Q+A with Amandeep Kochar, Executive VP of Digital Content and Software

Aman Kochar BT_20MEET AMAN—Baker & Taylor’s Executive Vice President of Digital Content, Software Products Services & Sales. He’s passionate about all things digital circulation, from Title Source 360 to Axis 360. Learn a little more about the people behind the scenes at Baker & Taylor with this Q+A with Aman.

 

 

What is your role at Baker & Taylor? 

I am responsible for the Sales of our Digital Circulation Platform Axis360 and all software products like CollectionHQ, ESP, Collect & Connect and Content Café. In addition to my sales responsibilities, I am also responsible for the Product Management, Engineering and Technical  Services for all of Baker & Taylor. Lastly, after our acquisition by Follett, I’m giving guidance for some inter-company projects across B&T, Follett Higher Ed and Follett School Solutions.

Why did you choose this industry? 

Well, I’m an engineer by education and a business professional by accident. I’ve never chosen industries but let them choose me. I started out in computer sciences and then gravitated towards media and entertainment. Finally the plunge into publishing then education technology at McGraw Hill and finally here at Baker & Taylor. There were a few entrepreneurial stints in there too.

What do you love about your job?

Everyone dreams of finding a job that keeps them challenged and has a “feel good factor” to it. I get to jump from a product development meeting thinking of new features for our platforms into an engineering meeting trying to figure out complex issues and then into inter-company projects at Follett to learn about new businesses—this keeps me busy, excited and enthused. However it’s the feeling of enabling a library to provide equal access to all individuals in a community that makes me truly happy. I believe “we can’t control where we come from but can definitely control where we end up,” and so no matter your situation if you have resources like the library that you can depend on, you can be whoever you want to be. And we play a small role in helping libraries achieve that.

What makes our software great?

For Axis 360: We were late to the ebook/e-audiobook party for public libraries, so we had to catch up. It’s easy to have a “me-too” attitude when you are trying to catch up but we kept our own identity. We have always focused on equal access regardless of a user’s situation. From this year on, we have started an Innovation lab within this group to integrate newer technologies and content in Axis 360.

For Title Source360: We call this a library’s ERP (enterprise resource planning) system for acquisition of materials. This truly is the crème da le crème of acquisition systems of books, with millions of books, audiobooks and audio visual material to search, acquire and integrate with a library’s workflow. In all my years of dealing with complex systems, this one would be on top shelf hands down – from the number of sources of data we ingest to the differentiated experience a librarian or retail user can have based on their profiles is special. It is also open in the sense that it integrates with all the ILS partners for a seamless experience to the library staff.

And now with the integration with ESP (Evidence based Selection Planning)—a predictive algorithm from collectionHQ—TS 360 is able to predict the right books and right quantities at a branch level for all the libraries assisting them  in improving efficiency to serve their communities better.

Favorite past-times?

I’m very close to my family and I’m lucky to have my wife as my best friend so most of my time is spent with them. I also enjoy various physical pursuits whenever I get time. Travel would have to be top of the list.

Favorite book? Movie? Music?

Books: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Fountainhead, Kite Runner, Exit West (most recent), Train to Pakistan

Movies: The Bird Cage, Patch Adams, The Graduate, Godfather, Oceans 11 and 12, Monsoon Wedding, The House of Flying Daggers, Enter the Dragon, Die Hard, Terminator 2, Shrek 2 and many more.

Music: I’m old school so Led Zeppelin, Linkin Park, Aerosmith, Beatles, Bryan Adams

Cat or dog person?

A self confessed dog nut!

Favorite travel spot in the world?

A tie between the Turks and Caicos Islands and Las Vegas. If I could settle down anywhere, it’d be Barcelona, Spain though.

Where do you see Baker & Taylor’s software products 10 years from now?

A deeply intuitive set of products driven by AI and machine learning to prescribe the best course of action for librarians to achieve their community engagement goals. Think voice activated commands asking TS 360 “Hey B&T, can you pick books for my African American history month for the branch on the upper west side” and Title Source 360 provides an instant list based on the demographics, past buying patterns and other data like age, education level of that community.

