Just One More Chapter is a blend of tea sold at the Creston Valley Public Library.

Just One More Chapter is a blend of tea sold at the Creston Valley Public Library.

The Book Drop: Creston library meets demands by facilitating information exchange

Web Lead

Just in case or just in time?

Back in the 1970s, Toyota Motor Corporation, under the direction of Taiichi Ohno, adopted a just in time (JIT) approach to manufacturing as a means of meeting constantly shifting consumer demands with minimum delays. JIT involved streamlining production processes in order to eliminate waste while ensuring continuous improvement and quick response to changing market demands.

What does this have to do with public libraries?

In the past, libraries tried to stock information on just about every subject imaginable — just in case someone should wander in needing it. We can probably all envision dusty library shelves stacked floor to ceiling with almanacs and encyclopaedias, rows on rows of archaic tomes, awaiting that one seeker of knowledge who will discover in their pages a spark of knowledge or wisdom, or maybe just a few necessary facts, to lead them forward in their quest.

While libraries still stock a wide range of reading materials to suit all ages and backgrounds, the focus today is on using people and systems to facilitate the flow of information. An example of this is Kootenay Connect — the system that allows you to place holds on items throughout the Kootenays directly through our library catalogue. Since implementing this system in February, we have filled over 1,500 requests for items through Kootenay Connect, and the number is growing monthly.

Ebooks are another good example of JIT philosophy in action. By working collaboratively with libraries across the province, we can provide access to tens of thousands of books at a fraction of the cost of purchasing and housing physical copies within the library. All we need to provide are a knowledgeable, trained staff and the technological systems required to facilitate access.

Beginning in September, Creston Valley Public Library will participate in a pilot project with eight other libraries in British Columbia to test “shelf-ready” services. This means that we will receive, directly from distributors, books that are already fully processed and catalogued, saving us time and money and getting new books out to you faster than ever.

In short, by focusing on systems and people (both staff and consumers), and acting as facilitators rather than proprietors of information, we can provide access to a vast range of knowledge while adapting to new market demands faster than ever.

Our facilities also reflect this change in philosophy. Reducing our physical collection size provides greater opportunity to show off what we have with eye-catching displays and special collections. We can provide cleaner and more comfortable seating areas to relax in and enjoy all that we have to offer. We can better meet the needs of younger generations who rely on computers and other information technologies to access information. And we can make it easier for you to find what you are looking for without wading through stacks of dusty books that haven’t been touched in years.

Now on a completely different note, Creston Valley Public Library is proud to offer two mouth-watering blends of teas specifically designed to enhance your reading pleasure: Just One More Chapter, a calming chamomile tisane with a hint of crisp apple that will gently transport you from that last chapter into restful slumber, and Sense and Sensibili-Tea, a robust gothic black tea that will keep your corset strings tight and your mental processes tingling. Available at the library for a limited time only!

Aaron Francis is the chief librarian at the Creston Valley Public Library.