Seattle News Article on Neo libraries -- Staff Needs to Know

Via LISNews comes this piece from Seattle :

"NATIONALLY, KING COUNTY is considered a leader in incorporating digital technologies into its libraries. It was the first, or among the first, to offer new book alerts via e-mail, technology books that could be read online, and, just this month, movie previews on its Web site ( that patrons can view and then immediately reserve the related video tape or DVD. "

Nice... but:

"PERHAPS IT'S NO surprise that mere flesh-and-blood staff have trouble keeping up. Last month, I visited the Auburn branch to learn more about the free Wi-Fi access introduced earlier this year. "Is this a Wi-Fi enabled branch?" I asked. There was a long pause, a blank look, and the staffer politely informed me, "No, this is a King County Library branch." It took a few more questions and two more staffers to determine that the branch had Wi-Fi (known to nerds as 802.11b), but that the staff just called it "wireless Internet." "

I'm not surprised by this at all. "Flesh and blood staff" have to be informed about all of this stuff and it's darn hard sometimes to reach them all. I wonder what would happen if I called all the WiFi Branches in our system and said "Is this a wifi branch?"

Here's a quick off the cuff list for making sure staff is informed when your library gets into something new:

1) Decide to implement a new technology after study and a look at ROI
2) Plan a timeline and marketing strategy (external and internal)
3) Inform staff, show them, tell them, let them play
4) Rollout the new "thing" and begin marketing strategy
5) Send reminders to staff as needed. Train new staff.

"To survive the digital age, libraries have embraced e-books, e-audio, and Web sites that bring libraries to home PCs. The paper-warehouse concept is so last century. "

Posted: Tue - August 12, 2003 at 07:29 PM