Thinking Big in a Small Library: Implementing Low-Cost Solutions
Singh, M. (2015, March). Thinking Big in a Small Library: Implementing Low-Cost Solutions. Presented at the Library Technology Conference, Saint Paul, MN.
Buying out-of-the-box applications for data collection can be an expensive prospect for small libraries and they may not have enough flexibility to meet your library’s needs. Even under budget constraints staff members can create tools that can have a big impact on the library. Learn how a small academic library is bringing together staff skills to develop practical, low-cost tools to improve customer service and decision making. We will discuss how we collaborated with the iSchool at University of Maryland to create a library usage statistics application, a course reserves system, and an equipment management system. These customizable systems have had financial benefits, facilitated evidence-based decision making, improved customer service, and streamlined staff workflow. For example, the automated hourly usage statistics application has enabled the library to collect data to assess staffing needs, monitor usage of a late night hours pilot, and save staff time by removing the need for additional data entry. At this session you will learn how the applications were envisioned, planned, developed, and implemented. We will brainstorm solutions for data collection challenges you may have encountered at your library. In addition, you will learn how to establish a team of enthusiastic and talented members, bring them on-board, and most importantly, how staff members can make big contributions to improve library services with limited resources.