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Paperless Board and Management Teams

Hamilton Public Library

Innovation Summary

By effectively deploying iPads, developing clearly understood policies and providing basic training HPL transitioned the Library Board, Administration and Management Teams to become paperless in late 2011 and early 2012. This deployment included changes in policy to encourage personal use of the devices outside of work.

Problem Statement

This project was established to help address the following issues: - The lost productivity and cost of printing agendas and sending them via courier to the Library Board. - With the current explosion of the popularity of eBooks and other digital downloads we need to ensure that Library Board members become familiar with these key services, understand their importance and the challenges we face providing this service. - Developing the technical knowledge and skills of staff is one of the biggest challenges we are facing. A lot of our management team had not been utilizing our eBook services and they were not familiar with using tablets. We need managers to understand these services and be able to speak knowledgeably to staff about eBooks. - Library staff technology usage policy only allowed for limited personal usage. We needed to change the policy to encourage personal use and experimentation while staff were not working. -The business case for this project rested on an aggressive move away from paper agendas and documents, so ensuring high adoption was key. In addition to getting strong support for the change, staff and board members were given training and orientation sessions to make the transition. Because of an already high workload on our IT staff, we encouraged mutual training and support among each of the groups.


To ensure the project was a success, staff had to depart from normal technology deployment processes and policies. The following are key innovations that were made to make the project a success and sustainable. - Evaluation of the devices centered on the user experience, not on enterprise deployment benefits. A number of popular tablets were evaluated, but the superior user experience of the iPAD resulted in its selection. - Staff technology usage policy was updated to encourage personal use while not at work. - The rules for Board Member usage also encourages experimentation. - The Library provided the devices but staff were required to create their own Apple ID. They needed to use their own credit card or purchase an iTunes card. Required software on the devices cost around $30 which managers could expense. Getting staff to register the account on their own credit card facilitates personal usage without exposing the Library to risk of inappropriate charges. Staff are free to download apps including games and are encouraged to use for fun while not at work. - The deployment for Board members was more staff intensive with each device being set-up using a Library purchased iTunes card. This left Board members with no initial set-up and the ability to download some low cost apps. - Extensive use of a PDF reader and annotation program called Good Reader has been used. Some changes in how agenda materials are created has enabled Board Members to only need to use one application to do their official board business. - Training was individualized to ensure that Board members with little technical experience were given extra help getting started.


The transition to paperless has been a huge success. Key indicators of this success are: - Adoption of the tablets has been unanimous among Board and Library Managers. Before making the change it was clearly communicated that only a complete transfer away from paper would be cost effective. Getting a strong consensus for the transition, providing training and ensuring easy to use applications were chosen has made this transition a very positive one. - Encouraging personal use while not at work has staff members sharing stories about different apps they are trying. - Usage of our eBook services has increased among Board and Managers. - Managers love their iPads, this has been one technology change that has been almost universally positive. - The Library Board is currently going through a strategic planning process. The use of tablets has helped expose Board members to eBooks and some of the challenges we currently face with that service. In our strategic planning discussions the Board has placed significant emphasis on eBooks and the importance of staff technology training and development. The informed questions board members are asking and their level of engagement with new and emerging technologies is stronger and more consistent that is was before. In less than a year, the tablet deployment has helped advance Board understanding of some of the key challenges we are facing.