October was another good month for LibraryThing for Libraries, with 7 new libraries coming on board.
First up on the list is the Los Gatos Public Library in California. Although a very small library, they show yet again that you don’t need to be big to innovate. They’ve promoted LibraryThing for Libraries extensively on their blog; they’ve even made a cool little video on YouTube of the widgets in action.
Library number two is the East Brunswick Public Library in New Jersey. Much more than most libraries, EBPL has really positioned themselves as a part of their community. You can see this in their offering of notary and passport renewal services at their libraries and their involvement with the community TV station, EBTV. I like seeing libraries that try to integrate themselves into their patrons’ daily lives like that. For an LTFL action shot, here’s “Treasure Island” in their catalog.
Next up is the Institute of Technology Tallaght, Dublin, our second library in Ireland. Along with our first one, the Waterford Institute of Technology, they’re a part of our nefarious plan to get every Irish engineering major hooked on LibraryThing.
Arlington Heights Memorial Library in Illinois is next up. I’ve already had a couple of other prospective customers ask to have their installation “look like Arlington Heights.” You can see why — they’ve done a great job blending LibraryThing for Libraries into their III catalog.
Finally, GMILCS is a consortium of academic and public libraries in New Hampshire. GMILCS runs SirsiDynix’s Horizon Information Portal catalog. It’s been cool to work with so many of the same people I knew when I used to support Horizon Information Portal for Dynix. Tim will be giving a talk about LibraryThing for Libraries at the CODI, the annual SirsiDynix user conference tomorrow along with Colleen Medling of the Salt Lake County Public Library. It should be a good one, so if you’re at CODI, check it out.
Along with picking up pencils, spatulas, and other stuff with vendor names on them, and talking to a lot of people in denim shirts, annual user conferences are always a good place to learn about new ways to make the software you’re stuck with do new things. That’s really valuable when change happens so slowly in the library software world; I remember helping GMILCS out when they first brought up their current catalog back in 2002. 5 years is a lifetime on the internet, and the gap between the speed that enterprise library software moves and the speed the web moves only seems to be getting bigger and bigger. So it’s vital for software vendors to make catalogs that can be modified, extended and customized both internally and externally. Customers shouldn’t have to wait for years for the shiny next generation product to get new features. It’s not just up to the vendors, though; customers need to keep finding ways to improve their out of the box systems (like David Pattern’s interesting new HIPPie project), library managers need to create a culture where change is embraced, and services like LibraryThing for Libraries need to keep adding more new functionality to existing systems. Legacy library software is inescapable — major upgrades will always be a gigantic chore, and even minor changes to the core of the system will often have huge repercussions on dozens of staff and thousands of patrons. That should not keep libraries from constantly making improvements to their public interfaces.