Technology Plan

Whitman County Rural Library District Technology Plan– July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2012.

Purpose

This document establishes Whitman County Library’s technology plan based on its mission, current activities supported by technology, technological trends and observations.

Mission

"The mission of the Whitman County Library System is to be our community’s #1 resource for information, recreation and discovery."

Technology is key to fulfilling the library’s mission. The rapid and accelerated pace of technological change and the uncertainty of federal legislation impacts our ability to predict the exact nature of the role technology will play in public library of the future. In order to use technology to better serve our patrons; we must continue to embrace changes in technology, be actively aware of its trends as well as evaluate the positive and negative impacts technology make on quality library service.

Current Technical Activities Supported by Technology

  • Toll-free reference, renewal and requests by phone. Equalizes service countywide by allowing residents access to our system at no cost. This is beneficial in rural areas where branch libraries have minimal hours and calling Colfax means incurring long distance charges.
  • 24-hour customer access to library catalog and other resources from the library's website. This includes 24-hour access to a live reference librarian via Ask Us 24/7 software. Whitman County Library staff work as online librarians as part of a national consortium to make this service available.
  • Email reference service from the library’s website, with Whitman County Library reference staff responding in a timely manner.
  • Within library buildings, the library catalog of approximately 75,000 holdings is directly accessible from each branch.
  • Circulation of printed & online database resources over 150,000 per year to a population base of approximately 16,000 people.
  • Internet access in 14 locations countywide offered free to the public, linking users to millions of resources from around the world. Printing capability in all locations. Visually impaired or non-English speaking library customers can use these Gates Foundation computers, which also offer a good variety of software products for customers of all ages.
  • Filtered Internet stations are available in the Colfax and many other branch locations library using Iprism.
  • Wireless Filtered Internet access is available at 13 of our 14 branch locations *On-line resources include Bridges, Proquest, Chilton Auto Repair Library, Testing and Education Reference Center, Grolier online encyclopedia, Electric Library for younger students, Small Engine Repair Reference Center, Thompson Gale Legal Forms –, Ancestry Library -HeritageQuest -Birds of North America -. Other helpful websites are compiled for customer convenience.
  • Patron workstations are offered to the public in 13 locations countywide, 10 stations are available in the main library. They not only offer access to the Internet but house a variety of productivity software including Word Processing and Spreadsheet programs.
  • From the Whitman County Library website, users can connect to our library from remote locations all over the world and retrieve information about library resources and collections, services and policies. Web pages also provide links to help users locate productive reference resources on the Web.
  • Basic Internet and computer assistance is available to the public, as well as scheduled classes on basic computer use based on demand. We also offer *Instructional online classes in the use of our website and Ask US 24/7. These are available for teachers, students and other community groups by simply contacting the library.
  • A low-vision reader is available in Colfax for customers needing magnification of books, newspapers, magazines, photos and more.
  • Patrons can make requests for materials to be purchased from the online catalog.
  • OCLC bibliographic resources aid in MARC cataloging and interlibrary loan which improves our service to the community.
  • Administration and support services utilize word processing; financial programs, database, and graphics programs, webpage editors facilitate administrative and clerical activities, speeding service to the community.
  • Automated statistical manager allows many library functions to be analyzed, evaluated and implemented using accurate statistical reports and measurements, allowing us to analyze the products and services most popular within our community. This allows the library to focus its resources where they are needed most.
  • Sonicwall network firewalls empower IT staff to maintain and expand the network infrastructure.
  • Staff participate on the Washington State Library’s Broadband stimulus committee in order to shape the allocation of federal stimulus dollars for broadband to serve libraries.

Assessment of Technology that are needed to improve library services

-Public Services

Goal: Enhance and integrate electronic services to provide access to library resources and personnel to the public.
Strategy: Offer downloadable audiobooks from multiple vendors to our patrons.
Strategy: Participate in evaluations and trials of new database products.
Strategy: Purchase additional Blackberry devices that will give staff access to information when away from the library at trainings or other library related functions.
Strategy: Participate in the Rural Heritage digitization project sponsored by the state library and explore additional funding options other than the State Library.
Strategy: Use our Laptop Lab to offer trainings out in rural locations in our service area.
Strategy: Provide Malden Internet access, computers and other equipment.
Strategy: Use current social networking technologies to serve patrons in new ways.
Strategy: Explore services to patrons though smartphones, players and devices.
Strategy: Review and re-design the library’s website.
Strategy: Through the Renew Washington Grant called Whitman County Library Occupation Resource Connections offer training on employment resources.
Strategy: Explore the possibility of offering a Public Fax machine to our patrons.


Goal: Keep Patron workstations current with useful hardware and software.
Strategy: Through Patron surveys and day-to-day feedback evaluate the needs of patrons on an ongoing basis.
Strategy: Purchase used and lease return equipment to stretch the technology budget.
Strategy: Apply for additional grant funding to replace patron workstations.


Goal: Expand and enhance the user friendliness and search capabilities of the online catalog to broaden access to library materials.
Strategy: Demonstrate the catalog’s functionality during classes held at the library and classes taught in public schools.
Strategy: Continue to upgrade the catalog software and take advantage of new features and functionality of that software.
Strategy: Join the Washington State library’s new statewide catalog Wayfinder to enhance the choices of materials by offering a statewide index of materials.
Strategy: Add RSS feeds and spelling correction to the catalog.

-Staff Development

Goal: Keep staff aware of technological changes and trends that affect library service
Strategy: As part of regular staff meetings the Systems Administrator will inform and train staff technological changes that have or will be occurring.
Strategy: During annual meetings and closed week hold sessions on technological topics.
Strategy: The Systems Administrator is available during normal hours to answer questions and train staff to suit their specific needs.
Strategy: Create a Wiki based tool for questions and answers that is accessible to staff only for internal procedures. Train staff to edit and maintain the content of the Wiki.


