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Director’s Report to the Board of Trustees for April

1. AV Project

The AV Project is in the construction phase.  After being given a 3-4 week verbal estimate for completion, the written estimate subsequently submitted showed an 8-week schedule.  I sent an unanswered email of complaint about this discrepancy.  Telephone tag with the general contractor didn’t result in a conversation but something must have happened.  The work that has been underway since April 7 has been moving at such an accelerated rate that—barring any unforeseen problems—the Library should see the project completed well before the June 3 completion date originally proposed. 

The children’s room is close to complete (and should have been completed by now), but is not.  The last delivery arrived with torn cartons and damage to the furniture.  The replacement furniture is in progress.  The special table for the four iPads is the item that has the greatest impact.  For financial and professional reasons the contracts for the AWE PCs were not renewed.  These PCs specially loaded with the company’s software were overpriced originally and the annual renewals totally unreasonable.  Worse the graphics for most of the software supplied were antiquated.

The iPads will be the latest Apple models and will draw upon the enormous trove of juvenile-oriented apps at substantially lower prices.  The Children’s Department staff will load the programs onto the iPads which should be ready for installation and use once the new iPad table is received.

Positive comments have been plentiful regarding the relocation of the adult DVDs to the first floor and the elimination of the browser cards.  Patrons are happy to browse the DVD shelves and handle the actual DVD boxes.  The completion of the processing of CDs (similar to the DVD processing) is taking longer than planned.  The technical services department has to receive and process all new materials at the same time they work retrospectively on the CDs.  Since this is one of the two heaviest book publishing seasons, the new materials workload is mitigating the volume of CDs that the Department can process.  Instead of mid-April for the completion of the CDs, the current projection for completion is April 30.

The lower level construction must be completed prior to the installation of the remainder of the Adult Services shelving order.  Once the work is complete, the new shelving can be installed and—finally—the books on CD, the playaways, and romances can be moved out of the meeting room and placed on the newly arrived shelves.  This means that the inconvenience created by those materials being housed in the meeting room will be over.  The room will be restored to full capacity. And unlike their status in the meeting room, he relocated books on CD on the lower level will be well lit and easy to browse.

The paperwork for the grant must now be handled.  The changes made to the project require that a modification of the program narrative be appended to the original proposal.  The modification must reflect the changes in budget allocations, i.e. the bottom line remains the same, but the funds budgeted for supplies and equipment will have to be reallocated.  The other major work is the entry of the invoice information into the State’s online records for the grant.  This will proceed forthwith and will be reviewed by RCLS and by the State to ensure that all of the information required is properly entered.  The Library appreciates the assistance provided by RCLS’s Stephen Hoefer regarding the grant reporting requirements; and the assistance of New York State Library Development’s Mary Linda Todd who ultimately is responsible for the administration of these grants, and the time and effort she graciously provided to New City to help ensure that all of the State’s requirements will be met.

Based on the current state of affairs,   all needed purchase orders have been issued and they cover virtually all of the grant expenditure requirements; hence the June 1 purchase order deadline will be met.  The Library also will pay all applicable invoices for purchased goods and services under the terms of the grant well before July 31, the final deadline for payment of grant-related invoices.

As of now things look good and should work out well beyond everyone’s original expectations—but the remaining work still must be completed.  Note as well that no one is easing up and all of the staff involved are working full out.  They are to be commended greatly for everything they have done already and for what they are doing now and will continue to do till the completion of the project. 

 

II. Long Range Plan

The Requests for Proposals for a new Long Range Plan for the New City Library have been issued and are due by April 24. 

 

III. Meet and Greet for Trustees and Staff – March 28

Everyone seemed most pleased by the Meet and Greet.  It provided an informal way for the trustees and staff to interact and get to know each other in a warm and friendly atmosphere.

 

IV. Personnel

There are no personnel recommendations to be discussed as part of this report. 

Discussions are continuing on what the job descriptions should be for the Finance and Facilities Manager, the Accounts Clerk, and the Executive Assistant.

 

V.  Purchase of a 3-D Printer

 

The Journal News for April 9 did a front page story on 3-D printers.  It featured commercial applications and indicated that two of the public libraries in Westchester County have installed them.  The article is appended to this report.

