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Organizing my thoughts for library interview…


Starting with Professor Blesh’ suggested list of topics to cover, I brainstormed with a library friend and referenced Joseph Matthews’ Technology Planning (2004) for some more ideas.  I divided my questions into different themes – I’m not sure this was entirely necessary, but I was feeling a bit disorganized, so I hoped by grouping my thoughts, it might make my questions more cogent.  I emailed the questions to Janet Cate at KFL prior to our meeting.  Needless to say, once I met with her, the conversation broadened, but I was glad to have a guide to get me started.  I’m having way more fun doing this than I EVER thought!  I’ll post them here for everyone to see.

IT Blog Library Questions for Onsite Visit to Kennebunk Free Library, Kennebunk, Maine

Basics/Description of Library and Technology:

  • Name & physical location of library and its URL?
  • Types of technology available for patron & staff use in the library? (remember the less flashy items too)
  • Types of Internet-based technology services provided to the patron throughout?
  • Personnel – who on the staff manages the technology, including website, how are they trained?
  • Check out behind the scenes and the administrative aspects of library technology not visible to patrons. How does it improve CS for patrons and make life easier for the staff?
  • MINERVA upgrade: new library cards, new tracking, staff and patron adjustment period?
  • May I take photographs?


  • Budget – how much proportionately is spent on technology, databases, CD’s, Video & DVD software? (be aware budgets are often confidential to a degree)
  • Planning for obsolescence and updating equipment
  • Who is responsible for budget/planning?

Systems in Use:

  • Specifications – what types of systems are employed; are they up-to-date?
  • Networked: are they networked – wired – wireless – patron access to wireless?
  • Internet access & type of connection (cable modem, ATM, T-1)
  • Automation: are they automated and what is the name of the system?
  • Space requirements for technology – do they have sufficient space, electrical outlets, data ports for network/Internet?
  • Furniture: what kind of furniture do they have for technology?
  • Any assistive technologies?
  • Are they paying attention to ergonomics?
  • Specific technology for children, YAs?

Library Tech Policies

  • Policies & forms associated with library technology (e.g. Acceptable Use Policy, Time limited Internet access, etc)
  • Community use – is there equipment in the library that can be used by community organizations or signed out by patrons, town meetings, etc.?
  • Circulation of hardware & software – does the library sign out equipment and software (DVD, CD, Video)?
  • Does the library have downloads of eBooks, iFlicks, MP3, books on tape?
  • Storage of hardware & software – how does the library store/shelf equipment, DVD, Video, CD, etc.?


  • Maintenance & repair – how does technology get repaired; in-house or sent out?
  • What is backup protocol?

Challenges, Strategies and Unique Offerings

  • What works? 
  • What doesn’t work: what types of technology in the library need to be revamped or rethought for optimal use by or for patrons?
  • What’s on the staff wish list – big or small?
  • Is there a unique service provided by this particular library?
  • Emerging technologies? TCP/IP throughout, P2P/peer to peer networking, RFID, voice & translation capability, XML, web services – which are worthwhile to pursue, have potential at KFL?


  • What types of security measures are taken to prevent theft of hardware or software, viruses, etc.?
  • What kinds of encryption and authentication does web service use  to improve level of security?


 Matthews, Joseph R. (2004).  Technology planning: preparing and updating a library technology plan. Libraries Unlimited, Westport, CT.