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System Director’s Report:

April 2008

If you attended the 2008 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture with David Macaulay, you know what a success it was. Thanks to the planning and hard work of the SCLS staff—especially Shawn, Jean and Mark—everything went perfectly and it was a wonderful evening. If you missed it, I encourage you to view it online. Go to: and choose “video archive.” 

Today was the first day of demonstrations for the third vendor of integrated automated library systems that the automation staff set up for this month. For someone whose first library automation experience pre-dates the use of barcodes and light pens, the functionality of the new products is pretty amazing. They have moved beyond simple online public access catalogs, to integrated systems that allow searching of all the library’s resources (catalog, licensed databases, cover images, current awareness lists, calendars, reviews, web pages, blogs, etc.) all through one interface.

For consortia such as LINK, the new systems allow more flexibility in scoping from the holdings of an individual library to the holdings of the entire group. None of them does everything we might want, but any of them would be a big step up in functionality and flexibility from what we have now. Last month Lauren gave you a list of the next steps in selecting a new vendor and we will keep you posted as things move along.

And speaking of big steps, this afternoon Stef and I sat in on a presentation to the Madison Public Library Board by a developer who is proposing a mixed use development on the site of the current Central Library. The proposal, which calls for a very aggressive timeline, is for a nine-story building, with the library on three of the floors. Our automation staff and the LINK telecommunications hub and computer room are housed in the building, so we have more than a passing interest in the direction the Madison Library Board takes. A decision on this particular project might be made before you read this, but the issue of space needs for the automation staff and Madison Central Library development will remain a topic in our consideration of facilities.

Enclosed with your mailing is a white paper Bruce wrote as background for the COLAND Visioning Summit, which will be held May 5 and 6. It may or may not be used at the summit, but we are sharing it with other public library systems in the state and thought you might find it interesting, too.

A lot of SCLS staff and our member libraries are heading to Stevens Point tomorrow to take part in the Wisconsin Association of Public Libraries Annual Conference.  Our Annual Meeting will be held at the UW-Arboretum on May 7. So, we’ll have a lot to tell you about when we see you on May 14!