Magazine article Computers in Libraries

Say No to Speed Bumps! Here Are Five Helpful Steps to Involve Your Staff in Obtaining, Deploying, and Troubleshooting Any New Technology That Is Coming Your Way

Magazine article Computers in Libraries

Say No to Speed Bumps! Here Are Five Helpful Steps to Involve Your Staff in Obtaining, Deploying, and Troubleshooting Any New Technology That Is Coming Your Way

Article excerpt

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You will never be caught up with technology. Ever. No matter how cutting edge (and nicely funded) your library is, there is always something cooler and more efficient on the horizon. Granted, not all new technology may be necessary in your library. But chances are you are going to want to get something--RFID (radio frequency identification), text reference, downloadable content, gaming, digitization equipment--anything! The biggest hurdle (behind budget) is not technological expertise. That can be overcome with training from your vendor and assistance from information technology staff. No, the biggest hurdle is your own staff, sitting near you in your buildings. How will they respond? What are their reservations? Are they excited or nervous? These people can be major speed bumps on the road to smooth technology implementation.

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Here are five helpful steps to involve your staff in obtaining, deploying, and troubleshooting any new technology that is coming your way. You may have heard them before; now take them to heart.

1. Let staff know early.

How early is too early? Not early enough. Constant communication about intentions, progress, and results will make the transition easier. Also, advising ahead of time will allow for staff input on things you hadn't even thought about--like how the software permissions will affect part-timers, or what to do on weekends when the power goes out. You may have heard of "early adopters," those people who pick up on new technology as soon as it comes out. Well, you want to make sure your staff members are "early birds" of another sort--those in the know. Even though you may not be the first library with video games or downloadable content, giving staff time to adjust to the idea that something new is never a bad thing.

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2. Explain how it fits with the mission of the library.

Every good library has a mission, a formal written statement or an informal ideal, that all follow. Perhaps yours includes a tidbit about technology; perhaps it's something more generic. Regardless, knowing how a new technology will aid the library in its overall goals is a comforting thing for staff. With this knowledge, they will be able to explain and/or justify the new technology to your curious public as well.

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