Great things ahead for library web and library technology!

In the last week or so, I’ve seen three pretty cool things:

  1. John Blyberg’s post about how to overcome the tech deficit
  2. Glenn Peterson’s new project, EngagedPatrons
  3. Sean Robinson’s project, the PayITForward web wiki

Blyberg always has good stuff to say – you should go read his post, and let it soak in. There are plenty of good ideas to be had there. And to me, the best thing he says is this:

“Look at where your patrons are spending their time, get a sense of what they want and need. It may be that your community is happy with what you’re doing, or it may be underwhelmed by what you’re not. As always, identifying what they want should drive spending, it shouldn’t be the other way around, where patrons are forced to use what we’ve spent money on.”

Glenn Peterson, web dude at Hennepin County Library, has started as a way to “provide website services connecting public libraries and their patrons.” Right now, EngagedPatrons is offering a variety of hosted services to libraries, including: Library events, library blogs, contact your library forms, RSS feeds, and custom web-enabled databases. Use the site’s handy contact us form for more info.

More from Glenn (via an email Glenn sent me – yes, Blyberg, you scooped me! Dang, I’m slow… :-)

“I’m offering to host website services for public libraries at my site and to assist libraries in customizing the services (via options I’ve built into each application) for their needs. Libraries will input data, about their upcoming events for example, using web forms I’ve built and the data will be stored in a database on my server. I’ll also assist libraries in storing the HTML for their site’s navigation in the database and integrate my code with the look and feel of the library’s own website. Libraries will link from their site to mine for the services they have chosen.The patron won’t know they are on my site – the pages I host will appear to be hosted at the library…”

Now on to Sean Robinson’s PayITForward project. From the wiki:

“This idea surfaced at the Ann Arbor Library Camp. Pay “IT” Forward.
There are lots of Public IT library professionals struggling to
implement technology. Sometimes the IT department at a library is made
up of one person. We have limited budgets and limited time. The
question was asked “What would happen if we shared our expertise with
each other?” This idea then grew to “What could I do?” “

I believe (Sean or someone else, correct me if I’m wrong) the idea is for library IT professionals to share their knowledge about whatever on the wiki. This way, library techies can start building a sense of larger community – and of course, get those techie projects done!

So – lots of extremely cool stuff related to library websites and library technology this week. Keep it up!