I’m learning that being realistic about technology goals is a good thing.

When thinking about implementing new technologies it can be hard to focus on what work will be involved with achieving goals. Often, this is how things go:

1. Realize need, make initial plan for new technology
2. Research and buy new technology
3. ???
4. Reap the benefits!

It is easy to be pie-in-the-sky about starting new projects but this attitude isn’t particularly useful. Even if the technology being planned is supposed to make the lives of staff and patrons easier, there still must be educational efforts involved. Making things easier, or better, still takes work because the technology will alter behavior.

The following is, loosely, how I see step three above playing out:

-Inform staff of upcoming changes
-Write policy for new technology
-Prepare materials (signs, handouts, page on website) to educate patrons – these can also be good for some staff members too
-Plan instructional classes (for staff and patrons) if appropriate
-Theoretical training for staff
-Go live with technology
-Practical (live) training for staff

Perhaps another step should be added after four. The library should welcome feedback from staff and patrons, and evaluate their comments. If the planners don’t happen to be working the front line, then they will not have the same type of knowledge as the people more often using the technology. A goal of any manager should be to not make the lives of people miserable through because of their descisions. Not only would it be a not nice thing to do, but it would also be detrimental to the library.

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