Welcome to The Library IT Crowd – a new column brought to you by the Ontario Library and Information Technology Association (OLITA). We want to showcase some of the great librarians and library workers who are currently working with technology, get to know them, and share their experiences! We hope we are able to inspire you, and shed some light onto what goes on behind the scenes with library tech workers!
Your name: Jessica Veldman
Your title: Information Services Librarian
Where do you work: Wellington County Library
Tell me a little bit about your role. What do you do at your library?
Most of my job focuses on technology in our branches, and I do a little bit of everything. I help to maintain our website, our ILS, the 3D printers and other Maker Space technologies, manage our eBook collection through OverDrive, etc. We have dedicated IT staff for the County, and often I serve as a go-between for them and our branches and outside vendors. I also work on staff training, and work with our branch staff to develop digital literacy programmes for our patrons.
Tell me a bit about your background. What made you interested in libraries? In technology?
I came to libraries in the way that our patrons assume everyone does; I really liked books and reading. Of course the job actually has very little to do with that, but it’s the reason I first started to investigate education requirements for library work. If you had asked me 5 years ago if I would be working with technology to this extent, I likely would have said no. I’ve learned a lot while doing this job and continue to learn as I go to keep up with it all.
What upcoming projects do you have on the horizon?
Earlier this year, we received the Ontario Libraries Capacity Fund Research and Innovation grant for our Rural Internet Hotspot Lending Programme. It’s a 2 year project, and we just launched in March with 70 hotspots, 70 iPads, and we’ve committed to offering more digital literacy programming to our patrons, so that’s my biggest job right now. We’ve had such a positive response already, which is really motivating.
How do you keep up with library technology changes and trends?
It’s hard! I honestly get so much help from the staff here at all levels. People will send me links to news articles, YouTube videos, etc., that they’ve heard about and wanted to pass on, which is really helpful. I also use some of my personal social media accounts, as well as professional publications and websites.
If you could go back in time five years, what would you tell yourself that you have learned in your current position?
There were a lot of times over the last 5 years when opportunities were presented to me that were terrifying. I was fresh out of school and wasn’t entirely sure I knew what I was doing. I made some mistakes along the way, but I said yes to everything that was offered. If I could go back, it would be to tell myself that it’s okay to say yes, that it’s worth the risk, and that this profession is all about continuous learning, so stop worrying so much!
Do you feel as though your library services are valued by your community?
We are so fortunate in Wellington County to have an overwhelmingly supportive community and County Council. They’ve invested so much in libraries and continue to support us as we grow, which really allows us to better serve our patrons. Families come in and participate in programmes, check out a new technology, and are amazed at all that we’re able to do. It’s incredibly rewarding.
Sarah Macintyre has been working in libraries for over 5 years, and has been at St. Thomas Public Library for half that time. In her position, Systems and Support Services Librarian, she has overseen many new digital initiatives, including the launch of the Creators’ Community services. She can be reached at smacintyre [at] stthomaspubliclibrary.ca.