Big change seemed to be the theme for 2011 – both on the local level and for the larger PTDL program. The year started with the retirement of two long-term Science & Technology department librarians, who, while not directly responsible for the library PTDL program, were nonetheless a deep resource upon which we had come to depend. The good thing to come out of the retirements was the hiring of new librarian Janice Radl who was quickly added to the Patent Team, along with Monique Mason and Curtis Bower. It is great to have three librarians dividing the patent programming responsibilities.
Another change was to our library website – instead of a static page about our patent & trademark information services, we were able to create a Patents tab on a Science & Technology division blog page. So, in addition to being able to highlight patent-related blog posts on the main page of this WordPress blog, we can have control over links to other patent information, upcoming classes, and links to local resources for inventors and entrepreneurs. Check it out: http://ascplst.akronlibrary.org/patents-etc.
We presented 28 times to community groups and schools, and taught scheduled classes in the library on intellectual property basics and introductory patent searching. Our Ask-A-Patent Attorney program has morphed into the Frisina Entrepreneurship Series, with a monthly presentation by attorneys and business experts on using IP to start and expand a business. Recent topics have included copyright, IP issues for software engineers, and monetizing intellectual property. We took a break from presenting our independent inventors festival, Inventapalooza, but have it scheduled for November 2012.
A change which every former PTDL library needed to cope was the name change and increase in statistics reporting. We like to think we handled that change without too much confusion. One thing that really helped us was our library’s adoption of a web-based recording-keeping program called “Gimlet.” This allows us to tag every IP question as it is asked at the reference desk, and then generate a report at the appropriate time. Along with the stand-alone patents blog page with Google Analytics installed, the record-keeping requirement has been relatively trouble-free.
The other USPTO change has been more of a challenge – instructing the public in the patent search process while the changes brought by the America Invents Act lends some uncertainty. We are grateful to our library administration for allowing the staff time to attend workshops presented locally on the subject, and for sending all three Patent Team librarians to the PTRC Training Seminar this year.