The SAILS network is now 21 years old. I spoke to our attorney on Monday and we were laughing about all the paperwork she has in her file from the merger of SAILS and ABLE – it goes back to 1994! But I think that despite all the misgivings the creation of SAILS has proven to be the best decision the directors made.
FY16 has been a very active year for us. I have a PowerPoint that highlights a few statistics about usage and staff activities but I would like to talk about a few things that don’t appear on the PowerPoint.
There were a lot of firsts this year – it was the first time we sponsored a library showcase and it was so successful it will be repeated in March 2017. The SirsiDynix staff members who attended the Showcase were so impressed the program was highlighted during their opening address of the Users Group Meeting in Indianapolis.
The network made a change in staffing – one that I think is benefiting everyone. We merged 1.5 positions into one “jack (or Jacqueline) of all trades” – Lisa Hart as the Support Specialist. Her willingness to take on a huge variety of tasks not the least of which was making today’s refreshments has freed up other staff members’ time to focus on member library support. We love having her as a part of the SAILS team.
In accordance with the strategic plan which began on July 1 2015 we concentrated our efforts on providing opportunities for seminars about new technologies and purchasing equipment that libraries can borrow. This year the network loaned tablets and blue tooth scanners to libraries testing Mobile Circ, laptops and scanners to libraries doing an inventory, a people counter, and an Overdrive Media Station. In addition to scheduling a number of training sessions at SAILS and via webinars, SAILS staff went on site to do hands-on training – for example Laurie conducted 2 part circulation training for staff in Mattapoisett. We expanded our digital collection and Kristin worked very hard with a number of libraries to post collections of significant documents and images on our Digital History site.
FY17 promises to be another year of expansion for network services. We are purchasing a hotspot from T-Mobile that can be loaned to libraries who want to go beyond the walls for community events. If there is enough demand we will purchase a second unit. We have scheduled trainers from Novelist and Gale to do onsite training in September to help staff members make the most of the resources available to them. In November we will be sponsoring a one day seminar/workshop on dealing with the “virtual patron.” In response to requests from staff and directors we have new workshops available this year – streamlining technical services using the features of Workflows, searching, a reports roundtable, and the ins and outs of using Google apps. In addition we are hosting a workshop sponsored by MLS on RDA.
SAILS is a multi-type cooperative – it has public libraries of all sizes, academic libraries and K-12 media centers. It is our mission to provide the best possible service and the broadest level of service to all our members. Not everything we offer meets everyone’s needs but our goal is that we have a positive impact on every member, making Southeastern Massachusetts the model for library services and cooperation in the state and beyond.