Library Director’s Report- January 2013
I wanted to give you an update on the automated materials handling (AMH) project at Redwood Shores.
Construction : 2/8 – 2/15
- Wall will be modified for the external induction units and inside wall will be modified for the AMH path
- Library staff is working on a process for materials check-in during 2/8 – 2/15
Layout of AMH : 2/5
- 3M and project team will layout blue tape where the AMH will live and mark required locations for electrical and data
Electrical and Data : 2/8 – 2/15
- City will move electrical and data
Delivery of AMH : 2/15
- Machine is scheduled to arrive
AMH Installation : 2/18 – 2/22
- Because Monday 2/18 is a Holiday, staff will arrive early on 2/18 to let 3M in and begin installation of the induction units. Installation will take approximately four days but we are giving the project plan a few extra days in case of technical challenges
Training and go live: 2/25
- 3M will provide staff training on 2/25. Staff will train the public over the next several weeks similar to the new self-checkout machines. Staff will be stationed outside, helping customers with their returns through the new induction units.
We will be accepting all materials through the AMH, not just RFID items. The reason for this recommendation is due to the check-in layout and the complexity of PLS. While sharing materials amongst PLS members it’s a great advantage, it does come with its challenges; many or most libraries in PLS have not tagged all materials, materials with too much metal, College materials not on RFID, and SMPL’s folio tags can only be read by Techlogic. These exceptions will not be accepted in an RFID only configuration and these materials would be required to be checked-in via a book drop. As you know, the AMH induction units are far from the manual book drop requiring patrons to bring the materials inside or walk down to the manual book drop and this after figuring out why the AMH is not accepting the material! This process will create frustration and affect customer service. We would like the launch of the AMH to be welcoming by both patrons and staff. To accomplish this, we need to minimize hurdles as much as possible so it’s a positive experience.
The automated materials system and lobby redesign at the Downtown Library is in the planning stages. Staff has participated in workshops giving input on customer flow, service points and locations of the induction units. The architect has done a structural analysis of the original brick (hidden) wall to see if an opening is feasible for conveyor systems to pass through. The preliminary plan is to have two induction units in the lobby where the book return slots are now and one or two outside to the right of the front door (as you are facing the building) through the existing window. The service desks would be combined and possibly relocated back against the wall under the TV monitor. This would open up the front lobby area for better customer queuing and traffic flow, and give the library a less cluttered feel as one enters the building. Once plans are finalized, the lobby redesign will go forward before the AMH is installed, which is dependent on the schedule of PLS and other libraries install dates.
Discover & Go, our free museum pass program, first six month statistics:
553 Passes were used by Redwood City cardholders this fiscal year, to date.
About half of the passes were family passes, entitling 3 free family members to visit the venue, so is it fair to say that the participation rate was probably more than a 1,000. 815 reservations were made, so the rate of cancellation or just not using passes was 39.5% overall, and varied with the time of year. Much credit is due to promoting the program and in simplifying Web access.
Popular venues most often visited: Aquarium of the Bay, Exploratorium, Marine Mammal Center, Tech Museum, Oakland Museum, Asian Art Museum, Lawrence Hall of Science. Others included: Cartoon Art Museum, USS Hornet Museum, Napa Valley Museum, Contemporary Jewish Museum, Pacific Pinball Museum, UC Botanical Garden, Bay Area Discovery Museum, Vallejo Naval and Historical Museum) as well as local venues (CuriOdyssey).
The Food for Fines program collected over 10,000 pounds of food and waived $17,000 in fines, clearing 1,200 accounts—a 50% increase from last year. Remember the more accounts we clear, the more use our library receives and interestingly, our fine collection also increases!
Last month, Forbes published the second article in a two-part series on the changing role of libraries. Public Libraries Matter: And How They Can Do More covers a broad terrain and, crucially, celebrates the library’s role as an “integral part of the fragile ecosystem of reading in America” and as an essential community anchor for civic engagement, job-seeking and other essential activities.
Throughout the article, the role and relevance of libraries across the United States is strongly touted as are the hurdles libraries face in the age of e-books.
Reader responses are fascinating including this one:
“I loved your comprehensive call to action. Our town has proactive librarians that read for pleasure, and in turn recommend for every age group in our family…I especially appreciated your reminder that despite the tech boom, libraries are still the heart of the community – all walks of life borrow books and music, check out cookbooks and movies, catch up with the New Yorker or American Girl Magazine, get help with homework, further their interest in birding or knitting – all thanks to their library. Libraries are not a destination, they are the transportation. The Grand Central Station of every great city and town. We have Benjamin Franklin to thank for that.”
