In fact the guiding mantra in both David Newyear’s and Ming Heraty’s presentations was to avoid reinventing the wheel. With their own implementations of e-reader lending at their libraries sprouting from others who had already taken the plunge, they pay it forward with lots of why/what/how information.
Why start an e-reader lending program in the first place? It’s part of being a forward-thinking library that introduces patrons to new technology, or in the case of Ming’s community, keeping up with early adopter patrons in a “gadget-friendly community.”
Once the objective is clear and the administration is on board, the “what” and “how” questions flow in. David and Ming covered a lot of ground about what devices they chose, what content sources they used, what training they provided for staff, how they developed policies and user agreements, how they managed accounts on multiple devices. The presentation is so dense with information, it is worth an hour of your time to watch it.
The concurrent side chat is an explosion of knowledge-sharing in its own right—a revelation of the complexities of this e-reader lending venture. If WebJunction had a prize for most intense webinar question-and-answer chat dialog, this one would be a winner.
Relive it all through the archived resources:
In conjunction with this week’s webinar, Developing and Maintaining E-Reader Policies and Procedures for Libraries, we asked Robyn Truslow, Public Relations Coordinator at the Calvert Library in Prince Frederick, Maryland, to share a post with their approach to managing policies and procedures for circulating e-readers, including keeping up with changes and needed revisions to the processes.
Thank you Robyn!
The short answer is to create a small team that includes someone on the front line and someone who really knows the ins and outs of the devices and meet regularly to tweak as needed.
Let’s be honest…once you commit to a certain ereader to circulate, you sort of get stuck with that particular device. The Kindle and NOOKcolor were the two hottest ereaders when we got our grant so that’s what we bought. It would be too complicated to add each new hot device as it was introduced. Nor are there many libraries that can afford to add devices as they come out. MANY man-hours went into the processing of the first set of 72 devices…we are not anxious to add more even though we recognize that those particularly devices are hardly cutting edge anymore. So, stuck with the Kindle and NOOKcolor, the process of purchasing books and processing the devices for circulation doesn’t really change.
However, ebooks are still coming out for them so I guess we need to keep adding to them…or do we? So many people are getting their own devices now that it might make little sense to commit money to putting ebooks on OUR device rather than ebooks that customers can put on THEIR device. This internal debate has left us sort of just waiting on this issue. We had actually pre-ordered some titles when the devices first started circulating and it was a bit of a pain to get those titles loaded when they finally came out. Each ereader has an average of 100 titles on it already so do we really need more?
Our biggest policy/procedure is our User Agreement. Though some grumbled, we asked staff to read the whole thing to customers at each checkout. There is a good bit of training info in the agreement and possibly some off-putting “Do NOTs” but we felt it important to protect the devices. We also knew that new situations would arise that might require tweaking of the user agreement and therefore the NEW information would need to be communicated to a customer that may have checked out a device before the change. For instance, we have decided that we need to ask that customers not use/store the device in an environment with tobacco smoke. We also realized, 12 broken cables later, the need to train customers how to plug and unplug the device.
We have 12 differently themed sets of ereaders and at this point, two of the sets no longer regularly have holds on them. Perhaps it’s time to weed a few copies from each of those sets and make a new set for 2011-2012 bestsellers? Easy enough…we just create a new Barnes & Noble account, deregister a few of the less popular devices and re-register with the new account. OK, we’ll also have to change the barcode and property label and add a new record. And then there are software updates…do we pull the devices so we can run the update?
You don’t want a big team discussing these issues, just two or three people that have front-line and technical knowledge and the capacity to move forward with any decisions.
The title alone lets you know that this going to be a pretty hip blog post, right? And just look at the pretty logo over there…signs of good things to come! Edge is the name of an exciting initiative that is coming soon to a library near you. Earlier this year, WebJunction joined the Edge initiative, a coalition of 13 organizations working together to compile a set of benchmarks for public access computing in libraries (check out the press release). The intent of these benchmarks is to help ensure that all communities continue to have quality computer and Internet access at public libraries. One thing is clear about this work—it’s no small task! Public access computing is such a core resource in libraries, but the needs of the individual libraries and their respective communities vary greatly (queue the dramatic, challenging music).
