Improving Library Tech weeknotes w/e 10/01/20 and 17/01/20

We’ve had a couple of weeks of not being together as a team and in formal sprints as we’re still in the re-grouping stage, however this doesn’t mean no work has been happening. 

Tl;dr version: 


Staff PC work: 

  • I’ve been in a bit of a quote-a-thon with some suppliers due to Intel chip shortages.
  • Nigel has been a star in working with us to get the PCs delivered when they arrive.  
  • 12 week wait for delivery.  

Kiosk work: 

  • Rabbit hole of understanding the network design and how this can be done better due to other implications it has on public accessing sections of the Library Catalogue. 
  • Slow response from suppliers on possible card payment configuration options. 

Public PC work: 

  • Met with Ian Holland to help shape what this work’s priorities will be. 
  • Met with Richard Smith to discuss the first steps in getting the user research underway
  • Steve Addison gave us useful info on printer contacts and timerames and Eko was also able to give us lots of data on printer usage. 
  • Meeting with Margaret and James from libraries who are joining the project to explain what it’s about, how we work, priorities and objectives. 

Up next: 

Kiosk work:

  • Handover with Saeif in libraries of the Libraries Management System to Apps Management. 
  • Getting final information from suppliers in roder to make decisions on hardware and support contracts. 
  • Handover planning with Bibliothecha to understand kiosk fault reporting and current support contract agreements. 

Staff user research:

  • Show and Tell for Ian and Sue on this in the next couple of weeks. We will then present to ICT soon afterwards. 

Public PC work:

  • User research kick off meeting booked in next week with Richard and Thea 
  • Understanding more about the printers using data and finding out from other councils how they do this. 

Long read version: 

What we’ve done:

Henry and I met with Sue Comitti and Ian Holland, Head of Libraries, to really understand priorities, timeframes, issues, expectations and library staff involvement and input on the project. This was a really positive meeting and really helped us understand the full scope and also potential limitations, but allows us to navigate these better going forward.

Starting getting team members together: Sue will be sharing the Product Owner role with Margaret Sinn, libraries operations manager. James […] will be joining the team from libraries. These changes will hopefully mean they’ll have  more time and flexibility to offer the project as well as new insights. 

Staff PCs: It turns out there’s a worldwide shortage of Intel processing chips. Apparently, Intel can’t manufacture enough to meet demand which has left all suppliers out of/low on stock. This unfortunately has implications on the delivery of the remaining 39 PCs for the staff roll out: a 12 week wait. We looked into getting an alternative AMD processor, but Mario, Erdem and Nana concluded that as we hadn’t tested it, there wasn’t the confidence in it being able to perform the same and we’d have to retest. In addition, as everyone else in the PC ordering world had similar ideas, this has a knock on 4-6 week wait for AMD machines. After discussing with Sue, she decided we should go for Intel and wait ensuring the right machines are delivered for staff. 

Kiosk work: The suppliers have been staggeringly slow in giving us information we need to understand if we can have a card payment solution attached to these machines. This is utterly frustrating and really feels like we’re wading through treacle with this a bit now. It doesn’t help as there aren’t competitors we can leverage some get up and go ness from them with. 

Now down the rabbit hole: part of what we want to do is understand how the kiosks are networked and if this is the best solution. There is an issue with the functionality of some of the online library services on Hackney WiFi that we need to try and understand, but seems it’s linked to how it’s been networked. 

What we’re doing next

Kiosk work: Rasit is meeting with Saeief to understand the LMS more ready for handing it over from libraries to Apps support. This application has never been supported in ICT before, so any problem or issues with ti has always been resolved by libraries themselves, but in order to ensure consistency and better understanding, this will move into apps management portfolio. We need to understand it before we can support it though, and these are out=r first steps to doing this. 

Understanding why the kiosks are networked in the way they are, do they have to be and can we do this differently. This will enable us to manage the hardware better and also resolve the issue of library users not currently being able to access their library accounts. 

Meeting with the suppliers to establish a relationship with ICT in order to support the kiosks moving forward. We need to find out lots of information on them such as what faults are reported and how often; details of support contracts; how they support the hardware currently and how we’ll work together going forward. 

Staff user research: We did this just before Christmas and as yet not been able to plan and do a Show and Tell, but we’re going to present the findings back to Ian and Sue in the next couple of weeks. Once we’ve done that we’ll present it to ICT too.

Public PC work: We’ve got a session booked in with Richard and Thea to work out as a team what we want to be asking the public about PCs and printer services and how best to approach it.

Once the research has been done, we’ll be able to start working on users stores and success criteria. 

We’re gathering data about the printers to understand a bit more about usage that’ll be used to plan next steps. We’ll also be asking other libraries what their printing offer and solutions are.

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