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Helpful Information for Meeting Minimum Public Library Standards

Technology to Meet Community Needs

Each…. provides a circulation system that facilitates access to the local library collection and other library catalogs; and provides equipment, technology, and internet connectivity to address community needs and facilitate access to information.

Twenty-first century libraries should be automated and connected to facilitate improved service and resource sharing.  As community anchor institutions, local libraries are often the only source of free, high-speed internet access in the community.  Libraries should plan to increase broadband speeds and technology infrastructure regularly to keep pace with the rapid life cycles of modern computers and telecommunications equipment.  All library facilities should provide high-speed wireless access to the internet so library users may use their own devices.

What Is a Circulation System?

A circulation system is also called an integrated library system (ILS).  An ILS uses software that facilitates resource sharing by the tracking of items owned by a library, as well as library users’ borrowing, returning and requesting activities.

Helpful Tip: The library system plays a crucial role in providing system-wide ILS technology, support, and training for local library staff.  Contact the library system with all ILS questions or issues.

What Are the Benefits of an Integrated Library System (ILS)?

Benefits to Library Users:

  • Library users can view library holdings and item availability using an online catalog that can be accessed during and after library hours and via a mobile device.
  • Library users can renew items online at their convenience.
  • Library users can place holds on items not available at their home library or that are currently in use.
  • The automated system can provide library users with information about a particular item as well as provide other suggestions depending on the topic of search. 

Benefits to Library Staff:

  • The ILS can generate statistics and reports.
  • The library can track the status of items easily. The automated system prints and emails overdue notices.
  • The automated system facilitates collection development, weeding of unwanted materials and assists with inventory.
  • Assists with collecting fines and lost books funds.

What Is Meant By Equipment and Technology and Internet Connectivity

Equipment and technology refer to computers, laptops, printers, scanners or other devices that library users can use at the library to access information online or use to meet their particular education, business or personal needs. Internet connectivity refers to the library’s broadband internet and Wi-Fi connections.  Libraries should strive to provide connectivity speeds of at least 100Mbps where available.

What Does This Mean to the Library?

The ability to provide technology to the community has an impact on the library budget. Developing a technology plan is recommended in order to better estimate the annual expenses and growth projections based on local needs. This plan should include equipment replacement and broadband connectivity costs.

Helpful Tip Find more information about developing a Technology Plan at the Mid-Hudson Library System website.

Best Practices

In addition to the technology plan, it is recommended that every library keep and maintain the following technology documents (For additional information and sample documents see “Tech Documentation” at the Mid-Hudson Library System Website.)

  • IT Reference Sheet: a basic sheet of contact information.
  • Technology Task List: a list of tech tasks to be performed.
  • Inventory: a list of all computers, network equipment, printers, servers, routers, wireless access points, etc.
  • Network Diagram: a simple diagram mapping out the connections between items on the network.
  • Passwords: a list of library accounts and passwords.  This should include Username, password, and any associated email addresses and websites.
  • Software License Keys: a list of all software license keys.  This should include software name, license key, the quantity of licenses, etc.
  • Vendor and Support Contract information: a list of all vendors and contractors used.  This should include company name, account manager or point of contact, phone numbers, email and websites.