- About HMCPL
- All hours and locations
- Disaster Plan
- Library Board
- Media and Press
- Atrium Art Gallery
- Blind & Physically Handicapped Library
- Community Partners
- Computer Training Center
- Heritage Room (Genealogy)
- Interlibrary Loans
- Meeting Rooms
- Patron Request Form
- Playaway View
- Public Computers
- Speakers Bureau
- Wireless access (Wi-Fi)
- Online Resources
- All online resources
- Automotive databases
- Book-related databases
- Business databases
- Career databases
- Catalogs of local interest
- Digital downloads databases
- Encyclopedias and dictionaries
- Genealogy databases
- Grants and fund-raising databases
- Health databases
- History databases
- Homework references
- Journal and article databases
- Literature and authors databases
- Local Interest databases
- Portals to multiple databases
- Spanish-language databases
- Alabama Virtual Library
- Community Info
- Digital Archives
- Digital Downloads
- Got a Question? Ask Us!
- Homework Alabama
- Huntsville History Collection
- Learning Express
- Next Reads
- Research Guides
- Read with Us
- Programs & Classes
- Library-sponsored Events
- Book Clubs
- Author Chat Book Club
- Bailey Cove Science Fiction Book Club
- Bailey Cove Young Adult Book Club
- Book vs Movie
- Booked for Lunch
- Coffee Cake and Conversation
- Cupid's Café
- Eleanor Murphy Book Club
- Eleanor Murphy ForeverYA Book Club
- Elementary Series Book Club
- Groundbreaking Reads
- Gurley Girls
- Inspirational Book Club
- Knit 1, Read Too!
- Knitting Between the Lines
- Literary Giants
- Lovers of Lit
- Lunch and Love Book Club
- Madison Murder, Ink.
- Russell Readers
- RocketCityMom.com Book Club
- Saved by the Bell Jar
- Sister 2 Sister / Brother 2 Brother Book Club
- Tillman Hill Adult Book Club
- Time Out Book Club
- Urban Circle Book Club
- Community Events calendar
- Computer Classes
- Story Times calendar
- Connect With Us
Tech @ the Library
For those of you who attended our presentation on open source software in libraries, thank you for coming out to hear us! Some of the high points from Amy's portion of the presentation:
A content management system (CMS, for short) is the logical next step for a site that's become too big for one person or one department to manage. While they aren't right for everyone, it was the right choice for us. A few well-respected and well-known ones are:
If you are considering getting a CMS, you will want to look at
- whether or not you have a programmer on staff
- if you do, what language(s) can this person program in?
- each system's tradeoff between a) ease of use and b) configurability.
If you don't have a programmer and your needs are relatively simple, you could err toward the side of ease of use; if you have a programmer and you know your needs are complex, you may be better off seeking a system that takes longer to set up but provides more flexibility in the end.
Django and Plone are both written in Python, while Drupal and Joomla! are both written in PHP. While both Django and Plone are excellent systems with vibrant user bases and code availability, we ruled them out, as our webmaster was most conversant in PHP. The choice between Drupal and Joomla was difficult; both make excellent CMS choices for library sites, but HMCPL chose Drupal because of its excellent module system. As long as you carefully evaluate both your resources and your needs, and pick something that fits both, there is no wrong answer. I'd rather see you choose a solution that balances your needs and resources, and is right for you, than necessarily choosing what Huntsville Public chose. Not all libraries will make the same choice we did, and they will have equally valid reasons for their choices. Our choice was not a choice 'against' something, but 'for' a platform that meshed well with our personnel resources and design goals.
What is Drupal? (The non-technical version)
The system I refer to as 'Drupal' here actually has two parts: Drupal 'core,' which is the basic framework of a site, and 'modules,' which are freely available modules written by the community and contributed back to Drupal. They can be as big as "build me a calendar of events!" or as small as "let me put this particular form field on a certain page."
How are we using Drupal in our sites?
We have a few modules that we consider critical to both sites:
- the combination of the Rubik theme (http://drupal.org/project/rubik) and Admin toolbar (http://drupal.org/project/admin) to simplify administration tasks for our users. My goal is to have our staffers ready to post content within just a couple of clicks.
- Organic Groups (http://drupal.org/project/og) is a workhorse module seeing vastly different uses internally and externally. Externally, it serves as a way for our employees to contribute to our blogs.
- Content Construction Kit (http://drupal.org/project/cck) is the bedrock of our sites. We have many different types of content that we need to present on our sites, and CCK lets us decide what types of content we want to make available for our users, instead of needing to shoehorn our content into someone else's predetermined ideas of what we might need.
- Views (http://drupal.org/project/views) Views is a graphical query builder; it lets you take your content that you've created with CCK, categorized with Organic Groups, and remix it and present it in whatever formats (lists, full pages, tables) suit our site best.
How are we using Drupal in our internal site?
- We are using Ubercart (http://drupal.org/project/ubercart) to provide an internal supply store for employees to reorder supplies and provide them spreadsheet-friendly expense data for budgeting and planning.
- A highly customized front page, allowing users to only see the news that is relevant to the branch they're working at, or the committees they're a part of.
