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August 2014, Volume 6, Issue 6

Continuing Education Alert

Check Your Calendars!!

One Book SD

Teen Blogging Contest
Deadline: August 1, 2014

SDLA Branch Out
August 7, 2014

Library Card Sign-up Month
September 2014

ALSC National Institute
September 18-20, 2014

Banned Books Week
September 21-27, 2014

Banned Websites Awareness Day
September 24, 2014

SDLA Annual Conference
October 1-3, 2014

SDLA Legislative Day
January 22, 2014

Featured e-Resources of the Month
New e-resources' features made available

Library Development


Understand your community's technology needs--take the Edge Assessment

Is your library addressing technology needs of the community adequately? Find out by participating in the Edge Assessment. Edge creates an "action plan" for library staff, customized learning resources, and free online training. This opportunity is available free to just fifteen South Dakota public libraries for a limited time. Participants, including library staff and trustees, may earn CE contact hours by completing the Edge online training courses.

Brittany Moeller, director of Dell Rapids Carnegie Library with staff member Megan

Brittany Moeller, director of Dell Rapids Carnegie Library, recently completed the Edge assessment. Brittany said that with the assistance of a staff member, Megan, the survey took about an hour. The Library staff plans to use it to guide them in creating a technology plan for the library after their remodeling project is finished. The Edge assessment provided benchmarks to help the library staff sees where they stand in terms of providing technology services and programs.

Brittany said that through the assessment they identified a couple of areas in which they would like to improve: providing more software programs to patrons on public access computers and strengthening ties to the community through library partnerships with community organizations. Brittany thinks that any public library in South Dakota could benefit from this program: "It's simple to do, easy to follow, and very informative." The Dell Rapids library staff will participate in the Edge training sessions in August and plan to take advantage of CE credits offered by the State Library for completing the training courses.

If you have any questions about Edge please contact State Library Data Coordinator, Shawn Behrends, at

Sign up for Edge now at: edge


FY 2013 Public Libraries Survey Data -- how are we doing?

If you haven't yet seen it, the annual IMLS publication, "Public Libraries in the United States Survey" (fiscal year 2011), was released in June. This is where much of your Public Libraries Survey data is transformed into meaningful statistics about the health of public libraries in the U.S. Each year, the publication has a particular research focus and this year IMLS staff looked at the impact of investment on public library use to show some interesting relationships:

"Increases in books and ebook volume, programs, public access computers, and staffing were associated with increased levels of visitation.

Increases in collections and programs were related to increases in circulation.

Increases in the number of public access computers were related to increases in computer use.

Increases in programs and staffing were related to higher levels of program attendance." (p. 10)

Key measures of a community's investment in the library are the library's revenue and how it is spent. Examples of investment include expenditures for the library's collections, and technology services. Investment in staff allows libraries to provide knowledgeable assistance to patrons and library programs.

So, how are South Dakota's public libraries doing? The following reflects the newest aggregated data from the FY 2013 Public Libraries Survey:

South Dakota public libraries received 89% of their income from local government sources in FY 2013. Total operating revenue is up by 4.4% from the previous year. Total collection expenditures were up by 2.2% with the weight of spending shifting toward "virtual" resources. FY 2013 saw a 19.2% rise in expenditures for electronic resources from the previous year. Staff expenditures represented 68.5% of total expenditures. Total paid FTE employees increased by 3.2% from 2012. Total FTE staff of the library increased a small amount, by 1.6%.

Visitation and Circulation are two of the most important indicators of library usage. In 2013, library visits increased by 2.7%. This is somewhat surprising because of the increased usage of virtual services like downloadable ebooks and audiobooks means people no longer need to visit the library to access some of its materials. Circulation showed an increase of 6.3% from the previous year. Downloadable materials accounted for almost 7% of total circulation.

Public libraries provide life-long learning opportunities for people of all ages. Total library programs are up 11.3% and total library program attendance is up by 11.1%. In 2013, an average of 24 people attended each library program. The most notable change was a 17.3% increase in attendance at young adult programs.

One important resource that libraries provide is access to the Internet. South Dakota public libraries offered a total of 992 public access computers for use by patrons--a 5.5% increase from last year. Computer use sessions, however, decreased by 3.3%. This may be related to the 7.1% increase in the number of libraries that offer Wifi so that more patrons can use their own devices to access the Internet.

You can look at the statistics for individual public libraries in the online report. (Note that aggregated totals on the table may not match exactly.)

Visit the Statistics page on the SDSL website to find more FY 2013 data on South Dakota public libraries.

Would you like to dig deeper? Do you want to know more about accessing and using your library's data? Contact Shawn Behrends, Data Coordinator for the State Library, at or 605-773-3131, Option 6.


How to automate a library one step at a time: planning, selecting, implementing

Second in a series of 3 articles on library automation
By Nina Mentzel

This article will provide an overview of 10 main steps involved in planning for, selecting and implementing automation systems. Planning steps, steps 1-5, were described in the first article in this series. This second article in the series will discuss the selecting steps, steps 6-8. Additional resources, including sample checklists, for each step may be found at the end of each article.

