Sunday, November 30, 2008

Mobility@Your Library - #6 Productivity Tools

Here is #6 of 10 categories of how libraries use mobile devices.

#6 Productivity Tools. These are much needed, given so many libraries still rely on traditional methods of doing things. Baby-Boomer Librarians are retiring in large numbers. Keeping library doors open requires good use of staff time. Some library tasks lead to repetitive stress injury, so those tasks are good candidates for new ways of doing things. Self-service is one trend that increases library productivity.

  • Self checkout
  • Shelf check/inventory
  • Weeding
  • e-Scheduling
  • Reference Desk Statistics
  • Research Starter eWorksheets


  1. When I asked for examples of library mobile or wireless tools, I heard from Jaye A. H. Lapachet, M.L.I.S. of San Francisco-based Content Innovations. The company's product, ProBarcodes, allows a library staff to store scanned barcode (or RFID) information on a handheld device, including barcode readers, PDAs, and mobile phones for later upload to database systems. “ProBarcodes is targeted at small and mid-sized special libraries that would not be able to afford a barcode solution. CheckScan and ShelfScan currently work with ProBarcodes to allow librarians to facilitate self checkout (CheckScan). ShelfScan allows library staff to assign books to certain shelves which assists with inventory and location control.” Mostly in Law and Special libraries. Equipment: HP PDAs, Worth dedicated barcode reader, AT&T Tilt, Windows CE phones.
  2. Scheduline exhibited at the California Library Association annual conference. Their product caught my eye because about six months ago I began working the reference desk at my local college. Each week, I get an e-mail with the reference desk schedule. Wonder how much time and energy that takes each week?!! Well, this company provided a handy and very compelling library cost analysis to go along with its literature. The website lists its benefits to administrators and personnel: Scheduline uses the web to schedule and communicate with personnel. Benefits for Administration: Make schedules at your convenience from any computer (or smartphone) with Internet access at any time. Personnel can view their own schedules online, reducing distracting phone calls and visits. No new hardware or software to purchase or maintain. Your system is always current. Benefits for Personnel: Check schedules online via the Internet. Send requests for special shifts, time off, comp time, paid time off, vacation, etc. without calling or visiting workplace. View or print schedules from any screen.

I'd like to add some solid library examples of Research Starter eForms (for students and Reference Desk Librarians to fill out). I've created a form in MS WORD that helps me remember all the questions to ask students, but the form is also ideal for students off campus or any student starting a new research assignment. This form saves me and students time and energy.

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