13 December 2006 - 11:56am | by Guest

The 2006 Public Library and the Internet Survey http://www.ii.fsu.edu/plinternet_reports.cfm, explores the impacts and benefits that communities derive from public library connectivity. One of the most significant findings is the vital role that public libraries serve in providing access to government services such as Medicare Part D, and federal insurance following disasters such as Hurrican Katrina.

18 November 2006 - 11:41am | by Xavier Aubuchon-Mendoza

Reduced funding for technical assistance is a reality for many libraries, even as increased demands are placed on them. Even small branches are being faced with greater demands to care for their own infrastructure. Still, nobody can be expected to become an expert overnight, so what can be done to help libraries learn to help themselves?

One system in the Texas panhandle has devised an innovative plan for walking their branches through this process.

3 November 2006 - 12:58pm | by Lea Policoff

I recently spoke to a librarian in Oklahoma whose technical support comes almost entirely from a community volunteer. Other libraries I have spoken to rely on high school interns to provide technical training and support.

She said, "We have a former board member who has been with our library since we started in our technology process. He volunteers and donates his time to do any of our technology projects. He’s wired our building and things like that…we have wonderful donated tech support. He has saved us so much money…I’ve really been blessed with our wonderful board. And we have a great little Friends of the Library group that may be able to get us some more computers."

27 October 2006 - 6:32pm | by Guest

During the Technology Training in a 2.0 World session, I had the pleasure of meeting Michael Porter of OCLC, Brenda Hough of Northeast Kansas Library System, and Dale Musselman of WebJunction. Brenda was one of the first folks I contacted after joining MaintainIT and she's been extremely helpful in offering information about what's needed to help libraries maintain a good level of service in public computing

Brenda stated that technical training needs to focus more on broad concepts to prepare staff to meet a variety of challenges rather than specific technology-based skills. Here are Brenda's tips for technology training that works:

27 October 2006 - 5:04pm | by Guest

I'm just back from Monterey, and the Internet Librarian conference, where we kicked off our "Share Your PAC Story" campaign. Steering Committee members Adam Wright, Helene Blowers and I met for lunch and had an energetic discussion about the project.

I was delighted that the conference had a track devoted to Public Libraries' Futures.

Helene gave a terrific presentation during the session on the Public Library 2.0: Emerging Technologies & Changing Roles describing the Learning 2.0 program for staff development at the Charlotte & Mecklenburg County library. Structured like a "summer reading program for our staff," the program encourages all staff members to play with social computing tools through a series of self-paced activities. Staff who complete all the lessons get an MP3 player. For more info on this terrific program, see Learning 2.0

6 September 2006 - 12:21pm | by Guest

 

While this recent article on TechSoup highlighting NPower's work is largely targetted at non-profits, I thought this NPower work could inspire some food for thought for public libraries.
- John

Advice on key questions about technology staffing at nonprofits

EXCERPT: "Technology staffing can be a challenge for nonprofits. You need technical services to support your mission, but technology is not often a core competency. As a result, your technology needs may be understaffed, inconsistently supported, or even overstaffed.This downloadable guide distills NPower New York's interactions with multiple organizations, large and small, and offers advice on key questions about technology staffing, including..."

19 July 2006 - 5:44pm | by Guest

Found this interesting article on CNET News about a service, "Qunu", that connects technical support inquiries up to real live users via a Jabber-based IM client.

From the Qunu website:

"What's Qunu? Qunu is a next-generation expertise matching service. We use instant messaging to connect -- in real time -- people who have software or tech-related questions with experts who are passionate and willing to help."

Could this kind of service be usefull in a library setting? From the CNET article, it appears that this service is largely used by programmers; however, given some fostering of the community, perhaps there's some interesting outcomes that could happen by teaming the library world up with Qunu.

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