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System Director’s Report:

March 2008

A large number of SCLS and member library staff attended the Public Library Administration (PLA) National Conference in Minneapolis last week. Between the Wednesday opening keynote featuring John Wood, author of Leaving Microsoft to Change the World, and the Saturday closing session with comedian Paula Poundstone, there was a variety of programs, talk tables, author events, vendor-sponsored breakfasts and receptions, and informal discussions with old friends and new acquaintances.

PLA is my favorite library conference because it is all about public libraries. It is large enough to cover many tracks of interest at once, but small enough that, if one session is not what you thought it would be, you can just go down the hall to try another. Stef Morrill was a presenter for “Customer Satisfaction Management – Using Surveys and Shoppers to Raise the Bar,” and did a great job, even at 8:30 on Saturday morning.

For the first time, SCLS was among the vendors in the extensive exhibit hall at the PLA conference. Bruce Smith, who staffed the booth all three days the exhibits were open, reported that interest in the Tote Master (a.k.a., the little red cart) was higher than expected. He distributed nearly 100 copies of the marketing DVD to interested people and talked to scores more. This doesn’t necessarily mean we will get rich selling carts, but it does show that a lot of other library operations are looking for solutions for their materials handling operations.

The challenging driving conditions of the winter continued this month, prompting the declaration of March 17 through 21 as our first ever “Driver Appreciation Week.” Member libraries really came though for the Delivery staff with kudos, cookies and other recognition.

Members of the Automation staff have been busy organizing the upcoming two-day demonstrations for each of three integrated library system vendors. Lauren Blough, Automation Project Manager, will be attending our April meeting to give you a brief update on that process. You will also meet Rose Zeich, the new SCLS Web Services Specialist.

I’ll see you on the 14th!