Welcome the Nashville Public Library

Gary Schwartz, April 16, 2012
On behalf of the Bedework Steering Committee, I would like to welcome the Nashville Public Library to the Bedework Community.  
The Library went live two weeks ago with their new website (http://www.library.nashville.org/), and their new Bedework calendar (http://events.library.nashville.org/cal).  
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.
The Nashville Public Library is a large library system - with 22 branch locations serving the population of America’s  25th largest city. As Nashville is the first public library, to my knowledge, that has adopted Bedework, I was interested in learning more about Bedework story at The Library. I contacted Kyle Cook, the librarian involved with Bedework and other digital projects, who was gracious enough to spend an hour telling me about Bedework at his library.
The Nashville Public Library is a highly centralized system, with a single web site for the entire library system. When The Library’s web site was being updated, they decided to take the opportunity to look for a replacement for their public events calendar. They have about 600 events per month, including performances of their resident puppet troupe (http://nashvillepubliclibrary.org/wishingchair/about-wishing-chair/). The old online calendar did not have strong search, and could not drive their digital signage, among other things.   
Kyle told me that Bedework’s feedbuilder, which allows them to drive their digital signage, and Bedework’s “skinning” capabilities, making it easy to provide the same look and feel for Bedework as the larger web site, were major selling points for The Library. Additionally, they appreciated that Bedework is  an open source project with wide adoption and an active developer community. Mobile capabilities are increasingly important for The Library, and it is easy to provide a mobile skin for Bedework, or use it natively from Apple’s ical client, or the Android acal client.
I offered Kyle opportunity to have the last word, and here is what he had to say, 

“We are taking kind of a risk trying Bedework; it’s not something we normally do, going outside the lib world for technology, going somewhere libraries have not gone before.

"We are really excited about being the first public library on Bedework, and we definitely hope we are not the last. We are really pleased with how the implementation has gone, and we hope we can recruit some other big public libraries, and also statewide consortia, to give smaller libraries a platform to put their events on, and to have all that great functionality without having to invest in servers themselves.”

I commend Kyle and his colleagues at the Nashville Public Library for going where no public library has gone before, and l look forward to hearing of other Bedework public library implementations in the very near future.
On behalf of the Bedework Steering Committee,
Gary Schwartz