Friday, May 10, 2013

Computer Changes...

Patrons have commented on the layout of computers in the Lebanon Library, as well as how several of the computers have disappeared. Russell County Public Library has begun preparing for upgrades to our technology. Our libraries don't have the staff, or money to pay consultants, to stay on the cutting edge. In fact, we are often well behind that edge. In our case, our systems are still using Windows XP operating system, which was released in 2001. We stayed with XP because it was reliable and robust; it managed our environment well and we had the knowledge to manage our environment using it.

This summer we will upgrade our computer operating system software. We haven't upgraded until now in part because we didn't have the resources (read that as "staff or money") to maintain TWO operating systems. We had to upgrade them all at once. And that's what we will do this summer. So we have withdrawn any computer that doesn't have enough memory to be upgraded. The withdrawn computers were often so slow that they were useless anyway.

In addition to the operating system software, we will also replace a server in Lebanon. Our server was "fried" when a transformer behind the library blew in November 2012. Some of you may remember that it took several weeks to get our computers back on line. That was how long it took to get the server back to acting like a computer again! We've been advised that we should replace it because it will not survive another catastrophe. So everything needs to be upgraded and changed at once.

Honaker is in a little better shape as their server was replaced in 2011, and they received new computers when the new building opened. But their system software must also be upgraded so that all the computers are using the same operating system software.

Once the server is replaced and the system software is upgraded, we will have to make sure that all the patron and staff computers will communicate with each other. THEN we make sure all the other "computing devices," like the scanners and printers will communicate with the computers.

Staff have been reorganizing online files and saving and backing up data. Staff will also need to be trained on how the software works not only for their daily work but also to assist our patrons. The money we have available for the computer upgrade is not money that can be spent on staffing, and we have waited long enough that we MUST upgrade or risk having networks and systems that are not supported in the event of a crisis like the one in November.

You can understand that we are considering closing for a couple of days in order to minimize confusion. But that will be a few months down the road, after the new fiscal year begins. Watch for more adjustments as we prepare for our upgrade into the 21st century. We know these changes will be trying and inconvenient for a time and we appreciate your understanding and patience.

No comments: