by Kate MacMillan
Last month I responded to a request from a librarian in West Africa who was having issues with a book fair. I forwarded the post to another librarian in the UK, who in turn forwarded it to staff in India. This quick and easy exchange makes me reflect on how technology has changed the very nature of our work and certainly our ability to collaborate and communicate on a global level.
Rather than living and working in our own isolated libraries, we have expanded our roles to reach out to libraries that fifteen years ago we didn’t even know existed! Using a Listserve, the librarian in West Africa was able to request; I was able to respond; and a UK librarian was able to resolve! Maybe these three R’s are the true essence of collaboration…..
This led me to another thought about how technology has radically improved collection development. Gone are the pesky little hand written title lists; the dreaded purchase orders with the laboriously typed book orders; the hand mapping of the library; the catalog cards and the time consuming shelf list! Now, of course, these are things of the past and most libraries use Titlewave or another vendor’s ordering/mapping system.
I have been in this business long enough to remember the first Titlewave CDs and how overwhelmed we all were with this new technology! And then all of a sudden Titlewave was online and the library world as we knew it was never the same again. Has it lightened our work load? Probably not, but it has redefined it and given us the tools to retrieve necessary data to make accurate decisions.
With Common Core now a reality for most states, Titlewave is an important tool with resources that are remarkable… I especially like the tags!
So that brings me back to my new-found Listserve friend. I have emailed her to ask if she uses Titlewave and if she does, I am going to see if we can begin a Titlewish partnership.
One last thought… isn’t technology grand?
Kate MacMillan is Library Services Coordinator and Digital Resource Project Manager at Napa Valley Unified School District and Napa Valley School Library Consortium. Her office provides library services to a 35 K-12 school library consortium representing three school districts, the local County Office of Ed’s curriculum library and three private/parochial schools. Kate has been a public library commissioner and currently serves on the California Department of Education’s Recommended Literature Committee. She is also a board member for the local public access television station.