Thursday, February 03, 2011

New Technology Benchmarks for Ontario Public Libraries

with Frances Stocker, Kestrel Information Services and Elise Cole, Oakville PL

(slides will be on SC2011 Web site...add a link!)

An entirely new section on the use of technology has been developed for the latest edition of the Ontario Public Library Guidelines. This session introduces the technology guidelines, and answers questions about implementation.

What I am curious to know about...

  • benchmarks for # of opacs/kiosks

  • is it just about “hard” technology (ie equipment), or also “soft” in terms of training and access to certain types of technology

Elise is vice chair of the Ontario Public Library Giudelines Council

History of the Guidelines:

  • evolved from 1990 “One Place to Look” Ontario Public Libs strat plan...Strategic Directions Council (SDC) created

  • “A Call to Action” 1996

  • 5th edition of Terms of Ref / comprehensive IT guidelines released in Nov 2010

  • (find the guildelines online and link to them!)

  • Accreditation: allows libs to match themselves against standard guidelines

  • 6th edition planned for SC2012

Benefits of accreditation: demonstrates effective use of public funds; positive impact on library's profile in the community; Library meets provincial norms

  • over 30 Ontario publicl ibs are accredited

Goals of the Project...for lib systems:

  • provide measurable benchmarks

  • focus on tools not content

  • reflect current lib tech trends and the general technology environment

  • addresses known technoloy-related concerns

  • provide a process for achieving/maintaining vialbe and sustainable service

The committee did a lot of research in order to determine the benchmarks / establish what was appropriate....questions:

  • current levels of tech. Use in Ontario pub libs

  • current and future developments in library tech

  • reasonable level of use for libs to attain

  • other changes affecting lib development in general

  • major concerns of library systems

Looked at tech. Standards in other juisdictions (all around the English speaking world).

Resaerch findings:


  • Ils development

  • connectivity/boradband

  • WiFi

  • Website development and remote access to services

  • equipment maintenance and troubleshooting

  • provision in branches

  • social media

  • digitization

  • use of eLearning tools (for both staff training and user education)

Some of the findings...


  • broadband patchy outside urban areas

  • expectations are high

  • ILSes: leading systems/trailing systems/consortia and partnerships

Support for technology and skilled staff:

  • major area of concern

  • case-making for library technology needs

Social media:

  • low priority for many libs

  • positive approach where need perceived and/or staff interest

  • core service? (I say YES!!!!)

Tech trends:

  • Web 3.0 / symantic web

  • open source software

  • dynamic content

  • rfid

  • consumer techology and expectations

  • mobile technology

  • ebooks

  • eLearning and blended learning

  • technology use in the work place (cloud etc.)

  • pace of change and its impact on setting guidelines

Form and format of the guidelines:

  • maintain format of exisiting guidelines

  • mandatory guidelines

  • measurable/visible

  • achievable understandable by libraries and trustees

  • meet the goals of OPLG

  • reviewed by library community

essential elements include:

  • web site

  • ils

  • opac

  • email

  • public internet computers/access

  • stable networks

  • user eduacation

  • workplace software + training

  • tech support

  • collaborations and partnerships

Fifth edition:

  • new Section 7: Use of Technology

  • major revisions to Section 2: Accessibility

  • check it out!!!

Examples of guidelines:

  • internet connectivity: mandatory

  • integrated library system: has one, with at least a cataloguing and circ module (could be consoritum)...and...(not mandatory, but recommended): ILS has a range of modules and add-ons to make lib more efficient and add convenience for patrons (eg: automatic notification of holds)

  • workstations and peripherals: the lib has defined the adequate number of networked workstations and peripherals for public use (so what is that number?!...local variation...)

    (and by “workstation” do you mean public access to internet, or “kiosk”?...sounds like public internet station...ask: up to the library to decide what their patrons need, so both)

  • additional computer requirements: lib has established its approach to assessing its need for new or specialized compuer devices, and has protocols in its tech plan for including such will we decide to buy ebook readers, and ipads!...should we have a broad policy about “staff needs to play with stuff that the public is going to have?”....have been sort of doing it on the fly / professional judgement...intersting...think about this

  • WiFi: a good thing if you can get it

  • Web site: mandatory (check!)...designed according to a clear plan / adheres to standards; criteria for updating established (check!)

  • tech support: needs to meet your needs

  • tech-related cooperation: provincial issue...around encouraging partnerships / building on the strength of provincial network of deliver tech services / training / increase lib efficiency

In conclusion:

  • back to the goals...

  • focus on tools not content

My thoughts: I need to take a look at the guidelines (even though we decided not to do accreditation this year), and see if we need to do any work...good assessment tool.

5th Edition of guidlines is available on the FOPL Web site (FOPL is the parent body of this bunch / the standards)...

No comments: