For 3 years, it ran in the Greeley Tribune. Since then, it has run in various subsidiaries of the Douglas County News Press. I still have most of my columns in digital format.
For many years, I only gave myself one rule: try to work the word "library" into every piece. My intent was to think in public about just what librarianship means at the end of the 20th century and beginning of the 21st.
There have been many advantages for me. I found that putting library plans out in front of the public, and getting feedback about them, helped me make better decisions. Sometimes, I found that it was very difficult for me to describe those plans or policies -- the kind of thing that makes me realize that they might not be good ideas after all. The weekly discipline of explaining my profession to the public keeps me more mindful, more honest. It also has provided steady visibility for the library and its issues.
May 5, 2004 - New Technologies at Douglas County Libraries
By: Rochelle Logan, Associate Director of Support Services, Douglas County Libraries
The first time I walked into a supermarket after the new self-check machines were installed, I was hooked. I love to scan my own groceries. Sometimes I manage to get out the door faster than if I'd taken the regular express check lane. Other times, I'm still trying to figure out what the code is for my papaya to price out correctly. Every time I go through the self-check at the store, I see how popular it is with other customers. We all appreciate the chance to move quickly and maybe have some privacy for what we are buying.
The Douglas County Libraries is always looking for ways to improve your experience at your local branch. We study retail concepts, futures quarterlies, what other libraries in the country are doing, and more. Two new technologies that you will be seeing soon are a direct result of our reading and research.
First, we began installing self-check machines in our branches about one year ago. Parker Library was our test site and was a great success. Our patrons love to scan their own items, whether it's because they don't want to wait in line, love new gadgets, or just want some privacy.
We put the second machine in at the new Philip S. Miller Library in Castle Rock in January. It is a wireless self-check machine which can be rolled to other parts of the library as needed. For instance, when story time is over, we can move the machine into the children's area for the convenience of the parents or move it to a meeting room after a book discussion meeting.
In the next few months, we will add self-check machines at Highlands Ranch and Lone Tree libraries with an additional machine at the Philip S. Miller Library. So, keep an eye out at your local branch for your chance to scan your own DVD's, books, etc. All you need is your library card and follow the instructions on the touch screen.
The second type of new technology you will be seeing in the library in the next few months are web-based patron access catalogs. We have had the same text based terminals for patrons to check the catalog since the 1980's. This year we are making a major migration to a new integrated library system for our cataloging, circulation, acquisitions and more.
Since we selected our current company, Dynix, for our new integrated system, you should not notice a huge difference at first in what you see if you already access our catalog on the Internet. This browser-based catalog offers book cover art, book reviews, summaries, and tables of content. You will still be able to access your own account for what you've checked out, renew items and place items on hold. In addition, more services will be
available to you after the complete migration in September including a Spanish language interface and a Kid's catalog that features colorful icons, booklists, and pre-formulated searches.
I have to hold myself back and not tell you about ALL the cool things coming next year and further in the future with our Dynix Horizon system. The new system will not only have more impressive offerings for the public, it will also help with staff efficiencies. We are very excited to be making this move.