Let your curiousity guide you... toward open source

What happens when funds are scarce and librarians start leaning more into the techie category?

They get curious. And fearless. And they start using their information literacy skills to experiment with open source technologies to "squeeze every penny out of the machines we have," as Kevin Smith, from Cass District Library told us recently.

A bit about Kevin: he's a techie, but he's quick to offer that he doesn't know everything, and is often challenged by people whose level of technological know-how is so up in the clouds that he "has no clue what they're talking about." He offers that it's important to be as clear and as specific as possible to get past this barrier.

Kevin is really interested in using open source at his library, and he shares what he learns on his blog. When asked to give advice to libraries using open source--in particular, Edubuntu--he said, "don't be afraid of it. Don't be afraid to ask for help, because there are people out there who will help you, and they like being asked. My big thing when I first started working on this, was I wanted--I put on my blog that I was looking for a Linux adviser, a Linux buddy, and the guy from MLC (Michigan Library Consortium) wrote me back and said, 'I'd be happy to be your Linux Buddy,' and he's helped me out a lot."

The moral of this story? Let your curiosity guide you, and know that people like Kevin and others are willing and able to help you out. As Kevin said, "they like being asked."

For more stories about libraries using open source, listen to Marian Wynn talk about her experiences during the webinar on Wednesday, August 23rd, or read about her experiences on the Library Spotlight page.