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State of Keystone

  • 2019 Holiday Potluck & Gift Exchange

    2019 Holiday Potluck & Gift Exchange

    Every year, Keystone's staff get together for a bit of fun one Friday during December. Everyone contributes a dish to our potluck lunch and brings a gift for our White Elephant gift exchange. For this week's blog post, I thought y'all might enjoy a look at some of last Friday's festivities.

    We had a wonderful spread of food including all the holiday favorites like sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, and more!

    This year's potluck included a battle of the soups between John O's Sausage Toretellini soup and my Chicken Taco soup, but in the end, both were declared a winner!

     2019 Holiday Potluck & Gift Exchange

     

    This year James and Colin contributed what might have been "THE BIGGEST APPLE PIE EVER" (TM). In addition to being enormous, it was also super tasty!

    2019 Holiday Potluck & Gift Exchange 

    It's always fun to try to figure out who brought what present. Be careful, heavy doesn't always mean good. ;)

     2019 Holiday Potluck & Gift Exchange

     

    Happy Holidays from the Keystone staff! One of the greatest joys of this season is getting to say THANK YOU for the opportunity to serve you and to wish you the very best for the New Year!

  • A look back: KLASUsers 2020 Highlights

    A look back: KLASusers 2020 Highlights

    There were days that cast it into doubt, but some good things did happen in 2020! Let's have a look at some of them from this very website (with lots of links to get caught up if you missed something in the tumult).

    We had a very successful series of webinars, covering both LBPH and IRC topics of interest, and including Keystone-led, User-led, and roundtable formats. Additionally, we had the chance to meet with y'all at the APH online conference and at the NLS online conference. We also transitioned KLAS Administrator's Training to an online format with a renewed and refreshed curriculum to better meet the needs of our Admins.

    Back in January, we introduced the Scribe Mini! This little guy can store the entire digital collection, can either run a full Scribe Tower, or be used as a stand-alone device at a front desk or outreach location. On the other side of the hardware aisle, Teresa Kalber of the Colorado Talking Book Library, one of the first KLAS libraries to implement Gutenberg, shared their experience in the Hot off the Press blog series.

    Then Covid took over the news and turned our expectations for the year on end. Even when things were hard though, KLAS Users put in their time and effort to help each other, including by sharing their experiences, lessons, and strategies as we all adjusted to lock-downs and quarantines.

    Despite the difficulties of the year, business continued as best it could, including the need to track and report on statistics. In Get to Know the Circulation Report, I shared some info to help you make friends with one of our most powerful reports.

    Finally, we continued to refine and improve our Disaster Preparedness and Recovery processes, ensuring that we can respond to anything and keep you all up and running as best as possible.

    Despite the uncertainty ahead our excellent user committees continued to plan the 2021 KLAS Users' Conference, balancing the need for flexibility with the planning timeline. Watch for the latest information and the results of the recent planning survey coming very soon!

    Over on our other website, we re-launched KLAS.com with an all-new (and much improved) look and feel! We were so happy with the results, in fact, we're actively working to provide KLASUsers.com with a similar refresh.

    Here's to 2021! This year is shaping up to be plenty weird and challenging in its own way, but we do we expect it to bring an easier-to-use and more modern KLASUsers.com, and plenty of new content to keep you all informed and empowered as users!

  • Donating For Good

    John Owen - Donating For Good - Covid19 Plasma

    It was only a matter of time. In December one of our own, John Owen, contracted COVID-19 and spent two weeks off of work fighting it. Thankfully he recovered and has not experienced any of devastating or long-term side effects.

    Troubled by the lack or therapeutics available to COVID patients John jumped at the chance to help one of the most vulnerable communities. As soon as he was able, he donated his plasma that now contains the antibodies that can help those who are critically ill have a better chance at recovery.

    John said this about his plasma donation:

    “I’ve done it once and found out that I can continue to donate plasma every seven days until my annual limit. One small needle prick and an hour in a recliner is nothing compared to the chance that my donations can help critically ill patients have a fighting chance at recovery. This disease is no joke, and I am so thankful that my wife and family have so far been spared.”

