guest series

Working a framework: benchmarks are a process.

Along with TechSoup, the ALA Office for Technology Information Policy (OITP) is one of the thirteen organizations working to develop a beta set of national public access technology benchmarks for public libraries. We’d like to thank Sarah for the opportunity to introduce ourselves and share some of our thoughts and experiences from working on this project.

Those dreaded benchmarks: a rural librarian's perspective

Benchmarks. These are words of foreboding for this rural librarian. Great. On top of non-existent funding now the library is going to have to live up to some Queens Library-quality technological advancements.

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.

Moving Together: A volunteer partnership is a true win-win

60,000 books.
46 full-sized chairs, desks, tables and shelves.
12 large stacks.
10 full and part-time staff.
8 public access computers.
5 staff offices.

60% less floor space.

Teaching Adult Learners about Broadband Internet: A BTOP Digital Literacy Program

Since October 2010, I’ve been working with a team of educators to create learning content to support digital literacy skills and an understanding of broadband Internet. The goal of the project, which was funded by NTIA/BTOP is to increase broadband adoption in our participating states by supporting digital literacy, proving the relevance of high speed Internet to our learners, and teaching how to make decisions about finding and buying broadband Internet.

Steal these tech trainer competencies

The Colorado State Library has developed a set of competencies for technology trainers as a part of the Colorado Public Computer Centers program (funded by the Broadband Technology Opportunity Program). These competencies focus on the skills needed to teach technology in a library context.  They are based on existing trainer competencies, and integrate technology as the primary subject of instruction.

Post tornado, the library is open in Joplin

First off, the library received NO DAMAGE. We are enough north of the storm area that our building is fine. Of our staff, nine completely lost homes. Two others sustained significant damage. Two employees sustained minor injuries: one woman broke her arm and another has thousands of abrasions on his back sustained when the place in which he took shelter collapsed.

Creating Digital Signs at Butler Library

Technological advances are forcing constant changes in libraries across the nation.  It is important to note that these changes encompass more than just computer hardware and software.  At the Butler Area Public Library, located in Butler, PA, even the bulletin board has been replaced with what is commonly referred to as “digital signage.”  With digital signage, news announcements, event information, etc., can be shown throughout the library via LCD television monitors.  Fortunately, over time LCDs have become increasingly inexpensive.

When bake sales don't pay the bills

Our library is paying an hourly rate for IT services each time we need anything technical done to the computers in our care.  And the hourly rate is not cheap: $100 for the first hour, $80 for consecutive hours, plus travel each way.  I can maintain my own computer, but not a library's system.  After we needed several hours' work done on our computers, I found the cost rising to a shrinking budget and needed to find a better solution than bake sales.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.