I also see these products being completely open to be able to integrate with newer forms of content and more immersive experiences

I’m extremely passionate about building a culture of constant transformation and positive energy. One of my recent favorite quotes from Peter Drucker “Culture eats strategy for breakfast!”

Don’t forget to follow our blog Notes in the Margin!

Visit Us at ALA Annual!

_MG_2619.jpgNo rest for the bookish during trade show season. Next up: ALA Annual in Chicago starting tomorrow, June 22, until June 27. Baker & Taylor has a jam-packed schedule of author signings, panels and giveaways. We’ll be at Booth #2218!

Author Signings

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Friday, June 23 at 6 p.m. – E. Lockhart, We Were Liars
Spending the summers on her family’s private island off the coast of Massachusetts with her cousins and a special boy named Gat, teenaged Cadence struggles to remember what happened during her fifteenth summer.

Sunday, June 25 at 11 a.m. – Marie Lu, Warcross
In this sci-fi thriller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu conjures an immersive, exhilarating world where choosing who to trust may be the biggest gamble of all.

Sunday, June 25 at 12:30 p.m. – Chris Appelhans (Illustrator), A Grayhound, A Groundhog
A tongue-twister picture book by the award-winning author of Toys Meet Snow and the award-winning illustrator of Sparky! follows the whimsical wordplay that ensues when a greyhound and a groundhog meet.

Monday, June 26 at 12:30 p.m. – Dianne De Las Casas, Captain Deadeye
Dianne de Las Casas’ newest book co-authored with John Couret is Captain Deadeye: The Bully Shark, illustrated by the talented Stefan Jolet. It is the first part of an anti-bully pirate chapter book series!

Panel

Saturday, June 24 at 10:30 a.m. – Executive Perspectives Panel
Follett Chairman Todd Litzsinger is participating on the Executive Perspectives Panel at McCormick Place W185BC.

Sunday, June 25 at 3:30 p.m. – How to Move the Needle on Diversity: An Idea Huddle with We Need Diverse Books and Kirkus Reviews

In August, Baker & Taylor will be launching a partnership with Kirkus Reviews on a promotion of a collection of curated diversity centered titles. They will be teasing this launch in our booth with signage and collateral and a Diversity Huddle on Sunday. Presenters include Dhonielle Clayton, COO and Senior VP of Librarian Services of We Need Diverse Books and Meg Kuehn, CEO of Kirkus Reviews. The session will be moderated by Vicky Smith, the Children’s and Teen Editor of Kirkus Reviews.

Booth Activities

Win a 32GB Kindle Fire HD 8! – Tell us a few things about your library’s eContent services and receive a stuffed Baker or Taylor plush cat as a thank you. Plus, be entered to win a 32GB Kindle Fire HD 8!

Youth Media Award Posters – Stop by to pick up Youth Media Award posters, while supplies last.

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Take a pic with Baker and Taylor! – Our beloved cat mascots will be out and about during ALA at these times:

  • Friday, June 23 ~ 5:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 24 ~ 1 p.m.
  • Sunday, June 25 ~ 10 a.m.

minuteclinic

Axis 360 Minute Clinic! – It’s time for your annual checkup! The Axis 360 Doctors are in town to help librarians improve their Axis presence and check up on your Axis 360 Digital Collection. For your prescription—or clean bill of health—visit your Relationship Manager.

See you there!

Title Source 360 Tips & Tricks

Learning curves stink. Mastering new technology can be frustrating, but don’t throw your computer out the window yet. Librarians, this one is for you! Let’s take a few minutes to dig deeper into Title Source 360 and learn some new tips and tricks for ordering.

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Maximize the accuracy of your search results using the “Advanced Search” feature.

Using the Begins With, Contains, Ends With and Exact refiners will initiate a keyword search and give you more exact search results, saving you precious time.

If you are entering multiple search queries, try using the AND, OR or NOT search terms.

An asterisk (*) is a multiple character wildcard. A question mark is a wildcard that signifies a one-character variable. For example, L?S yields titles containing both Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

Continue reading “Title Source 360 Tips & Tricks”

Real Librarians of Axis 360

There’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes when you checkout a book from your local library. Most of that work comes down to one person: the librarian.

