dead technologies that don’t yet live in Vermont

Michael also mentioned a talk that Jenny gave at CiL during the Dead and Emerging Technologies section. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, yes if your patrons are clamoring for it and your library can support it, things like wireless, RSSfeeds and roving reference librarians are must-haves. On the other hand, I look at our library with our 15 public access terminals that we can just barely maintain, our lack of any technology plan and the levels of connectivity of our patrons generally and I wonder how we get from here to there? And how much our desire for the shiny parts of these technologies led us into a system that we can’t handle, and that leads us to give bad service to patrons? And I wonder how much of this change should be foisted on patrons and how much of it should be patron-driven or at least patron-focused? I have no good answers, and I’m happy that people are really pushing the envelope of using the technology to bring the best parts of libraries to the public. On the other hand, I’m acutely aware that small and rural libraries have to make very tough choices when they decide how to spend their limited money — Vermont libraries get next to no state funding for the public library system — and I’d like to see more of a focus on appropriate technologies rather than new-technologies-at-any-cost-in-any-situation boosterism. I guess that’s my job.