Library board review new technology plan

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Members sign new budget

By TRISTA LUTGRING, Feature Writer

TELL CITY – Tell City-Perry County Library board members were given a packet at their Oct. 7 meeting outlining the technology goals library director Larry Oathout said he hoped would be reached in the coming years.

Every three years, the staff is required to put together a plan of where the library would like to progress with technology, Oathout explained. Some of the goals outlined are already in progress at the library. The very first goal he said they would like to achieve is possibly installing a fiber optic system for Internet usage, which would help meet the library’s high Internet-usage needs.

The library currently uses T-1 lines, according to staff member Debbie Seibert, and Internet usage is so high, the third line that was installed just this summer is already spiking on bandwidth usage.

“The nice thing about fiber optics … we can start out high and then crank it up if we need more bandwidth, without installing another line,” she said. “Of course, it gets more expensive.”

The need is there for the higher bandwidth, Seibert continued, but it is a matter of what the library can afford. Currently, the library receives a discount on the T-1 lines and whatever is left over is picked up by the state library. In the end, the fiber-optic system would cost around $1,000 more than the T-1 lines. Oathout and Seibert said the library would have to wait and see if the state library would pick up the remaining balance after a discount. With funding and budgets up in the air, there was no idea what the state would pick up, Seibert pointed out.

Another important point was training staff on how to handle routine computer or software updates. The staff have asked for training on technology, but Oathout said the problem has been finding  time to do it when the entire staff can participate.

“So we’re going to be looking into ways to deliver (training) and not affect operations,” he explained.

He also noted new staff will more than likely have to have “some sort of technology competencies” before they would even be eligible for hire. For the people who currently work at the library, Oathout said something would be established so they could work their way up to being knowledgeable with the technology.

“We’ve got some samples from other libraries around the state … different tiered competencies depending on their position. So we will make a decision on that in this coming year,” he said.         

Other business

Members also signed the 2011 budget, which was approved at a nonbinding review of the county council. The next step for the budget is for Oathout to turn in the signed copy to the county treasurer.

During his regular report, Oathout told members the library had received a $1,000 check from the proceeds of a land sale in Tell City by John Sweeney. Sweeney had wished to donate the land to the library, but attorney Chris Goffinet suggested the land be sold and the money from the purchase be donated to the library. The property was sold to the adjourning landowner.

Also, because of a growing demand, Oathout said the library had given the young-adult and adult-graphic novels a separate section. The move allowed for more space for the young-adult-fiction collection, Oathout said.

It was also a huge month for the bookmobile, he said. Circulation of the young-adult books hit a record high due to visits to the high school, which he believes are working out very well. The staff are looking through the donations of books to get more items to the bookmobile.

The board’s next meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 3.