As part of the Ministry-funded Digital Initiatives Projects to improve public library connectivity, the BC Libraries Cooperative is releasing two guides today to help libraries in their planning processes.
The first is a new planning guide to Lendable Connectivity projects. Increasingly we are seeing libraries expand their efforts to enable public internet access within their branches by lending out internet hotspots, tablets and phones for use outside of the branch. This report looks at the different methods to lend connectivity outside of the branch, poses some questions and steps to follow in planning for this kind of project, and finally details a number of the existing projects across North America that have attempted to do this work, examining both conditions for their success and sometimes failure.
The full lendable connectivity guide is now available at https://digiprojects.libraries.coop/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/Lending-Connectivity-Tools-guide-final-Nov2020.pdf
The second guide is a more general introduction to library branch networking. The goal of this guide is to give a basic overview of the different technologies that go into networking a typical small library branch. We the hope this guide may assist libraries in planning for and upgrading their networks, and in accessing funds via the current Strategic Network Hardware Fund. While questions will likely remain for libraries on what to purchase even after going through this guide, our hope is that it can help explain some of the basics and offer some suggestions of hardware brands we find to be both affordable and reliable in library settings. We also encourage libraries to contact the Co-op’s Connectivity Consultant to help with identifying network hardware improvements as well as external connectivity planning.
The full networking guide is available at https://wiki.libraries.coop/doku.php?id=public:network-tech-guide:start