I am sure this is a bit of preaching to the choir, but high-quality access to technology in public libraries is critical for people to succeed in today’s world. Without access to the information and opportunities that exist online, some people in this country will not be able to do homework, look for employment, obtain health and wellness information or connect with their government, community or civic organizations. Libraries have taken on a critical role in many communities to provide access to these services, but we also know that there is room to improve. Sometimes we need a little help to make our case for the importance of these services, both internally and with stakeholders. That’s where the benchmarks come in.
These benchmarks will be the examples of high quality services and offerings that help to improve the lives of patrons and the communities that libraries serve. We’ve been collecting feedback from coalition members and also working closely with the library field, local decision makers and community leaders to create benchmarks that are relevant, actionable and that can align with local community priorities. The work to date has included hundreds of hours spent pouring through data, reading reports, conducting focus groups and synthesizing all of the information into a usable resource – and we’re not done yet.
The project will soon be launching at pilot sites in several states and will be available for broader public use later in 2012. One of the key elements of participating in the benchmarks is an assessment that a library will complete. In some cases, the assessment results will shine a light on a library that is doing great work and should be recognized. In other cases, a library may be able to use the assessment to acknowledge that there are areas that could use improvements. The benchmarks will also include a wealth of information and resources that can be used to help advocate for public access computing improvements to local funders and decision makers. We’re going to give you the tools to help implement ideas and find out how to make improvements that will have an impact.
Now this is clearly a bit a teaser, because we’re not quite ready to share the actual benchmarks just yet…there’s more cooking going on in the kitchen, and we’re a bunch of picky chefs. But, we’re looking forward to bringing you more details as work on the Edge initiative progresses – stay tuned!
With tech gadgets all the rage, WebJunction has an upcoming webinar and a fresh gadget overview to share with you.
“Wow, That’s Cool! What is it?”
Thursday, November 10, 2011 ♦ 2 pm Eastern / 11 am Pacific ♦ 60 min
The Library of Virginia spent part of the last 12 months touring the Commonwealth with a van full of technology toys: e-readers, iPads, pocket video cameras and more, thanks to a grant from IMLS. This webinar, presented by Cindy Church of LVA and her Wow That’s Cool trainer Lisa R. Varga, will describe how the project evolved, the response of library staff who had never seen or touched the technology patrons were asking about, things they’d do exactly the same next time, and things they’d never do again. Join us and learn about the program from several perspectives: the administrator, the trainer, and the conference attendee. Presented by: Cindy S. Church, Continuing Education Consultant, Library of Virginia and Lisa R. Varga, Trainer and Executive Director of the Virginia Library Association.
And thank you to Betha Gutche for the new compilation, The Gadget Ecosystem, filled with information on smartphones, tablets, ereaders, and apps, and how they enhance the library landscape.
Our friends at TechSoup for Libraries alerted us to the announcement from Microsoft that the SteadyState program will not be available for download after December 31, 2010, and the support forums will close in June 2011. SteadyState, and its previous incarnations as Shared Computer Toolkit and Public Access Security Tool, is an extremely popular, free security tool used by libraries to maintain PCs for public use. Microsoft had announced earlier in the year that there were no plans to update the software for Window 7, which led to a grass-roots initiative to attempt a Windows 7-compatible version.
Chris Peters at TechSoup wrote:
We know that many, many libraries use SteadyState, and we’re working hard to fill that gap in our product donation services. If you use a solution in addition to SteadyState, complete this 4-question survey to let us know what you use and why you use it. We’ve heard from many librarians, and we’ll publish what we learn soon.
I suggest that you take advantage of this request. There will obviously be an ongoing need for affordable public access computer security, and we are now in a position of needing to work together to identify a solution.
