Welcome the New Haven Free Public Library & the San Diego Public Library

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In April of 2012, we welcomed the Nashville Public Library to the Bedework Community as the first public library to adopt Bedework.  At that time, I wrote, “Although I am not a librarian, I have been involved with IT support of my university’s library, and I presently serve as a trustee of the Capital District Library Council (www.cdlc.org).  I have long felt that Bedework would be a great fit for public libraries, and I am pleased that the Nashville Public Library feels the same way.”

Today I write to welcome the San Diego Public Library (June 2012), and the New Haven Free Public Library (November 2012) to the Bedework Community. San Diego is one of the 10 largest cities in the U.S. and in their 2012 annual report, the San Diego Public Library stated, "San Diego Public Library is one of the first public libraries in the country to use this (Bedework) sophisticated user-interface, which has greatly enhanced the look and feel of the site and has given users the ability to conduct filtered searches for events of specific interest."

In late December 2012, Tom Smith, a librarian at the New Haven Free Public Library (NHFPL), was good enough to spend an hour speaking with me about his library and their Bedework implementation. In the course of our conversation I learned a great many things about the NHFPL, but I also learned that Tom and I were about the same age, both of us had an IT background, and we grew up in adjacent small towns in downstate New York. Tom later earned in MLS degree, and has been at the NHFPL for almost one year. In addition to his involvement with their Bedework deployment, Tom is also responsible for the Technology Center, one of four core resources NHFPL provides to their customers and their community.

The New Haven Free Public Library first opened its doors in February 1887 a few years earlier than the New York Public Library, and just a few years after the first Carnegie Library in North America in 1883.

NHFPL serves New Haven, Connecticut’s second largest city with a population of 130,000. In 2011, the library and its four branches served over 500,000 visitors. The Fair Haven branch received a Carnegie grant in 1913. The library is also served by The New Haven Free Public Library Foundation, a tax exempt public charity organization, incorporated to enhance the collections, technology, programs and services of the New Haven Free Public Library beyond the means of public funding.

NHFPL rolled out Bedework in November with the launch of their new Wordpress-based web site. Bedework is nicely integrated into the attractive tile theming of the new homepage, and the Bedework image “triptych” on the “events” page contributes to the visual imaging. (Many individual events also display an associated image.) Bedework 3.9, which was released just last week, has greatly improved support for managing the triptych more easily.

Tom told me that New Haven was something of a melting pot, with a relatively large Latino community. Although Bedework has internationalization support, the NHFPL calendar calls on Google Translate to provide Spanish and Chinese version of the NHFPL web site, including events. The four community branches, Fair Haven, Stetson, Wilson and Mitchell having their own events searchable by location within Bedework, and only their events on the web pages for each branch.

We commend the New Haven Free Public Library on 125 years of serving “… as a resource to provide information, education and recreation to the citizens of the City of New Haven”, and for their very fine Bedework implementation.

I offered Tom opportunity to have the last word, and here is what he had to say,
"Our brand new Bedework calendar is at the heart of our recently launched website.

Thanks to Bedework’s versatility and flexibility, we’re now able to offer customer access to upcoming events at the New Haven Free Public Library at multiple points throughout the website.  Our homepage offers visitors both a clickable monthly calendar and a listing of top three events which are time-of- day specific.   By viewing individual web pages, visitors can browse events based on areas of interest and event location.   And the event submission option allows for easy entry of upcoming events by branch managers and other contributing staff members."

Although the New Haven Free Public Library has been doing so much longer than Bedework, I think it is safe to say, in the words of Andrew Carnegie, that we both aspire to doing "real and permanent good in this world".

On behalf of the Bedework Steering Committee,
Gary Schwartz