Building a library for the 21st Century has presented us with some unique challenges. Twenty years ago, we were still using the card catalog and stamping due dates onto little strips of paper that were taped to the inside of our book covers. I remember those days fondly. But things change and progress happens. Now we have new elements in the library with names like RFID (radio frequency identity) tags, materials handling systems, online catalogs, digital signage, and WiFi.
Look at our materials handling system in action:
Our intent, of course, is not to make the library a less impersonal place. To the contrary--we want to employ our technology in ways that allow our librarians to spend more time with our most valuable asset: you! It takes a while to get it right though. Your new library has so many new bells a whistles and there are a myriad of little virtual knobs to tweak and turn to get it all right. We're working on it. In the meantime, feel free to grab any of us and tell us how we can improve your library experience. We're here for you!
That is, the server on which our website lives weighs 28lbs. But we have about sixteen other servers that needed to be moved as well. Servers are like computers, but they are flat and live in a cabinet. They run all kinds of software, such as programs that accept the email that you send us and firewalls that keep all the other computers in the library safe from hackers, worms, and viruses.
In addition, we moved all of our networking equipment--devices with names like "router" and "switch" that allow all of the computers and servers inside the library to talk to each other. When you come in to use the library, you will be pleasantly surprised by how much faster everything will be. Our internet connection is almost ninety (yes ninety) times faster than it was at Leroy! For those of you who like to work wirelessly, we have installed twenty-one access points around the building using the latest WiFi technology from Cisco. We only had three access points in the old library! Every inch of the new library will have full wireless coverage.
We're also going BIG in the new computer lab. Not only are we putting in all new PCs, but they will sport brand new 24-inch displays! We promise that your web pages will have never looked so good.
All of the techies here at the library are excited by what we have to offer in the new building and we can't wait for you all to come in and use it. And by the way... We have a few surprises in store as well!
Ah...the marvels of technology! One of the great things about having a virtual presence is that we can still be there for you in many ways during the weeks that we are closed.
Except for the few days when we are physically moving the servers to the new building, darienlibrary.org will be open. We'll still continue to read, watch, and listen...and then report back about books, movies, music, and technology, as usual. And, perhaps, of most importance, while we are closed you will still have access to much research information.
We want to remind you that our "Online Resources" will still be available. These resources will help you find articles that Google can't access! You will be able to access online magazines and journals, and utilize specialty databases which include topics such as Investing & Finance, Health, Consumer Information, and Geneology, to name a few. (You'll be happy to know that Homework Help will also be available!) To use these services from home, you will need to provide your library card number so that we can verify that you are a Friend or town resident.
For more information about what to expect while we're closed, click here. We're looking forward to opening the actual doors at 1441 Post Road on January 10th!
Have you seen Amazon’s new portable reading device, the Kindle? Just last week, talk show host Oprah Winfrey named the Kindle as her favorite new gadget. Ms. Winfrey cited the Kindle's wireless connectivity, paperless platform, and competitive per-title pricing as the primary reasons for her enthusiastic support. About the size of a paperback book, the Kindle can hold over 200 digital books, newspapers, magazines, and/or blog posts. The Darien Library invites you to stop in and take a look at our Kindle. We have predownloaded several recent titles, as well as a daily subscription to the New York Times. And, we have a complete, printed version of the Kindle User's Guide for your easy reference. Why not come in and see what the Kindle is all about. Interested? To check out a Kindle please call the Help Desk at 203-669-5238.
First, the bad news: The Library's classic iPod crashed after many, many checkouts. Now the good news: A replacement model has been received and is ready for use! Our iPod, along with all of our library materials, including our computers, was purchased with contributions from Friends of the Darien Library. So, in order to check out our iPod, you must be a Darien resident, work full time in Darien, or be a non-resident Contributor to the Library at the $300 level. Before stopping by, be sure to check our catalog to see if the iPod is available for checkout. If it's checked out to another library user, just click on "Request this item" to place a reserve, and we'll email/call you as soon as it's ready.
For more information on the Library's iPod or on any of our technology, please call the Help Desk at 203-669-5238.
Even though we don’t move into the new building until January, we have a new look now and it’s on the web! Today, while many people were vacationing, and most offices and businesses were closed, we quietly launched our new web site and made a loud splash in the library world. Take a look!
The new design and software has integrated the Library’s web site with its online catalog which will improve the experience for its users (that means you…that means us…that means everyone!). This will allow you to participate in the social aspects of the catalog, by tagging, writing reviews, and managing your own account (it’s so easy and intuitive!). We’ve been having a blast tagging and writing reviews. Try it! We think you’ll agree that it’s fun. We also think you’ll agree that the new web site looks really good. We are proud of our new look.
John Blyberg, our Head of Technology & Digital Initiatives planned and designed the new site. He is considered an expert and an innovator in library technology development; his development of SOPAC 2.0 as “open source” software makes this a much-anticipated development for libraries. In fact, it is very big news and will cause a stir and lots of talk in the library field nationally and internationally. John is known to do that, you know…case in point…there I was, researching to write the publicity piece about the new web site -- SOPAC 2.0? SOPAC 1.0? open-source?…Huh? … library web innovations?…Google kept leading me back to one name…Blyberg. Obviously, John is not just our go-to guy…he’s THE go-to guy and everyone in the blogosphere uses the same word when talking about John…awesome.
So now you know why we look so, um, awesome. To use a back-to-school term (since it's that time of year), John has just moved us up to the next grade. And we’ve all gotten in on the act. Everyone on staff has been working hard (are we bleary-eyed?) to get the new web site ready for launch. The goal, as always, is to provide great service. Here’s how John explains it: “We’re of the mind that the success of this project will be reflected in the improved quality of online customer service we provide. When approaching this project, we did not consider it in terms of how we would measure its success; we based our decision to proceed on whether there was anything else available that we could use that measured up to our standards.” He adds, “This project reflects the sensibilities and philosophy of Darien Library.”
I didn’t realize how big this was and what it meant to the library world in general until Louise explained it like this: “Although some library vendors have been moving in this general direction, no one has done what John has done. Furthermore, he has created this software using “open source” software which allows any other library to use it as well. He has made a really significant contribution to the whole library field. We are redefining the public library for the 21st century, with our new building, our changing services, and this new online presence”