A new group was created today on WebJunction related to Workstation Protection for Public Access Computers. Thanks to David Sullivan for launching a group, the Windows 7 Public Access Computer Project in an effort to address the need for an alternative to Windows SteadyState.
In his introduction post, David shares:
I’ve have been working on a process to secure windows 7 (enterprise or ultimate editions) public access computers using Microsoft virtual hard drives, group policy. I made significant head way with the process but the decision was made to utilize a commercial product for locking down our organizations PAC’s. So, I’m left with a body of work that has great potential but is incomplete. I would like to propose a group project to complete work on the process collaboratively. Then open up the resulting process for the community as a way around the “Windows 7 Steady State” quandary.
I’m thrilled to see WebJunction used like this, as a collaboration tool, and encourage all who have an interest in exploring the topic to help create a solution to the “quandary”, whether it’s to ask more questions or to provide your own insights. Thank you, David, for starting the group and I look forward to supporting your efforts!
We’re still looking to collect your most burning computer networking questions. Based on the poll results so far, security risks and prevention, policies is in the lead as top area of focus for those managing their library’s computer network, but the other areas are not far behind. I’d like to invite folks to start sharing more specific networking questions here on the blog in comments, in a discussion on WebJunction or as a tweet with this hashtag #wjcompnet.
Our panel of expert presenters will be using your questions to guide the December 2nd Library Computer Networking Q&A.
In the mean time, take a look at the great resources on Networking and Security in the latest MaintainIT Cookbook:
Think of this as your opportunity to “call in” and get your toughest questions answered from Libraryland’s equivalent of the “Car Talk” guys!
With all the recent news and discussion about Integrated Library Systems (including Marshall Breeding’s call for participation in this year’s Perceptions 2009 International Library Automation Survey), I thought it apropos to mention the upcoming webinar WebJunction is hosting in collaboration with ALA TechSource.
On December 10th at 1:00 Eastern join us for a discussion of Integrated Library Systems (ILS) and the trend toward customizability through Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) with library systems expert Marshall Breeding and representatives from leading vendors in the field. We’ll discuss new features and capabilities available in the most modern library software, and what it really means for these tools to be “customizable.” This event will coincide with the publication of Marshall Breeding’s December 2009 issue of Library Technology Reports.
During the month of November, WebJunction is gathering your most burning questions related to the networking of your library’s computers. This is your chance to tap into the expertise in the WebJunction community!
Step 1: Take this quick poll
Step 2: Post your most burning question below in comments or in the discussion on WebJunction
Step 3: Register for the live event on December 2 at 3:00 Eastern, Library Computer Networking Q&A where a special expert panel will answer your most burning questions.
Step 4: Watch it grow…it will be added to the already rich topic area of Networking on WebJunction.
It’s that simple.
Our fellow staffer Michael Porter (aka Libraryman) has been spending his off hours working slavishly with David Lee King on a project they call Library 101. We know Michael as an unrepentent cheerleader of libraries and librarians who can convince anyone to get up and dance and sing for the cause (and have fun while doing it!). Well, their project debuted just a few days ago, with quite a splash. The project website includes a collection of more than 20 essays from thought leaders in the field, an extensive list of resources (101, actually) on “need to know” technology, and last but not least, a 7-minute song and video featuring Michael, David, and a huge cast of characters from libraries around the globe. Around the office, we all have the chorus “101 our parts make a sum that will be the key to what is to come. 101’s how we get the job done! Evolve and make your Library 101!” totally stuck in our heads.
Michael and David are hoping that you will help build the project by adding your comments to the essays, to answer the question, What do you think librarians need to know to succeed?
TechSoup is a nonprofit that partners with corporations to distribute software and hardware donations to nonprofits and libraries. You may already know about their donation programs that can save your library approximately 90% on Microsoft products and Symantec’s Norton Antivirus donations but did you know they offer a typing program, discount on Flickr and more? Attend this free webinar, Wednesday, October 28, 11 a.m. Pacific time and learn about TechSoup for Libraries and how they can help you offer more to your patrons and staff and save money.
