Michael just blogged a wonderful post on things techie librarians need to know about in 2005. It’s a great read, and I agree – definitely all stuff librarians should know about. I’m going to comment/piggyback off two of the points (’cause they made me think)…
So for the first one: User-Centered technology planning. Michael focused on making sure technolust does not guide technology planning at the library (very important point). Rather, we should find out what our users need/want, and try to provide that. But what about the flip side of that coin? I know libraries and librarians who’d say something like this: “I don’t want to blog/wiki/IM/etc, so I think we’ll not make that a priority this year.” Or “my staff aren’t there yet, so I think we’ll hold off on that one indefinitely.” Bad, bad librarian!
The goal should be user-centered technology planning. If, for example, your library serves a hip urban community of teens who IM and SMS all over the place, by all means… figure out a way to incorporate that into your library’s planning! Even if your library has never done it before. Don’t let “Techno Avoidance” or “Techno Huh?” drive your library. Instead, find out what your users are wanting to do (or already doing frequently), and try to provide that.
Another way to look at it – if your library has a website (and most do these days), don’t think this: “There. We set up our website. Now we can check that off our list and move on (unfortunately some libraries do this, too).” WRONG! Websites are living, breathing entities, and need to be “cleaned, bathed, hugged and loved” (to quote a favorite children’s story I read to my kids). Effective websites require constant updates and maintenance.
The point here? Well, how about three points:
- Dont’ be scared of the technology your customers use. Instead, figure out a way to make it work at the library.
- If you plan to do anything techie – then jump in with both feet and plan to be there for the long-haul.
- If your staff doesn’t know how to do some of this stuff – find training for them. In fact, make that a training priority in 2005 for staff. Most of this is pretty easy to grasp (or, maybe I’m showing my techno bias here), and training sessions on blogs and IM should be relatively easy to set up.
So put on your 2005 thinking cap and get started!