Overview -- 10 Main Steps to Automation

The graphic below illustrates 10 main steps to library automation. All libraries will need to complete steps 1-5, the planning steps. Steps 6-8, the selecting steps, include Request for Proposals (RFPs). Some libraries may not need to complete this step depending on their size and funding sources. All libraries will need to evaluate systems and contract with a vendor. Steps 9-10, the implementation steps, will also be completed by all libraries.

steps for automation chart

Selecting Steps

Step 6 -- Vendor evaluations, systems overview
Once the planning steps are well under way, it is time to begin the selection process. At this point you will begin to contact vendors. When you speak to vendors, you will want to get an idea of how their systems are sold, what pricing models they use and what system architecture choices they offer (client/server which is hosted locally, or hosted by the vendor).

An integrated library system is made up of modules such as cataloging, circulation, online public access catalog (OPAC), acquisitions, serials, administration, reporting and inventory. Although these modules are integrated in the system itself, they may be sold separately. Nearly all systems come with a cataloging and a circulation module. Some include acquisitions and serials modules at no extra charge. All systems come with reporting capabilities, but these vary greatly in both the number of reports and the ability to create custom reports. What modules of an automated library system do you want for your library? At a minimum, you will want the circulation, cataloging, and OPAC modules. You may pay more for each additional module that is part of your automated system. It is important to ask the vendor when you are quoted a price -- what exactly are you getting?

Pricing models are generally based on the type of system architecture. Pricing for client/server architecture, where your library hosts the system, includes a software license fee based on the modules of the system you wish to use and the number of staff users you'll have. There will also be an annual maintenance fee. For a system hosted by the vendor, pricing will be based on an annual subscription fee for the software plus fees for services provided (including hosting).

After contacting vendors and getting information about software features, and possibly preliminary price quotes, now you may wish to consult with other libraries using the systems you are interested in. If possible, visit other libraries to see the systems live.

You can organize all the data you have collected and begin to narrow down your choices. Creating a chart or matrix detailing your requirements and comparing your requirements to the vendor options can be very helpful. You can narrow your choices by price, architecture model, platform (PC vs. Mac), and any other parameters important to your library.

Next, you will want to request product demos. Some vendors will include your library data in a demo site so you can see how the system will work with your patron and item records. Have a list of questions ready to ask each vendor during the demo. Try to ask the same questions of each vendor so that you are able to compare systems. Add additional questions specific to each system when necessary.

Your research complete, some libraries will move directly to step 8, contracting with a vendor. Others will need to complete step 7, an RFP. All libraries should review the information in Step 7 so that they are familiar with what is included in an RFP, in particular, the standards and security information.

Step 7 -- RFPs, refine requirements

A Request for Proposal (RFP) is defined as:

"A document prepared by a prospective purchaser, such as a library or library system, inviting a vendor or supplier to submit a bid for the acquisition of materials, equipment, and/or services, usually based on a statement by the library detailing specifications. Most public agencies use an RFP process in awarding contracts."

Source: ODLIS, Online Dictionary for Library and Information Science,

The RFP asks vendors to submit a formal proposal that describes if and how they meet your specifications, when they can provide the system and what the price will be.

Responses from vendors may include pricing, enhancements, an implementation plan and a timeline for implementation.

Things to include in the RFP are library background information, the size of the collection, the number of staff and patrons, the number of computers and the operating system used, the existing database that you are using for library records that will need to be migrated into the new program, module requirements and the criteria for vendor response. You may also wish to attach documents such as the library's strategic plan, technology plan, or other supporting information.

The security of an automated system is very important. When you are preparing the RFP, be sure to include questions regarding data security. How is system data protected? How is access to the data secured? What is the backup system? How often is backup performed? How is the system restored after a system failure? All vendors should have security measures in place to ensure that loss of data does not happen.

It is also important to include standards requirements in the RFP. It is important that automation vendors be in compliance with current automation standards. Ask vendors if they are Z39.50 compliant. Z39.50 is an international standard for communication between two computer systems, usually library or information systems. Z39.50 makes it possible to search multiple library catalogs and other resources in one search, and bring back one set of results. In order for libraries to search other catalogs, such as the Library of Congress, and to import records from that catalog into their catalog, Z39.50 compliance is required.

In addition, the product must conform to NISO Standards as identified in the following report: [PDF]

System interoperability using the NCIP (NISO Circulation Interchange Protocol) standard, for providing standardized links between open and proprietary systems is necessary for allowing communication between the system's circulation module and other interlibrary loan systems, the system's interlibrary loan module and other circulation systems and the system's circulation module and the management of electronic book and audiobook formats through third party providers. System capability to integrate with a third party supplier of an Open URL-compliant link server system or service should be possible, as well as, system capability to integrate with a third party supplier of a federated search solution or system or service. This third party system would interoperate with the various library system modules. The integrated library system should be able to function in a consortial federated OPAC search for the end user. Interoperability with other integrated library system or overlay products may be desired.