    Some photos John took during the donation procedure and of his "badge of honor" stickers. 

     John Owen Covid19 plasma donation

     John Owen Covid19 plasma donation

  • Happy Holidays from Keystone

    Happy Holidays from Keystone

    We wish you a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season! May you in find joy and warmth in the holiday lights and comfort knowing a new year is just around the corner! From our homes to yours...here's to a cheerful holiday and a fresh 2021!

    Our office will be closed Thursday, December 24, and Friday, December 25, 2020 in observance of Christmas. Regular support hours will resume on Monday, December 28, at 8:00 AM ET. The office will also be closed on Friday, January 1, 2021 for New Year's. Regular support hours will resume on Monday, January 4, at 8:00 AM ET.

    If you need to arrange special support hours for these days, please call or e-mail us as soon as possible.

  • Keystone COVID-19 Update

    Keystone COVID-19 Update

    Last week we updated you on how our Washington, New Mexico, and Kansas talking book libraries are faring as their staff and patrons continue to face the ongoing challenges of keeping themselves healthy and safe while operating during COVID-19. Today we want to bring you a similar update from Keystone. 

    Since mid-March our staff has primarily been working from home and continues to do so. This would not have been possible without using our established VPN and VOIP services. These have allowed us to access necessary documents and information and continue seamlessly answering customer phone calls. We hope you have not seen a dramatic change in our customer support or development process other than the occasional dog bark or child interruption which I am sure we've all come to expect at this point. If you've had any degradation in service of any kind, please let us know ASAP so we can address it.

    Also, this was the first year without a physical KLAS Users' Conference and we sincerely hope the online programming brought to you by your fellow KLAS Users and our Keystone staff have helped to keep you up to date on the latest happenings with Keystone and KLAS as well as continue to hear what you're fellow KLAS Users are up to. Speaking of these ongoing efforts, our next KLAS Users Roundtable will be held at 3:00 PM EDT September 17 and will focus on Virtual Programming for Patrons. More info will be forthcoming shortly. Keep an eye on the KLASusers listserv and our Webinars & Roundtables article for more info.

    A new initiative we've undertaken is to move our planned September KLAS Administrators' Training online. For the first time, we will be offering this training for your staff members to be able to attend remotely, eliminating the need to travel to our office. We're revamping the schedule, rethinking the sessions offered, and talking through the best way to conduct this training so attendees can fully benefit from it. This first session will be kept to a small number of participants, so we can try to encourage the discussions and dialog that have made face-to-face Administrators’ Training so successful. The price per person for this online admin training is $600.00, but there obviously are no travel costs to incur. Please let us know if you may be interested in attending a future online KLAS KLAS Administrator Training session.

  • Keystone Holiday Decorations

    Keystone Holiday Decorations

    Our office tree went up yesterday, and this morning Tracey and I decorated it. I love that we have a live tree because it makes the lobby smell wonderful! Here are some pictures of us decorating the tree and some of our other holiday decor. I hope you enjoy and have a lovely Holiday season!

    It's beginning to look a lot like...

     

     

    Christmas! (...or at least Christmas decorating.)

    Keystone Holiday Decorations 

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Keystone Holiday Decorations

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Keystone Holiday Decorations

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Keystone Holiday Decorations

     

     Keystone Holiday Decorations

     

     And now that we're done decking the halls, we're off to an annual staff dinner!

     

  • Keystone Quarantine Kitchen

    Keystone Quarantine Kitchen

    With the Governor of North Carolina's stay at home order going into effect, all Keystone staff are now working remotely. We're extremely happy to be able to continue you providing the support and services you have come to expect from us even during this challenging time. Our past few blog posts have been focused on tips and tricks to help you continue working and providing as many books to your patrons as possible depending on your library's current status. This week we'd like to share something a bit lighter, so here's some recipes from Keystone staff we like to cook when we're stuck at home.

