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Guest Post

  • KDAC Update & Thank You

    A pie chart showing number of years survey respondents have been KLASUsers. (31.3% Basically Forever, 26.6% 5-10 Years, 21.9% 2-5 Years, & 20.3% Less than 2)

    From Sam Lundberg, President, KLAS Development Advisory Committee:

    It’s been a few months now since the KLAS User Experience Survey circulated, and the KLAS Development Advisory Committee (KDAC) has spent the time pouring over all the answers we received.  Some of you had small, actionable requests that will hopefully be coming down the pipeline soon. Others had big ideas that, rather than being added now, will help inform the next major iteration of KLAS. Finally, are my personal favorite suggestions: small quality-of-life fixes that make each day that 1% easier.  

    I can’t say exactly what will be coming next or which features will make it to live. We certainly had some common threads around the Service Queue, updating catalog records, the WebOPAC, and tools to handle Has-Had titles. The changes that DoD makes for patron service are starting to become clear and more feedback on how to mechanically address those changes will be vital. I believe there will also be some training coming to discuss requested features that are actually already part of KLAS, if not always obvious.

    The survey was anonymous, so I can’t get into the details of the responses. But I can share some interesting demographics data we gathered. Nearly ⅓ of responses came from users with more than 10 years experience with KLAS. Only 14% of responders use hotkeys constantly within KLAS, while 30% use them occasionally and 29% never use them at all.* The klasusers,com discussion forum is still under-appreciated with only 33% of responders saying they use it to interact with the KLAS community, but almost 70% attend the KLAS Conference, webinars, and/or the listserv. Reviewing anonymous survey responses proved tricky because we found many suggestions we wish had more detail or clarification, but that’s the tradeoff for honest feedback on what’s wrong now as well as what we want in the future.

    Pie chart of the responses for the question: Do you regularly use hotkeys to navigate KLAS? In addition to the responses above, 20% answered "Not generally." Those who do not use them also includes a few 'others' answers wondering what hotkeys are, whether there is a list, or expressing an intent to use them once the responder learns them.

    Of course, the conversation doesn’t end with the survey. Keystone and KDAC are always looking at the forum, the listserv, the various live training sessions and presentations (organized or organic), and all other ways users talk to one another. Also, we invite you to speak with any KDAC officer directly about anything you’d like us to put forward. Development is an ongoing conversation about what would be good to add, but also about priorities and allocation of resources. Even if you know something you want is in the works or on the table, be sure to also let us know the importance of that change or feature to you or your library so it can get that extra oomph behind it.

    Finally, because I haven’t said it yet in this letter, thank you all for your participation in the survey specifically and the broad mission of KLAS Development generally!

    *Note from Katy: If you are among those who don't know what they Keyboard commands are or who need a list to help you become more familiar with them, check out the KLAS Keyboard Shortcut page for a reference. 

  • KLAS Conference: A Perfect Tenn!

    A fried bologna sandwich with a bag of Lay’s potato chips, a PBR, & a Moon Pie strongly recommended by Michael Lang. Available at Robert’s Western World for the low price of six bucks.

    A guest blog post by Lee Anne Hooley, Worcester Talking Book Library

    July 17th-20th brought the opportunity for me to attend the KLAS conference that was held at the Tennessee School for the Blind in Nashville. This is my second in person conference since my career in the Talking Book world began back in 2018. The hybrid option is a fantastic option as well, but to me, there is nothing quite like coming together and learning.

    Many of the sessions employed a hands-on approach to it. For instance, “Care and Feeding of your Scribe.” I learned quite a bit on how to take things apart as needed, as well as the general anatomy of them. In addition to learning how to swap out parts, I was able to get some feedback and ideas from other colleagues on how to better utilize the barcode scanners.

    Two other sessions “Defining, Saving, and Sharing Queries” and “Exploring the WebOPAC,” featured worksheets. As much as I thought my school days were long over, it was really fun and challenging to not only have an assignment to help me improve me queries, but also it was great to be able to demo and add feedback to the new patron facing end of the WebOPAC. Having Katy and Nancy there and in person to answer questions when I got stuck or just to offer feedback and ideas was priceless.

    Of course, my favorite part of coming together was the sense of community we get from coming together. We’re in the process of starting up our recording studio program, and sitting at the bar every night (for a truly great happy hour, by the way) gave me ideas and lots of folks to contact when I have questions. Sometimes it can feel isolating being a talking book librarian as most of the folks who can relate are scattered around the country. Being able to sit at a table and casually ask questions or trade stories in a casual environment is so valuable.

    Last but not least, the amount of hilarity and inside jokes. Librarians are great people, and this group is no exception. From the Recession Special to Chandra’s future Grammy winning career to banana pudding everywhere to wayward goose alerts and parting shopping tips on how to get good deals on designer handbags, I laughed a lot with some fantastic folks and Maureen has all the selfies to prove it. Many thanks to the fine folks at Keystone for bringing us together. Can’t wait for to take on Indianapolis.

