My day at NCLA started with my presentation entitled “Two Roads to Offsite Storage: Duke and Wake Forest.” to a small but interested group who were there to hear about offsite storage solutions. In a straw poll taken at the start of the session, about half of the people that attended were from Special Collections, interestingly, and about a third of the audience already had offsite storage in place. Marvin Tillman and I shared our separate but parallel paths to Offsite Storage. The contrasting methodologies tends to give a greater perspective than either of us alone, and serves to educate those in the audience on all of the different decision points that are necessary to examine before accepting offsite storage as a solution for a crowded library. The session provided positive reinforcement that the problems in academic libraries are universal, even if the solutions are not.
After my session I stopped in to hear Mary Scanlon present along with Leslie Farison of ASU, and Debbie Hargett of Wingate who gave the presentation entitled “Economic Development in your Community: Become Mission Critical”. Their session was moderated by Jill Morris of NCLIVE. It was an entertaining look at all of the information available to people interested in starting a business. Using the various tools, they determined where in North Carolina a dairy farmer might want to start producing and selling his own ice cream. I had no idea that there was this much information available, and can’t help but think that if people who wanted to start a small business just talked to their friendly local librarian, no small business would fail!
The final presentation I attended was given by Jean Ells and Yvonne Allen of Wake County Public Library system and was entitled “Assessing the Look of Your Library”. They discussed the struggles of trying to maintain a uniform look across many different library branches that exist throughout the county. Since the county has many branches of all different sizes and ages, it is difficult to keep all of them equivalently equipped, but that is their goal. They have attacked the problem by conducting an annual walk through of every library in the county and assessing such things as their furniture, their signage and wayfinding, the repair of the building, etc. One very successful strategy they’ve adopted is to purchase most of their products, furniture, services and equipment in bulk and deploy them across all of the library buildings. This enables them to swap out furnishings from one library to another when needed if, say, one branch closes and another expands. They evaluate everything from displays and clutter, to general repair and layout of the library. After each walk-through a review with the library director is conducted, and a list of concerns generated. From that conversation they develop a list of purchases that can be made centrally to address issues where appropriate. There was an interesting and lively discussion following the presentation.