Way back when,Wednesdays

Our library enters the computer age

Library enters computer age

The North East Leader a Messenger Newspaper reported on the beginning of the information technology revolution at the City of Tea Tree Gully Library, on page 3 of the edition dated 15 June 1983. Computer technology had been installed which would benefit local residents and enable staff to store information about all of the books in the library.

Just like magic a librarian could wave a computer wand across a member’s credit card sized borrower’s permit (their library card) to reveal their identification number. The customer could then borrow when the wand was waved across a barcode on a book, as the computer would correlate and store this information electronically. Imagine that! Furthermore, the computer referencing system would allow library staff to easily see if books were on loan and to whom.

To put the wonder of all this change into perspective, it helps to know how people used to borrow books before the installation of computer technology.
Website Quora recalls how libraries used to operate (https://www.quora.com/How-did-old-library-systems-work-before-computer-catalogues)

Some readers might remember using the card catalogue at the library. Library staff would type or write out three or more cards for each book. The catalogue cards would detail information such as its title, author, date of publication, subject area, and the call number which indicated where it was shelved in the Library. Then librarians would file each of these cards in alphabetical order in separate drawers labelled title, author and subject area. Customers and staff would have to rifle through a long row of cards, to find out if the library actually held a book and to find out where they could locate it on the shelf. You didn’t want to lose your place either or the cards would fall back in order!

card-catalog what fun

Searhing through the Library’s card catalogue.  Image:  https://brockport175.wordpress.com/2010/11/30/card-catalogs-what-fun/

 

CR 123 Hand-typed card

An example of a typewritten library catalogue card for a novel.  Image:  http://tarletonlibrary.blogspot.com/2012/09/monteverde-friends-library-of-costa-rica.html

So what happened when you finally found the book you wanted to borrow and took it to the service desk?

The North East Leader article is correct when it reported that computers would allow library staff more time to assist customers with enquiries! Each library book used to have a card in a pocket stuck inside its cover. Library staff would remove the due date card from the book pocket then stamp it with the date the book was to be returned. They would record a patron’s name and library card number alongside the due date of the book. In some libraries members also had to sign the book out. Then the date card would be placed in sequence in a special holder.

ebae0ee36127733e8af0ae8a8ecc5547 Card in pocket

Image:  https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/126171227036239502/ card in pocket

Staff would either stamp piece of paper which was stuck inside the book or place a due date slip inside the book’s pocket, so that a customer could see when the book was due for return. Alternatively, librarians might spend ages stamping due date slips when it was quiet in the library.

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An example of a due date slip which would have been stuck inside a book’s cover.  Image:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Library_circulation

When somebody returned a book, a librarian would take the date card out of the holder and return it to the pocket in the back of the book. The book would then go onto a trolley for re-shelving, and the circulation process would begin again. At regular intervals a librarian would manually check the date cards to identify overdue books. They would look up the patron by name in the library’s membership records and send out a reminder notice.

Library Technology Officer Hayley was happy to discuss how library systems had changed at Tea Tree Gully Library since the time that this article appeared in the North East Leader. Here are some of the significant improvements for our customers:

Since our Library has embraced Radio-Frequency IDentification technology (RFID) Library staff no longer have to scan and read the barcode of each item to issue it to a customer. Items can now be borrowed and returned using RFID technology which sends a signal from the item to the computer.

Our customers no longer have to stand in long queues to borrow items as you can use our self-check machines at your leisure. RFID allows for multiple items to be processed at the same time which can be more convenient than scanning them one by one.

Notice also in the North East Leader article that the original computer screens had a dark background with coloured print. Nowadays the desktop where we search the library catalogue is visually enticing and much easier to read.

The One Card Library Network has transformed the public library service in this state. Through a shared computer network customers can access millions of items available throughout South Australian public libraries, not just at Tea Tree Gully Library.

The implementation of the One Card Network has also greatly reduced the time that library members have to wait when they reserve, or put an item on hold. Aside from new items, customers will generally be sent the first copy that becomes available, whether that be from your local library or as far away as Cooper Pedy!

With the introduction of the new Libraries SA App customers can save their card digitally and have it available on their mobile device. The app also allows customers to place holds, view checkouts and renew items.

Library staff and customers may not have believed that these changes were possible when this article went to print in 1983! And to quote the words of the late comedian and civil rights activist Dick Gregory “The only good thing about the good old days is that they’re gone.”

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Way back when, Wednesdays

Book drought makes history

The Tea Tree Gully Library service has always been popular! As featured in a previous Way back when, Wednesdays post the official opening of a new public library made front page news in the North East Leader, a Messenger newspaper, on 5 March 1969. The Library, which operated out of a mobile bus, had moved its service into the building which was formerly the Modbury Primary School and headmaster’s cottage, now designated as 561 Montague Road, Modbury. On page 3 of the edition dated 9 April 1969, the North East Leader reported on a possible book shortage after only one month, as the new library service had proved so popular with local residents.