This week we talked to Phyllis Nelson, a librarian at Porter County Public Library in Indiana, about her experiences with Axis 360, her love of reading and her 22 years of being a librarian. Learn a little bit more about our tireless librarians behind the scenes with this interview…

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MEET PHYLLIS NELSON
Porter County Public Library

About Me: I have been a librarian for 22 years. I have been at the Porter County Public Library for 18 years. I got my MLS degree from Indiana University Bloomington in 1995.

My librarian tagline: Go Anywhere. Learn Anything. Read Every Day.

My favorite place to read: Curled up on the couch at home. Having a cup of tea beside me is a must!

Besides reading, what I like to do for fun is: Go hiking, biking, or spend time gardening. I also love to travel and see new places. I have been to Canada, Europe, and all fifty states. I’m looking forward to more exploring!

Author who has most influenced me: Stephen Ambrose. His love of American history has inspired me to learn more and travel more.

Something cool our library offers that the public might not be aware of: Wifi hotspots! We just started circulating these a couple of months ago. I have a feeling their popularity is only going to grow!

What is the key to inspiring the love of reading?: Don’t judge or criticize what someone else is reading. When I was young, my parents never told me, “You shouldn’t read that” or “You can’t read that.” I have fond memories of my Mom dropping me off at our hometown library on her way to buy groceries. She would stop back an hour later and pick me up. Her first question was always, “What did you find this week?” I was always encouraged to read.

The thing I love most about Axis 360: The customer support and the wide selection of ebooks. Our patrons are very happy with their choices!

Thank a librarian today!

Want to learn more about Axis 360? Visit our website here or contact your local library to starting reading!

Dear Congress, Libraries are important!

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Why are libraries so essential? To touch on every aspect of libraries’ importance, we’d be here all day. In short, libraries are business-building, job-creating, workforce-preparing engines of the U.S. economy, and America needs them to thrive. That’s why it is so necessary to advocate for federal library funding as Congress prepares the 2018 fiscal year budget.

Today, Baker & Taylor, along with a handful of other American businesses, unveiled the Corporate Committee for Library Investment, an ad hoc group of companies conceived by Gale, a Cengage company, and the American Library Association. Their goal? To educate Congress and other federal policymakers about the tremendous value of libraries for all kinds of American businesses and taxpayers in an effort to maximize federal library funding.

Now more than ever, America’s public libraries are reaching deep into all facets of the communities they serve offering patrons vital services that are having a profound impact on their lives.
David Cully, President, Baker & Taylor

To start, the CCLI delivered a letter signed by businesses of all sizes today to all members of Senate that outlines the importance of libraries and asks senators to urge their colleagues on the Appropriations Committee to save library funding—$186.6 million under the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and $27 million for the Innovative Approaches to Literacy program (IAL), to be exact.

Baker & Taylor has long been committed to supporting communities through literacy. Without libraries, we can’t do that.

To learn more about the CCLI’s mission to save federal library funding, visit their website at www.fundlibraries.com.

Case Study – Cleaning Up Your Collection with collectionHQ

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North Richland Hills Library in Texas is a single branch system with a large team oflibrarians and selectors. It serves a population of more than 63,000 and collectionHQ, the world’s leading collection management tool, was introduced to the library in 2016 to support evidence based collection management.

The Challenge

Prior to the introduction of collectionHQ, weeding processes at the library had been sporadic with no regular workflow for removal of dead or grubby items. Karen Raborn, Collection Manager at the library shared: “Weeding often happened in spurts. People would be busy with other priorities then there would be a big weeding push. Each department handled weeding differently with different timelines, so it got to the point where our Director recognized the need for a unified approach to collection management and deselection.”

Continue reading “Case Study – Cleaning Up Your Collection with collectionHQ”

Baker Turns 35!

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In 1983, two librarians at the then-newly built Douglas County Public Library in Minden, Nev. had the idea to adopt two cats to work in the library keeping rodents away. Their working role, however, evolved into much more as the pair of Scottish Folds stole the hearts of the small town and eventually became Baker & Taylor’s very own mascots, appropriately named Baker and Taylor.

Continue reading “Baker Turns 35!”