Biographies and Statements submitted by candidates for President of the KLAS Users' Group
Nominee: Elke Bernal Bruton, Librarian, Orgeon Talking Book and Braille Services
Biography:Elke Bernal Bruton is the Talking Book and Braille Services Librarian for the State of Oregon. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Washington State University and a Master of Library and Information Science degree from the University of Washington’s Information School. Elke has been with Talking Books at the Oregon State Library since 2006, where she specializes in Community Outreach, Customer Service and Reader’s Advisory. Prior to completing her Master’s degree, Elke worked for 10 years as a certified Optometric Technician in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest. Elke was recently selected to participate in the Delphi Process Taskforce for the Oregon Library Association’s Vision 2020 planning committee.
Why I would be willing to serve as President of the KLAS Users' Group?I first began working in KLAS in June of 2006 as a student worker for the Oregon State Library. At the time, I was given very little introduction to KLAS; basically I was shown the circulation and patron modules, given a user name and password and then they just let me go. Having worked for many years within varied customer information databases, I found KLAS to be remarkably intuitive and easy to learn the longer I worked in it.
While working with the team in Oregon I spent a lot of time listening to some of their concerns and issues with our patrons. What I heard from the staff was that they really needed to gain a better understanding of their patron retention, specifically, the reasons behind why some patrons stay and why some leave. By working with the then KLAS administrator and doing some experimenting of my own, I learned how to use the reports functions to bring out useful information about our patrons. I talked our manager into allowing me to start “cold calling” new patrons to offer assistance and let them have a chance to ask questions. After a few months of calling and collecting data I was able to present a report to the team that related patron numbers and trends to some very real patron needs. I was able to convince them to adopt some changes, but others would have to wait.
Shortly after that I was hired on full time as the librarian for the program. Officially I serve several roles in Oregon. I handle customer service, reader’s advisory, outreach, as well as being the KLAS administrator. Although I have a healthy relationship with each area of my position, I feel that I give special attention to my role as KLAS administrator. I take this role very seriously
and as a result spend nearly every day performing functions in KLAS, assisting and training staff, or helping to trouble shoot issues. As a result, I have identified many alternative uses for various areas in the Patron Module in addition to adopting early implementation of such functions as Blocks and Notices.
Since taking on the role of KLAS administrator I have attended the training given by Keystone staff and have participated in two, very successful, User Group conference experiences. I am also happy to say that I do a lot less experimenting in KLAS and now work much more collaboratively with Keystone to solve problems and identify solutions that make our daily work in Oregon run smoothly.
After meeting our current president at administrator’s training in Raleigh, I began thinking about the dynamic relationship that her role serves as liaison between the User Group and Keystone. Not to neglect the hard work and dedication that goes into managing the needs of such a large and diverse group of users.
Taking into consideration the impact of the upcoming changes to the way our libraries do business, and the role that our KLAS databases will serve in helping to successfully facilitate those changes, it has never been more important than it is right now to not only maintain our level of communication with Keystone, but to increase it; creating a more “real time” dialogue within our network libraries and between those libraries and Keystone staff.
As a KLAS administrator and regular user of the database I arrived at UC2009 with a desire to see that communication increase. I have already begun advocating from within the User Group to see us take a more active and collective role in instituting changes to the way we do what we do. Additionally, I see a disparate relationship between User Group conference attendees and the staff that does not have the privilege to attend the conference on a regular basis, or at all. While it is true that each KLAS library is entitled to one vote in the business meeting, this group is capable of being about so much more than a once a year conference and business meetings.
As the president of the User Group I would encourage more open communication, training, and planning by increasing the participation in the group by more group members. I am eager to facilitate the good changes that I know this group is capable of creating. I enjoyed the opportunity to participate in some planning for UC2009, as well as moderate sessions during the event and look forward to serving an even more active role in planning UC2010. I look forward to the challenges ahead and feel confident that my future service, in any capacity, will be a rewarding and worthwhile experience for not just me, but for our group as a whole.
Nominee: Stella Cone, Director, Georgia Library for Accessible Service
Biography:I am a native of North Carolina, received a Master's of Science in Library Science from Clarion University of Pennsylvania. I have a Bachelor's of Business Administration from Pikeville College, Pikeville, KY. In 1995 I became the first regional librarian for the North Dakota State Library Talking Book Service. The library was a READS library and became a READS beta site for READS updates. In 2006 I accepted the position as regional librarian for the state of Georgia, a KLAS library. Georgia has one regional library, GLASS, and 13 subregional libraries. Because Georgia is a KLAS state we are able to have a shared database for the regional and subregional libraries. Georgia patrons use the KLAS web OPAC to request RCs from the Georgia collection or Braille from Utah Braille and Talking Book Library.
Why I would be willing to serve as President of the KLAS Users' Group?As we move to the digital format it is extremely important that we keep the lines of communication open between KLAS libraries, Keystone and NLS staff. As President I would keep those established lines of communication open and flowing. I believe that we have the responsibility to make the transition easy for patrons. We need to communicate improvements to KLAS that will make the web OPAC user friendly, especially during this transition period. I want to ensure that KLAS provides the information that library staff members need to provide statistical and demographic information concerning our service to our administrators, legislators and consumer groups. Each of our states possesses gold mines of local literature and information. As
President of the KLAS User's Group, I will work diligently to make those resources available in a manner that will benefit staff and patrons.
Thank you for considering me as the next President of the KLAS User's Group.
Nominee: Toni Harrell, Director, Kansas Talking Book Library Services
Biography:I have worked in school and special libraries since 1990. I joined the Talking Book Division of the State Library of Kansas as Director in February of 2002. I love what I do! I have served as an officer on various local, state, multi-state and national library committees.
Married for 23 years, 1 teenage daughter.
Why I would be willing to serve as President of the KLAS Users' Group?
Those who know or have worked with me on projects know that I would rather be proactive rather than reactive. I will consider and embrace almost any innovation if convinced it will result in improved service – if it saves time, travel or money that is even better. I have discovered that changes that are important to you are not likely to occur unless you are willing to step forward and invest some time and energy. As KLAS users, we are fortunate in that we have chosen to partner with a vendor that asks for, values and acts (when feasible) on our input. Unlike most library tools, the KLAS systems allows for a high degree of customization and adaptability. Kansas has been on KLAS for three years now and it has changed the way we work and interact amongst the service centers in Kansas and with our clients. Many of the things we have learned and implemented came from presentations and discussions with others at the user conferences. I believe in the power of this group and thus, am willing to be an active contributor.