Tuesday, September 04, 2007
Response to comments
The staff will be training on the new system Thursday and Friday, September 6 & 7, and we will be on the new system live the next Monday. We think you will LOVE the new features! a. lynette
Crashing and Burning, and Cavalry to the Rescue
It’s said that if March comes in like a lion, it goes out like a lamb. August, 2007 for us started out like gangbusters, but thanks to a very unexpected and rapid decay of our library software, we ended up limping, whimpering, and thrown back to the pen and pencil era.
Our automated software was purchased years ago, and the company was bought out last year. The staff began researching alternatives, and we put a request for new software in next year’s budget. Before the budget hearings were held, the software started crashing. At first, it was every 3 or 4 days. Then it got to be every 3 or 4 hours. The last week of August, it gave up the ghost entirely.
The cavalry enters, in the form of the Commissioners’ Court. Thanks to an emergency request, the new software service was purchased in mid-August instead of January, 2008. A plea from us to the new vendor moved us to the top of the queue, instead of waiting about 8 weeks. When we finally crashed and burned for good, they were already halfway towards our full switchover. We anticipate being fully operational once again by September 10, if not sooner, and the new software has enhancements that have come about over the past few years thanks to new library-oriented technology. The “value-added” content we will be able to provide for our customers will be a real pleasure.
While all of this drama occurred, we continued with film programs, the West Chambers Branch had its rain-delayed End of Summer Reading waterslide event, and we bid adieu to 2 of our summer pages heading off to school. We had an extremely successful orientation to the library’s services for Home School parents at the West Chambers Branch, and we held cooking demonstrations at Anahuac and Mont Belvieu that were just as well received. New teachers at all three schools received flyers about our “teacher cards,” which provide bulk titles at longer than average loan periods.
There was a pajama-time “read-in” at Mont Belvieu, with some of the elementary level school principals starring as readers; the event was sponsored by Starbucks, and they brought the refreshments for kids and parents alike. We welcomed a new Senior Texans Employment Program person to Winnie, and got our long-sought full-time replacement installed at Anahuac. And 250 kindergarteners met Miss Kathy at their BHISD open house event, and were thrilled to receive her goody bags with information about the library.
And the day-to-day operations continued: patrons using the computers for filling out job applications, taking tests, banking, or just horsing around. Patrons looking for books on cooking artichokes, doing Pilates, growing bananas, repairing fishing reels. Moms looking for ways to entertain their children just one more week till school starts. Folks just reading the newspapers. What a wonderful place to visit and work!