Mississauga Library (Ontario) is finalizing plans for a remodel of the Central Library. As part of the remodel, the Library would like to introduce automated materials handling. The Library's courier operation also operates out of the Central Library and the Library sought a thorough analysis of how best to implement materials handling for the Central Library operations as well as Courier operations.
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Engagement involves working with Multnomah County as they begin rolling out automated material handling technology throughout their system starting with Midland Library as a pilot site. Project includes assisting with the design and configuration of the AMH system at Midland and working with the Library to develop metrics for assessing the initial pilot project. The project also includes developing functional and business requirements for this project. These requirements will be rolled into a larger requirements package for the library system for use during the procurement process over the next few years.
The Seattle Public Library purchased a cutting edge automated materials handling system in 2004 when it opened its new main library. While the system continues to function, it has experienced substantial wear and tear of the last 13 years. The Library decided it was time to explore the automated materials handling marketplace to evaluate whether it was time to replace the system.
As part of the consultation, Lori Ayre evaluated the cost of ownership of the system over the years and worked with staff to understand what was working well and what wasn't working well. She worked with the SPL team to explore opportunities available from the existing AMH vendor as well as other vendors providing competitive solutions and is assisting the library throughout their evaluation of options.
My consulting practice seems to go in phases and lately I’ve been in the consortia phase. It’s a gratifying place to be. In each case, I see the power that comes from libraries coming together to do something better than any one library could do on its own. In some cases, it creates opportunities that would be completely beyond a library’s capability due to lack of resources (be they human or financial or both).
Initiatives that require costly technology or costly technology experts are particularly good projects to handle at the consortial level. The integrated library system (ILS) is one of those big, complicated, costly technologies that can be leveraged in many ways. There’s the underlying platform (server and operating system), the application (the ILS itself), and there are the people involved in managing the system (ILS Administrator) plus the staff using the system. Some, or all, of these components can be shared across libraries.
For example, a group of libraries can use the same server and application yet operate as independent libraries. That’s what a group of libraries in Northern California is doing. They are each part of a shared Koha system hosted by a service provider. Each library administers its own system and has its own patron records and collection. But they save a lot of money by sharing that platform and that vendor contract, and by not having to manage the operating system and deal with backups and software updates.
Peninsula Library System (PLS) is a consortium of nine libraries providing. PLS hosts a shared integrated library system (Sierra) and provides delivery services to 41 locations daily. PLS asked Lori Ayre to provide a feasibility analysis for implementing an automated materials handling system to replace the manual sorting done by couriers.
Ayre evaluated the delivery volume, materials movement patterns, courier sorting, presorting done at the libraries, delivery turnaround times, and other aspects of the operation. She provided the PLS Council with several options for consideration including adding a smaller sorter that would operate two waves of sorting, a larger sorter for sorting all material in one wave, providing batch check-in of incoming deliveries at the libraries, and adding an additional delivery day on the weekends.
In November of 2014, Charleston county residents passed a $108.5 million referen-dum to address the Library’s building and technological deficiencies. The Library then sought the services of an architectural/engineering firm to develop a program guide manual for the subsequent Charleston County Public Library (CCPL) Capital Improve-ment Project (CIP) that would affect all 16 outlets of the CCPL system. Lori Ayre of The Galecia Group was included in the proposal submitted by McMillan Pazdan Smith to provide guidance related to RFID, automated materials handling, and workflow optimization.
The CIP project includes building five new library buildings as well as a new Operations Center. In addition, virtually every one of the other branches would be remodeled. The scope of the original engagement included developing guide specifications for certain building systems including security, access, A-V, RFID and product standards for other library items.
Once the program guide had been completed, Ayre was hired by Charleston County in order to assist the County in finalizing RFID and AMH product specifications and help- ing the staff to re-envision how service delivery could be changed with the help of self-service and materials handling technologies. Ayre also developed the scope of services that would be used to identify suitable AMH and RFID vendors.