Sunday, July 19, 2015

Libraries Without Limits: Exploring Alternative Library Models Part 3

I have my library visit at Desert Foothills Library this week. I'd like to share the questions I've submitted to Executive Director David Court and what the focus of my interview is about. While this assignment is for my Library Technology class, I personally want to include how this stand-alone, privately funded library is both alike and similar to a traditionally funded, like my employer, city or country library system. Unlike the private sector, libraries do not view other library systems as competition. We face many of the same challenges; budget concerns, keeping up with technology needs and programing slumps. How we address those concerns varies from system to system based on a variety of factors. Often the best ideas come from professional sharing.

Here are my technology questions-

1.    What percent of the budget is allocated for technology and digital services or materials?
2.    Managing technology-
Who manages- is there a staff member dedicated to it?
IT support/service- in-house or sent out?
I'm especially interested in how a single library handles IT issues because, let's face it, they pop up frequently given browser updates, software updates and network challenges. When I worked for the school district I had to learn to do a variety of IT support services. While we had an IT department, they couldn't always arrive in a timely manner, so I had to learn to solve the most common problems, which were usually associated with updates (or lack of updating!).
Programing- Types of technology programing
                      Age groups served
This is another area of high interest to me since the Scottsdale Public Library stopped doing computer training and all those services went to Parks and Rec as fee-based classes. Digital literacy skills are vital for all patrons now.
Assistive technologies available
3.    How can you best describe the organizational structure for making technology decisions in your library model?

4.    If you could have/add a technology service or device and budget wasn’t a concern, what would it be?
Very curious about this one! My tech wish list is an e-book center with all devices so customers could see how to check out e-books on their own device.

1.    General questions-
What is your most challenging program area/customer group? (In terms of selecting meaningful programs and getting attendance, not customer behavior.)
If I had to guess, I think they will answer that Teen Programing is challenging. Teens have jobs, schoolwork and activities that keep them pretty busy, it's a struggle to find programing that brings them in, especially during the school year.
Programing surprise- ever tried something you had doubts about and it turned out to be a big hit?
This is a purely selfish question because I love hearing new ideas or new ways to approach traditional programing. 

Circulation and services- growing, declining or steady? I’m of the opinion that library services are more needed than ever.
Given that Desert Foothills serves a small, mostly affluent community, it would be easy for people to assume no one needs a library. As I know from working in a system that also serves a largely affluent population, this is a huge myth. People depend on libraries for a variety of services, most importantly, in my opinion, the staff who are always ready to answer their questions.

Come back next Thursday to read about my visit and see if my predictions on some of the questions were correct!

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