Illinois: “Small-Town Libraries Struggling to Keep Up with Technology”
Students without computers at home need software to finish up school projects. Grandparents who have never turned on a computer want help tracking down online photos of their out-of-town grandbabies.
Some libraries struggle to keep up. There isn’t funding for a new wave of computers every year. For Laura Carter, director of Auburn Public Library, there isn’t even money to update them every decade. Some of the computers were purchased in 2002, the same year that the library was built.
“We truly need to have new computers all the time,” Carter said. “We have really good service, but the computers are just old.”
Bennett Bess, director of Pawnee Public Library, operates a staff of about a half-dozen part-time employees to help keep the library’s cost down. No one on staff, including Bess, works enough hours to earn benefits. While this has allowed him to, at times, dedicate up to 25 percent of his budget to books, it doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for computer aid.
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.