Goals/Objectives for Technology or Service: TheCOVID-19 pandemic has encouraged many libraries to change the ways that they offer services to their patrons. Many libraries (mine included) decreased their budget for physical items and increased the budget for eBooks and eAudiobooks. This helped many patrons continue to have access to library items while the physical library building was closed. It also highlighted the number of patrons in our community without eReaders or the knowledge to use them. This initiative aims to add preloaded eReaders to the library catalog with serval themes to service different patron groups as well as monthly classes to teach patrons how to use eReaders as well as digital library apps like Libby. As technology advances and becomes more and more prevalent in the daily lives of patrons, libraries are presented with the opportunity to enable patrons to engage with these new technologies. While eReaders are not a new technology and preloaded eReaders not a new service offered by libraries, it is important to serve the community you are in and fill in the gaps as you discover them. The Pandemic taught my colleagues and I that though many might consider this initiative outdated or overdue that our patrons, and our technological support of them, are behind in this situation and that needs to be rectified. We should all be reminded that the user is the sun and that we are seeking to serve their needs (Schneider).
Description of Community you wish to engage: The patrons of the Newberg public library in Newberg, Oregon. Newberg is a rural community in wine country with almost 25,000 residents.
Action Brief Statement: (Fill in the blanks):
Convince the patrons of the Newberg Public Library that by utilizing and learning about the library’s preloaded eReaders they will gain valuable knowledge and skills which will enable them to read books they are seeking in different formats and broaden their relationship with technology because a good relationship with technology helps keep minds sharp and creates opportunities to engage with life in a variety of ways as technology changes throughout the years.
Evidence and Resources to support Technology or Service:
- Tracy Tees (2010) Ereaders in academic libraries – a literature review, The Australian Library Journal, 59:4, 180-186, DOI: 10.1080/00049670.2010.10736023
Mission, Guidelines, and Policy related to Technology or Service:
This service seeks to be in line with the hyperlinked model of library services “which is a model emphasizing an open, participatory institution that welcomes user input and creativity. It is built on human connections and conversations. (Stephens)” Because this services was inspired by communication with patrons and their need to learn how to utilize our digital offerings better we will be paying special attention to the hyperlinked model as we begin the creation process. In order to implement this service and set policies and guidelines for its structure the library will create a taskforce with a staff member from every department: Circulation, Children’s, Teen, and Adult services as well as the library director. Because this service will be available to all ages of patrons and the preloaded eReaders loaded with titles at all reading levels it will be important for all departments to have a say in how this program is run. This taskforce will contact other libraries who already have preloaded eReaders in their collection to share their policies with us to help us reformat our existing policy for our Library of Things to incorporate this new technology. This taskforce would also create guidelines for the use of the eReaders that fit the needs of the library and the patrons.
This would include the answers to questions like:
- How longs can eReaders be checked out for?
- Are they renewable?
- How often should we offer eReader seminars? We will say once per month for the purposes of this assignment.
- Is there an age requirement?
My goal is to make this service as accessible as possible to all patrons of the library while involving all departments of the library to have a unified front.
Briefly outline how your technology or service’s grant, allocated funding, budget, available free-space, etc. will be distributed: The main consideration of the budget for this project will be the eReaders themselves. Once those are purchased there will be a periodic fee to purchase the eAudio and eBooks for the devices. If, for instance, the library chose to have an OBOB (Oregon Battle of the Books: a competition throughout the school year that chooses different books each year to be quizzed on against other teams. Mostly popular with Middle school students) those digital titles would need to be updated once a year. If the library chooses to do an eReader with genre themes (Romance, Fantasy, Christian Fiction, Mystery, etc.) those titles would need to be updated every six months or so to keep the titles relevant.
Staffing should also be a consideration in this budget. Luckily, no extra hours of staff time would be needed, but a reallocation of staff time would need to be negotiated.
Action Steps & Timeline:
- First step is library director approval of this proposal. If proposal is not approved, then proposal will be re-worked to address whatever concerns the library director voiced.
- After approval each department will have 1 week to choose a staff member to be on the taskforce
- Once that week has expired the first taskforce meeting will be scheduled.
- During that meeting 2 staff members will be tasked with researching eReaders and deciding which one is the best model for our library – this task will be given 2 weeks from research to purchase of eReaders.
- During the meeting 2 other staff members will be assigned the task of planning the first eReader seminar to coincide with the arrival of the eReaders.
- Once the eReaders are on their way publicity for this service may begin, this will be overseen by the remaining member of the task force.
- I estimated 5 weeks from when the eReaders are purchased to their arrival, and our cataloger’s ability to add them to our catalog.
- Conservatively, this makes it seven weeks between the first taskforce meeting to the first eReader seminar and the launch of preloaded eReaders.
Staffing Considerations for this Technology or Service:
With monthly eReader training seminars for the public, this is a service that will require staff hours. However, instead of assigning more hours we will reallocate already existing staff hours to cover this program with the goal of training volunteers to run the seminar eventually. In thinking of a participatory way of conducting new programs the hope is to involve patrons in the training as they learn. The first 3 months will be run by staff members, but it is the hope that once enough patrons have learned new skills, that they will be willing to help teach others those same skills.
Training for this Technology or Service:
Most librarians on our staff already have a great understanding of how use eReaders and how to use our library apps like Libby that involve checking out digital materials with a library card. However, there are helpful webinars such as this one from TechSoup https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3p_LJ_lm0eM to help supplement that knowledge. The main training goal for this service is to train patrons how to use these technologies and help them to train other patrons. This may require one-on-one appointments between librarians and potential volunteers during librarian appointment hours.
Promotion & Marketing for this Technology or Service: Our library’s typical approach is to promote through social media, but because this service is aimed towards patrons who may have trouble with using technology we will also be making paper flyers to share the details of the new service to hand out to patrons at our checkout desks, our shelf-check machines and at serval local businesses including the local bookstore. We will also be reaching out to the local schools, including the university, and serval local nursing retirement homes to advertise the new technology and service.
There will be several ways to evaluate this service. After the first 6 months of the service, we will check how many times the eReaders have been checked out. We will also keep track of how many attendants the seminars have. We will also ask for feedback from seminar attendants to track what things they have been learning and what they are still struggling with. If the service is doing well, we hope to expand it by offering hotspots for check out and taking our seminars to different retirement homes to reach patrons where they are at. This service is meant to help patrons learn a helpful technology and enable them to help others around them. Hopefully, those goals will expand beyond just eReaders and reach wider than we anticipate.
Casey, M. E., & Savastinuk, L. C. (2007). Library 2.0: A guide to participatory library service. Medford, N.J: Information Today.
Stephens, M. (2021). The hyperlinked library: Exploring the model. INFO 287. Retrieved from https://287.hyperlib.sjsu.edu/module-3-the-hyperlinked-library-model/