Inserted immediately following is the discussion of 3D Printers by Veronica Reynolds, her comparison of several currently available, and her recommendation for purchase by the New City Library of the Alfina-H Series for $1,599:

The future of libraries is an issue that weighs heavily on many minds in the field.  It has become clear that we must diversify, offering libraries as not only spaces for traditional study, but the pursuit of new and dynamic fields. In this vein, several libraries around the country have established ‘makerspaces’.  Makerspace has been defined by Public Library News writer Michael Groenendyk as “a shared work area where people build things collaboratively.”  This falls in naturally with libraries that already foster craft clubs, group study and community groups. Makerspaces just have newer and more innovative tools.

The prize tool of a makerspace is a 3D printer. Attached to a computer with the right (and mostly free) software, a 3D printer can turn out objects printed with plastic.


3D printers also fall in with current education trends, encouraging students of all ages to explore STEM  (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) topics while working on an exciting and creative project.


Recently, 3D printer prices have fallen into a more realistic price range for libraries, if not for home use.  There is a range of sophistication and price. I looked over many models. Here is a sample breakdown of what is currently on the market:

Model Price Pros Cons
XYZ Printing da Vinci   $499 -Budget friendly -Easy to setup - Poor customer service -Cartridges are proprietary and expensive -Difficult to maintain
Cube X $2,499 -Simple to Use -Comes with software -Prints multicolored objects -Large printed objects -Phone support included -Sealed case -Limited to proprietary software and cartridges      
Makerbot Replicator 2  $2,899 -Best known brand -Most connectivity -High resolution -Poor support -High price, yet doesn’t support heavier duty printing material -Pricey customer service
Alfina H-Series $1,599 -Used in other libraries with success -Comes with software -Included lifetime customer support -One color printing only -Smaller prints

 

After reading many reviews, the Alfina H-Series stands out as the most approachable and usable option. It comes with its own software, but will also work with third party programs.  As can be expected with its lower price, it does only print in a single color at a time and it only allows for objects 5’’ cubed.  With an unlimited budget, the Cube X is also an appealing alternative with its multicolor printing and larger objects.


The other cost factor is the printing material. 3D printers have two possible materials: PLA or ABS plastic which is sold by the kilogram.  Each cartridge can cost from $35 to $99 depending on the quality of the object. Alfina will take far cheaper cartridges then the XYZ or the CubeX.


The Alfina H-Series would serve the library well. It could be used in a number of programs for children, teens and adults.  Several months ago, I attended a talk at RCLS given by a librarian currently using an Alfina and he found that the patrons wound up self-directing with the machine. They formed a club and educated each other on how best to use the device with limited interference from the librarian.

 

3D printing is still in its adolescence, but already great things are happening.  For instance, CNN reported on April 4 (http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/03/tech/innovation/3-d-printing-human-organs/) that scientists may eventually be able to print replacement organs, cells and veins. This is a brave new frontier.

 

New City Library has always been a forward thinking, cutting edge library. Getting a 3D printer will allow us to move forward into a new area of innovation. Programming could be targeted at several groups, children with a creative streak can make simple toys and learn the basics of design and engineering; teens grappling with complicated math classes will find real world applications making jewelry or games; and inventors of all ages can prototype all their ideas. Other libraries have created self-guiding groups like Women in Engineering and Kid Inventors. They also have yearly maker fairs where everyone has a chance to show off what they've been working on. You can check out a video about the Westport Library's Maker Faire here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KKFpwWKtu08


Right now, no other library in Rockland has a 3D printer. New City Library will be the first!


            -Veronica Reynolds, Coordinator, Community Relations

 

Since this is under $2,000 the director has the discretion to purchase it.  But as I indicated at an earlier Board meeting, I am committed to discussing with the Board upcoming purchases of a special nature and about which the Trustees should be aware.

Unless directed otherwise, we will order the Alfina H-Series 3D printer for the New City Library.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

/s/ mitch

Mitch Freedman, Director

New City Library

March 14, 2014

Appendix

Journal News Article:

Businesses, Institutions adopting 3-D Printers

 

By Ernie Garcia, elgarcia@lohud.com

Appeared in the Journal News on April 9, 2014

For article with photos and videos : http://tinyurl.com/lultqk9

The $160,000 in 3-D printing gear in a converted Haverstraw factory is a glimpse at manufacturing's future in the Lower Hudson Valley.

"This is a sandbox," said Thomas P. Della Torre, associate vice president of academic and community partnerships at Rockland Community College, which runs the 3D Printing Smart Lab at its Haverstraw extension center. "This is a place for manufacturers to come and work and play and test and prototype and experiment and train."

Companies using the college's extension center aren't the only ones experimenting. Throughout the Lower Hudson Valley, businesses and institutions are embracing 3-D printers and scanners as prices for the technology fall.

Both the White Plains Public Library and the Port Chester-Rye Brook Public Library have bought them and they are preparing to roll out training programs for the public. The technology's affordability has entrepreneurs working 3-D printers into their business plans while bigger manufacturers are creating fast and cheap prototypes they can use to stay ahead of competitors.

Sono-Tek in Milton, N.Y., uses the three printers at RCC's Smart Lab to make prototypes for the precision nozzles it makes. Robb Engle, Sono-Tek's vice president of engineering, said the Smart Lab, which is available to New York companies free of charge, has saved him money and time by not having to make metal prototypes in-house.

"We would have to schedule it in my machine shop. The backlog in my machine shop is typically eight to 12 weeks, so I either have to disrupt a customer's order in order to fit it in or I have to wait for that production cycle," said Engle, who typically emails the designs for his prototypes to the Smart Lab, which Engle's staffers pick up the following day.

A 3-D printer operates similarly to an inkjet printer, which has an ink cartridge that passes over paper laying down ink. With 3-D printers, a cartridge melts plastic, metal or other substances and lays it down in three dimensions according to a three-dimension design fed to the printer by a computer.

The $2,500 3-D printer Robert Caluori Jr. demonstrates around Westchester County is part of the Westchester Library System's effort to bring technology to the masses. In March he took it to a Peekskill Rotary Club meeting.

 

Rockland Community College's 3D printing lab at the college's Haverstraw extension campus April 1, 2014.(Photo: Peter Carr/The Journal News)

"I was trying to demystify it," Caluori. "Really just trying to bring it down to everyday life and not something used by NASA engineers."

The technology has existed since the 1980s, but as prices for 3-D printers fall — a hand-held model Calouri built himself from a kit cost just $350 — the technology is affordable for libraries.

Brian Kenney, the White Plains Public Library's director, said a $2,000 3-D printer has been installed in The Edge, the library's teen section. The main reason the library bought the 3-D printer was to engage teens and cultivate their interest in science, technology, engineering and math, the so-called STEM disciplines.

"3-D printing really engages young people in STEM activities," said Kenney of the knowledge required to create an object from scratch on design software. "(Teens are) producing a product that is fun and playful, but it really requires some skills."

The White Plains Public Library also hopes to hook adults with programs that it will begin rolling out later this spring and in the summer. Kenney said buying the 3-D printer was part of the library's mission to expose its patrons to new technologies.

 

Local companies are already riding the 3-D printing wave.

"Our R&D and design teams are constantly exploring new ideas for product, packaging and equipment innovation. 3-D printing technology can be a useful tool to model and evaluate new ideas more quickly and efficiently than in the past," wrote PepsiCo spokesman Jeff Dahncke in an email.

Mini 3D Me expects to open a storefront in Yorktown in April, and it has been selling figurine reproductions of brides and grooms as well as children in their sports uniforms since December. The company has also begun producing signs and logos for local companies with its 3-D printer and scanner.

Chelsea Waller, a spokeswoman for Mini 3D Me, said the company was originally started just to produce keepsake figurines for parents and newlyweds, but the business has expanded its scope by printing items for local businesses.

The Digital Arts Experience, an educational and coworking business in White Plains, is teaching 3-D printing.

Its spring break programs, which start at $350 for a half day on April 14-18, include two 3-D printing design and modeling classes for children. The DAE's classes allow children and young teens to design and create parts for a Rube Goldberg Machine, which is an overly complicated machine created to perform a simple task.

Laurence Gottlieb, president of the Hudson Valley Economic Development Corp., promotes 3-D printing in the region. Gottlieb, formerly Westchester County's head of economic development, said 3-D printing is a way to revive local manufacturing and bring new business to existing design firms.

The HVEDC's work includes forming a partnership between SUNY New Paltz and the 3-D printing company MakerBot to create an innovation center at that college. Gottlieb said the Hudson Valley's strength in the 3-D printing revolution is its abundance of design and creative professionals.

"This is a technology that could work anywhere," said Gottlieb. "It can create a new generation of individual manufacturers that we haven't seen probably in decades, and that's always exciting to me."

Learn about 3-D printing

The White Plains Public Library will hold a free 3-D printing event called Makers Morning on May 3 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 100 Martine Ave. Library staff will demonstrate its 3-D printer and local businesses, artists or individuals with 3-D printers are invited to exhibit their creations, products or services. Exhibitors can register by calling the library, 914-422-1400.

 

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