Head of Automation

Brian Stone bstone at imcpl.lib.in.us
Fri Dec 5 12:00:21 EST 1997

This is a good question, I'll reply to the list.

We have a unix based catalog system, several internet based servers (Web, DNS, mail) and
about 30 T1's to connect our branches. Without strong technical people, we would be at the
mercy of our vendors w.r.t. network design, equipment selection, network management, system
upgrades, etc.... In fact, up until about 2 years ago, that is exactly where we were. The
overall system was prone to failure, the library paid too much for the service and the
technology implyoyed tended to be what the automation vendor was comfortable with rather
than what was best (and most cost effective) for the library and it was limited by what the
vendor was willing to provide.

We now have an extremely reliable system. We have significantly reduced our
telecommunications costs through new contracts with our teclo company. We have a web based
library catalog which allows patrons to renew their books and place holds as well as search
the catalog.  We purchase our equiment directly from the manufacturers instead of through
our vendor (at a cost savings of up to 40%) and we have sensible maintneance contracts in
place. We are no longer a beta/alpha tester of our vendors latest software.

If your going to make the best and most cost effective use of technology, you better have
people who understand it.


Lori A. Schwabenbauer, Camden County Library wrote:

> > ----------
> > From:         Lori A. Schwabenbauer, Camden County Library[SMTP:LORI at CAMDEN.LIB.NJ.US]
> > Sent:         Friday, December 05, 1997 4:28:08 PM
> > To:   Multiple recipients of list
> > Subject:      Head of Automation
> > Auto forwarded by a Rule
> >
> This is not directly related to the Web or DRA.  Please reply to me privately
> and I'll summarize if there's interest.
> We're looking at a possible restructure of our library system's automation
> department.  We're thinking of planning for a "techie" rather than a librarian
> to head the department in future, an "MCSE" as opposed to an "MLS."  How many
> libraries have automation departments headed by a techie rather than a
> librarian?  How necessary is it to have an MLS to handle library automation?
> I am a librarian, and while I can say my library background has been valuable
> in my position, I'm not so sure it's been essential.  How much do the ideology,
> information principles and "professional culture" imbued by librarian training
> come into play in the planning and maintaining of automation functions?  Can a
> techie be easily trained to work closely with professional librarians to see
> that automation serves the special needs of the library?  Thoughts, anyone?
> Many thanks in advance.
> *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***
> Lori A. Schwabenbauer               609-772-1636 x3336
> Supervisor, Automation Services     fax 609-772-6105
> Camden County Library               lori at camden.lib.nj.us
> 203 Laurel Road                     http://www.cyberenet.net/~ccl/
> Voorhees, NJ  08043  USA            Opinions/ideas/gripes are mine.
> *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

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