Designing my ideal ILS

Posted on February 29, 2008. Filed under: access, catalog, customers focus, ideas, ILS, library |

Today in our management meeting, our Executive Director, Gina Millsap, made the comment to the effect that much of the talk with open source systems is just using that tool to replicate existing ILS practices. This thought ties into my recent post about the inter-relation between library catalogs and other sources such as bookstores.  All of this makes me think that we should really talk about what we want our ILS to do for us.  What would it look like? I’m going to pretend that I don’t know anything about BI or catalogs or any of that library stuff.  I actually had pretty good BI as a kid, thank you to my school librarians, but I’m pretending a dream system here! When I want to find something – I put whatever comes to my mind into the computer and it tells me where I can find it.  A map of the library pops up on the screen and it leads me to the correct shelf and shows me what the book looks like and exactly where it is.  If the “book” comes in an audiobook format or as a movie it needs to show me those options as well, even if they are not located next to each other.  I don’t want a big list of things.  I somehow want it to understand what I’m looking for and make the necessary decisions to provide that for me.  I’m not a techie person, so have no idea how this would actually happen.  A big Google-like list of things is not helpful in this case.  I want the system to do the work for me. It would provide me the options of finding something else or if what it found was not correct, it would provide some options for me to pursue.  It would also give me connections to other similar items; the “if you like this, you might like..” concept. What do you want to see in a system like this?

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Question: Dump the Org Chart vs. Servant Leadership

Posted on October 4, 2007. Filed under: administration, customers focus, ideas, leadership |

During the SirsiDynix Webinar “Dump the Org Chart” we were asked the question, “Since our reason for existing is to serve our customers, how does this relate to ‘servant leadership?’” Our perspective in the webinar was looking at how we could engage and involve the staff and the public in planning and executing the future of the library.   My experience with the concepts of servant leadership is that they promote collaboration and being able to serve as leader from any point in the organization.  It doesn’t rely on the hierarchy to provide leaders and it looks both inside and outside the organization to provide direction and goals for the organization.   Those same principles are inherent in our presentation.  We talked about:

  • Drawing on the collective wisdom
  • Scanning the environment
  • Listening to customers
  • Investing in staff
  • Committing to quality, continuous improvement and excellence
  • Re-allocating resources to focus on the work

 While stated differently, I believe that the customer focus of both servant leadership and our presentation is the same.  We may all use these tools in various ways to achieve the same goal, but in the end, I think we are working for the same thing. 

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Barriers to new ideas

Posted on August 18, 2007. Filed under: administration, barriers, ideas, library |

September 18th, Gina Millsap, Executive Director of the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library and I will be presenting a SirsiDynix Webinar titled, “Dump the Org Chart – Get ‘er Done!”  My part of this presentation is to look at barriers to implementing new ideas and to offer some suggestions about how to work around those barriers.  I would really like to hear from others about their experiences in this area.  What barriers have you faced as you put forth new ideas, or what problems do you face when new ideas are presented to you?  Your personal stories will help make this a realistic presentation.  I will not share names or institutions, but may use some of the problems as I prepare my presentation.  If you don’t want to blog them, please send them to me at  Thank you for your help.

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