Bibliomation, a non-profit member driven community of libraries, improves library service to member library users through the cost effective application and support of technology.
Bibliomation began the year with a long range planning session led by marketing consultant, Dan Sherr at the Southbury Library. Board members, staff, and the long-range planning committee convened to discuss Bibliomation’s future. The discussion focused on the pending search for a new CEO. After 30+ years, Mike Simonds planned to retire in 2013 and Bibliomation’s search for a new leader took center stage. A thorough SWOT analysis and a fruitful conversation about Bibliomation’s unique culture helped create a list of attributes the group felt the new CEO should possess. 2013 was a year of major personnel changes and the long range planning done at the beginning of the year strengthened the staff’s sense of purpose and vision as they adapted to the organizational changes of 2013.
In May, Bibliomation moved to a new office in Waterbury, CT. The offices at 24 Wooster Avenue are Bibliomation’s fourth headquarters in its 34 year history. The new offices offered an improved layout, upgraded communal spaces, a larger meeting room, and savings on rent and utilities.
2013 was the year of retirements. Business manager Nancy Mazer retired in July of 2013 after nearly 30 years with Bibliomation. Nancy began working for Bibliomation on December 1, 1981, hired as a temporary, part time bookkeeper, typist, and administrative assistant for 3 months. Field technician Ted Mackewitz also retired in July after 20 years as the face of Bibliomation for many of our libraries. He served as Head of Computer Operations when we had a CARL Tandem computer that required a high level of operational skill to manage. Additionally, long-time Web Services manager and Evergreen Systems Manager Melissa Lefebvre left Bibliomation for the world of Koha with ByWater Solutions in October. CEO Mike Simonds also announced his intention to retire in 2013.
Bibliomation was fortunate to welcome Debbie Daiss as our new Business Manager and CFO in time to overlap with Nancy Mazer. Debbie came to Bibliomation with 20 years of bookkeeping and accounting experience at corporations and non-profits.
After Ted’s retirement, Gen Francis became the Remote Site Coordinator, and Peter Lanese, our part-time field technician, stepped into a full-time role. Former Willimantic library director Ted Perch re-joined Bibliomation as a part-time field tech. As they were already familiar with Bibliomation, both Peter and Ted have made the transition in Network Services as smooth as possible.
Melissa Ceraso joined Bibliomation as Evergreen Systems Specialist when Ben Shum took on the role of Evergreen System Manager. Melissa came to us after working in various libraries for the past seven years.
Bibliomation staff were out in full force during conference season. Amy and Jessica attended Digipalooza, OverDrive’s official conference. Jessica also spent several days in New York City at Islandora Camp, a conference for libraries using Islandora to create repositories for digitized materials. Fortuitously, Jessica found that UCONN had sent a rather large contingent of library and IT staffers, and was able to nurture a potential local partnership with the university and our libraries.
Bibliomation sent several staff members to both the Evergreen conference in Vancouver Canada and the CLA conference in Cromwell, CT. Ben Shum was conference co-chair for CLA 2013 and Amy was conference co-chair for Evergreen 2014 with Carol and Ben on the Evergreen 2014 conference committee.
Ben attended several other technical conferences. He served as a leader for the Evergreen Hack-A-Way, coordinating a group of seven contributors working on a version of the catalog that incorporates more responsive design elements, improving Evergreen both on computers and mobile devices. Ben also attended KohaCon as an Evergreen ambassador. He found that many of the features that Koha library users wanted were things that Evergreen already has or were areas of common concern between the two projects. Ben also attended the Google Summer of Code Mentor Summit as an Evergreen Project representative and the Evergreen Documentation Interest Group Hack-A-Way.
Mike and Amy attended ALA Annual and Amy attended ALA Midwinter. Amy is a member of the PLA Technology Committee and writes the Library Technology Buzz column for Public Libraries Online: http://publiclibrariesonline.org/category/news-opinion/
Another round of Bibliomation Odysseys began in 2013. The last Odysseys were undertaken by Mike Simonds and Amy Terlaga just before we migrated to Evergreen. Now that we have been using Evergreen for a few years, Amy, Carol, and Jessica are helming this round of visits, with Ben joining in for a few of the meetings. Feedback has been positive and the Odysseys have been productive, allowing Bibliomation HQ staff to directly address concerns of library staff members.
Ben and Melissa also attended circulation meetings, in an effort to gather direct feedback about Evergreen and help improve communication to the Evergreen support team.
Bibliomation completed four major Evergreen upgrades during 2013 — February 17, May 12, September 7, and November 23. The upgrades required only moderate downtime and had very few complications. Ben personally signed off and committed 264 out of 1136 changes (23.23%) in the Evergreen master branch from January 1, 2013 through January 1, 2014, giving him the highest commit rate on the Evergreen development team for the year.
On June 30, we made the successful switch in Safe Harbor from two separate half-rack cabinets to a single full-rack area to optimize our space usage and cooling needs.
Carol and Ben created and ran annual State Circulation reports for the libraries to use for the State Library report. Libraries use a wide range of shelving locations, making finer distinctions in their materials than required by the State Library for the annual report. We created a statistical category with sixteen different codes to match our records to the information needed for the state report.
The kids’ catalog software was launched in February 2013. Bibliomation spearheaded this Evergreen development as far back as December 2009 when Amy brought together five other Evergreen sites to fund and direct development. It was very satisfying to finally see it come to fruition. Our partnership with these other Evergreen sites led to the creation of this graphical, icon-driven web catalog for young kids. Feedback from our libraries has been very positive and we look forward to future developments.
The Evergreen support department did remote training sessions and performed a full system analysis and Evergreen server upgrade for North Texas Library Consortium. For Ben, this included a short trip from March 28 – April 2 to Dallas, Texas to work with their servers and systems team directly.
On July 2, we were visited by Martha Payne, HSLC, Pennsylvania for general Evergreen consulting on system configuration and setup options.
Bibliomation consulted at least twice on Kid’s Catalog (KPAC) configuration. We conferred with C/W MARS on March 13 and PINES on October 23.
Our largest consultation work was with the Ethel Walker School in Simsbury, CT. That project started in July with migration work throughout August. The initial go-live was in September, but they used our servers while their IT staff finished setup on their end. The final transition occurred during the Christmas holiday starting December 24 with a real go-live January 2. The Ethel Walker School project is significant because it is the first time Bibliomation has worked to consult with an outside group to help setup and support another Evergreen system.
2013 by the Numbers
276,524 items added by Member libraries
53,218 bibliographic records added to the database
804 original bibliographic records created by Database Services
15,823 vendor records added by Member libraries
15,118 records merged by Database Services
2,139 Help Desk tickets created
1,984 Help Desk tickets were closed
36 Help Desk calls per week