guest series

Adopt a computer and sustain your technology

When it comes to the library's computer network, we've been very much like Blanche Dubois, depending on the kindness of strangers. (breathy voice here) Or at least, the kindness of random library supporters. As long as the network was small, with only a scattering of public computers, this has worked – and it has worked for a surprisingly long time.

Life with Koha

The NExpress shared catalog has been on Koha for a little over three months now and we just added the Ottawa Library to the family over Thanksgiving. A perk of working with LibLime is that they have staff in both the US and Canada. The Canadian migration team worked away while we ate turkey and stuffing!

Learning as I go: thoughts on migrating to Koha (take two)

Remember how I was a library director the last time I blogged about Koha? Life was so much simpler then. Koha migration from the administrative side is full of "opportunities for creative problem solving," like figuring out how to keep track of decisions, discussions, questions, bugs, problems, perks, and quirks related to the catalog and the migration process.

Straight from the Koha files: Migration Migraine

Had a migration meeting on Friday and learned that the timeline has been bumped up by two months! Over Memorial Day Weekend, all holds between our NExpress libraries and the rest of the consortium will be shut off. Questions were brought up about "orphaned" holds and what kind of message a patron will get if/when they try to put a hold on some newly forbidden fruit-like item. I tried not to hyperventilate, but it was hard. This will be quite the public relations challenge, to put a positive spin on it.

From Sirsi to Koha...

Welcome Sharon Moreland, our most recent guest blogger! Sharon is the Director at the Tonganoxie Public Library in Kansas, and a contributor to the Cookbooks. Sharon will be a regular blogger for MaintainIT, telling the tale of her experiences with Koha as her library starts a new chapter with open source. Welcome, Sharon! (Oh, and I was the one who added the photo of Sharon to her post. I couldn't help myself!) :)

-sarah ----

From the desk of a techie: learning to help others

[Welcome Matt Beckstrom, our latest guest blogger! -- sarah] I believe that one of the hardest lessons for technology people is learning how to help users help themselves. We have to remember that a major part of our job is to teach. I've often seen tech people treat users like lowly animals and talk about how stupid they are. These types of people talk down to users and confirm the users’ belief that they don't know anything about computers. Something about that just isn’t right.

BOO! Stories of wireless HORROR

In the spirit of this spooky season, I wanted to address some Wireless Horror Stories – potential issues and problems with wireless. Remarkably, I’ve had a hard time finding stories of real horror. Especially in the last few years, during which time wireless has become more prevalent and therefore implements more smoothly. The usual response from libraries has been “the wireless project went just fine." So much for horror...

Steal this wireless policy checklist

Use this "Quick Look" checklist to make sure you’re covering your bases when it comes to crafting a wireless policy for your library. For more information on wireless policies, check out an earlier post on the topic.

Now that you have wireless, how about a policy?

Recently I wrote a post about marketing your wireless service. It sparked a number of excellent comments, including some questions on policy. I decided they were worth answering in a longer form, including some helpful tips cribbed from my book on Wireless Networking for Libraries which I thought would be helpful.

Shhh! It's a secret.

“Yeah, we have wireless at our library…but we don’t tell anyone about it!” When I began looking at wireless for my library, I heard this more than once from other libraries. I found this very odd. If you had a new storytime format or some new DVDs, would you keep them a secret? What is it about wireless, or wi-fi, that has some libraries so scared? Is it that the technology is so new and/or difficult? Well, we’ve been providing some sort of Internet access at most libraries for some years now and technically wireless is simply another way to provide that access.

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