WebJunction member, Stephanie Gerding will interview Victoria Yarbrough, City Librarian at Douglas Public Library in Arizona, Todd Schlechte, Library Director at Gretna Public Library in Nebraska and Jennifer Doyon, Information Technology/Teen Librarian at the Brookfield Library in Connecticut, to learn about the donation they requested and how they’re using it.
This webinar is best suited for public libraries that are listed in the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) database or have 501(c)(3) nonprofit status. For more information about TechSoup for Libraries, visit http://techsoupforlibraries.org.
UPDATE: View archive »
Windows 7, the much-anticipated new operating system from Microsoft, was released today, and I expect that many are wondering whether and how to upgrade. TechSoup has provided some excellent resources to help; check them out here: http://home.techsoup.org/pages/windows7.aspx.
Your library may also be eligible to receive a donated upgrade to your public access computers. Read the eligibility requirements here: http://www.techsoup.org/stock/restrictions.asp#ms
Ross Riker has posted to our Operating Systems discussion a note about Windows 7 downgrade options. Read it here: http://www.webjunction.org/operating-systems/-/resources/discussion/66203324
Below is a link to a new survey about the practices you engage in and the challenges you face in maintaining your library’s public access technology.
Your response to this survey will help the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation understand how your library currently maintains its public access computers. This knowledge will also assist MaintainIT Project (recently renamed TechSoup for Libraries) and WebJunction, two library-focused technical support organizations funded by the foundation, in developing useful tools and resources for public libraries. Furthermore, the survey data will be used to help the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, WebJunction, and MaintainIT understand their effectiveness in helping libraries maintain quality public access technology.
This survey is being conducted by the independent evaluation firms LFA Group (LFA) and Bertot Information Consulting Services (BICS). It should take approximately 20 minutes to complete and is confidential: only LFA/BICS team members will be able to see your responses, and only aggregate information will be presented to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, WebJunction, or MaintainIT.
To complete online we ask that you enter your library’s IMILSID code. If you do not know this number, you can find it by clicking here: IMILSID code index (this link is also included in the survey itself).
This important study will help the MaintainIT, WebJunction, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to understand the technical support needed to sustain public computing and Internet access in public libraries.
Thank you for taking the time to participate in this valuable research! The survey will close on August 25th.
Questions regarding this survey can be sent to Andrew Robinson
WebJunction is gearing up for an August focus on Technology Policies and we’d like to hear from you first. To understand how libraries develop, update and communicate technology policies we would like to invite you to complete a short survey. The short survey asks questions about:
We will share the results of the survey later in August and will address some of the key issues in an August 26 webinar. Thank you for taking the time to help share a current understanding of library technology policies!
I feel like I’ve spent much of the winter and spring planting competency seeds and I’m finally seeing the seedlings push up the soil and greet the light of day. So here’s what’s growing in the WebJunction competency garden …
Competency Index for the Library Field is a compilation of competency statements that address a broad spectrum of library practice and service. We aggregated and de-duped twelve leading competency sets from the field and then subjected them to a vigorous review by subject matter expert practitioners. We invite you to download the resulting publication and remix and reinvent it in whatever way best serves your library’s size, structure, and personnel development needs.
We have integrated a fourth set of competencies from the Index with the WebJunction catalog—The Personal/Interpersonal competencies. Also referred to as soft skills, foundational or behavioral competencies, they apply to most job roles and form the underpinning of effective and stellar practice and service. Start on the Competencies tab of the WebJunction Courses page and discover connections to courses and resources aligned with specific skills and knowledge statements. You can also explore learning opportunities related to library management, core technology, and systems & IT.
The results are in from the two competency evaluations WebJunction conducted in March and April. We asked respondents from across the field to evaluate themselves on a selection of skills and knowledge statements for library management and technology. Read the summaries and look for the detailed results in the PDF attached to each summary.