Read On! Chicago Revisited

I got to go to Chicago a few weeks ago to attend the Participatory Design Workshop for the Measuring Library Broadband Networks study (which is to say, we had a meeting to help the researchers focus and design their study so the results will be the most useful to libraries across the nation). The participants represented 10 libraries of varying size from across the nation – even staff from a library in Alaska serving 150 people – as well as experts in the fields of both library science and information technology. There were about 30 people in all.

The entire experience was a rich and worthwhile one. My mother and I got to experience the amazing culture of Chicago’s museums, stand in awe of the size of Lake Michigan, and I got to share Pryor with a group of pretty impressive library-folk.

Some of the participants from larger library systems were surprised at how many hats your library staff wears. I am the Director by title, but I am also the library’s primary IT person. They were even more entertained when I explained that if there’s an IT problem I struggle with, I call one of our local police officers for backup.

To give you an idea of scale, your Pryor Library has a total of 34 computers in our single building. The Chicago Public Library has 3,500 computers in their 80+ branches. They have a veritable army for IT problems. We were all impressed by the unique experiences each library has.

One of the ways this study will benefit libraries across the U.S. is to ensure our internet providers are providing what your tax dollars pay for and ensure we’re using our budgets effectively. More immediately, learning about the experiences of other libraries and being able to call these 29 people colleagues and friends will help your Pryor Library grow in new and exciting ways. I can’t wait to start.