Goal: Offer professional development on technology based on the role each staff member fills in the library.
Strategy: Attend annual regional CODI meetings.
Strategy: Evaluate professional development needs of staff with the use of surveys and discussion in staff meetings.

-Facilities and Infrastructure

Goal: Provide reliable, high speed Internet access to all of our branches.
Strategy: When Library’s are remodeled ensure network and other wiring needs are met.
Strategy: If Federal Stimulus dollars create Broad band networks in our service area the library will use broadband to provide faster and new services to our patrons.
Strategy: Apply for e-rate re-imbursements and budget for telecommunications.
Strategy: Explore library service and telecommunications offerings in Lamont, WA.

Goal: Replace current Phone System a new phone system to provide enhanced telephone features like voicemail, call forwarding and callerID.
Strategy: Get bids from local vendors for a new telephone system.
Strategy: Seek funding for a new telephone system through grants or though budget monies.
Strategy: Apply for E-Rate funding in December 2010 to get funding for a DID (direct inward dialing) T1 line so that all staff can have direct numbers and access to voicemail.

Goal: Expand facilities where technology can be used by by the public.
Strategy: Renovate and expand existing buildings to add additional space for computers and Internet access.
Strategy: Fund building projects with a mix of grants, Federal Loans and public donations.

-Staff Training Plan

All new employees will participate in intensive training on all technical aspects of their library position. Necessary documentation will be accessible to all staff.

Take advantage of any opportunities for staff training at a reduced or no fees. These are available occasionally from US West, INCOL, Web Based SisriDynix course training and other sources.

Provide ongoing computer training, as needed to all staff members. Headquarters employees will be trained on an "as needed" basis. Branch managers will have an opportunity for training during their regularly scheduled monthly visits to Headquarters. Remedial or additional training will be provided whenever a staff member does not demonstrate the desired level of proficiency. As new procedures, machines, software, or other technologies are introduced to the library system, appropriate levels of staff training will be scheduled above and beyond the schedule listed above.

As technologies grow all library staff must be trained on new technologies on an ongoing basis. Adequate time must be allocated outside of regular work duties to attend training. Additional library Information Technology staffing will be needed to sustain increasing expectations of existing staff.

Budgeting

LSTA grants have been used to fund such projects as Internet access in the library. Citizens and organizations in Whitman County contribute back to not only the library district as a whole but also to the library in their community. Gifts from private individuals and companies and grants (GIFT) from locally-funded foundations, such as the Friends of the Library. The annual budget allotted to the library (WCL) finances many technological components. Operational and maintenance costs for technological advances funded from other sources have consistently been absorbed into budgets for the library. (R) The library each year puts funds away in a reserve that build each year until major systems upgrades are required. An agreement has been reached with the Neill Public Library (NPL) to share costs of hiring, salary and benefits of a library systems administrator. (E) Indicates E-rate re-imbursement. (G) Indicates funding through outside entities in the form of grants.

Implementation Timeline, Estimated Costs & Funding

Year

Project

Cost

Fund

2010

Acquisition of Birds of North America database.

$300

GIFT

 

Library Staffing for Technology related activities.

$42000

WCL/NPL

 

Acquisition of online databases

$3600

WCL

 

Telecommunications including telephone and Internet access to all branches.

$10500

WCL

 

Telecommunications including telephone and Internet access to all branches.

$10000

E

 

OCLC Cataloging Records and ILL

$2100

WCL

 

Software training for staff

$2000

WCL

 

Other Technology related costs including upgrades

$8250

WCL

 

New mobile staff telecommunications equipment

$1750

WCL/E

 

New Telephone System

$6100

WCL

 

Rural Heritage Project Grant

$7000

LSTA/WCL

WORC grant Project Grant

$48160

LSTA/WCL

 

Annual software support with SirsiDynix

$6000

WCL/NPL

2011

Acquisition of Birds of North America database.

$300

GIFT

 

Library Staffing for Technology related activities

$44000

WCL/NPL

 

Acquisition of online databases

$3600

WCL

 

OCLC Cataloging Records and ILL

$1800

WCL

 

Telecommunications including telephone and Internet access to all branches.

$10500

WCL

 

Telecommunications including telephone and Internet access to all branches.

$11750

E

 

Annual software contract with SirsiDynix

$6200

WCL

 

Other Technology related costs

$8300

WCL

 

Replace Telephone System

$10000

WCL/GIFT

 

Add DID and additional lines to the Telephone System

3000

WCL/E

 

Software training for staff

$1500

WCL

 2012

Library Staffing for Technology related activities

$46000

WCL

 

Acquisition of online databases

$3500

NPL

 

Telecommunications including telephone and Internet access to all branches.

$9500

WCL

 

Telecommunications including telephone and Internet access to all branches.

$9500

E

 

Annual software contract with Dynix

$6100

WCL

 

Other Technology related costs including upgrades

$21000

WCL

 

Software training for staff

$1700

WCL

Evaluation

The library evaluates the success of technology projects based upon usage of each system or product, posting of this technology plan and solicitation of comments on the library’s homepage, and/or direct contact with library patrons and library staff. Automation surveys will be conducted regularly at periods not to exceed three years as part of annual surveys conducted on behalf of the library by Friends of the Library organization members. Evaluation is also a regular process of the library’s management team consisting of the Library Director and the heads of the major units in the library, and of the staff of the library as a whole.

Comments on this technology plan are welcome.