Who is in YOUR unofficial support network?

Happy birthday to Chris Peters, MaintainIT Cookbook author and one of my favorite people to turn to when I need to better understand something about library technology. If he doesn't know the answer to a question I ask, he sees that as a challenge and soon he does know and explains it to me, too.

I think that building your own personal support network is the key to surviving in the world of ever-changing technology. Friends, relatives, co-workers, other colleagues... Having some sort of "official" tech support is great, but I think for learning, there's an informal communication structure that really facilitates the comfort and sense of enjoyment that leads to continuous learning. Do you have one? Who would you ask, "Hey, I keep hearing about Twitter. What is it?" "What kind of cell phone should I buy?" "Are Macs really better than PCs (or vice versa)?"... ?

Chris Peters Chris Peters


What a great topic, and a nice way to say "happy birthday, Chris Peters!"

When I think of my unofficial tech support, I think of Chris Jowaisas, from the Texas State Library. Just the other day he helped me with a non-work related question: I couldn't figure out why Wordpress and Google Maps didn't get along, and Chris stuck with me, asking questions, and offering suggestions, complete with step-by-step instructions.

We're also lucky to have Chris on our MaintainIT steering committee, which means I get to share photos of him, like this one. Thanks, Chris!


Thanks Brenda! You're a big part of my learning network too -- your ideas and your questions always give me a lot to think about. Good questions are often underrated. If someone asks me a great question, they've already done 2/3 of the work without realizing it.

I've got to give a shout out to Chris Jowaisas as well -- I pester him all the time with big questions and small questions and he always gives me great ideas. He's read almost three hundred pages of Cookbook material for us. Mala Muralidharan and Jean Montgomery have done the same and they all give me amazing, detailed feedback. They're really part of my formal network though, as are my wonderful co-workers.

My informal learning network consists mostly of former colleagues. Brenda, Michael Porter, Dale Musselman, Elizabeth Iaukea, Max Anderson, Kendra Morgan, Steve Shields and others. Not surpisingly, they're all a big part of my social network too. Finally, I've learned a lot from the e-rate community. Bob Bocher, Mala, Janet McKenney and others who inhabit the state library/e-rate universe all have a ton of technology experience and I call on them frequently. In general, I suggest that everyone who works in a public library learn the name and phone number of their state library's technology consultant(s).