Xtra Help with LibX
Assistant Director for Electronic Resources and Emerging Technology Services
Virginia Polytechnic Institute And State University Libraries, Blacksburg
MLIS, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2001
Photo by Ron Wurzer/Getty Images for Library Journal
Around Virginia Tech University Libraries, Annette Bailey is known for her “determination, drive, intelligence, technical skills, and sheer moxie in serving end users,” in the words of nominator Carl Grant, who is executive advisor to the dean of university libraries Tyler Walters. These characteristics served Bailey well in steering a drive to deliver digital collections and services, launched when Walters came on board in March 2011. With no staff reporting to her at the time, Grant says, Bailey coordinated a diverse team within Virginia Tech’s technical services department to transform workflows and internal processes, as well as implement the library’s discovery tool.
Far beyond Virginia Tech, Bailey is hailed as the creator (with colleague Godmar Back) of LibX, the open source tool providing a solution for an all-too-common conundrum, i.e., library patrons scanning for web-based resources usually miss scholarly and library-owned materials altogether. A browser toolbar, LibX lets patrons search library resources—catalogs, databases, and more—directly from the web.
It “began in 2005 with the idea of creating an extension for the Firefox browser that would more fully integrate library resources into users’ web flow,” says Bailey. Now, LibX supports more than 1,000 libraries worldwide in six languages, with some 250,000 users. With the help of two Institute of Museum and Library Services Leadership Grants that Bailey led—for over $165,000 and $250,000—LibX added a plug-in for Internet Explorer, context menus, LibX Edition Builder, which allows librarians to tailor their own versions of the tool, and more. LibX2.0 enables a link to chat (or embedded chat) for Firefox and Google Chrome. Bailey and Back won the American Library Association’s 2007 LITA/Brett Butler Entrepreneurship Award for their innovations.
What’s next for Bailey? “I’m dreaming of technology that reflects our users,” she says. “I think the technology is still emerging to…help…our users when and where they most need us.”