You will also want to make sure that automation vendors are using MARC 21 bibliographic records. MARC is the acronym for Machine-Readable Cataloging. It provides the mechanism by which computers exchange, use and interpret bibliographic information.

Also check if the system is RDA compliant. RDA is the new set of cataloging rules which replaced AACR2.

At this time you have completed your research, reviewed responses to an RFP if you are required to complete one, and you have selected your new system. Now you will negotiate contract terms with the vendor.

Step 8 -- Contract with vendor / Budget

You will wish to negotiate both price and contract term with the vendor. Most software vendors are negotiable on their prices.

Some contract terms that you may want to negotiate include: an annual renewal clause as opposed to a multi-year commitment, the addition of a non-appropriation of funds clause which states that if your organization does not receive its funding earmarked for automation, the library is not bound by the contract and a clause which states that the vendor's response to the RFP is binding and that deviation from the product specifications and services promised in that document can be considered cause for termination of the contract agreement.

Note: If you don't feel comfortable negotiating the contract yourself, you could make these recommendations to your legal department.

During contract negotiations, you will want to revisit your cost estimates and create the budget for your automation system. At this time you will have the list of costs you need to cover, including hardware purchases, software purchases, any additional staff expenditures, network costs, record conversion, barcodes (item and patron), library cards and training costs. You will be able to prepare an itemized budget including all related costs for the new automation system.

As a reminder, throughout the steps of planning for and selecting an automation system, preparing your collections will continue until you begin the conversion/migration process. Remember that the more you weed and clean-up your cataloging records, the more efficient you will make the automation process as a whole.

Resources for Selecting Steps 6 -- 8

  • Sample vendor comparison matrix for ILS features:
    • ILS Features Matrix -- separate pages for individual modules/features:
      PDF, MS Excel
    • Sample vendor comparison summary matrix:
      PDF, MS Excel
  • RFP resources
    • Colorado Department of Education. "Request for Proposal (RFP) page", Accessed May 2, 2014.
    • Hodgson, Cynthia. "The RFP Writer's Guide to Standards for Library Systems" [PDF]
      Published by NISO (National Information Standards Organization), 2002. Accessed May 2, 2014.
    • Peters, Chris. "An Overview of the RFP Process for Nonprofits, Charities, and Libraries: Some basic considerations for each phase of the RFP process", May 10, 2011., Accessed April 11, 2014.
    • Waller, Nicole. "Model RFP for Integrated Library System Products." [PDF]
      Library Technology Reports 39, no. 4 (2003).

Please contact me with any questions at or 605-773-6391.


"Blue books" are now online

The South Dakota State Library, in collaboration with the Office of the Secretary of State, has just completed a major project digitizing the entire set of South Dakota Legislative Manuals (popularly known as the "blue books"). These manuals are now available online via the SD State Library digital collections page.


Interlibrary Loan: remember two good rules of thumb

As the fiscal year ends in many libraries, statistics from the past year are reviewed. It is no different at the state library, except that we are reviewing statistics from libraries throughout the state. Interlibrary Loan (ILL) statistics are one area we review even more frequently to determine what, if any, changes are needed.

The "Interlibrary Loan Code for the United States -- Explanatory Supplement" states that there are two premises that librarians need to keep in mind when they look at the use of ILL in their libraries:

  1. ILL doesn't replace collection development.
  2. If you borrow, you lend.

ILL should not be used as a substitute for building good library collections. If you find that your patrons are requesting a few particular titles over and over through ILL, that is an indication that you need to purchase those titles. If a patron requests a title through ILL, you should ask yourself if other people in the community would read that title. If the answer is yes, then you should purchase the title for the library's collection. The average total "cost" (labor, time, postage, labels, etc.) of an ILL transaction is $30.00. Check or other book seller sites. If you can purchase the book (including postage) for less than $30.00, think seriously about purchasing it for your community.

Don't borrow brand new titles. Libraries, as a general rule, want to keep brand new titles in their collections for their patrons for an average of six months. It is not unusual for a local library to restrict ILL loaning of new materials for up to a year. Your library should be purchasing brand new titles that your patrons are requesting.

It is also evident, in reviewing statistics, that some libraries in South Dakota are net borrowers (borrow more than they lend) and others are net lenders (lend more than they borrow). The system of interlibrary loan still rests on the belief that all libraries should be willing to lend if they are willing to borrow. It is common courtesy and common sense that if your library borrows materials, it should also be lending materials to those libraries that request them.

ILL is based on a tradition of sharing resources between various types and sizes of libraries. The first program took shape in 1894 and the service continues to be utilized and improved upon over 120 years later. If we continue to follow the premises on which ILL was founded, it will serve the library community well for many years to come.





automation, cataloging, circulation, collection, community, ContentDM, Dell Rapids, digitization, IMLS, interlibrary loan, legislation, public libraries, software, statistics, survey, technology

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