Monday, July 9, 2007

Distance Education ILL Service

One of the most interesting challenges to the effectiveness of Library Services is Distance Education or remote user services. Not surprisingly, we have to see this as an opportunity to think outside the box, and think outside we must. I have on several presentation used a skit to show how the hold for pickup model for Interlibrary Services doesn't quite cut it for many users, and in the case of remote users, the double delivery dilemma (3Ds) makes even less sense. 3Ds means we borrow a book from another Library, handle it and re-ship it to our user's home; when they re-ship it to us, we re-handle it, and re-ship it to the lending Library (make sense??)

This makes services like Denmark's Books To Your Doorstep, and pilot's like OCLC's Montana Worldcat Delivery so important to consider. However, it isn't just a case where direct borrowing or Direct Delivery makes sense, in fact, we found that sometimes the numbers tell a different tale. Angie T. at UVa Library helped us look at our DE ILL requests, and we found that for about 6% of our requests that could be purchased - could be purchased for only $1 and rush shipped for less than $4. So, do we treat this as an ILL borrow, or an ILL copy - we purchase the book for the user. Interestingly enough, several colleagues have said this idea doesn't quite sound right; first because of procurement policies, and the other is a disdain for purchasing books for users (a format thing we have - ILL can pay up to $60 per article (lender fee + copyright)) and just giving it away... Good news, our Procurement Office has said it's OK, because it makes economic sense - and so we can test and compare cost, speed, and customer satisfaction.

So, what are we to do with the idea of purchasing books for our users? Comments/Suggestions?

The added irony of this idea is in the testing, I purchased several $1 books for myself to evaluate what dollar books in "good condition" really meant. In most cases, they were Library withdraws and many from Better World books. Is this resource sharing with a third party vendor?

More on this soon.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Rethinking Access Service

Ever wonder why Access Services conferences are far and few between? I do? While Interlibrary Loan conferences and regional meetings are consistent, I haven't really seen many on the suite of Library services on Access Services. Today, after talking about this with a colleague at UVa Library, I want to see a conference or forum (like the Scanning Forum) that addresses the need for Access Services at Libraries to face punctuated equilibrium strategically.

We might see the Rethinking Resource Sharing Forum and org as a model for addressing the need to rethink Access Services... Why?

Access Services is transforming; with consortia circulation systems, they increasingly deal with Interlibrary Loan issues. Access itself is diversifying; equipment, study rooms, services, delivery options, format challenged, remote user services, source options (buying, renting, etc.) and more.

Access Services Librarianship is chaotic? Many have said that Access Services is suffering some de-professionalization, similary, others say that Librarian positions are facing the same pressure.

Can Access Services both manage the day to day operations of the Library and transform itself at the same time?

Should we take up planning an Access Services forum for 2008? Potential Topics:
  • Circulation - Reference Interviews & Hybridization
  • Electronic Reserves - Print Reserves
  • Service Convergence - ILL, Reference, Just-in-Time Acquisitions, etc.
  • Fines - True cost of overdue Fines
  • Automating workflow - renewals, etc.
  • Recall vs. ILL
  • Distance Education & Remote User Delivery Services
  • Hold for Pickup or Deliver to Home
  • Storage
  • Administration
  • Managing Facilities
  • Customer Service
  • Training & Staff Development
  • 24 hour schedules

Are others interested in the idea of an Access Services conference or rethinking forum? Let me know.

Why Librarian in a Box?

You decide:
a. You are visiting this site from a box like screen - the evolved TV.
b. Historical resonance from my days of producing video series for cable access called Art in a Box.
c. Refers to the reality that we work in a large box, but we strive to work beyond boundaries.
d. Idea of having a webcam kiosk at Pionner Square in Portland, OR to ask questions of Librarians.
e. All the above