Library fines

As stated in the Messenger article above, since the new library had opened, memberships had soared to over 4000 and nearly 10,000 books were on loan. Unfortunately many of the Library’s avid readers were not particularly conscientious when it came to returning their items and the Library’s book stock had become depleted.  Members had also failed to return 1,600 books which had been issued to them on the old mobile library.  When you think about it, for a building of its size, the Montague Road library actually had quite a substantial book stock.

The Librarian in charge, Mr. W. Bustelli thought that introducing a system of fines would motivate library members to return books on time. We don’t have information about whether library fine were introduced in 1969. We would love to hear about your experiences if you remember using the library on Montague Road!

Fortunately, in 2018 the City of Tea Tree Gully Library has considerably more items available for loan than in 1969. The Library holds approximately 64,000 books for adults, 25000 for children and adolescents, 4,500 magazines and 17,000 audio visual materials (this includes DVDs, CDs and audiobooks). You can now also access audio and e-books and take advantage of approximately 4 million items through the SA Public Libraries One Card Network. In 2017 the Library lent out an average of 73,210 items per month.

 

Boca Chica bar

The old schoolhouse building at 561 Montague Road, Modbury is now the home of Sfera’s ‘Boca Chica’, a Spanish inspired concept restaurant and bar.

 
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Way back when, Wednesdays

A leisurely Sunday at your library

Sunday at the Library

Bestselling author Amy Tan has been quoted as saying that “Libraries are the pride of the City.” http://www.azquotes.com/author/14434-Amy_Tan There is also a proverb that says that a Sunday well spent brings a week of content. Sundays can be a chance to relax, read, put on some music, spend time with family and just enjoy yourself. Which is why many people visit their local library. On 7 February 1979, the North East Leader, a Messenger Newspaper, printed an article that focused on the success of opening the City of Tea Tree Gully Library on Sunday. We also learn from the article about the popularity of the library at North East Road and how much it had to offer patrons.  The Messenger story provides modern readers with a snapshot of this era and we can see how some things have changed.

In 1979 the Library was situated at 1020 North East Road, which is now the site of the Tea Tree Plus shopping centre. The Library was housed in a modern building, which opened in 1975, adjacent to, and constructed in the same mid-century modern architectural style as the Tea Tree Gully Civic Centre. The Council building had opened in 1967.

 

PH03979 Facade of Library

The Library at 1020 North East Road Modbury. Image: Community History Photograph Collection, Tea Tree Gully Library. PH03979

 

Most public libraries in South Australia did not open on Sundays until the late 1980s/early 1990s. In the Messenger article the Chief Council Librarian Felicity Langeveldt stated that opening Sundays had been successful because it was a convenient days for residents to use the Library service but also that many of them took advantage of using the listening posts.

In an era where listening to your favourite songs was not simply a matter of downloading music from iTunes or Google Play, the residents of the City of Tea Tree Gully congregated at the Library to put on headphones and sit around a listening station. It would be interesting to find out if you played vinyl records or audio cassettes. Now we can borrow CDs to play at home or in the car. Or you can login to a computer at the Library to play CDs or listen to UTube.

 

 

PH01012 Official opening of the Library at North East Road.

Opening of the Library on North East Road, Modbury in 1975,
photograph PH01012.

 

Sundays continue to be a popular time to visit the Library. In 2017 there was an average of 521 people coming through the door each Sunday (door counts varied from 395 to 625). Our members still love reading and using the City of Tea Tree Gully Library service. The Library remains a community hub and our collections have grown considerably in size and type since 1979! We have approximately 64,000 books for adults, 25000 for children and adolescents, 4,500 magazines and 17,000 audio visual materials (this includes DVDs, CDs and audiobooks). You can now also access audio and ebooks and take advantage of approximately 4 million items through the SA Public Libraries One Card Network.

In 2017 the Library lent out an average of 73,210 items per month. In December loans totalled 53,273, December being our quietest month and the Civic Centre was closed over the Christmas holiday period. Today, most people search for information online as well as going to a public library. Or they can stream web based entertainment.
Thirty-nine years have elapsed since the date of the Messenger article. So if you think about it, the Tea Tree Gully Library must have been a very busy place, lending out 46,624 items way back in December 1979!
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Way back when, Wednesdays

Scary Santa!

Everybody seems to have heard a story about a child who was terrified of visiting Father Christmas.  Or when some people get out their own Santa photos, they realise they look decidedly uncomfortable sitting on the weird looking man’s knee, surrounded by red satin and masses of snowy hair and beard.

The Leader Messenger printed a photograph of two little cuties visiting Santa at the Clovercrest Shopping Centre, on the cover of the edition of 7 December 1966.  The girl on the left of the photo looks quite apprehensive, while the younger child on the right could be wondering “What are you?”  And who is the ‘intruder’ peering out from behind Santa, is she a sibling or just a girl wanting to be in the local paper?

Nevertheless, Clovercrest Shopping Centre must have deemed the girls photogenic enough to reuse the image in a full page advertisement, on page 2 of the Messenger on 14 December.  If you were one of the children pictured, we would love to know!

scary-santa-cropped

 

Jigsaw puzzles: erasing mental cobwebs since 1760

Jigsaws are good for your head. Fact.

