In my last post, I talked about how your technology department shouldn’t really be the one making system-wide decisions for the library.
There’s a couple other sides to that coin, I think. They include:
Sometimes, IT should make those decisions. For example:
- They’re the technology experts, and probably know what will work the best for the library. Listen to them!
- They know what they can and cannot support. Not to say they can’t learn new things – that’s what techie types do every day – but some things might not be within reach.
- They can be highly creative people with great ideas. Make sure they’re part of the process.
- Sometimes the answer has to be no. For example, in the kids department at my library, we can’t just put computers anywhere. The floor is a concrete slab, and requires lots of core drilling, routing concrete, and cabling runs that don’t exist. So the answer from us is: sure, if you want to spend $10-20,000 more on the project. Or – how about let’s rework that idea?
Sometimes, the rest of the library needs to make the decision (but isn’t). You might have this happening:
- Admin/management is not tech-savvy, so IT has stepped in and is making decisions.
- Admin/management is being passive, not great at leadership, not great at strategic planning etc … so IT stepped in.
- There’s simply no strategic plan – so guess what? IT (and reference, and collections, and youth services, etc) will step in and create their own strategies. I’m guessing there’s a better way to do this!
If you’re one of those library staffers saying “IT won’t let me do this” – step back from that immediate problem, and ask yourself “why do they get to decide this?”
Then work on fixing that issue first.
Pic by Garrett Coakley