Saturday, January 29, 2011

Jaime’s KCLS Jaunt #50 and #51: Issaquah Library and Service Center

Go East!El Fin. La Fin. Конец. La Fine. Kết thúc.

In other words, The End!  I wrapped up my KCLS Jaunts with trip number 29 for a weekday evening visit to the Issaquah branch and attending a KCLS Board meeting at the Service Center.

I’ve had other occasions to visit Issaquah in the past, but it’s been a couple of years since the last time I saw the Outside Issaquahinside.  The branch has been refreshed and is laid out a bit differently since my previous outing!  The Managing Librarian, PhilisAnn, was kind enough to spend a few minutes with me talking about the changes.  We also spent some time discussing the great downtown location and how crazy it can be during Salmon Days weekend.  After my chat with the Librarian, I shortly found a cozy place to sit for a bit to read and listen to the sounds of the library around me. 

After finding a convenient stopping place in my book and checking the time to make sure I’d still be on time to the Board meeting, I headed across the street from the library for my reward for finishing my jaunts – a Confetti Cupcake! So delicious!  I bought a pair of red velvet cupcakes to celebrate at home with my husband after the Board meeting.

There was a bit of a line at the sweet shop, so I arrived just minutes before the start time of the meeting.  If you are Wheelie, Hangin' Out at the Service Centerever interested in meeting people across all KCLS departments and functions, this is the place to be!  Highlights from the meeting included discussion of the new Bellevue parking garage, the budget (and more budget…), and Evergreen, the new catalog system. About 2.5 hours later the meeting adjourned, and I departed glad that I had ended my jaunts with a quick peek into the Service Center and the “inner workings” of KCLS and its Board of Trustees.


p.s. I have one more Jaunt blog post planned to summarize and say thanks to everyone that I met along the way, stay tuned…

Library Map

Monday, January 17, 2011

Get a Charge Out of Redmond: Support for Electric Vehicles is Switched On

Parking for the electric vehicle charging station at Redmond City Hall The next time you’re in the combined Redmond City Hall/Library parking lot, take a look at the two new electric vehicle charging stations at the west end of the lot. The charging stations are designated Level II, which means they give out 220-240 volts versus the 110-125 volts that come out of an average Level I home electrical outlet. The higher voltage cuts down charging time — a full charge is 4-6 hours rather than 8+ hours.

The charging stations are part of the ChargePoint America Program,Electric vehicle charging station at Redmond City Hall a $37 million project sponsored by Coulomb Technologies. ChargePoint has some 5,000 charging stations in nine regions nationwide that were installed free of cost. In return, ChargePoint is required to collect data from the stations, which will be then be analyzed by universities and federal agencies to determine usage patterns.

The City of Redmond will be charging $4 to $5 per electric charging session. The four charging stations (two are located at the City’s Maintenance and Operations Center) are connected via wireless to the national ChargePoint Network. Users can directly access the network to search for the nearest charging station as well as to reserve a station in advance if needed.

The following video shows how a ChargePoint electric vehicle charging station works:

Redmond Library Board

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Jaime’s KCLS Jaunt #49: ABC Express

Go Mobile!If library patrons have difficulty coming to you, reach out to them! The King County Library System has a variety of outreach services and mobile libraries and for my 49th “branch” visit and 28th trip, I caught the ABC Express in action in Woodinville.

Honk, if you like reading!ABC Express encourages early literacy and daycare providers can take advantage of monthly daytime visits for the young patrons.  In the afternoons and evenings, it also visits communities likely to have a need for library materials, though with residents that might not have an easy way to access a traditional branch.

Stocked with books, music, and videos geared towards children, the ABC Express can be a bustling place.  It certainly was when I popped in during its stop in the Wheelie Hangin' AroundGreenbrier neighborhood!  I met Jim, an Outreach Services Specialist, who was kind enough to spend time with me talking about various services that ABC Express and other travelling libraries can provide.  A patron overheard us talking, and unprompted, came over to tell me how Jim makes a point to know all the children that come aboard. I was able to witness this too as Jim greeted the children by name as they arrived and checked out! He says he’s lucky enough to have a job that he absolutely loves and that by being able to encourage children to read and being a positive influence in their lives, he can help make a difference.

So, if you see the bright blue bus in your area, pop in to say hi and experience the…ABC Express


Library Map

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Jaime’s KCLS Jaunt #48: Preston

Go East!Good things come to those that wait and I waited to visit the KCLS Shipping Department in Preston until nearly the end of my jaunts! We headed out for trip number 27 for a lunch time tour of the wizard behind the curtain.

