The great thing about being away on vacation is that sometimes (at least when you have great staff) you come back and amazing things have been achieved.  Here are some pictures from the library yesterday. Books are in a logical order, most shelves are labeled, the NLB books have arrived and been checked and scanned into Delicious Monster.   AND … big bonus … the ladies from kindergarten and the head were around to have a good look at the “store” room and “cupboards” where all sorts of stuff was being stored in not related to the library and BINGO – they’ve agreed to move them upstairs to the kindergarten area.  As that was one of my “nice to have” items on my transformation plan it feels even better.

Also, we met up with the IT / Systems guy to have a look at the catalogue.  That’s a hmmm.  They’ve got a sort of home made database that they’ve managed to populate with the library book list from about a year ago.  The potential fields they have are:
* Book ID (automatically generated)
* Title
* Category
* Loan type
* Loan status
* Location
* Ownership

Of which only the Book ID and Title is filled in!  Eek!  After being used to working with Follett Dynasty and another systems as a user, it’s rather lean.  I then have to take a step back and ask myself what is really really needed and why.  Our task is going to be to scan all the books in that can be scanned in (seems only English at this point), and then do some kind of export to excel and field match and discard the ones that are missing and add the ones that are new.  Joy.  And tell them what additional fields we’d like to see – like “author” may come in handy.

Ms. Katie forwarded me an email from LibraryWorld who is offering a month’s free trail for their online system. It’s certainly not terribly expensive, but of course it’s more than an in-house home made system.  I tried to export the 2000 odd books we’d scanned into Delicious and immediately ran into the age old library barrier of MARC.  It only reads MARC … so I contacted them, sure they could convert – for $300 – now that ain’t gonna happen I can tell you now.  Second problem I ran into is that it didn’t recognise the ISBN of our Chinese or Korean Books and third was I couldn’t find a logical spot to distinguish between NLB and own books.    May I make a comment as a “not yet quite librarian” – really you need to make things simpler and more intuitive and exchangeable.  I know I know I know about MARC and spent a whole semester getting intimately acquainted with him and his mates Z39.50 etc.  But to tell me in your manual there is no get around having to pay you to convert my data, when it’s a simple database matching exercise …  nope.  If contact software can covert from one to another with ease this isn’t all that much more difficult – especially since all you really really need is the ISBN number to get going.

Anyway, let’s keep positive, and here are some very pretty pictures!

NLB boxes – 3 of those our old books!
Ordering our PYP books
Primary books getting in shape

2ndary books all sorted by call number
Shelves moved passage either side
NLB books on shelf
Hardcovers on display

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