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Meeting Patron Technology Needs

Arapahoe Library District
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Innovation Leader: Reed Osborne, Director of Library Services, rosborne@ald.lib.co.us

Problem Statement

Patrons are increasingly using our libraries to fulfill technological needs. E-books, social networking, databases, public computers, audio books, and a large array of devices require technological understanding. Employees must have an intuitive ability and a passionate intellectual curiosity around technology, including the willingness to experience and independently learn new technology, to stay informed and to arrive at technological solutions.

Innovation

Review, define and upgrade the technology expectations and qualifications of Patron Service Specialists and Librarians using the following methods: upgrade expectations of technological competencies; ongoing evaluation of employee competencies, formally and informally; offer technology training opportunities to foster personal growth and development; create a cadre of Tech Liaisons in each library to act as mentors, disseminate trends and information, enhance relationships between floor staff and the Digital Services and Library Materials Services departments; direct supervisors to regularly evaluate employees to ensure that competencies are achieved within the period September 2010 to July 2011; take appropriate action in instances where competencies are not achieved.

Progress

Technology competencies developed and Technology Fair for all staff offered in October 2010 (see WebLink). Weekly group Tech Talk sessions to share progress and experiences are held in libraries. Tech Liaisons mentor their colleagues and share tips on an active discussion board. Meeting patron technology needs is in the forefront of employees’ minds: managers report gratifying examples of employees stretching themselves to succeed. Hiring practices have evolved to raise requirement for tech skills and interest.