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Libraries utilize technology to support the missions, visions, and goals of their organizations, resulting in well-informed decisions and efficient, effective library operations and services.
Technology is an institutional asset, as important to the delivery of patron services as the library building. It serves as a basic part of the infrastructure and is integrated at all levels of the library organization. Technology is a key asset delivering on the library’s promise to serve as a community hub, information access point, and cultural center.
Technology is a tool, not a goal. Technologies and systems implemented in libraries should be designed, selected, or implemented to serve the needs of patrons and staff in constructive, effective, innovative, and sustainable ways.
Technology decisions are based on sound research and thoughtful planning. Technology requires investment in qualified staff to support the infrastructure. Technology integrates with and supports all other standards featured in this document, including collections, facilities, finance, planning, resource sharing, and services.
It is important to think of investing in technologies in the same way that a library invests in its physical structures, staff, and collections. A library that fails to sustain a dependable technology infrastructure or does not adapt to evolving technologies will find itself ill-equipped to effectively serve the community or to fulfill the standards identified in this document. Because technology is a necessary part of library operations and is a service to the public, this section is longer and more detailed than previous sections.
Making Information Readily Available to Public
- Invest in an integrated library system (ILS) or similar system to support the management and development of the library’s collection and allow the public to search the collection.
- Maintain a website under the control of the library and updated and maintained by library staff, providing access to library and community information, databases, and the online library catalog.
- Ensure accessibility to a website and technology for the disabled that is consistent with the Web Accessibility Guidelines for computers used by patrons with visual or other challenges. Also, see Section 508 Standards and ASCLA Library Services.
- Assess community technology needs annually by gathering feedback from patrons and other community members.
- Possess up-to-date technology skills and awareness of new technologies that help the library serve its mission.
- Write a technology plan compatible with achieving the library’s mission and goals.
- Use a reliable authentication or proxy system for public access to subscription materials.
- Curate links to free online resources to ensure public access to working links of high-quality information.
- Develop a social networking strategy for internal and external use, and a content strategy for online resources.
Content Creation and Digital Literacy
- Offer opportunities for the creation of digital content on public access computers by providing equipment such as photocopiers and scanners, productivity, audio/video editing, graphics, and development software, and the ability for patrons to save their work.
- Ensure that library staff is sufficiently trained in the use of the library’s technology to do their work efficiently and to assist patrons in use of the machines and programs available to them. (See the Recommended Technology Proficiencies)
- Provide regularly scheduled digital literacy training and individual assistance through classes on topics such as basic computer skills, office productivity software, Internet searching, privacy and security, social media, and multimedia.
- Support use of public technology for workforce development, entrepreneurship, eGovernment, legal purposes, educational opportunities, and health and wellness purposes.
Connectivity & Security
- Provide access to current and emerging technology tools and applications, including dedicated wired and wireless Internet connections that support simultaneous use by all computer workstations while running intensive broadband applications; maintain sufficient devices and bandwidth to accommodate user demand. (See Estimating Bandwidth.)
- Implement ongoing, adaptive, and overlapping security practices at the device, server, and network levels to ensure the system as well as data storage, transmission, and retrieval are secure. Security practices include a combination of firewalls, access control lists, intrusion prevention, regular system security updates, and commercial antivirus/anti-malware software packages.
- Provide, sustain, and refresh technology infrastructure to support library operations and services, with planning to incorporate new technologies in new or remodeled facilities, and ongoing network infrastructure assessments.
- Develop and enforce technology policies that support library governance policies, operations and services, human resources practices, etc.
- Ensure that vital data is backed up with adequate frequency, based on the amount and type of data. Backups should be stored on removable media or cloud-based storage, and tested regularly to ensure they function properly for recovery or restoration.
- Provide the opportunity for all people to participate in digital technology through BYOD (bring your own device) practices.
Future Planning / Evaluation
- Maintain flexibility in responding to ever-evolving patron technology needs, being aware that as equipment lifecycles shrink it is unwise to overinvest in any single patron technology beyond a three-year lifecycle.
- Develop a future-minded technology plan that looks forward two years, with feedback from the community about the public’s technology needs, and annual reviews.
- Ensure the plan addresses how technology integrates with and supports library operations, services, programs, collections facilities, and staff. The plan aligns with the library’s overall strategic goals and mission.
- Prepare a disaster-recovery plan associated with technology resources and infrastructure, including functions such as data archiving, recovery testing, and restoration of assets and services.
- Determine product lifecycles when purchasing new products and budget for repairs and spare parts if the library is able to support any technology beyond its warranty period.
- Provide accurate and current information to patrons regarding technology services.
- Provide, sustain, and refresh public‐use technologies as detailed in technology plans and annual budgets. This refresh may include, but is not limited to, Internet access stations, photocopiers, audiovisual/media technologies, gaming spaces, electronic classrooms, computer labs, information/learning/knowledge commons spaces, mobile devices (tablets, smartphones), etc.