This week I had the pleasure of visiting the Juniata County Library in Mifflintown. This attractive facility is located near a public park and, at the time I was there, was host to a visit by enthusiastic middle school students. The lower level is home to the Juniata County Historical Society. Lots of great SPARK libraries to visit!
Check out this news story on the new universal library card in Blair County made possible by SPARK functionality and the hard work and dedication of the forward-thinking library people in Blair County. Great job!
We are pleased to announce that all of the libraries in Blair County are now live on SPARK! This includes the Altoona Area Public Library, Bellwood-Antis Public Library, Claysburg Public Library, Hollidaysburg Public Library, Martinsburg Community Library, Roaring Springs Public Library, Tyrone-Snyder Public Library, and Williamsburg Public Library. They went live in sequence over the course of the summer. Thank you for all of your hard work and welcome!
Many SPARK libraries think this way: we are all on SPARK. We share the same ILS, and we share cataloging. Why don’t we share our collections to the benefit of our patrons? Two libraries in SPARK, the Lackawanna County Library System in Scranton and the Susquehanna Library and Historical Society in Montrose decided to do just that and embarked on a pilot project to test resource sharing. Did it improve service to patrons? It did. Was SPARK up to the task of handling books and other materials that went from library to library? Absolutely. Did it go perfectly? No. There were challenges as there sometimes are with new endeavors. Did we learn a great deal? Absolutely. Will it serve as a foundation for future resource sharing endeavors in SPARK? Yes. For more see the report which can be downloaded via the link above.
This week I had the pleasure of visiting the Milton Public Library in Northumberland County. Founded in 1923, it relocated in 2012 when the library purchased an old stone house and built an addition to create 11,000 square feet. The architects and builders did a beautiful job integrating the old and new to the point where I could not tell the two apart. Features include a water wall, an antique wall safe, and a gorgeous, 6 acre lawn with many cherry trees. It is definitely worth a visit if you are passing near Milton. I learn a great deal by visiting SPARK libraries and hope to visit as many as I can as soon as I can.
SPARK is growing! Here is our Migration Schedule for the rest of 2016 and 2017:
Bellwood-Antis Public Library: 9/1/16
Remaining Blair County Libraries: 9/15/16
Pocono Mountain Public Library: 11/3/16
Eastern Monroe Public Library (Stroudsburg): 12/8/16
Bedford County Library System: 3/17
Memorial Library of Nazareth and Vicinity: 5/17
Bangor Public Library: 6/17
Tunkhannock Public Library: 8/17
PaILS is developing a Strategic Plan and would like the input of our members. If you use SPARK in your library or plan to use it but haven’t migrated yet, please take a few minutes to answer this survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PaILS_Strategic_Plan
More great news! The Tunkhannock Public Library will be joining SPARK. Locating in Wyoming County, the addition of this fine library strengthens the presence of SPARK in Northeastern PA as they join their neighbors the Lackawanna County Library System and the Susquehanna County Library. This creates great possibilities for sharing and cooperation! They will be migrating in just about one year.
One nice thing about open source software is that, if you don’t like the way it works, you can change it. PaILS, on behalf of its members, is sponsoring two software development projects. The first, Digital Book Plates, seeks to address the problem of how to show that an item was donated in memory or in honor of someone. Unlike the current solution, Digital Book Plates will be searchable by public and staff. We are also sponsoring a project to add the Search Patron function to Place Hold in the staff client.
I am pleased to announce that the Memorial Library of Nazareth and Vicinity will be joining SPARK! Located in the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania, Nazareth is, famously, home to the Martin Guitar Factory. Welcome Nazareth!