    Read on for our Keystone Quarantine Kitchen Recipes including:

    • Sour Cream Pound Cake
    • Margon's Brownies
    • Crawfish Etouffee
    • Homemade Chex Mix
    • Mac & Cheese Pizza
    • Sweet Potato biscuits
    • Greek meatballs, burgers, or meatloaf
    • Butternut squash and sausage soup

    From Nancy Underwood Honeycutt, Manager, Customer Support


    Nancy shared her recipes saying, "My brother just asked for my mom's recipe for pound cake. Turns out it is the same as what Paula Deen uses. I figure mom cut it out of the newspaper or magazine. I'll also send a bonus recipe for brownies."

    Sour Cream Pound Cake

    2 sticks butter
    3 C sugar
    6 eggs
    1 tsp - 1 tbs vanilla
    3 C flour
    1 C sour cream
    1/2 tsp baking soda

    Cream butter and sugar with mixer.
    Add eggs and beat, followed with the rest of the ingredients
    Bake in greased tub or bundt pan at 300 until knife inserted comes out clean and top is brown - about 1 1/2 hours.

    Margon's brownies

    (from family friends. We assume Margon was a relative in Nebraska)

    3/4 C butter
    3 squares chocolate
    2 C sugar
    3 eggs
    1 3/4 C flour
    vanilla
    optional -nuts

    Melt chocolate and butter. Add to sugar and eggs and mix. Add flour, vanilla & nuts
    13x 9 pan
    250 degree oven
    1 hour.
    The top of the brownies gets a nice crust on it.

    From Brian White, Senior Developer


    Brians Crawfish EtoufeeCrawfish Etouffee

    It's hard to beat Crawfish Etouffee. Since the frozen crawfish are available at WalMarts everywhere, it should be doable for most customers.

    Emeril's recipe will suit just fine - https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/emeril-lagasse/crawfish-etouffee-1-3645763

     

     

    From Mitake Burts, Vice President, Products & Technology


    Homemade check mixHomemade Check Mix

    This page has a number of different Chex Party Mix Recipes: https://www.chex.com/recipes/?chex-mix

    Mitake says, "The advantage of making your own is that you can decide that cashews are vastly superior to mixed nuts, and not have to pick around the parts you don’t like."

      

    From Katy Patrick, Technical Writer


    Mac n Cheese PizzaMac & Cheese Pizza

    My family's favorite comfort food is Mac & Cheese Pizza.

    Cook Mac & Cheese according to the box
    Add a large egg and stir
    Spread into foil-lined pizza pan. Or use a pie pan for a thicker "crust".
    Bake at 350 for 15 minutes
    Remove from oven, cover in pizza sauce, and add your favorite pizza toppings
    Put back in the oven until the extra cheese is melted. I like to turn the broiler on at the end for a little extra crispness to the toppings!

    From Marion Campbell, Customer Service Representative


    Sweet Potato Biscuits FrontSweet Potato Biscuits

    Here's what's cookin': Sweet Potatoe Biscuits
    From the kitchen of: Dorothy Wright

    4 cups packed of sweet potatoes
    1 cup Crisco
    1 cup of sugar
    4 cups of self-rising flour

    Peel sweet potatoes and boil until done.
    While hot mash and add to them Crisco, sugar, and flour.
    Mix good.
    Work into biscuits.
    More flour is sometimes needed. Depends on wetness of potatoe to be able to handle the mixture.
    Bake at 350* for 20-30 minutes. Depending on size of biscuits.
    Mix handles better if cooled.
    Bake on greased cookie sheet.

    From Drea Callicutt, Marketing, Sales & Communications Coordinator


    Greek Meatballs

    1 lb. ground turkey
    1 package feta cheese
    1 10-ounce box frozen spinach, thawed
    1 raw egg
    Greek Seasoning (I prefer Cavender's )
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1/2 of a small red onion, diced
    Italian Bread Crumbs
    Oregano
    Salt (I prefer Kosher Salt)
    Black Pepper (I prefer Fresh Ground)
    1 tbsp Olive Oil
    1 tbsp Butter
    Cookie Sheet

    Preheat Oven to 350 degrees F.
    Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add the olive oil and the butter. When the butter melts, add the chopped red onion and chopped garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Transfer the onion and garlic to a large bowl to cool.
    Add ground turkey, feta, greek seasoning, egg, garlic, onions, and spinach to a large mixing bowl. Then add the Greek Seasoning, Oregano, Salt & pepper to taste.
    Get your hands dirty. Take off your jewelry and stick your hands in the bowl and start mixing it all together. The bread crumbs you add incrementally until you get a good consistency. You want to mixture to be moist but not runny. If you add too many bread crumbs, you can always add another egg for more moisture.
    Wipe a cookie sheet down with Olive Oil.
    Roll meatballs together between your palms and place on the cookie sheet approximately 2" apart.
    Bake for 30 minutes and 350 degrees.

