Let someone else take over your airwaves. That's what the Scottsdale Public Library in Arizona did when faced with the rising support costs of offering a homespun wi-fi network to their patrons.
Many of the libraries that contributed to the Cookbook extol virtues on software that "locks down" or "wipes clean" their public computers. As any librarian will tell you, much of the maintainance of computers is derived from reversing what patrons left behind. Faye Hover from Smith-Welch Memorial Library may have said it best, "because I'm sick to death of coming in in the morning and having everything changed--the background, they would change the wallpaper. I needed something that can prevent them from doing all of this."
Librarians wear many hats, but who thought one of them would be printer repair?
Are you offering classes to your patrons and looking for a tool to create an online calendar? Are having a hard time tracking those who have signed and managing waitlists?
Our friends at Webjunction have developed a terrific guide to both management and technical competencies for public computing. Included are skills necessary for tasks including patron assistance, system administration, and technology planning. Check it out, and see how you measure up! For a broader view of library competencies, participate in the July 25 webinar on Core Competencies for Library Staff.
What's educational, fun, and found in most libraries? Computer games!
Faye Hover from Smith-Welch Memorial Library in Hearne, Texas is using computer games to educate her younger patrons, and they don't even know it. "When the kids were here, they didn't have anything to do, and I thought, 'well, if I get a game computer and put some interesting games and trick them into thinking they're having fun, when they're really learning something, well this will be a good thing.'"
I've heard from several library staff that having a tech mentor is a valuable resource for learning about computers. For example, take Barbara Keefe, Technology Services/Reference Librarian at the Windham Public Library. One of her patrons, a former IBM employee, taught Barbara (among a number of tech things) how to crack open a computer to upgrade RAM and to wear an ESD wrist strap when working with hardware.