public access

Keeping Shared Technology Clean

Somebody applying hand sanitizer

My first shift at a volunteer-run library within a transitional housing center went so well. It had been a while since I worked a desk shift, so I was fearful that I'd be out of practice. But the patrons were great, I was able to easily locate items in the collection, and I got a fun array of questions.

Two days later, however, was an entirely different story: I was sick. And not just sick with a little cold, but eight-hours-of-complete-agony sick in which I spent more time in the bathroom than my bed.

During my recovery, I saw a message posted in the housing center's internal volunteer message board with the subject line: "NOROVIRUS OUTBREAK?!" I considered all of the things I had done in the library that day: moved chairs, picked up headphones, pulled DVDs, fixed the TV, put away headphones, shelved books, threw out old magazines … and not once did I use hand sanitizer.

To prevent future outbreaks, I crowdsourced some tips from other librarians on how they keep their technology and spaces clean — especially during flu season. Sharing headphones, in particular, seems to be the biggest germ spreader, and therefore, many libraries no longer lend them out.

Lysol wipes also are a popular tool in the library sanitizing arsenal.

Kick it. Benchmarks get more input.

At a recent ALA MidWinter session on the Edge Initiative, Larra Clark from ALA OITP ended her remarks with, "the benchmarks are meant to be kicked. So kick it." Thus launched a focus group exercise where approximately 50 attendees were asked to provide feedback to a draft set of public access technology benchmarks.

Utopian Benchmarks are not the Goal

When I was first invited to be a representative of public library directors in the Public Access Technology Benchmarks Initiative (joining the consortium of 13 organizations including TechSoup Global, ALA, PLA and the Urban Libraries Council), I was reluctant.

Creating meaningful and useful Public Access Technology benchmarks

What do you think of when you hear the word, "benchmark"? From my experience, it evokes a range of emotional and intellectual responses. For many, it can sound a bit scary, like "job security for some of us (or the ditch we die in)."