And I do mean chillin’.  Literally.  It’s cold here.  This should come as no surprise, since I was freezing last time I came here for the IUG Conference in San Jose.  But something deep down inside of me keeps saying California is warm…  It’s not.  Or, at least, it isn’t here in Emeryville.  I’m here for a week of training at III. 

Today was the first day of training.  We learned how to customize our Web OPACs.  I can’t wait to try some of the things I learned today.  I’ve looked at our OPAC and I’ve looked at the OPACs of other libraries and there are a lot of things I’d like to incorporate into ours.  For example, I like that patrons can rate the materials they’ve borrowed.  It’s sort of like creating a recommended reading list among library users.  People like to share their opinions on things and I think this is a good opportunity to get the patrons actively involved in the library. 

I also like that patrons will be able to save their reading history.  Our instructor allayed our concerns about patron privacy by stating that only the patron would be able to view his or her history.  I think this is an important feature because it allows the patron (especially if they are doing research) to keep track of sources they’ve already used without having to duplicate records.  Furthermore, there are people (like me) who check out books, get through the first chapter and think I’ve read this already…

I’d also like to update our OPAC for aesthetic reasons.  It needs to reflect the changes within the System and show that we are moving forward in our mission to provide for the information needs of the adults and children of Luzerne County.  There are certain things that people have come to expect from search engines (including OPACs).  Good, bad or indifferent, Google has changed the way people search for information and it’s changed the way they expect to information to be delivered.  Libraries need to focus on what has made the search engines so user friendly and incorporate those principals into our OPACs.

Tomorrow I learn about the nuts and bolts of my job as the Automated Services Coordinator.  Hopefully, I’ll pick up some nifty little tricks I can take home to teach the staff.  Mostly, however, I’d really like to know how the ILS works and how to make it work more efficiently for the staff and patrons.