Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Silver Spring Branch will close March 15

In preparation for opening the new Silver Spring Library, the current library will close to the public on Sunday, March 15 at 5 p.m. The branch will be open from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. that day and will host a closing event for the Silver Spring community from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m., commemorating 58 years of library service at the 8901 Colesville Rd. location.

More information on the closing.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

24/7 Hold Pick-up

Recently, while walking down Wayne Avenue past the new library, I noticed that the RFID-equipped book return slot and the hold lockers are less than 50 feet from the sidewalk. Wow, I thought, these hold Lockers are easy to access on foot.

Imagine, it is very early in the morning; you are on your way to catch the train, Starbucks coffee in hand. As you pass the library you remember that you have received an email notice that the latest book, Girl On The Train, is ready for pick-up in the hold Locker. "Hooray!" you think. You walk towards the locker, slip in your library card, the locker opens, you retrieve your material and hurry to the train.

Customers both on foot and in cars will have 24/7 access to Holds. Access to the Hold Lockers is available by car through a small drive-way that you enter off Bonifant St. Once you insert your library card the latch is released, and the SIP Interface checks-out the item to you as you pull it from the locker.

Fast turnaround is crucial to the success of the service. With space for only 55 lockers, we will want materials to be picked up in a timely fashion. The hold notice will give you the range of dates for pick up.  When you return the materials, the book return slot located between the hold Lockers will check-in the items immediately.  This is great news for those of us on challenging schedules, needing instant results.  I think you will enjoy this new feature, and it seems perfect for downtown Silver Spring.

Fran Ware

Friday, January 23, 2015

Tagging the Collection

I will often tell people that the staff is busy getting ready to move. I can tell by the look on their faces that “move” to them means packing boxes and carting those boxes off to the new library. What it does mean these days is that the staff is tagging the collection. Many of you already know the new library will have an automated check-in and sorting system on the first and third floors. It is RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology that allows this sorting to take place. RFID technology enables staff to know if a book is checked out or simply lost in the building. There will be gates on the first floor at the Wayne Street and Fenton Street entrances. Those gates will alarm if someone has forgotten to check out. Should this happen we will invite them to return to the self-checkout station. 

The check-in process is totally automated. The RFID tags are attached to the book, DVD or other piece of material and placed on a pad connected to a PC. The bar code on the items and the tag are linked together and entered into the computer. The books are returned through an opening where they are put on a conveyor belt, checked –in by a computer and sorted into a tub for shelving.  

The 2” x 2” tag is a small but important feature of RFID. For the first shipment we received 100,000 tags. Forty-thousand were sent to the processor for the opening day collection. The other 60,000 were left with us to put in each piece of library materials. We started in early summer and we have 3,000 left from the original shipment to apply to materials. We recently received another shipment of 40,000 tags and are busy getting ready to apply those tags.

It is a tedious job that takes time. Volunteers cut the tags and staff places the tags in materials. We have boxes of cut tags stored in the manager’s office. Right now we count the number of tags that we place in materials just to give us a count of the collection and see how closely that mirrors what we know to be the size of the collection. But the beauty is you will now be able to checkout more efficiently by simply placing a stack of books, up to fifty, on the pad and they will be checked-out instantly.   

While there is always an adjustment period, once customers and staff become acclimated to this technology, I predict we will enjoy the many benefits it offers.

Fran Ware

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Technology in the New Library

The technology in the new Silver Spring Library is going to be one of the outstanding features of the building. As you approach the building, a large digital sign at the Wayne Avenue entrance will identify the building and announce upcoming events.  Of course, WIFI will be in the new building but a commercial grade router will improve response time and stability.  We expect WIFI users will notice the difference immediately.

On the third floor, the main library entrance, you will find the Digital Media Lab equipped with MACs and PCs with the latest software, set up to allow you to create and expand your learning experiences. While I am not able to name specific software or hardware choices; I know that those customers interested in digital photography will be pleased to find Photoshop and Adobe LightRoom for creating beautiful projects. 

We also plan to have a Tech Bar where we will demonstrate the various devices the library carries and to feature any new technologies in the marketplace. For example, if a customer needs help using the library’s free e-books, they can visit the Tech Bar, which will be equipped with comfortable seats, see a device demonstration, and ask questions in a supported environment.

The internal square footage of the library space is 60,000 square feet, three times our current size. Staff will use a product called Vocera to maintain communication across all three floors. As staff walk around and interact with customers, the Vocera voice recognition device will allow them to alert colleagues on other floors when assistance is needed. 

The  catalog computers customers use to locate materials will be touch screens. Customers looking for DVD movies will use the DVD media boxes on the third floor where there will be several boxes for dispensing these popular materials.

I am always available to answer questions that come up about the new library.

Fran Ware


Monday, June 16, 2014

New Silver Spring Library

  New Silver Spring Library:

 At the corner of Wayne and Fenton in downtown Silver Spring the new library jets out over the corner where both streets intersect. It is a majestic-looking building, truly stunning with lots of glass and sharp angles. Passersby’s stop and look upward as the workers erect the beams and install the windows. There is an excitement mounting with each change to the structure.  

If you want to see what the building will look like once it is finished, come to the present location where the model is on display. The model is on the Information desk and staff is available to answer your questions about the new building.

Each month with this blog, I am going to feature a service or piece of equipment that is going to be in the new building. My goal is to provide you a preview of what to expect once we open for business.   

Here are some answers to the questions that are asked of us at the branch:  
  •  The library is on the third, fourth and fifth floor.
  •  You enter the library off the third floor elevator. Stairs and an escalator also provide access to the third floor.  
  •  The children's room is located on the fifth floor. 
  • The fourth floor is where you will find the public computers.
  • Yes, the seating is going to be comfortable and plentiful.
  •  The free WIFI will continue.
  • There are many more study and small group rooms; eight to be exact.
  • The collection will be larger.
  • The staff size will increase.
  •  We will be open 69 hours a week over seven days.

        Join me next month where the topic will be technology.