Barbara Gersch of Maintain IT spoke to the group after lunch. According to Barbara, lessons can be learned from rural libraries about resources. (hearty agreement from the group.)
Maintain IT is a three year project funded by the Gates foundation, focusing on the 18 states that got the original Gates grants. The overall purpose is to help libraries continue public access computing, mainly through information sharing and a compilation of best practices through the country.
One solution will not meet all kinds of libraries; size is a good indicator for commonality. Rural libraries have challenges most urban libraries don’t face, such as a lack of IT support.
Overall purpose is to spotlight best practices. Sharing stories on website and working with WebJunction. Distilling best practices into “cookbooks.” Cookbooks will hopefully be a useful tool to train staff and volunteers, to do routine maintenance, and to help develop a technical plan.
You can participate in the project by using the cookbook and providing feedback – tell them what’s missing, what’s useful, and what’s not at all useful. The cookbooks are available on their website. Go ahead and get your own copy!