Friday, July 11, 2008

Brad at ALA - Rethinking Resource Sharing

I attended a great preconference at ALA this year entitled "Rethinking Resource Sharing". One of the organizers of the preconference was former NEFLIN employee, Gina Persichini. Gina is now a bigwig at the State Library of Idaho. She also did a fabulous job facilitating the meeting.

We started out with Stephen Abram giving his usual provocative talk (his ppt is here).

Some interesting points he made:

995 of the top 1,000 ILLs last year can be bought on Amazon for $4.00 or less.

Why don’t libraries send these books as a gift to the patron’s home? You could add a note “when you are done with this book, please consider donating it to the library”. The average cost to do an ILL is still around $30.

ILLs when purchased circulate 7 times more than other books.

Why don’t libraries lend VHS tapes? Is the VHS format something that cherished?

E-mail is for old people. Millenials use text and instant messaging. Penn State University put together library staff and student athletes to help them in their studies. Staff and athletes who corresponded via e-mail had no increase in graduation rate. Those who corresponded with text or IM increased their graduation rate by 30%.

Cisti (Canada Institute for Scientific and Technical Information) digitizes all ILLs because 90% are requested again.

When people use the wireless in your library make the default homepage your library’s website. All hotels do this. Many libraries do not.

China opened a new university every week last year. The U.S. will graduate 60,000 engineers next year. China will graduate 1.2 million.

Open Source is free…like a kitten.

My son has the ability (through social networking sites like Facebook) to keep in contact with every friend he has ever had.

Wireless capability in 99% of the U.S. is now complete. Google has spent over 1 billion so far as part of this effort. Devices can now be plugged into any electric outlet and give an entire home wireless access. Your new ISP may be your local electric company.

75% of Americans read a book in 2007. This is double what it was in 1947. Millenials read four times more books than boomers.


Next we heard from three speakers:

Jim Myers of Orange County Public Library (FL) described their home delivery service, MAYL. Started in 1974 this service delivers any item placed on hold to the patron's home through a local courier delivery service. Last year MAYL circulated 720,000 items making it the third busiest "branch" in the system. Requests: 60% Books, 20% DVDs, 10% music CDs, 5% audiobooks, and 5% VHS.

Ed Davidson of OCLC discussed interoperability of delivery systems.

Perry Willett described the "Scan on Demand" program at the University of Michigan. This program scans any public domain item that is requested through ILL and provides it to the patron electronically.

After lunch you could attend breakout sessions with any of the above speakers.


Finally we discussed the "Rethinking Resource Sharing" (RRS) initiative. This group has put together a good deal of documentation on the RRS website, but it boils down to this statement:

"We believe that the user should be able to get what s/he wants on the terms that s/he chooses without undue hurdles from the library community."

Here are their primary goals:

  1. Restrictions shall only be imposed as necessary by individual institutions with the goal that the lowest-possible-barriers-to-fulfillment are presented to the user.
  2. Library users shall be given appropriate options for delivery format, method of delivery, and fulfillment type, including loan, copy, digital copy, and purchase.
  3. Global access to sharable resources shall be encouraged through formal and informal networking agreements with the goal towards lowest-barrier-to-fulfillment.
  4. Sharable resources shall include those held in cultural institutions of all sorts: libraries, archives, museums, and the expertise of those employed in such places.
  5. Reference services are a vital component to resource sharing and delivery and shall be made readily accessible from any initial "can't supply this" response. No material that is findable should be totally unattainable.
  6. Libraries should offer service at a fair price rather than refuse but should strive to achieve services that are not more expensive than commercial services, e.g. bookshops.
  7. Library registration should be as easy as signing up for commercial web based services. Everyone can be a library user.

Whew! All in all a great day. A lot to ponder.

If you would like to participate in one of the RRS discussion groups or sign up for their listserv visit this page on the RRS site.

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