Web 2.0/subscription-based electronic materials & social media:
KFL social media is active weekly and sometimes daily via their blog, tweets, and Facebook, all which show a substantial following. These options allow for a fresh approach and instantaneous collaboration between patron and staff, a phenomenon that is on the rise in the world of libraries.
Patrons can access subscription-based audio and e-books from the website, do a catalog search for books, magazines, movies and use the free online genealogical records, and use ILL to find that elusive item that KFL may not have in-house.
Downloadable resource use has increased sharply since the library began offering pre-loaded e-readers (and since late 2011, downloadable audio & e-books). Patron access to downloadable e-books increased 27% from FY 2012-FY 2013. There was a slight decrease in computer use in FY 2012-13, but increased use of personal computers using the library’s Wi-Fi.
Maine InfoNet Download Library
indieflix KFL Family Search Center Posting
Other Technology/Behind the Scenes:
The library offers wireless printing (black/white for patrons, color for staff), faxing, LCD projector and sound system for outdoor use, DaVinci magnifier with speech to text, microfilm reader , 4 ipads for in-house educational tech classes and a scanner. The staff offices were redesigned in 2013 for better ergonomics and work flow. From all accounts, the improvement is welcomed and was a real boost to morale.
copier at Front Desk
(verbal permission granted by patron and staff)
Janet Cate reports that as far as humanly possible, the staff has educated themselves on the many facets of different technologies and has done a good deal of troubleshooting learning. A local company is available 24/7 to deal with any challenges that are beyond their understanding. This past October the library hired a new technical services librarian, Michelle Williams, in response to the ongoing technical nature of the library system. She will focus on technology and cataloging, and brings a strong background to the staff.
Building Upgrades, Best Practices & Security:
Any library that moves into the 21st century of technology must make significant improvements to their physical building: outlets, Wi-Fi access, connectivity, heating and cooling, accessibility and security to name a few.
Entry way automated elevator: one floor up to Adults, one floor down to Children’s
Honeywell Automated Fire Alarm
Best Practices: cell phone use
barcoded computer security
Extra outlets throughout
Best Practices: still a place for peace and quiet!
building security/Hoook, Line & Cable Securities
wall-mounted security box at front entrance
Libraries today must build evidence that supports their technological needs in order for funding and library associations to be able to justify their support of budget requests. Questions & focus are important: some ideas may be fun but not really an actual need, should we try before we buy?, can the library afford it?, what percentage of patrons will benefit from the changes?
Kennebunk Free Library created a long range plan for 2013-2018 (http://kennebunklibrary.org/kennebunk/images/sitepics/long%20range%20plan%20final%209-20-13.pdf). By researching community demographics, they were able to show that 67% of Maine homes have Internet access, ranking the state 32nd in 2010 and that Kennebunk has a median age of 48.2, compared to the state average age of 42.7. The top 3 areas within KFL that were most effected by these statistics were collection choices, technology and services offered.
A patron survey further showed that after prioritizing improved parking (84%), other high priorities included mantaining current hours (82%), access to computers with Internet (82%), Wi-Fi access (81%) and the library website (77%). These numbers clearly show a widespread need for technology at KFL. While the town has a higher per capita income than other Maine towns, the average age and Internet access provide justification for investing in improved technology.
KFL works within a yearly budget of $625,000 (approximately). The technology costs below were supplied by Janet Cate for 2014. Of the $20,000 budgeted for technological needs, audio CDs cost $3600, $4500 was spent on DVDs and software costs were $800 for email blasts and promotion, Follett circulation and cataloging software. The vast majority of the tech budget was for technology (repairs, new technology, website management, telephone technology, web hosting and monthly service contracts)and non-filter fees ($11,725). One would suspect that this portion of the budget will only increase as time goes forward.
Pulling It All Together:
Kennebunk Free Library is a shining example of a small town library working to keep itself current in our new technological world. They have worked tirelessly to keep themselves up-to-date on their technological skills, they have researched, budgeted, tested and requested funds for technology improvements on behalf of their patrons since 1997. As a result they are just what and where they want to be: a living, breathing, creating hub of community activity for the Kennebunks. Both their 5 year plan and the support of the Friends of the Kennebunk Library ensures that they will be ready for the challenges ahead.
(As always, please click on photos to enlarge and backclick to return to posting).
Cate, Janet. ( 2014). KFL finances for tech report.xls. Personal correspondence.