    Notes: I use this same recipe to make burgers, meatloaf and meatballs. For the burgers, I can get 3-4 from 1 lb. of ground turkey and will either pan cook them in some olive oil, or grill them. For meatloaf, I place the whole mixture in a loaf pan greased with a bit of olive oil and then cook it at 350 for approximately 1 hour. Meatballs can either be pan fried or baked. I prefer baked cause it helps to reduce the amount of fat.

    Butternut squash sausage soup

    Butternut squash sausage soup8 cups vegetable or chicken stock
    3 carrots chopped
    3 stalks celery chopped
    1 onion chopped
    1 butternut squash
    3 cloves minced garlic
    Olive oil
    Salt & pepper
    Sage
    Tarragon
    Parsley
    Ginger
    8 oz Cream cheese
    1 lb sausage

    Preheat oven to 400*F.
    Half butternut squash lengthwise and put in a casserole dish.
    Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt & pepper.
    Cook at 400* for approximately 45 minutes or until you can easily spear it with a fork.
    Remove squash and set aside.
    In a large pot sautée onions and garlic in olive oil on medium heat.
    Season with salt & pepper.
    Add stock, carrots, and celery.
    Add sage, tarragon, parsley, and ginger to taste.
    Scrape roasted squash out of skin and transfer to the pot.
    Bring to a boil.
    Reduce heat to low, put lid on pot and let simmer for 2 hours.
    Use immersion blender to combine vegetables until smooth.
    Add cream cheese and blend again.
    Brown sausage and transfer to pot.
    Cook for another 20-30 minutes.
    Serve.

     

     

  • March 2020-March 2021: A Year of COVID

    March 2020-March 2021: A Year of COVID

    It's March 2021. By mid-month last year, all of Keystone's staff started working remotely full time for an undetermined amount of time. Personally, I never thought I'd still be working in my home office across the desk from my husband a full year later! We made changes to how we met as a staff, set expectations for communications and interactions with our coworkers and customers, and started writing blog posts with tips & tricks about remote work with KLAS and how users might continue to serve patrons.

    We initially thought we'd be back sometime early that summer. When that no longer seemed likely, we began making adjustments to how we offer KLAS Admin Training, helped more libraries move to Duplication on Demand, and shared a blog series from libraries about the impact of COVID on their operations. Check out the COVD-19 Keynotes Blog Posts to Date from July 2020 to see the initial ones we wrote and those authored by KLAS Users.

    Then it seemed sometime in the fall might be possible, but positive numbers and hospitalizations started going up again and we chose to continue working from home. We attended the 2020 APH and NLS conferences online and eventually decided (in conversation with the planning committees) that our own 2021 KLAS Users' Conference will also occur virtually. Even with the choice to continue working remotely, we still had staff who contracted the virus--fortunately, not being in the office kept the rest of us safe and healthy. After his recovery, a January 2021 Key Notes blog post shared John Owen's decision and experience donating plasma with COVID antibodies to try and help others.

    After this tumultuous year, some of our customers are back working in an office, others are still working remotely, and plenty have some mix or balance between the two. Here at Keystone, we're still working to support all of our users' efforts to continue serving their patrons no matter where they are. In fact, in just the past couple of weeks, we've gotten some great questions and tips from KLAS Users that we thought might benefit others in similar situations.

