Monday, April 16, 2007

Ken Roberts on Hamilton Public Library - Library 2.0


Library 2.0: Building Communities, Connections & Strategies

Ken Roberts, CEO of Hamilton Public Library

From the tab "Library Services", they access not just HPL but also other libraries in the community including Mohawk College and McMaster University.

If you are a library user and are on the city's portal, any search will also pull up library results. "Complete integration with municipal services." Using Sharepoint portal software. Compliant with accessibility codes; just because the software is compliant, it doesn't mean the documents added are compliant. Have provided training on this aspect.

26 web authors for the content, it gets put directly onto the portal without any mediation. They do extensive staff training and have a standards committee to look at changing standards. 200 people have been trained on creating content.

Risk management components: which parts may fail, what will they do if they fail? However, they didn't account for how much the events calendar would be used by the community. It was the first application that crashed.

Create collaborative space for community groups. Now have 70 online book clubs that use the collaborative space.

Designed for online transactions (maintained by the City); community organizations can use to do fundraisers, sell tickets, collect donations; has not worked well.

70-80 users per week obtain library cards that never go into a branch; they are using electronic services. Do not require them to go into a branch to pick up a card.

Find-it guides, on-line pathfinders, book clubs - if they add new titles to the catalogue, they automatically update. Dynamic, unlike a fixed PDF file that needs updating.

**If we provide fewer services but spend more money on publicity and marketing, we will find them better used. Ken Roberts was on the jumbotron at a local Tigercats football game that was nationally broadcast - becoming a "famous librarian". Had a tie-in with the Ticats; gave away Ticats tickets obtained from the team during off-season for free. Next run of library cards will have the Ticats logo on it (good organization, so good tie-in).

Partnerships in the community work well; your reputation will precede you. Nobody now starts a public partnership now without considering the Hamilton Public Library; considered a good, honest broker which will bring valuable resources to the table.

Built a fibre optic system in the community with the public schools in the mid-90s; has really paid off to allow them to put the portal into place.

Featured in an upcoming IFLA book on partnerships. Partnerships – many work, some don’t. For those organizations that don’t work well in the partnerships will have a more difficult time starting up partnerships later. Going into a partnership you need a common vision. Sometimes you need to compromise to create that common vision. You have to stay true to your organization’s goals; many times compromise works, sometimes it does not and you do not pursue the partnership.

“Celebrate success, excuse mistakes.” Any time working with a partnership, mistakes will make; look for a common culture. This is the attitude that the HPL brings to the table. You lose volunteers fast if you become critical; everyone who worked on it gets T-shirts, Ti-cat tickets, had a draw. Everyone is recognized.

They have not turned on financial transactions yet (city and library are currently using them but haven’t turned on for the community groups; legally with the city they haven’t decided how they should open it up).

Virtual library branch is a real branch. Started in 2001. Provides full online services, has its own manager.

Bibliocommons – social software, front end for library systems, allows users to put in information. Want to be the first multi-faceted group to use this

Second Life – have an island, just starting to build it. He loves SL; he believes it has huge potential. Working with vendors to deliver services

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