Winter 2010

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Library Technology Today

Sam Patton, NYSALB Board

Winter 2010 issue of Trustee

First, and in the interests of full disclosure, I have to tell readers that I spent almost 31 years working for IBM before I retired in 1990.    I worked in the hardware and software (operating systems) area, and also taught computing technology both in IBM and in colleges. I still do computer consulting work, in hardware, networking, and software.

However, I do not work for any libraries, because that could be construed (at least by me) as a possible conflict of interest. I did some volunteering in our library, working with the husband of our Director in installing our first computers.

A bit later, with a new Director in place, I and the director decided that it would be much better if we had our computer work done by someone not on the board. As she put it, "When something is wrong, I want to be able to yell at somebody, and I can't yell at the President of our Board!"

I am still interested in the newer technology, and what is happening in our libraries, and in our homes.    About a month ago, I had a chance to hear a speaker talk about "Social Networking" in not-for-profit organizations. I grew up in rural Virginia where even the telephone was a luxury, and "Social Networking" was face to face communication. Today we have many forms of communication that do not have face-to-face contact at all, whether it is just email, or instant messaging, text messaging by cell phone, or web based functions such as You-Tube, Facebook, LinkedIn, many blogs, etc.

I have stayed clear of all this, since I am not used to putting information I still consider somewhat private on a public wall for all to see, or having long 'conversations' with people whom I know only as electronic names.

However, after attending a seminar on business uses of facilities such as "LinkedIn" and "Facebook" or even "YouTube" I began to think of trying some out. I set up a Facebook account, and within two hours I heard from a college classmate of mine from more than 55 years ago, and a cousin in Florida!

I looked up some areas on the internet, and found one very interesting site. Here is the web address: http://www.webjunc- tools/articles/content/451181

It is a good site for discovering what can be done for those people who are now "beginning to expect the opportunity to interact online with their bank, retailer, and (why not?) their library." (Quoted directly from the site.)

I suspect that librarians today are already used to a lot of this. I remember visiting the Syracuse School of Library Science some years ago, at one of our Trustee Institutes, and being very impressed by how much computing technology was included in their curriculum.    Perhaps we as Trustees should look more at what we can do to keep in better touch with our patron community.

One source is a book titled "Cause Wired," by Tom Watson, published by John Wiley & Sons in 2009. Mr.Watson spoke at the seminar I mentioned above. Two chapter headings are "Friending for Good:The Facebook Philanthropists" and "Portfolios for Change:Peer-to-Peer Philanthropy."

If you want to try a more targeted group, visit and then follow their procedure to create your own group. I think some advertising may come along, but that will be your choice.

If you try any of these, I would like to hear from you, whether you are pleased, frustrated, disappointed, or not interested at all. My email is and I'd like to print some of your experiences in the next issue of the TRUSTEE.    And in the spirit of two-way commuication, please also write if you have comments or questions about library technology, or a topic to suggest for a future column.

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