In the past two months we have solicited ideas for the 2014 LSTA Technology grants via Technology and ILS Committee cluster reps. The ideas were discussed at the committee and then evaluated by the SCLS ILS and Technology staffs. Below are the grant projects that we submitted.
1) RFID Tags. 9 of the 43 SCLS libraries in the shared ILS (LINKcat) are using RFID technologies. LINKcat libraries benefit from an open resource sharing policy. When items from non-RFID libraries are received at RFID libraries to fill patron requests, it is beneficial to tag the item for the ease of patron self-checkout. Patrons will benefit from a standard self checkout process at the RFID libraries. Non-RFID libraries would benefit by having their items tagged should they someday implement RFID as well.
2) Integrating LINKcat with 3rd party databases. LINKcat is the shared ILS using LibLime Koha for 43 of the SCLS member libraries. Since Koha is an open source ILS, SCLS has developed the searching interface to be a modern and highly functioning retrieval tool for materials held in libraries. We also load bibliographic records for electronic resources such as Wisconsin’s Digital Library (OverDrive). However, these records are not integrated and patrons cannot see current status, etc. Some third party databases such as OverDrive and Ebscohost have developed APIs that allow the ILS to integrate more completely. The goal of this project is to pursue development for LibLime Koha so that patrons will be able to search electronic resources databases such Wisconsin’s Digital Library and Ebscohost (via BadgerLink) and to see real-time statuses where appropriate. All patrons using LINKcat will benefit from this project. By incorporating electronic resources searching into LINKcat, the opportunities for finding appropriate resources expands greatly. This is particularly true for patrons in rural areas who may not be as close to their library as in more urban communities.
3) Increasing bandwidth in libraries. The majority of the libraries using the SCLS managed network do not have enough bandwidth to meet the ever increasing demands of their patrons. Access to wireless is becoming even more critical as more patrons bring their own wireless devices into the library. SCLS has been working for several years to find ways to increase bandwidth. We have created a plan to increase bandwidth based on critical need to moderate need. We are moving forward, but with increased bandwidth come increased hardware costs as a large number of the network routers will need to be upgraded in order to accommodate increased bandwidth. Increasing bandwidth will meet the needs of all types of patrons using both wired computers and their own wireless devices in the library, including those seeking jobs, students doing homework, those doing research on the internet, foreign workers attempting to stay connected with their relatives and friends back home, those downloading electronic resources and those who are using the internet for recreational use.4) Joining the SCLS Shared ILS. SCLS has 10 libraries that have not joined the shared ILS. Many of these are very small, rural libraries. For them it is often difficult to come up with the costs necessary to join the system, such as the ILS vendor software setup fee. Larger libraries tend to have higher startup costs as they often pay migration fees in addition to a setup fee. SCLS would like to assist libraries with startup fees and migration costs by allocating a portion of the LSTA grant to them. Libraries that have not joined the shared ILS will benefit from this service as they will be able to access the resources of all LINKcat member libraries.