Library Boards & Technology

I’ve been asked to give the closing keynote for the 2013 Iowa Small Libraries Online Conference. My topic is on the importance for public library board members and trustees to have a minimal technological competence. Basically the how and the way of this concept.

I’m already got a bunch of ideas, some of which have been supplied by the conference organizers (below), but I’m looking to crowd-source some more ideas, and more importantly stories, from my public library peeps.

So, what stories do you have involving library boards and technologies. I’ll happily give you and your library credit for the story, or not, as my be the preferred choice. Please feel free to also pass this around to other librarians. The more real life stories I can include the better I believe the talk will be.

Feel free to submit stories through the comments or via the contact link left.


The theme for ISLOC 2013 is “Lifelong Literacies @ Your Library.”  Covering several “literacies” like early childhood, family literacy, digital, political, financial, etc.  We see the evening session connecting to the digital literacy angle.  The gist of what we’d like—and the evening session is targeted for boards—could include:

  • The importance of trustees being competent users of technology themselves, so that they can be better advocates for the library’s technology needs
  • If not “power users,” trustees should have a modest level of understanding and use of Web apps
  • Boards cannot afford to be dismissive of technology, they have to plan for and budget for computer replacement, software upgrades, high speed, eBook access, social networking, etc
  • Touch on Iowa’s public library standards that connect to boards and technology
  • Touch on WebJunction competencies that connect to boards and technology
  • Any real-life anecdotes/photos of good boards in action & Engaging in technology, using it themselves. 

One Reply to “Library Boards & Technology”

  1. When discussing new technology initiatives with the Craighead County Jonesboro Public Library board, I like to put presentations together to show them what things will look like as well as tell the real world story of the impact the technology will have. When we began our website redesign, I showed images of what the site would look like and told them how we were extending the reach of the library beyond the walls of the library and into the homes of our patrons. I then called it “Tearing down the walls of the library,” because it was something they could remember and “sell” to others when discussing it. When it came time to discuss a mobile site, I used a similar approach, this time telling the story of patrons having the opportunity to access the library even while standing in a bookstore considering a purchase. Again, in order for the concept to be easily understood, I called it “Your library, everywhere you are.” The idea is to make the concepts tangible and stay away from jargon they don’t understand, while also respecting their intelligence and not talking down to them.

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