implementing self-service technologies. It's more than choosing a nice self-check machine. Here's what we came up with:

  1. Involve staff in redefining the patron experience and their new roles
  2. Make sure changes result in enhanced/new services
  3. Take needs of affected customers into account
  4. Keep initiative aligned with strategic goals
  5. Modify spaces, policies, and collection to support goals
  6. Support patrons with training and positive messaging
  7. Provide information throughout the library so customers have the information they need, when they need it
  8. Make it a happening! Be bold and colorful and have fun!
cover image of "Keys to SSS" presenation

RFID, GPS, and 3G - Radio Wave Technologies and Privacy

Another issue of Collaborative Librarianship is out and my Technology Matters column is about radio wave technologies and where the biggest privacy concerns really are. Some people refer to RFID chips as "tiny trackers" and that certainly makes them sound creepy. But it could be that the creepiest "tracker" out there is our beloved smartphone!

Here's an excerpt:


Finding Library Solutions in Adjacent Industries

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.