(*without breaking the bank)
(Thoughts this am, connected to Panera’s WiFi network, an iced tea, and the whole weekend stretched out before me..)
Blog! The tools are free. Blog internally and externally. Promote your stuff to your users. Promote the library to the staff. Bring out your staff’s hidden creativity. It’s time well spent.
Send out your Web content via RSS. Not everyone may know what’s up with RSS but they soon will. That little on your site says a lot!
Use IM to answer patron’s questions. The software is free! Publicize your library’s screen name and see what happens. A small investment of staff time brings your resources right to people you want to reach.
Investigate WiFi. Implementing a wifi network in most small or medium-sized libraries would not be hugely expensive. Routers etc. are reasonable… We’re talking ACCESS…that’s what libraries are all about!
Meet and greet with other tech folks and librarians in your city, county, region. Lunch with folks from the local college library and the public library offers loads of knowledge exchange for the price of the meal!
Educate the staff about all the cool new things this post is about. Do they know about blogs, RSS, and WiFi? A tech-savvy staff shows our library users how well a library system is allocating resources. “Do you have WiFi?” a patron asks. “What’s that?” should not be the reply!
Conferences are expensive but try to send some folks. Look for ways to send staff that saves money. Some provide free registration for speakers! Some library service agencies offer discounts to big conferences. Grants and scholarships are available as well.
Let your new librarians stretch their wings. New ideas and fresh perspectives about technology come from NextGen’ers…give them some tech projects and watch them thrive!
Visit Web sites like Webjunction to take advantage of all the FREE stuff they offer. Training modules, advice, best practices… oh yeah!
Read your favorite tech magazines but also the mainstream entertainment/computer/lifestyle stuff. That’s where the next big things will be discussed – What the 16 year olds are doing now is what we’ll be talking about in 5 years! (Video chat anyone? AIM SN mstephens7mac)