Grand County libraries: Thinking outside the book
May 14, 2009
Q. Congratulations on your recent Masters of Science in Information Technology. Did you participate in a long-distance learning program?
A. I chose Capella University’s online education, so I could continue to work fulltime for the library and go to school from my home office. It offered a rigorous, project-based online education that supported my educational goals and permitted me to work fulltime for the library district. Group projects nearly always required the use of collaborative technologies such as Web meetings and shared workspaces.
Q. Do you Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, text message? What about a Blog?
A. I have tried quite a number of Web 2.0 technologies over the past few years, but I am not fanatical about any single one. When traveling, I usually blog about my vacation and Facebook is entertaining and enjoyable. Admittedly, I am an RSS feed enthusiast when it comes to keeping abreast of technology news, and have you seen the amusing library cheer on YouTube? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jis3P6HFZ-M
Q. How will technology in libraries serve the Millennial generation, which is already so technology oriented?
A. The expectations of the Millennial patrons drives the library to stay current with technology trends and continue to reinvent the library. Generally speaking, this generation tends to value knowledge, likes multimedia over reading, and likes their technology to be mobile and available anytime. Where libraries excel for these patrons is with the organization of knowledge since the Web is semi-disorganized. The library’s digital collection will likely be of interest to these patrons.
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Q. One day you can be in Kremmling and another in Grand Lake or Fraser. Do you enjoy traveling around Grand County?
A. I view this as one of the top benefits of my job with the library district. Each library and its users offer unique technology needs and challenges and add variety to my week – not to mention splendid scenery.
Q. What are some of the rewards of working in technology in a rural environment?
A. Undoubtedly, the people are the biggest reward for me. I work with devoted and knowledgeable coworkers, who have significant technology skills themselves. With six locations including the office, I find that GCLD’s technology needs challenge me and occasionally overwhelm me. Best of all, I have about 30 other library staff throughout the district helping me do my job as well as the consortium staff in Grand Junction.
Q. Around the library district you’re known to be such an easy-going person and work with such a diverse group of people. What are some of your tips and tricks when talking with people that have such a wide spectrum of technology knowledge?
A. Engaging in conversations with others about technology often spurs me to acquire new knowledge and improves my understanding of the end user’s needs. I enjoy the challenge of shifting communication gears throughout the day and believe I benefit from these diverse conversations. As for communication tips, I center my focus on the other person and try to be helpful.
Q. Since you’re the library district’s technology guru, who do you refer to when stumped or have a question? I am often confounded by technology and usually my preliminary research starts with a quick Google or Wikipedia search to get background information. I maintain an annual subscription to experts-exchange.com and often turn to the Marmot library consortium staff and local service providers for advice. If I’m learning new technology, I head to the library Web site and request books and use the online resources.
Q. How do you blow off steam?
A. One of my favorite pleasures in life is arriving home and watching Lucy the Labradoodle perform the “Doodle twist” to greet me.