“If it plugs in, I’m responsible.”

Today I spent an informative (and fun!) day at the Placer County Library in Auburn, CA. I met the entire staff, and spoke at length with the Director of Library Services, Mark Parker, and Eric Brooks, the sole tech person responsible for all 12 branches. (check out photos of our visit)

Mark Parker, Eric Brooks, Sarah Washburn, and the bookmobile crewMark Parker, Eric Brooks, Sarah Washburn, and the bookmobile crew

These two show obvious pride when talking about their library, and with good reason—it’s an active place, with all sorts of community members taking advantage of their resources. While they have only 4 public computers, exciting plans are in the works to upgrade and expand. As Mark put it, “come back in three years; that’s when we’ll be able to show you something.”

I was more than happy to visit their library today, to see how processes, technical know-how, effective communication, and most importantly, good people, are able to keep resources running smoothly. Eric has a healthy attitude about the strains and stress of being a team of one, “if you screw up, no one dies, nothing bad happens. It may take longer to check out a book, but we can go offline, and still do our jobs.” This good-natured and balanced perspective extends into his everyday relations with his co-workers. Eric has a lot of respect for the librarians and staff at his library, and it’s clear he enjoys helping them keep the computers running. Simply put, Eric is a nice guy who is generous with his knowledge and understands the importance of making a connection with his co-workers, especially those who may be intimidated by technology. His co-workers aren’t afraid to ask for help, because he genuinely wants to assist them, and when he listens to them share their issues, he’s quick to say, “ok, and how’s your family?”

I couldn’t help thinking that Eric is the poster boy for effective communications with technical support people. As for his current situation, he felt much of their success is due to having an advocate like his Director, Mark Parker, who has a background in technology. I agree that Mark is a valuable asset, and I also believe that Eric’s dedication to his job and his consideration for those who don’t have the same skillset or confidence with technology is key to why things are in good shape at Placer County Library.

I’m glad I had the opportunity to tell him face-to-face, “they’re lucky to have you.”

Next stop: Plumas County Library, Quincy, CA


As Mark put it, “come back in three years; that’s when we’ll be able to show you something.”

in that case, the bookmobile should revisit Placer County Library again in three years!

What a terrific crew! Eric is indeed a role model for tech support folks everywhere, especially his calm demeanor. Placer County is fortunate to have such an excellent library staff.