25 January 2008

New Members

Welcome to what may be our last group of members:
  • Cabot Public Library
  • Cavendish Fletcher Community Library, Proctorsville
  • Lake Region Union High School, Barton
  • Monkton Central School Library
  • Peacham Public Library
  • Roger Clark Memorial Library, Pittsfield
  • Woodstock Union High School
That brings us to 79 members. Not too shabby! Those 79 members cover a wide variety of school and public libraries. Our smallest member serves 120 students (the smallest public, a population of 344), and our largest, over 24,000 residents.

Purchasing mp3 players

For all of you out there considering purchasing mp3 players to circulate, here's a little help. OverDrive has a partnership with Creative Labs to provide their players at a discount, but you must buy in blocks of ten. Yikes!

I did some checking on the prices, and the players can actually be had for less than this program through OverDrive. Check out the following players on Amazon:
Another recommendation is the Sansa Clip 1GB, which you can find on Amazon for around $35.

You'll find lots of Coby mp3 players for sale, often very inexpensively. Be sure to check the compatible devices page, though -- many of the Coby players do not work with OverDrive.

I am not recommending one over the other; you might want to choose based on the display options of the player. The Creative Zen Stone is low-priced, but like the iPod shuffle, does not have a display to show you what is playing. This might not be a big deal for your audio book listening patrons, or it may be!

Remember, 1GB is more than enough storage space for an audio book.

16 January 2008

To do, or not to do.... ?

Several libraries have needed a W9 in order to cut a check to the GMLC. The only way we can really do this (without me looking like I've made an additional $25,000 this year!) is to go ahead and start the process of registering the Green Mountain Library Consortium as a 501(c)3.
  • This has a variety of impacts --
    • one, we need to go through the process and pay for a lawyer's time (unless any of you out there are married to or know a lawyer who might do this pro bono). This will run us between $1000 and $3000. We've made more than our goal amount, so we can afford this.
    • two, the eventual not-for-profit needs a board and a financial person. I don't think this would be at all time consuming, especially since policies will have been written and created prior to the board forming (we should have bylaws and a selection policy soon). This board would need to file a form with the IRS each year. So, we'd need some volunteers or have elections, etc.
    • three, it makes the consortium that much more able to apply for grants or seek fundraising from outside our member libraries.
I think we might all need to be honest and think about whether or not we think the GMLC will need to be around longer than possibly this summer. I think it may -- there is no reason why, even if this project was taken over on a statewide level by the DOL at a point in the near future that we couldn't band together and provide access to something else!

If you have an opinion, vote:

And, as we get our site started with OverDrive, we need to agree upon a few things:

  • checkout period -- how long should a book remain "checked out" to a user? One week, or two? The file becomes unusable after the checkout period on a person's computer, but not on their mp3 player or burned cd. New Hampshire chose one week.
  • number of items a patron may have out -- how many downloaded audio books should an individual be able to have at a given time? 2? 3? 5? New Hampshire chose 3, and I think we want to choose a small number in order to have the largest amount of our collection available and keep holds lists shorter.
The Selection Committee was leaning toward one week for checkout; if you think it should be longer, email me at schase[at]stowelibrary.org and let me know. In the absence of responses, we'll go with one week. I might also suggest 2 audiobooks at a time, for now, so again, lack of response will indicate agreement. How does that sound?

Please vote on the 501(c)3 option by next Monday, the 21st, and email me by Friday the 18th with your thoughts on the circulation questions. Next week, we'll get out a draft selection policy for approval.

09 January 2008

New members

Here's the latest additions:
  • Cobleigh Public Library, Lyndonville
  • Dailey Memorial Library, Derby
  • Dorset Library
  • Jaquith Public Library, Marshfield
  • Maclure Library, Pittsford
  • Spaulding High School, Barre
  • Starksboro Public Library
  • Westford Elementary School

02 January 2008

Volunteers needed

We are looking for some additional help from Consortium members. We need:

1. An old CPU to run our proxy server on -- a CPU in your basement that is 5 years old or less would be great

2. Someone to volunteer to host the proxy server -- plugging it into your network and your electricity and making sure it is always on (a library with cable or DSL)

3. Someone to be the technology point person with OverDrive. We need to set up our server, and put our library info onto it. This should be a one-time task, and not take too long. This person, who would be savvy with technology, could also be our next line of defense with a patron problem -- we will all be getting training on how to use the service, so we should all be able to answer 95% of the questions our patrons have. After that, this person could be the one to provide the "oh yeah" types of answers and serve as the one to call OverDrive when all else fails. From other consortium experiences, this should not be time consuming in the least.

We need this volunteer help in order to provide the service. Let me know at schase[at]stowelibrary.org if you have any other questions or are interested in volunteering.

mp3 players

I've been getting some questions about mp3 players and which ones people are thinking of purchasing/have purchased/etc. Could folks post in the comments the models they have purchased or have experience with?