So you have decided to join the consortium. Here are the things you need to do next (and a few other things you might wish to consider).
- Review your budget. You will spend both money and time on the conversion. As you know, costs for Balsam are very modest. But, you should consider hard costs, discussed below. Perhaps the biggest expense will be the time and effort required by your staff, particularly if they are automating for the first time.
- Put together a reasonable implementation plan. Establish a timetable with realistic goals and milestones. Consider carefully the time available by staff and volunteers. Plan on some time to learn to use the system – especially true if you are automating for the first time.
- Discuss the plan thoroughly with your staff, your library board and others who will have a say in the project.
- Weed, Weed, Weed! Probably the single most important thing you can do is to weed. An excellent guide to help weed is CREW: A Weeding Manual for Modern Libraries (published 2012 by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission). Download the PDF Here
- Computer Infrastructure. Since the Evergreen program lives in the cloud it doesn’t demand much in the way of your local computers. You should, however, have a reliable, reasonably high-speed internet connection. You will need at least one computer for circulating materials and for cataloging materials. You may wish to have another for your patrons’ use (an OPAC). You should have one or two small barcode scanners. And you should have a printer. We would be happy to discuss these in more detail with your local IT support person.
- Circulation Policies. Evergreen offers a great deal of flexibility for calculating due dates and fines for various types of patrons. So, if you want to shorten the due dates and increases late fees for new items or DVD’s, now is the time.
- You will need barcodes for all of your items. You may also want barcodes for your patrons. In Maine the practice is for all libraries to use 14 digit barcodes. Each library reserves the 2nd through the 4th digit for their own code (typically the zip code for their town). You should reserve your code with the Maine Barcode Symbol Registry. Down the road, you may want new library cards for your patrons as well.
Your Balsam Support Staff. You will have two key support staff. They will work with you throughout the implementation project – and will be available as long as you are a member of the consortium. Our project manager will work with you and your local technical staff on all of the technical components of the system. In addition, you will have a Mentor – a librarian who is there to help you with the library management questions to really get the best use out of your new system. You should get to know them immediately