IMLS 2010 Public Library Survey Results Announced
Libraries doing more with less – Local government taking larger funding role
Washington, DC—Public libraries served 297.6 million people throughout the United States, a number that is equivalent to 96.4 percent of the total U.S. population, according to new research by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). In 2010, there were 8,951 public libraries in the 50 states and the District of Columbia with 17,078 public library branches and bookmobiles.
IMLS today released the 2010 Public Libraries in the United States Survey, an analysis of the most comprehensive annual data collection of U.S. public library statistics. Nationally, public libraries have seen reductions in operating revenue, service hours, and staffing. Numbers for circulation, program attendance, and computer use continue to trend upward.
This is the first federal statistical report on public libraries to go beyond a national level analysis to report on trends at the local, regional, and state levels. The report identifies indicators in three areas: services and operations, resources, and workforce. To provide a more complete picture of library service in the U.S., the report provides a snapshot for each state, describing characteristics of library service.
“Public libraries in America continue as strong anchors for their communities, valued by the people they serve and striving to meet the changing needs of their service populations,” said IMLS Director Susan Hildreth. “The survey reports decreasing levels of state and federal funding for public libraries, with local support providing a greater portion of funding than ever before.”
“Trends to watch,” continued Hildreth, “include public libraries increasing the number of non-print materials in their collections; offering more access to computers and computer resources; providing more public programs; and diversifying collections, including increasing numbers of e-books.”
“Public libraries continue to be an essential service for the nation’s children. The study finds that attendance at children’s programs reached 60.50 million and circulation of children’s materials increased 28.3 percent over the last ten years.”
Highlights from the Report
Public Library Services and Operations
- Public libraries offered 3.75 million programs to the public in FY 2010, which amounts to an average of at least one program a day for every library system in the country. The majority of these programs (61.5%) are designed for children. Attendance at programs has continued to rise, indicating an increased demand for these services.
- Public libraries circulated 2.46 billion materials in FY 2010, the highest circulation in 10 years, representing a continued increasing trend. Circulation of children’s materials has increased by 28.3 percent in the last 10 years and comprises over one-third of all materials circulated in public libraries.
- The composition of public library collections has changed dramatically in recent years. While books in print continue to dominate the physical portion of the collection, making up 87.1 percent of the total in FY 2010, the share of non-print materials, including audio and video materials and electronic books, has increased. The number of e-books has tripled since FY 2003. In FY 2010, there were 18.50 million e-books available for circulation.
- Public access computer use continued to be one of the fastest growing services in public libraries. In FY 2010, public libraries reported a computer use rate of more than one use for every five visits to the library. Public libraries have responded to demand by increasing access, doubling the number of public computers in the past 10 years.
- Physical visits to libraries decreased 1.1 percent in 2010. (Note: the survey does not collect data on online visits or transactions of public libraries.) Physical visits remain strong with an overall 10-year increase of 32.7 percent from FY 2001-FY 2010. On average, Americans visited a public library 5.3 times per year, a ten-year increase of 21.7 percent.
Public Library Resources
- Public libraries had $11.3 billion in revenue in FY 2010, a decrease of 3.5 percent from FY 2009, after adjusting for inflation. Although local governments have generally been the largest source of revenue for public libraries, they have had to take on an even larger role as state support declined over 10 years.
- Public libraries reported operating expenditures of $10.77 billion dollars in FY 2010, the first decrease since FY 2001. Although expenditures across all U.S. public libraries were $36.18 per capita, per-capita expenditures varied greatly by state, with spending as low as $15.99 and as high as $67.78.
Public Library Workforce
- The recession has had an impact on the public library workforce, which has decreased by 6,385 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) staff since FY 2008, a decrease of 3.9 percent. Staff-related expenditures were $7.21 billion, 67.0 percent of public library expenses in FY 2010.
- Librarians made up one-third of all library staff. Although the majority of these librarians hold a Master’s degree in Library Science from a program accredited by the American Library Association (ALA-MLS), only half of all libraries reported having a librarian with an ALA-MLS on staff.
A copy of the FY 2010 Public Library Survey can be accessed online at:http://www.imls.gov/research/public_libraries_in_the_us_fy_2010_report.aspx .
Researchers may also access the collected data online at: http://www.imls.gov/research/public_libraries_in_the_united_states_survey.a?spx .
Link to blog post by IMLS Director Susan Hildreth.
About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Our mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Our grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit http://www.imls.gov or follow @US_IMLS on Twitter.