Daphene Keys, public services librarian at Houston Community College, with the Baker & Taylor mascots

A Marketplace of Ideas

July 20, 2022

ALA mandated COVID-19 vaccinations and face masks for conference attendees, which lent some confidence for personal interactions on the exhibit floor. While some vendors noted lighter traffic than in past years, there appeared to be a sense of appreciation for the return of a live marketplace—and a consensus that virtual conferences have not been able … Continue reading A Marketplace of Ideas


Library System Report

2022 Library Systems Report

May 2, 2022

The emergence of such a large business at the top of the industry has accelerated consolidation among mid-level players that aim to increase scale and efficiency to remain competitive. This was a banner year for consolidation of midsize competitors, with more acquisitions than any prior year. These deals raise concerns about weakened competition, but they … Continue reading 2022 Library Systems Report


Ways to Connect

January 3, 2022

Most libraries use one or more library engagement platforms—such as newsletters, mobile apps, or reservation systems—for communications like notifying customers about upcoming events or inviting them to browse materials and check something out. These interactions are touchpoints where the library and customer connect, not unlike a physical reference or circulation desk. Let’s consider how libraries … Continue reading Ways to Connect


Follett School Solutions Sold to Private Equity Firm

September 8, 2021

Follett School Solutions’ products include the Destiny Library Manager used by many US K–12 school libraries, the Aspen Student Information System, and the Titlewave ecommerce platform, which it uses to distribute print and digital content for educational institutions. The company was acquired from Follett Corporation, a family-owned business based in Westchester, Illinois. While divesting its … Continue reading Follett School Solutions Sold to Private Equity Firm


Photo of Dispatches author Jarrod Bogucki

Head in the Cloud?

September 1, 2021

As access remains limited and fewer staffers work onsite than before the pandemic, launching a digital repository via traditional, onsite hardware may be impractical or even impossible. Our world may be opening up again, but trends such as remote working and online education are likely to continue. To host cultural resource collections in a remote … Continue reading Head in the Cloud?


In Practice, by Meredith Farkas

All Good Things …

June 1, 2021

What’s striking to me in hindsight is how homogeneous the magazine’s contributors and staff were back in 2007. It has been encouraging to see the efforts AL staffers have made to include writers of diverse backgrounds and points of view, and with that in mind, I’ve decided to end this column. There are so many … Continue reading All Good Things …


2021 Library Systems Report (Illustration: Tom Deja)

2021 Library Systems Report

May 3, 2021

Only a few minor acquisitions took place in this deeply consolidated industry last year. Unlike in 2019, none of these transactions altered the overall balance of power among competitors. Vendors made extraordinary efforts to help customer libraries cope with changed services while they continued product development agendas looking beyond current circumstances. Responses to the crisis … Continue reading 2021 Library Systems Report


Stacey Aldrich and Ian Kitajima

Meeting the Future Head-on

January 25, 2021

It’s a timely, if violent, image: The pandemic has accelerated numerous technological changes, including digitization, automation, and remote work. In the midst of this upheaval, the Hawaii State Library system has partnered with Oceanit to help dodge any metaphorical punches by bringing artificial intelligence (AI) technology, along with job training and mentorship for students, to … Continue reading Meeting the Future Head-on


Destiny facilitates holds and curbside pickup.

Remote Realities

January 4, 2021

Follett Destiny User: Craig Seasholes, librarian at Dearborn Park International Elementary School in Seattle What is Destiny? Destiny is a library management system that allows cataloging, inventory, and usage reports for print and electronic resources. Destiny Discover is the student-facing catalog that allows students to log in, download electronic resources, and put holds on books. … Continue reading Remote Realities


Staff (top) and patron views of Curbside Communicator.

Don’t Touch

September 1, 2020

Curbside Communicator Unique’s Curbside Communicator automates curbside pickups for holds and creates a simple communication link between patrons and library staff to facilitate the process. Rather than requiring patrons to reserve a time slot in advance, Curbside Communicator allows patrons to arrive anytime during designated hours and use their mobile devices to check in and … Continue reading Don’t Touch


Dispatches, by Win Shih and Erin Rivero

Voice Assistants

June 1, 2020

Both Alexa and Google Assistant let you run a set of tasks with a single voice command. For example, when you say, “Hey, Google, good morning,” Google Assistant will execute a predefined sequence that can include: adjusting your lights and thermostat; providing a weather report; estimating your commute time; looking up your calendar; providing reminders; … Continue reading Voice Assistants


Photo illustration: © Dariusz Jarzabek/Adobe Stock (library); © nongkran_ch/Adobe Stock (circles)

2020 Library Systems Report

May 1, 2020

Technology for public library automation has been mired in stagnation. It takes a substantial level of development to both maintain existing products and build next-generation technologies for the emerging realities of a given library sector. Will Ex Libris opt to invent a new platform for public libraries, as it did for academics? How it responds may … Continue reading 2020 Library Systems Report