|Our student staff is not the only part of our staff that is being depleted this spring: at the end of June, Carmen Epstein will be moving to Des Moines where her husband has accepted a promotion to Eastern Area Supervisor of the USDA Market News Division. This is a kind of going home for Carmen and Jim, since they started out in Des Moines 21 years ago. Once she has settled her family into their new home, Carmen will be looking to for another librarian position in some lucky library in the Des Moines area. We will be missing her a great deal!
We will be looking at creative ways to fill this most recent library faculty vacancy, both short-term and in the longer view. More news on that come fall.
With so many people leaving campus for the summer, students and faculty alike, it is often assumed that we have little to do in the library in the summer. In fact, while it is true that our walk-in business does drop off, summer is when we accomplish a number of substantive projects that we do not have time for during the academic year. You may recall, for instance, that last summer we created the new music resource space on the library's third floor and also the Archives room on the main floor.
This summer, while we will no doubt also do some more juggling around of our space use in the building, our principal project will be the implementation of a new library system (online catalog etc.). Fortunately, most of us already have considerable expertise and experience with such major computer system migration. Still, as any of you who have been involved with the Millikin campus implementation of Banner can understand, there is a mountain of data decisions and conversion to be accomplished, new workstation-specific software (client modules) to install and configure, and not to mention learning the specifics of new software for all day-to-day computer activities. Some highlights:
As you recall from my February newsletter, two of our librarians, Jen Masciadrelli and Susan Avery, are serving on different state-wide committees working on customizing the new system. They have put in many hours on this work, in conference calls and intermittent visits to Champaign. Jen is also our project coordinator in the library, making sure that all the implementation details are being attended to.
Almost everyone on the staff has already received intensive training in those modules of the system that they will be working with most closely. Jen and I have attended at least a week total of overview and training, since we need to be familiar with all aspects of the system.
During the second week of May, all of our bibliographic records and associated we-own-it records are being loaded into the new system (some 300,000 records total); and then Linda Chitwood, our Cataloging Associate, will quality-check those records against representative records that she and other staff have already selected. Once she is satisfied that this record load has been done accurately, we can start working with this data to create additional records.
Linda Rash, Periodicals Associate, will be working with Jen over the summer to create about 1,000 grids for recording ongoing daily receipt of periodicals subscription issues. Using those grids, we can make sure that we are actually receiving what we should be receiving; and that same information will also be displayed in the public catalog.
Marsha Leach, Acquisitions Associate and Office Manager, will be implementing our library materials fund structure as well as creating hundreds of vendor and publisher records, this in the service of ordering materials and keeping track of what we spend on various categories of materials. She and I are refining the fund structure this week, prior to her implementing it.
The Circulation Desk staff (Cindy Dothager, Circulation Desk Supervisor, and Gavena Dahlman & Ben Gardner, Circulation Associates) will be reviewing the accuracy of the newly transferred borrower address records (approximately 5,000) as well as attendant loan records (what people have borrowed and not yet returned). They will also have to create new procedures for loading new address records in the fall, using extracted Banner records.
Our regular work must continue alongside this implementation work, of course. For one thing, Jason Butterick and Gavena Dahlman will be sharing interlibrary loan responsibilities during Ruth Nihiser's annual two month absence.
We are aiming to be up and running with the new system by August 1, 2002, keeping in mind that even with all our careful planning, computer system implementations sometimes can take longer than intended.