I’m prepping classes and presentations right now and my eyes fell on this OLD link from walkingpaper:
Aaron lists some things libraries can do to improve techie stuff. How many have you done? How far have we come?
Here’s just a few of his ideas:
3. Have CD burning available for patrons at your workstations. Patrons with slow connectivity at home may want to download large files with fast library connections. Also, they may be working on large documents not easily fit on floppies. Cost = The hardware is not expensive and not too difficult to install. If you’re replacing computers soon the hardware will likely be standard.
4. Related to #3. No dumb computers. I’ve heard Steven Abram (does corporate policy prevent him from blogging? He’s the only vendor I enjoy hearing speak and I bet an Abram blog would be great) state this sentiment bluntly a few times. People have expectations about computers, and ours need to behave like theirs do, but better. Cost = Staff time to configure a protected but free situation. Ghosting software is cheap and a good start. Probably you’ll find a net gain in time.
5. Related to #4. Hassle free browsing. Make sure your users aren’t bombarded by pop-ups from spyware or update/renewal notices for your antivirus program. Allowing these intrusions confuse them. Cost = Perhaps an initial investment of time, but there will be a substantial gain when your users aren’t dependent upon you answering their questions about what to do when something pops up.
6. Answer patron emails quickly. Responding back in 48 or 24 hours isn’t cutting it. Cost = Staff time to answer more questions. If you’re responsive and market this service more people will start emailing you.
7. Use Instant Messaging. There are over 80 million Americans using IM. At least one of them is a patron of yours. Make the library available to them in a relavant way by signing up for a free screen name and marketing it. Make signing on to IM a RefDesk duty. Cost = A bit of staff training time.
Aaron and I advocated for IM like fiends in ’04 and ’05. Now, many libraries have a Meebo embedded librarian. Nice stuff! I think I need to go back through the TTW posts from 2003 and 2004 and see what I was thinking about back then.