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Director's Column

PLSJC Director Alan Hall writes a weekly column discussing library and community news, history, and other interesting subjects.

Library Under Construction

By Alan Hall, Director, PLSJ
Publish Date - Sunday, May 6, 2012

We have two projects in the library system that could be labeled “Under Construction.”


It is now 30 days from the “cutover date” for our computer software upgrade.


The current software that operates our circulation system, which is a shared system with 80 other library systems, is approaching 7 years old.


While the software has regular updates, the basic frame of the system was installed in 2005 and the time has arrived for a major overhaul.


On June 6, we will move from Horizon Information Systems to Symphony Information Systems, both a product of the SIRSIDynix Corp. 


Library staff is currently in the training mode for the new system, and we all hope we will remember all that we learned in these day-long workshops.


The new software allows for greater capability in system usage, and more cross-connections within the system.


It also has more capability in working with the new generation of smart phones as people access the library from their personal devices rather than home computers.


Libraries have “come a long way” since I was being trained in 1977 to count the number of spaces made by a typewriter on a catalog card for the card file.


Nine spaces between the Dewey Decimal number and the author main entry, three spaces before the indentation to start the title.


Cross-references are only allowed if you reference an existing entry, otherwise you have to use a “see” and “see also” connection to the main entry.


Actually, it is amazing to have moved this far in information services in slightly more than 30 years.  I remember thinking that a floppy disc would never have enough capacity to handle much of a library’s needs.


Also “Under Construction” is the new circuits that will carry data to and from our libraries at a higher speed and capacity.


As information has moved from binary codes of basic numbers to graphic interfaces of color images, the power and capability of the circuits needed to move information have increased multiple times over days gone by.


Our other “Under Construction” project involves roof replacement at the Schiappa, Toronto, and Tiltonsville Library locations.


Buckets and towels catching the leaks will be replaced with new pre-finished Galvanized Steel interlocking roofing systems.


The shingled roofs had all passed their 20 year life spans, and thanks to the library’s capital funds, we are able to replace the roofs with longer-life steel roofing systems.


The Schiappa Library is also receiving an expansion of the porch system to allow better protection of the public from rain and snow as they access the building.


It is interesting that the Main Library’s 1956 slate roof continues to serve its purpose, with an occasional replacement of a broken slate.


I apologize for the work noise and inconvenience at our buildings during this work, but I know you will be impressed with the “new look” of your libraries.


You will be equally excited by the capabilities of the upgraded computer system when it is finished this summer.