We’ve all seen how the stereotypical “IT guy” is portrayed in the movies: Usually, it’s a bespectacled, pocket protector-wearing introvert who is good at technology but hopeless at understanding humans. But members of Johnson County Library’s IT (Information Technology) Team are very good at understanding humans, and specifically, how patrons use the Library’s technology. Their mission is to make it as user-friendly as it can be.
Point to anything in a Library that has a screen or connects with the network or a database, and the IT Team is responsible for the patrons’ experience with it.
In every stage of a project – working with vendors, evaluating technology, testing, acquisition and staff training – the goal is always to help patrons access the Library’s resources. When selecting technology, the team asks a lot of questions: Can this technology be more intuitive? Easier to understand? Placed in a more convenient location? What value will this provide to patrons?
The team has many projects going at any given time, most recently:
- Scheduled replacement of public computers
- Creating new process for updating and maintaining software on public computers
- Working on a back-end upgrade of the public website
- Upgrading interlibrary loan software which allows patrons to request materials from libraries throughout the country
One recent project was to make the catalog-only screens more ADA-accessible. The team noticed some of the screens weren’t at accessible height and that keyboards and mice were less user-friendly than modern touchscreens. Several models of touchscreens were tested for durability and responsiveness and ultimately the larger screens were chosen. As a finishing touch, the team made the catalog-only setups more aesthetically pleasing. Now, you’re not just seeing a computer on a desk – it’s more like a kiosk. Patrons will notice that the new catalog kiosks are more visible and easier to use to look up a book or author quickly.
If you see someone working on technology at one of the Johnson County Library branches, it’s most likely a member of the IT team. Be sure to give them a wave or tell them thank you because they are making technology faster and easier to use.