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    July 14th, 2010LISWire aggregatorLISWire

    Full RFID Implementation with ITG Underway Across 13 Locations

    Norcross, Ga. – June 29, 2010. The Milwaukee Public Library (MPL) is currently retagging its entire collection and converting from RF to RFID one branch at a time in partnership with ITG (Integrated Technology Group). Like a major military invasion, MPL coordinated weeding, tagging, equipment transport, manpower, timeframes, budget, and strategy to make sure branches converted to RFID with minimal surprises. Thanks to detailed planning, the cohesive RFID rollout will be completed on schedule by year’s end.

    As tagging work is done, ITG is installing a complete RFID library automation system, including XpressCheck™ patron self-service units, FlexCheck™ staff stations, Total Mobile™ tagging and shelf management carts, and sorters, into most locations. To date (June 29, 2010) 11 branches are fully tagged and six are operational.

    Upon selecting ITG as their RFID vendor in late 2009, MPL’s Coordinator of Circulation, Kathryn Mlsna was chosen to lead the implementation phase of the project, and an RFID committee was formed. The library system consists of 12 branches and a large central library with nearly 2.5 million items in its collection. Mlsna determined that 1,498,813 circulating items needed RFID tags (annual circulation for the system is approximately 2,945,000).

    Working with Danielle Rodriguez, Head of Serials, she began tagging books to see what issues workers might face in the process and what an acceptable performance level should be. They noted items per hour for individuals and teams, and took into account the occasional programming difficulty presented by the library’s existing RF tags. They decided on a benchmark figure of 150 items per person per hour, and they began to flesh out the details of the MPL plan.

    An Excel spreadsheet was prepared showing, by branch, how long tagging would take with one cart, two carts…to eight carts per day working 40 hours a week. Eventually MPL decided to commit six carts to tag programming at the central library, with an estimated completion time of 21 weeks. For neighborhood libraries, teams of eight could complete each branch in 1.5 to 2.5 weeks, for a total of 22 weeks. Most of this workforce is temporary employees, hired through an agency.

    “We track each person’s performance every week,” explains Mlsna. “Early on, the fastest [for books, not media] was 207 per hour and the slowest was 143 per hour. So we set 140 as our low number, and if someone works below that level we let them go,” she says. “It is much easier to do with a temporary workforce.” And she notes that unlike a volunteer group, this group of full-time employees has a high level of retained knowledge about the process and does not need frequent assistance or retraining.

    “We devised a plan for each library based on the hours it is open,” Mlsna explains. “For twenty-nine of the forty hours a week we spend tagging, the branch is closed. Branches don’t open until 1 p.m. three days a week. Some are closed Friday or Saturday,” she says. One full day of downtime is built into the schedule to move the carts from one branch to the next as each location is finished. When possible, meeting rooms are blocked off during tagging for the processing of AV material. And, the battery-powered carts need to charge overnight, and in branches, managers must make sure the carts are plugged into outlets that stay on after hours.

    The total cost to MPL of this effort (not including about 3,000 hours of regular paid staff time devoted to the project) is estimated to be $189,930. Early in the process, Mlsna says she got quotes from third parties to come in to the library and do the tagging and programming that were easily three times higher than that figure.

    “This process has been working really well,” says Mlsna. “We really gave it a lot of forethought and fine-tuned the details with Chris [Long of ITG]. It’s a big relief to have it working so well.”


    About the Integrated Technology Group
    Integrated Technology Group ( develops, markets, and supports library automation technologies that empower librarians to make operations more efficient and better serve their patrons. ITG's products include patron self-checkout, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), Automated Materials Handling (AMH) systems, library materials security, public computer reservation, and print management. With over 30 years experience in the library industry, ITG combines smart technology and progressive design to create standard solutions that can be easily customized to meet site-specific requirements. ITG, a division of Vernon Library Supplies, Inc., is headquartered in Norcross, Georgia.

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    July 14th, 2010LISWire aggregatorLISWire

    Norcross, GA — July 13, 2010
    The New Mexico State Library is contracting with Equinox Software, Inc to host two Koha databases, one for the State Library's Books By Mail program and one for their Rural Bookmobiles service. Equinox is also providing data migration services and support.

    According to Gary Harris, the Director of the Technical Services Bureau at the State Library, "The New Mexico State Library began an evaluation of the Koha Integrated Library Management System in 2008. We were impressed with the software from the beginning, but we encountered a few problems with implementation. We have a test system up and running, but decided to get help from an open source software support company. We began a selection process in January 2010, and Equinox came out on top for several reasons, not to mention their solid reputation and contributions to the Koha community."

    Brad LaJeunesse, Equinox CEO, says, “Equinox’s expansion into Koha migration and support was the next logical step for us to take. We are particularly excited to be working with the New Mexico State Library as they have shown such enthusiasm and support for the Open Source community.”

    Galen Charlton, VP for Data Services at Equinox, adds, "I am personally very pleased to be continuing my work with Koha and Koha libraries, and I welcome the New Mexico State Library to the community of libraries who are using Koha to enhance services to their patrons".

    About New Mexico State Library
    The New Mexico State Library, established in 1929, is committed to providing leadership that promotes effective library services and access to information to all citizens of New Mexico. The State Library provides services that support public libraries as well as delivers direct library services to rural populations, state agencies, the visually impaired and physically disabled, and students and citizens conducting research.

    About Koha
    Created in 1999 by Katipo Communications for the Horowhenua Library Trust in New Zealand, Koha is the first open source Integrated Library System to be used worldwide. The software is a full-featured ILS with a dual database design (text based and RDBMS) built to be library standards compliant. Koha’s OPAC, staff, and self-checkout interfaces are all web applications. Distributed under the General Public License (GPL), libraries are free to use and install Koha themselves or to purchase support and development service.
    For more information on Koha, please visit

    About Equinox Software, Inc.
    Founded by the original Evergreen designers and developers, Equinox Software is a growing team of skilled professionals who provide services for Evergreen and Koha. These services include software development, consulting, legacy data migration, 24x7 technical support, and system hosting. Equinox also engages and supports a rapidly expanding open source community.

    For more information on Equinox Software, please visit

    Press contact: Corinne Hall,, 770-709-5571