    Erin from CA IRC is a JAWS user who shared her experience using KLAS on her laptop. She says, "I have discovered that working on a personal laptop at home is not always conducive to things working like they do at work. My laptop has function keys that share the F keys at the top of my keyboard. While using the F11 and F12 keys when I was attempting to set up Supertabs (in order to correct where my cursor will originate in my find screens), it would raise and lower the screen brightness. However, I found that the Supertabs were still set up after this happened. I just thought if anyone else thought their laptop wouldn't work because of this, it indeed might!" We're relieved that the extra functions sharing her F keys didn't keep Erin from using Supertabs and navigating KLAS with JAWS.

    David from Minnesota's Machine Lending Agency sent an inquiry to Keystone Customer support wanting to know "if it is possible to use KLAS to track the computers we loan volunteers for in-home recording. We have 75, so a little cumbersome for a spreadsheet." The answer is YES it is! To do so, Nancy set up with a Patron Type for the volunteers and an Equipment record for the recording computers, and sent along workflow instructions to keep the volunteer records out of PIMMS.

    Do you have something you've found that makes working from remote easier, were there changes to your library's policies and procedures to help continue service over the past year, or do you have questions about how KLAS can help you better adapt to a new situation, such as tracking equipment lent to volunteers? We'd love to answer questions, host discussion on the forums, or share info in a blog post. We've all had to get creative, and asking questions and sharing information has helped us all adapt and overcome to the best of our abilities.

    We're still doing all we can to try to provide our customers with quality software and service, though how we do so has definitely changed. I think we've all made some positive changes and learned a lot in the past twelve months. At this point, I'm very excited that we now have three vaccines available and the pace of immunizations is picking up, but there's still no clear timeline or picture of what Keystone staff's work environment will look like in the next year. One thing that's sure: we'll still be here (wherever "here" is) to help!

  • Please pardon our dust: Part 4

    Please pardon our dust: Part 4

    Our last "Please pardon our dust" update was in early August, but the renovation work here at Keystone is still ongoing. We are now well into phase 3 and now are certain that the light at the end of the tunnel isn't an oncoming train. In fact, there's sunshine, new paint, redesigned kitchen cabinets, and shiny new lobby flooring.

    Read more about waht has already been done in our "Please pardon our dust" Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 posts. In phase three of the office renovation project, workmen started taking down all the old ceiling tiles, removing and replacing ductwork, ripping down wallpaper, rewiring electric and network cables, put fresh paint on walls and doors, and began prepping our office breakroom / kitchen to have all the cabinets replaced. They are almost ready to take out the old flooring and put in the new, put in the new ceiling tiles, and remove / replace the kitchen cabinets. Luckily for all of this work, no employees had to go move into temporary space, but we did have to store some equipment in other areas and learn to navigate the office without distrubing the workmen or opening a bathroom door without getting wet paint on our hands.

    To see all the photos, check out the 2018 Keystone Office Remodeling album on our Facebook page.

    This is the ceiling of the lobby with all the ceiling tiles and framework and old ductwork removed.

    Please pardon our dust: Part 4

    We had all the wallpaper in the lobby removed and the walls are being repainted with a fresh coat of white paint. All the doors were repainted Keystone green.

     Please pardon our dust: Part 4

    Our large training room now has new ductwork, all new electrical and network cables, and the freamework for new ceiling tiles has been completed. All the walls and doors received a fresh coat of paint as well. New flooring and new ceiling tiles will complete the work.

    Please pardon our dust: Part 4 

     

  • Please pardon our dust: the conclusion

    Please pardon our dust: the conclusion

    Woo hoo!!

    We don't need the "Under Construction" graphic anymore!!!

    Yes, we can finally say that all the workmen are gone, our offices are unpacked, and we are settled back into our revamped meeting, training, and other spaces here at 8016 Glenwood Avenue. In fact, we've even rehung wall art and hosted our first KLAS Admin Training with all of the renovations being done.

    To celebrate, here's a photo collage showing the Keystone developers' area and the office kitchen before and after the work was completed.

    Please pardon our dust: the conclusion

    For all of our renovation pictures including all the "Afters" that we uploaded today, check out our 2018 Keystone Construction photo album on our Facebook page.

KLAS Users - Keystone Systems, Inc. logo

Keystone Systems, Inc.
8016 Glenwood Ave., Suite 200
Raleigh, NC 27612
800-222-9711