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.