KCLS Delivery VanThe shipping and materials distribution department is in east King County in a large warehouse-style building.  While the library trucks parked out front certainly gave it away, its anonymity belies just how crucial to the operations of KCLS the automation and staff inside it really are!


To start our tour, we were greeted by Tony and introduced to Steve, the managers of the facility and our hosts for the World Mapafternoon.  In addition to innovative library programs, part of KCLS’ world-renown is in its circulation capabilities.  The Automated Materials Handling (AMH) system, utilizing RFID technology, installed in Preston is a large piece of this puzzle.  It’s so impressive, libraries from many different countries visit the facility to see how KCLS moves its materials – nearly 12 million in 2010.  They keep a map on the wall with color-coded pins to track everyone that visits and there is a fantastic distribution of color across the globe!

The AMH has three components:  the inbound/outbound conveyor, the crane, and the sorter.  Mixed materials from the libraries are stored in totes and picked up towards the Inbound and Outboundend of the day at the libraries by one of six trucks.  Each tote typically holds about 40 lbs and 40+ items. Once inside, the inbound/outbound conveyor moves the totes to the crane, which then sorts the totes.  If it’s busy, the crane puts them wherever there is space and as it has free time, it will re-sort the totes to be more efficient for outbound delivery or sorting.  The "Tin Man"(Fun Fact 1:  the crane, previously nameless, has been nicknamed “The Tin Man” by a local Girl Scouts troop that toured the facility.) The crane also feeds the sorting line.  Because KCLS is a large multi-branch system, materials can be picked up and dropped off at any library.  In addition, the increasing number of holds means that there are books that The Sorter Beltneed to be delivered from one library to another for a patron.  Library Pages empty the totes onto the sorter’s conveyor belt, the RFID tag is scanned, and then the item drops into the correct library tote as the conveyor belt moves around.  Filled totes are delivered back to the crane, which stores them in racks until the delivery driver requests them for their next route. (Fun Fact 2: Items that belong to other library systems are not recognized by the sorter and are kicked out of the conveyor.  They are mailed back to their real library home every Friday.)

In addition to the day-to-day delivery of materials, Preston houses two other important functions.  The first is the “Just-Just-in-Time Collectionin-Time” collection.  These materials are usually old information formats, like VHS, or very popular bestsellers.  For older materials, it doesn’t make sense to have these items take up valuable shelf space in the libraries as they don’t circulate as often anymore.  (Fun Fact 3:  “Dark Shadows”, in VHS format, still circulates very, very well and I’m sure it’ll spike again Bestsellerswhen the Johnny Depp version releases!)  On the other end of the turnover spectrum, patrons receive the bestsellers more quickly if they are delivered directly from Preston to their desired hold shelf.  Again, it also helps with space as most libraries don’t have capacity for hundreds of copies of the same book on the shelf! The second function is the packing and delivery of collection material no longer needed to be sold. Because KCLS cannot receive any revenue other than property taxes, the profit earned from selling weeded materials is deposited with the KCLS Foundation.

Welcome to Shipping!It was very neat to be able to see the movement of material through the system and meet some of the staff that works hard to quickly deliver our books to us.  In the future, I’ll have a much better appreciation of the books I put on hold. I know now just what it takes to get that book from the Kent, or White Center or Richmond Beach, shelves to my Redmond holds!

Want to see for yourself? Meet Tony and take a virtual tour of the AMH or meet Shiraz to learn about delivering the totes.


Library Map

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Jaime’s KCLS Jaunt #47: Kenmore

Go North!Weekday jaunts have been fairly rare along my journey, so it was nice to have a chance to spend a leisurely Monday afternoon visiting the Kenmore branch. My mission on trip number 26 was to check out a few more books from the Modern Library’s Top 100 Books of the 20th Century.


Kenmore Building in Background

While currently one of the smaller branches with just a few thousand square feet, Kenmore is anxiously awaiting the completion of their new library in the spring/summer of 2011.  (Check out the construction webcam here.) Located just a few blocks from the present site, the new library will be quadruple its current size! 


Somewhere Out There, Great Blue Heron NestsMost of the seats available were taken by patrons as I perused the shelves and the tiny parking lot was. . .busy, to say the least.  The library is also located next to wetlands with Great Blue Heron nests. In 2005, KCLS formed a unique partnership with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to install a webcam on the nests and host a screen for viewing the birds inside the library.  The webcam is offline for the season, but hopefully they’ll be back in the new library!

With mission accomplished - 2 books found from my list - I headed out to cruise by the new site on my way back home.


Library Map