Direct Line

Vickie L. Novak

A Quarterly Message
From Library Director
Vickie L. Novak

Traveling the Technology Highway

The average person today is walking around with more technology in his or her pocket than the first astronauts took into space with them!

This was one of the findings from the Pew Internet Project, a three-year study on the changing world of libraries. In today’s world, we cannot escape technology—it surrounds us on every plane—self-checkouts at the grocery store, iPass scanners on the tollway, online purchasing, banking, and bill paying.

The same holds true for the public library of today. The Library embraces new technologies and makes them available to patrons in a timely manner, yet the Library struggles with the challenges brought about by technological change. Perhaps one of the most significant challenges is to determine when is the right time to add a new piece of technology—the delicate balance between wanting to make it available to an eager public, while not venturing in a new direction so early that it is fraught with problems. A second, yet equally critical challenge, is the ability to selectively and thoughtfully implement costly technological change amid the reality of budgetary implications.

In order to address these challenges and to develop a strategy for implementation that will carry the Library along a realistic path of technological change, the Library began the task of developing a Technology Strategic Plan nearly eighteen months ago. The consulting firm of Associated Technology Partners was hired to facilitate the planning process.

The Library’s Board of Trustees formally adopted the Technology Strategic Plan 2014–2016 at its April Board meeting. After significant data collection and analysis, three critical organizational “drivers” were identified: Collaboration across departments of the Library to ensure consistent levels of service to residents; Continuity that allows patrons to keep pace with the information shift from print materials to a vast array of digital content; Communication within the organization and externally as an essential component of ongoing patron support.

The vision for the future reflects the ways in which the Library can address the “drivers” for change and the challenges. Key to the vision are Community Involvement and Services—the use of technology tools to extend community outreach, advertise library services, enhance patron awareness, and increase library access, onsite and remotely; Technology Deployment and Sustainability—thoughtful asset management and formal replacement cycles ensure that a percentage of hardware and software will be replaced or updated annually. This is currently targeted at 25% each year. Challenges are compounded as demand for support of personal technology devices is added to the daily mix; Professional Development—the proliferation of technology-based products and services challenges staff to maintain a high degree of competency to ensure adequate patron support.

The Glenview Library is committed to providing a satisfying patron experience as new technologies emerge. While the future is unknown as new technologies arise, these are exciting times to be in the business of information management and delivery. This is but an overview of a very comprehensive plan. View the entire document.

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