April 19, 2018

Deveron Milne | Movers & Shakers 2002

Making Waves

“My responsibility was to take the electronics and turn it into a deliverable solution for libraries”

Some enter the library field as a vocation. For Deveron Milne, director of the Information Systems Division at VTLS, it was a case of falling into it accidentally. “I was a marketing major and was volunteered into helping a local library with its automation system a long time ago,” he said, explaining his roots. Milne had taken some computer classes while at university in England, but as far as library systems went, he admits he knew “not a thing at all.” Still, he had the knack and felt the pull toward the library world. “I was looking around to see what I could do in computer automation and saw libraries as a potential challenge, an area that had a lot to offer. It’s an area of computer programming that’s a bit more tangible and touches a lot of people,” he said.


Current position: Director, Information Systems Division, VTLS, Blacksburg, VA

Most recently, Milne has helped VTLS become involved with a relatively new technology called Radio Frequency Identification (RFID). The technology works by attaching small chips called “tags” containing information about a library item–a book or a video program–to the physical item. The tags, which use radio waves to relate information, provide theft control, allow librarians to inventory collections speedily, and offer quick and efficient self-checkout and -checkin. “My responsibility was to take the electronics and turn it into a deliverable solution for libraries.” The system he developed can be used by any library, regardless of its automation system. The VTLS system is gaining ground on the leader in the library market for RFID, Checkpoint Systems.

Adapting RFID technology is the latest in a long list of Milne’s technology developments. He developed MicroVTLS, a system designed specifically for small to medium-sized libraries. He also developed a CD-ROM cataloging system that allows libraries to publish and distribute their own data ondisc, which remains a popular format for libraries in many foreign countries still not wired to the Internet. His philosophy of developing library products? “Always think of the end user, understand their manual process, and then automate that process as opposed to coming up with something that’s totally off the wall.”