  • KLAS UC2023: Top 5 Reasons to Attend In-Person

    Artwork of the Nashville skyline with a stamp-type border and labeling. Greetings From Tennesse is written large over the buildings, and a guitar leans against the side of the image.
    Guest Blog post by Michael Lang, Kansas Talking Books, KLAS Users' Group Past President, KLAS Programming Committee Member

    It’s happening; the first in-person KLAS conference since 2019! I am looking forward to traveling to Nashville this summer for A Perfect Tenn: KLAS UC2023 and I hope to see many of you there. We know not everyone can travel and are happy to be able to offer an online option for those who can’t. But if you’re sitting on the fence about which one to choose, I’m here to offer a gentle nudge toward the face-to-face option with my top five reasons to attend the UC2023 in person.

    1. Hands On Sessions: Have you checked out the proposed schedule for this conference yet? Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday each start with a two-hour hands-on training block that is only available on site. I’ve been to an in-person training with Keystone staff and can guarantee you’ll walk away with something new.
    2. Meet Keystone Staff: Speaking of staff, getting to know the Keystone staff and drilling down into the nitty gritty of KLAS with them is a fantastic learning opportunity.
    3. Spark New Ideas: I always come back from a conference ready to implement big changes. From my recent experience, that list hasn’t been as long with online conferences. The conversational nature of an in-person conference seems to inspire more ideas than the online format, where I find myself drawn away from my computer screen to take care of day-to-day tasks.
    4. Networking: Meet your peers from across the country. Learn how they do things. Find new ways to use KLAS. Get recruited for a committee. Enjoy the opening reception with great food and entertainment! I’m really excited to tour the Tennessee School for the Blind and learn about the services they provide to their students.
    5. Share Your Expertise: This one is a cheat. You can share your knowledge with the KLAS Users’ Group in either format. Whichever you choose, we want to hear from you. You can help make this an extraordinary learning experience by sharing your expertise and creativity with colleagues from other organizations and libraries! Submit your proposals on the KLAS Users’ website.

    Whether attending in person or online, early-bird registration closes on April 30. Make your plans soon to save some money. Visit the registration page for details.

  • Notes From The Scribe - October 2018

    Notes From The Scribe - October 2018

    Hi all,

    Here’s the Notes from The Scribe for October 2018.

    A couple of cool new features and some improvements to our own processes have happened since September. Let’s go over some brief highlights since I last updated you all.

    October saw the Inventory and Associate (IA) mode added. In this mode, you can add a cartridge to inventory and pair it with a patron at the same time. Meaning less worry about keeping an inventory available and also not having to tie up a staff member and their own computer while making cartridges available. To do this, you scan one barcode that puts The Scribe into Inventory and Associate mode. Then you take a batch of mail cards and cartridge labels printed out for each new patron added to this type of service and you pair them each to their own cartridges. When finished you scan another barcode, which puts The Scribe back into Duplication mode, and you’re now ready to duplicate items onto these cartridges.

    Notes From The Scribe - October 2018 

    In conjunction with this process, the set up for the patron process for setting them up on this service was refined, so that before the actual mail card and label set was run for a patron cartridge, a set of books is already waiting to be duplicated. All fine adjustment of what the patron will receive on their first run is worked out first. This way, when staff puts The Scribe into Duplication mode things will run smoothly and the patron’s first books will be on their way right then.

     Notes From The Scribe - October 2018

    Related to this is another cool feature. You may have noticed that The Scribe doesn’t have a monitor attached to view anything happens while it’s running. As it turns out there is a monitor app that you can use to see the status of the cartridge slots and see what’s actually happening at each slot. This is a quick screen grab to give you an idea of what this looks like. This isn’t necessarily the final version, but it’s very useful even as is.

    Notes From The Scribe - October 2018 

    Another feature that was added, that many of you have now heard about, is the Service Queue tab in the Patron Module. This makes adding items to be duplicated on cartridge more efficient and easier. A very useful feature. Since we are fortunate to be the first users (the Guinea Pigs) we have been able to try it out, test it, and provide feedback for improvements. Some of which will be seen as things evolve into the system that will go live in the near future. For specific information about this exciting new feature, check out Drea Callicutt's article - KLAS Service Queue Sneak Peak.

    Notes From The Scribe - October 2018 

    As a result of these enhancements, more processes were refined to match the workflow of our library and we held some more detailed staff training using these tools. Staff working together to put each other on the service so that we can all use the service ourselves and get a feel for what it will be like for patrons once we go live. This also gives us a chance to practice things in a more practical way.

    We have had questions about from other about whether actual patrons are using this service yet. We are considering taking 5 to 10 willing patrons and letting them try out the service before we go live. The only downside to this will be having to import whatever hashads for books received during this time into the live database to keep our statistics accurate and to present issues to patrons once we move to the new live version. This is why we would only do this with a rough handful of patrons.

    In any case, we are excited to move forward. That's all for this edition of Notes From The Scribe. The next edition will come out with the next round of updates and new features.

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