ASSOCIATES (vol. 10, no. 2, November 2003) - associates.ucr.edu

*My View from the Back Room*

by

Carol Borzyskowski
carolb@selco.info (write me!)
http://www.winona.lib.mn.us

Implementation time

The new Horizon Dynix system is up and running! It is finally here after years of envisioning and the intense nerve wracking final months of planning and training to be ready for the big change. Were we ready for the big change? YES! Was it a big change? YES! Do we like it? NO!

So, what are the problems and what are we going to do now, you ask? I have a storyÖ.

This summer was so busy here in library land. Not only were we busy with actual customers (imagine that!), but we had to deal with budget cuts which in turn led to staff cuts, and on top of that, much staff time was further carved out for training on the new system.

We worked hard, yes we did, and we even all worked hard together. In fact, here is the very best part of the storyóthe planning sessions with staff members from all the other libraries to get ready for Dynix. We had several different committees formed, and would meet and try to forge out a plan that would fit over 70 diverse libraries. HA! It is amazing, simply amazing what we accomplished.

I fell in love with these men and women. I mean it. I gathered them in and pressed them to my heart like a collection of wildflowers in an album. Even now in my bleak back room, when the new system has me ready to lie my heard down on my ergonomic wrist rest and cry, I think about the library staff members I met.

I flip through the memories of real people I had never met face to face before and smile., Just knowing there are such great people out there, who love libraries and what we stand for, and actually read <grin> and care that other read too, well it has a way of lifting my heart. Among many, there is my "bud" Lisa. Who has great ideas, and a wicked sense of humor, and has come to my rescue more than once. There is Diane with a wit so sharp it takes your breath, Jeanne with her droll serious comments, Joyna with her "can do attitude" and firm belief it WILL happen, and all the other funny, bright, sharp and caring people I met. It was the best and most positive experience I have ever had, and it was while preparing for a whole new ILS (Integrated Library System).

I came back to our library positively transformed. I even had a glimmer of what it feels like to be motivated, and on track, and feeling good (not manipulated) about that feeling. I tell you, if I hadnít had the feed back of others in the same situations, dealing with the same library problems, and ALL of us feeling like we were being listened too, I would have never made it through the busy summer leading up to GO LIVE DAY.

We met in group, with LISTS, and discussed problems and talked to the system people, and our consortia people, and got the questions answered and the problems worked on. We had phone calls, and practice sessions, and we all brought up issues that were listened to, and we talked about how we could "work with" or "live with" and what we would rather die than be without, and it was fun. It was thrilling in fact. I really felt like I was contributing, and was practically weepy at the honor and I went around thanking everyone I could think of and in general just making a fool of myself.

As the BIG day GO-LIVE! arrived, we were ready. We had trained our staff here at WPL, we even were closed for the first day. That was a stunner in itself. We never thought the City Manager would approve, but our new director stressed how important it would be to the staff to feel comfortable with the system so we could serve the public better. That was the plan, yes, we were all set.

Now after the bomb has dropped, here is basically how I feel about my day. I spend the morning Reinventing The Wheel. Then I go on Circ Desk for an hour and spend that time turning Lead Into Gold, then I finish up the day Beating A Dead Horse. In-between assigned duties, I Spin My Wheels, and Run around In Circles.

We are putting so much time and energy into just trying to find a way to do the things we need to do that it actually takes us more time to do anything on the new Wiz-Bang system than is did on out old DRA system. Gads, You want a concrete example? How about assigning a charge for a book or item that is returned damaged? We used to be able to check it in as damaged and the fine would automatically go on the patronís record. Now you have to find out who had it (well, we still had to do that but it was faster) and THEN you still have to try and find out the price of the book BECAUSE it doesnít just show up on every record. Sometimes yes, sometimes no. And THEN you have to access the patron record and add a FEE, and then add a note explaining the fee. So, this takes at least twice as long as it did before.

And that is just one tiny example. Another one that we run into all the time that is so frustrating on Circ Desk, is when some one pays for a damaged book. There isnít any way to get a printout of the book record, so we can make sure Tech Services gets the info. So we are back to hand writing everything. And, did I mention that you canít COPY, CUT or PASTE anything while in the program? How weird is that?

Everyday is a new adventure in redundancy. I finally blew my top and wrote to the ILL group and said it was UNACCEPTABLE that it would take 25 minutes (no exaggeration) to try and place a reserve, and I wanted it fixed! Well, I got back the "shush, shush be a good sport/team player" letter from our leaders from SELCO and a work-around that sort of works if you bypass Horizon Dynix completely (and isnít that ironic?), but wonít let you make the request item specific.

The good news is I got a FLOOD of back-channel responses from the great people I met while preparing to start on the new systemóthe ones who actually do the work and are as frustrated as I am--all saying YOU GO GIRL!!! It turns out these people have all been told by someone in authority to HUSH YOUR MOUTHS, and GET WITH THE PROGRAM, and BE A GOOD SPORT! Anyway, I know they are out there and they have all been told to be quiet and be good. Sad, isnít it? But I am keeping a list of these great people, I will use them as a resource, and I am so glad to know they are out there and are part of the system, I just want to stand up and shout HOORAY! Until then all we can do is stick together and hum "Some day Our Prince Will Come." (Sing along!)



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