AzLA Technology Forum – Safford, AZ 3/14/08

This year the annual AzLA Regional Forum was held held at the Safford City Library. Cathy Coffman and Stephanie Cleland of Peoria Public Library attended the forum.

There were 3 very informative presentations. Also, participants were given tours of the Safford Public Library and the Freeport-McMoran Analytical Services Center.

First Presenation: Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP), Derek Kreuger, Safford IT

VOIP removes digital switching, so you don’t get “all circuits busy.” New switches prioritize packets with voice packets getting higher priority than data. There is less latency this way. Don’t try and use a fax over VOIP, it doens’t work well at all. Advantage to VOIP is that everything is on the same network. If you use standard phone, or “Bell system” you’re on two different networks. VOIP is cheaper in the long run than traditional Bell systems. With Bell Systems you need more staff and more equipment. Downside to VOIP is that it’s newer and still a little buggy. Bell systems are everywhere and have had more time to work out bugs.

VOIP providers: *Asterisk, Qwest, Vonage, Skype, CableOne, Microsoft

Safford currently has two PBX’s on the VOIP system, one is a backup. Used to have 7 switches on the old Bell system. VOIP also works well with system initiated protocol (SIP). Mac has recently opened up a development package on the iPhone. Now the iPhone can be used with Skype or other VOIP providers instead of paying for AT & T.

Second Presenation: Emerging Technology, Lisa Waite & Jen Maney, Pima County Public Library (PCPL)

First section presented by Lisa Waite. Lots of Harry Potter fansites on the internet. They’re a book focused web presence mostly run by volunteers. The “Leaky Cauldron” (www.the-leakycauldron.net) is one of the biggest, with 250 volunteer contributors around the world. The web site is dynamic, colorful and has all kinds of information and web 2.0 stuff available. They have a podcast page that you can subscribe to through multiple software products or stream and is often on the iTunes Top 10 podcasts. You can get people involved in online book communities, you just have to know how to do it.

Orange County Public Library currently has podcasts online and teach people how to create their own and subscribe to other podcasts (http://www.ocls.info/Programs/podcastAndRSS.asp?bhcp=1).

Denver Public Library also has podcasts of their storytimes (http://podcast.denverlibrary.org/).

Libraries can do cool technology stuff like podcasts.

Second section presented by Jen Haney. Basically, try stuff! If you see something that might be useful at your library, try it out. Oftentimes, people won’t use it and it will go away. However, other times something will be very successful. The only way to know which is which is to try products and software out. Form a Technology Committee that looks into this stuff. Make sure this committee has tech geeks and technophobes. This is the best way to find out what’s available and how easy it is to use for everyone, not just the geeks. Make sure that when you promote new services you have definitions of what they are. Don’t assume everyone knows what you’re talking about. You also can’t try out everything. There just isn’t time or resources. Be selective and try out what you think your public would actually like or you can actually use. To generate interest and investment with staff, have them try out services for fun.

Cool things that you can try (that have been tried at PCPL):

Use Flickr for programming information

Create a historic photo archive in Flickr asking the public for photos

Use LibraryThing for Teen Graphic Novel page for Teen Group

Publicize events using an RSS feed directly into the Local Tab of LibraryThing

Use LibraryThing to create a staff picks page, use the data from BookLetters to create

Promote web presence with a footer on library web site (ie – “Check us out on Flickr, Blogger etc.)

Third Presentation: Building and Rennovating Libraries, Barbara Blackburn (Duncan), Wendy Kochheiser (Show Low), Judith Pepple (Apache County Library District)

Be aware of proper planning and scheduling of every little detail. Make sure that your carpet is set to arrive before your shelves! Allow for practical public input whenever possible. If you can, hire a financial company to help approve the budget and bills from construction. Also try to do a “DesignBuild” plan. This legally puts the responsibility of keeping the architecture in at budget in the hands of the contractor. Also, don’t plan a grand opening until you’ve been open a month or so to get all of the kinks out. Don’t just assume anything. They gave participants a handout with addtional resources.

It was definately worth the drive. We learned a lot and met nice people. We encourge everyone to go next year.

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~ by Steph on April 4, 2008.

2 Responses to “AzLA Technology Forum – Safford, AZ 3/14/08”

  1. Thank you for sharing this. Great report. I really like Jen’s presentations. I also know they have something called a break box for testing new things. It is a great concept to have something you are not afraid to break so that you can try something new.

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