- Custom content types. Our needs were diverse; and we needed to track things that were both good and bad. Good: we needed a centralized place to track the grants we were applying for, or had applied for in the past. Bad: we needed a database of patrons who had been banned from the library, and we needed to provide calendars showing when employees had been furloughed.
- Collection of statistics. We needed a simple way for branches to provide attendance statistics from their events
- Donor management. We're investigating the CiviCRM (http://drupal.org/project/civicrm) module for tracking donations and pledges.
How are we using Drupal in our public site?
- We're using a multi-site install, which lets us run an unlimited number of sites (currently three) off of a single codebase, thus lessening the number of code updates we have to do behind the scenes.
- We are using Ubercart (http://drupal.org/project/ubercart) so our library foundation can accept online donations and sell tickets to events.
- Custom content types with CCK. (http://drupal.org/project/cck) We needed to distribute the ability to post multiple types of information to the public: not just events and blog posts, but what about posting press releases, equipment bids, entries in our community organizations database, or job postings?
- Sections for kids and teens, with a different look and feel, but access to the same information. We're using the Sections (http://drupal.org/project/sections) module to provide summer reading sections of our site for children and teens.
What are we considering for the future?
- MERCI (Manage Equipment Reservation Checkout & Inventory, http://drupal.org/project/merci) to track reservations of equipment, like projectors or laptops
- CCK for online submissions of book reviews from teens, which will be part of this year's Summer Reading.
- Online Reference: using taxonomy-related modules to provide an online subject guide.
- Genealogy Research Guide: using Drupal's Book module, included in core, to provide an infinitely extensible guide to our genealogy resources, including not just tips and tricks, but lists of our holdings.
Is there a community I can go to for help?
Yes! Absolutely! There are two excellent resources for librarians and libraries using drupal.
One is the Libraries group on http://groups.drupal.org/libraries, of which I am the current manager.
The other is the Drupal4Lib email list, on which I am an active contributor. You can join the list at http://listserv.uic.edu/htbin/wa?SUBED1=drupal4lib&A=1 or by sending an email to LISTSERV [at] LISTSERV [dot] UIC [dot] EDU with 'SUBSCRIBE DRUPAL4LIB' (no quotes) in the subject.
Have more questions?
I'm also findable as as @amyqmc on twitter, or at amyq [at] hmcpl [dot] org. The Libraries group is currently busy planning a free pre-conference in June that will take place in Washington, DC right before ALA 2010. I intend to be in attendance, and will likely be leading sessions there.
Madison Public Library reopens with new RFID system to speed up checkouts. Work has been going on behind the scenes for some time to place RFID (Radio-frequency identification) tags in every item in the Madison Public Library, and MPL was closed on Monday and Tuesday of this week (March 8-9) to finish the installation. As a result, checking out books at MPL is much simpler!
To check out a book, scan your library card, place your items on the platform, and take your receipt:
There are new security gates set up at the entrance to Madison Public Library:
If an item that hasn't been checked out goes through the gates, a buzzer will sound and the gates will light up, like this:
(See the full flickr photoset here.)
Thank you for your patience while MPL was closed for two days. We hope you'll agree that the quicker, easier system was worth the wait.
We've prepared a quick tutorial on how to access Heritage Quest at home using your library card number and PIN.
To access Heritage Quest at home, click "advanced search" in the Rocket Search area on the front page of our website, hmcpl.org:
Next, type in your library card number and PIN number:
Once you have logged in, scroll through the database list until you see the database labeled "Heritage Quest Online". Clicking the "Heritage Quest Online" button will provide you with access to all of the Heritage Quest databases offered by the library.
Thank you for your understanding while we migrated from hpl.lib.al.us to hmcpl.org!
We'll be traveling to various library branches and departments through February 26 to get your feedback about our new changes to the website, and feedback on our future website plans. The focus groups will be thirty minutes long and held
- Monday, February 22: Tillman Hill Public Library (Hazel Green), 1pm - 1:30pm
- Monday, February 22: Madison Public Library, 5:30pm-6:00pm
- Tuesday, February 23: Elizabeth Carpenter Library of New Hope, 11:00am-11:30am
- Tuesday, February 23: Youth Services at Main Library, 5:30pm-6:00pm
- Tuesday, February 23: Main Library (2nd Floor Regional Computer Training Center), 7:00pm-7:30pm
- Wednesday, February 24: Youth Services at Main Library, 11:00am-11:30am
- Wednesday, February 24: Main Library (2nd Floor Regional Computer Training Center), 2:00pm-2:30pm
- Thursday, February 25: Main Library (2nd Floor Regional Computer Training Center), 10:00am-10:30am
- Thursday, February 25: Showers Center Library, 4:00pm-4:30pm
- Friday, February 26: Bailey Cove Branch Library, 10:00am-10:30am
We're still working on a few issues from our migration to hmcpl.org. The 'My Account' page is still currently disabled. To renew items or place holds, visit our catalog directly. Access to Heritage Quest is back! Go here to learn how to access it from home using RocketSearch.
Thank you for being understanding while we make this move!