January, 2001, Raleigh, NC - Keystone Systems, a leading producer of library automation systems, is excited to announce that KLAS, the Keystone Library Automation System, has been installed at the Illinois State Library Talking Book and Braille Service and its six sub-regional libraries throughout the State of Illinois. The cooperation among the regional and sub-regional libraries involves less duplication of effort, allowing the sub-regional libraries to concentrate on serving the patrons more effectively.
All the libraries share the same title information and statewide collection. All staff have access to all data regarding patrons, patron services and machines and books on loan to the patrons across the libraries. Intra-state patron transfers have become paper-less and seamless.
The new system allows for many processes to be centralized and carried out by the State Library thus reducing duplicate efforts previously done by sub-regional libraries. These common functions include reporting to the National Library Service of the Library of Congress, downloading new titles from the National Library Service, submitting magazine subscription changes and address changes to the national clearinghouse for talking book and Braille produced magazines. The staff also enjoy using easy queries and report generating facilities and abundant predefined reports now readily available to the sub-regional libraries as well as the State Library.
Prior to the conversion, the libraries were using a DRA System on a shared database. With precise scheduling and careful managing of the resources for both Keystone and the Illinois libraries, all libraries were operational within two weeks of the data conversion. Along with the Keystone staff, everyone in the Illinois libraries put forth a lot of effort in preparation for a smooth transition. Multiple training sessions were conducted at the State Library and each individual talking book center. The libraries now share a Sun Ultra 450 server for a database server that is managed by the State Library. The staff of the various libraries access the database via the Internet from their desktop workstations.
This network of libraries serving this population with special needs consists of one regional library and six sub-regional libraries. The Illinois State Library Talking Book and Braille Service, located in Springfield, is under the direction of Sharon Ruda. The regional library itself is in a period of transition. Most of its collection is still in storage while the building in Springfield is under renovation. At this time, the regional library is circulating approximately 1500 items per month.
The Southern Illinois Talking Book Center in Carterville, is part of the Shawnee Library System and serves 32 counties in southern Illinois. The five person staff, led by the director, Ms. Loretta Broomfield, sends out about 14,000 items per month.
The Talking Book Center of Northwest Illinois in Coal Valley is part of the River Bend Library System. The director of this library, Ms. Karen Odean, was recently awarded the Alexander J. Skrzypek Award established by the Illinois Library Association in recognition for outstanding contribution to the advancement of library services for the blind or physically disabled in Illinois. The Talking Book Center of Northwest Illinois circulates almost 15,000 items per month.
Directed by Ms. Mary Beth Harnden, the Voices of Vision Talking Book Center in Geneva is part of the DuPage Library System. It services nine counties in Northeastern Illinois and has a monthly circulation level of about 30,000 items.
The Mid-Illinois Talking Book Center consists of two separate libraries located in the cities of Pekin and Quincy. Both are under the direction of Eileen Sheppard Meyer. These centers are part of the Alliance Library System and together serve a 60 county area of central Illinois. The Pekin Center circulates approximately 24,000 items per month while the Quincy Center circulates about 16,000 per month.
The Chicago Talking Book Center is located in the Harold Washington Library Center in Chicago and is part of the Chicago Public Library System. The Center Director is Ms. Mamie Grady. This library currently circulates about 15,000 items per month.
The cooperation among the regional and sub-regional libraries has involved less duplication of effort, allowing the sub-regional libraries to concentrate on serving the patrons more effectively. The paperwork previously used for patron transfers between member libraries has been eliminated, and the regional library has taken over many of the system-wide tasks, such as downloading and adding subject codes to the new titles, and collecting and forwarding address and patron status changes to the national clearinghouse. The libraries' willingness to share materials across the state, the spirit of cooperation for which Illinois libraries are known, has maintained overall circulation, even with a large part of the regional library's collection in storage.
The KLAS system has given the Illinois staff users a wide range of functionality. For example, the staff at the Pekin office of the Mid-Illinois Talking Book Center is very excited that they can now print their own mailing labels as they need them. "This is a great help in getting local information to our patrons in a timely manner," states Eileen Sheppard Meyer. Another aspect of KLAS that libraries are finding useful is the abundance of reports they are able to run without assistance from the regional library, which in the past, had to run the reports for them.
Keystone Systems, Inc. is an eighteen year old company based in Raleigh, North Carolina. Through extensive research and consultation, Keystone developers have created a powerful, yet elegant library automation system, KLAS, which has the flexibility to meet the needs of special, academic, and public libraries. Keystone's staff takes pride in assisting customers to obtain and fully utilize the best computer systems available. For more information about Keystone Systems or our KLAS products, visit our web site at www.klas.com.