Information Technology Plan for a Library System

By Boss, Richard W. | Library Technology Reports, January-February 1998 | Go to article overview
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Information Technology Plan for a Library System

Boss, Richard W., Library Technology Reports

The following plan is for a library system-a library with branches. It assumes that there is a central library and one or more branches. The plan has the following components, each one of which is discussed:

i. Mission Statement

ii. Technology Goals


1. Maintain a comprehensive automated library system.

2. Maintain a wide area network.

3. Maintain contracts with two Internet Service Providers and regularly evaluate performance.

4. Seek to conform to all relevant standards.

5. Provide "express catalogs" near building and reference area entrances.

6. Provide one or more "electronic access centers" for patrons in each library, regardless of size.

7. Replace "dumb" terminals with PCs and utilize a multi-tier PC strategy.

8. Configure all of the PCs, existing and future, with a Web browser.

9. Configure all PCs with printers, and attach coin boxes or debit card readers to all "electronic access center" machines.

10. Provide access to a CD-ROM servers from all workstations.

11. Maintain a Web site.

12. Investigate special files and imaging applications.

13. Establish and maintain a small micro lab in each library of more than 25,000 square feet.

14. Maintain spares inventories and contract for local maintenance.

15. Use competitive bidding for online reference services.

16. Avoid proliferation of the same information in multiple formats.

17. Upgrade staff work surfaces to accommodate information technologies.

18. Protect the collections of the main library with a theft detection system.

19. Designate a full-time system manager.

20. Maintain staff training and patron orientation programs.

21. Accommodate information technologies when building or remodeling library facilities.

22. [If a public library with bookmobile service] Continue to monitor developments in cellular telephone service.

23. Pursue external sources of funding for information technology.

24. Phase in implementation over a four-year period.

These components are discussed in detail on the following pages


The library is committed to providing and making accessible the best possible informational, educational, cultural, and recreational materials and services to the citizens of its service area.


The library's most important technology goal is to give all citizens access to information regardless of format, and regardless of where the information is stored.

The secondary goal is to make that access available from anywhere in the community insofar as possible, including from branch libraries, homes, and offices.

To carry out its technology goals, the library has developed a plan with the following objectives:

1. Maintain a comprehensive automated library system.

The library system will maintain an automated library system which supports the internal automation of acquisitions with online ordering; serials control with online claiming; cataloging with authority control and bibliographic utility interface; circulation with off-line backup, patron telephone and e-mail notification, and telephone renewal; and patron access catalog.

The automation of acquisitions and serials control will make it possible to enter purchase requests in branches and issue them from a central location; and it will make it possible to handle serials check-in in branches while handling claiming and invoice payment at a central location. Staff and patrons will have absolutely current status information about that which is on order or has recently been received--and it will be possible for a patron to place a "hold" or "reserve" against on-order or in-process materials. It also will make it possible to determine the latest issue of a periodical which is available for use.

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