When you put together a jigsaw puzzle, you harness both sides of the brain: the left side of the brain which deals with logic and sequence, and the right side of the brain that deals with emotions and performs tasks holistically. When you use both sides of the brain, it intensely exercises your brain cells and increases brain capacity.

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Staff tackling one of the library’s communal jigsaw puzzles.

The process of completing a jigsaw puzzle is also a form of meditation. Focusing on the same image for a long period can induce calmness and peace in your mind, as your concentration eludes everything else around you.

Chipping away at a jigsaw on a regular basis sharpens your memory and improves your clarity of thought, clearing away mental cobwebs. You can really lose yourself in a jigsaw, just like you do when you read a page turning novel.

London cartographer John Splisbury, is credited with commercialising jigsaw puzzles around 1760 and they have been a hit ever since. Not long afterwards they had the approval from the British royal family, being used in geography lessons for their children. The word jigsaw seems to be a misnomer, as they were meant to be named ‘fretsaws’, after the tools that cut the wooden pieces.

Tea Tree Gully Library has in excess of 200 different jigsaw puzzles. They are all available for customers to take home, without having to formally check them out on their card.

Our jigsaw collection features a range of graphics, including foreign cities, nature panoramas, cartoons and more. There are jigsaws with 100 pieces, and some with 3000. Make your selection on the challenge you’re up for!

You can always contribute to the library’s communal jigsaw table, which is right next to the collection.

 

Go behind the scenes at the Library

Megan Behind the Scenes tour

Have you ever wondered where library staff go when they tell you they need to search “out the back”?   Or thought about how everything you borrow mysteriously gets labels on the covers and put onto the Library’s computer system?

Come on the Library’s Behind the scenes tour to find out the answers to these questions and others that you may have.  You will certainly be surprised!

Date and time:   Thursday 26 May,11am – noon

Cost:  Free. Bookings are essential.  Places are limited.  Tours start at the Ask Here Desk. 

  • Follow the life of a book from purchase to debit.
  • See how a book gets from the supplier to the shelf.
  • Learn about some of the backroom tasks that library staff perform.
  • Discover what happen when you return at item in the chute. 
  • Gain a greater awareness of the volume of resources available for use.

Book online or telephone 8397 7333.

What’s it like to volunteer at the Library?

Last week Tea Tree Gully Library celebrated National Volunteer Week, and all of the good work they do. The Library simply could not function without the devotion and energy of our volunteers, who come from many different backgrounds and ages. One of our youngest volunteers is Sophie, who recently gave us some feedback on her experience helping with the Library’s Digital Hub. We would like to encourage anyone interested in volunteering at the Library, or another council-run facility, to visit the Volunteer Vacancies website

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from and how did you come to end up as a volunteer at the Tea Tree Gully Library?

Hi, I’m Sophie!  I spend my Tuesday afternoons volunteering at the Digital Hub in Tea Tree Gully library.  I’m originally from Canada but moved here from England where I lived for four years, after having lived in Upstate New York for 11 years!

While visiting the Tea Tree Gully website I saw an ad about volunteering at the Digital Hub, and after making a phone call, meeting up with some coordinators, and having an interview, I was in!

What kinds of things do you provide volunteer assistance with at the library?

I work at the Digital Hub, helping mostly seniors learn how to use technology more effectively on  iPads, laptops, computers, iPods, or phones.

You are one of our youngest volunteers at the library, and you work with some of our most elderly customers. Is the age gap an issue and are people shocked when they see how young you are? 

The age gap doesn’t seem to be a problem in the least!  I think the elderly people love seeing a young face.  Sometimes when someone arrives for a lesson, even though I am right there, they stand around and seem to be wondering where their teacher is!  I approach them with a smile and ask them, “Are you here for the Digital Hub?”  I sometimes receive a surprised look but they don’t seem to mind at all.

What is it about volunteering you enjoy – where do you get your moments of joy?

It is such a joy to be able to explain things and solve problems that have been such a pain to the customer.  I love seeing the excitement on their face when they understand how to navigate or use a certain product.  It is always fun to amaze them with handy new tricks like copy and pasting (my most popular one)! I love hearing positive reports from staff members about people who have really appreciated a session.

What are some of the challenges with volunteering?

I think the biggest challenge is thinking up solutions on the spot and figuring out how to explain them as clearly as I can.

You are so young and the world is your oyster. Why have you made the choice to volunteer at such a young age, rather than go out and party, enjoy your hobbies and friends?

I thought volunteering would be the perfect way to get a taste of what a job might be like.  And I am actually enjoying my hobbies at the hub by teaching and exploring technology!  I have even met some lovely new people whom I am getting to know. I enjoy my regular customers!

What would you say to someone who is interested in volunteering, but is slightly hesitant about giving it a go?

Don’t let an opportunity such as volunteering pass you by!  It is a perfect way to get some great experience and meet some lovely people along the way.  You will never regret doing something that is not just beneficial for yourself but also for the many people who you will be helping.  It doesn’t hurt to give volunteering a try but you will probably end up continuing once you’ve started!