NLS Operations Alert


No. 18-59


DATE          :  July 11, 2018

TO                :  Network Libraries

FROM         :  Karen Keninger, Director

SUBJECT   :  Highlights of the 2018 biennial national conference



Before too much time passes, I want to take the opportunity to thank all of those who attended the 2018 biennial national conference held in Nashville, Tennessee. I, as well as all of the staff here at NLS, appreciated the opportunity to meet with network librarians from around the country and for both groups to provide training and updates on a variety of important topics. NLS updated the network on the status of goals announced at the 2016 conference and shared our vision for the future. Below is a recap of some of the highlights.


Key announcements:


·         The efforts to move libraries and patrons to a wireless distribution environment will be called Future Access Reimagined (FAR).

·         NLS is initiating the process to officially change its name (new name to be determined).

·         Six network libraries are now using Duplication-on-Demand for circulation of talking books to their readers. Eight more network libraries are in the process of implementing Duplication-on-Demand.

·         NLS is working with circulation system vendors to ensure all network libraries have the option to adopt Duplication-on-Demand. NLS will provide cartridges, mailing containers, and labels to network libraries.  

·         Network libraries will be given the opportunity to erase and reuse white cartridges and containers locally.

·         Beginning immediately, network libraries may register patrons for BARD directly without requiring them to complete a separate application.

·         A single sign-on capability is being developed that will enable network library staff to use only one ID and password to access various web pages (i.e., BARD, Network Library Services Website, Network Library Database).

·         The MOCA pilot will be extended for current participants through the end of the calendar year (2018).

·         The 2020 biennial national conference will be in Lincoln, Nebraska.


Major conference takeaways:


·         Wireless distribution is the future.

·         Braille eReaders (refreshable braille displays) are coming soon.

·         Readership will expand due to outreach efforts and simplified eligibility requirements.

·         Regulations will be changed to ease access for people with dyslexia and other reading disabilities, but not until we have the capacity to serve them.

·         NLS can and will expand audio and braille content.

·         NLS must build or acquire media delivery infrastructure with sufficient capacity to serve a bigger patron base.

·         NLS expects to have a new talking-book machine/playback system in five years. We don’t know what it will look like yet, but we do know it will have wireless connectivity, a voice user interface, an “easy mode” for automatic download of books from a patron’s wish list, onboard text-to-speech, and an emphasis on user experience rather than form factor of the device.


Additional considerations:


·         Migration from digital cartridges and hard copy braille to the cloud will mean a smaller footprint/less space is needed for network libraries as the physical collections are phased out.

·         Less time will be spent by network staff on collection maintenance and managing physical inventory.

·         NLS will encourage use of personal devices and investigate commercial off- the-shelf products, but will also maintain its commitment to providing a free player to patrons who request one, enabling all patrons to have equal access.

·         A BARD Express MOCA Mode is envisioned to allow libraries or users to populate their Wish Lists, after which the titles would automatically download for easy transfer to a cartridge.

·         Voice user interface devices like Google Home and Amazon Echo will continue to be explored once a streaming model has been developed.

·         Self-service technology, expanded readership base, and efficiencies implemented effectively hold the possibility of actually reducing the per-patron cost of library services.


Conference presentations will be posted for network libraries to review. There will be a notification when this occurs.


For more information contact:

Karen Keninger

Director, NLS

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