The NB Technology Team last met on September 22.
First we had some updates. The search committee for the Information Technology Librarian position has identified 2 candidates to interview and the postition was reposted on various listservs stating that the position was still open. Jia reported on the Information Services Steering Group and that originally the Information Services Group wanted to have a tech support team of their own. Because of overlap with our group and with the PCWG, instead of another team, Jia will be representing tech support issues on the Information Services Steering Group. Nancy provided an update on D21 (Douglass Library for the 21st century) and on the August meeting at Douglass that launched the concept.
The remainder of the meeting was devoted to onsite technical support in the NB libraries -- the issue we found to be the most critical last year and our number 1 priority this year. Support is needed at the desktop and applications software level. An example of tech support is the need for staff to help load Real Time Audio and Quicktime and other plug-ins for Netscape. Computing support is critical as we increase services to remote users which increases complexity as well as demand. Better communication and coordination is needed between high level staff.
How do we get the onsite tech support we need? Scott noted that LSM has hired a computer science student for 9 hours a week at $7.50/hour to do CD-ROM troubleshooting and other PC problems such as printer jams. It was noted that we may just have to live with a process by which we bring people in, train them, and that they might leave for better positions 6-9 months later. Ann noted that rather than keeping a position open for the perfect candidate, it is important that we hire fast and use the 90 probation period to weed out those that are not working out. Another suggestion was to develop a relationship with computer science and MIS departments at Rutgers in order to identify possible voucher hires to help with onsite support and manage the voucher budget in a more sophisticated way. It seems that a job fair for the libraries is being considered for the Spring which may be another way to attract needed technical staff.
Given the fact that we are not going to get new staff and that we need to use existing staff effectively, it was suggested that for our next meeting we invite Farideh and Mary as they have the bulk of NB staff reporting to them and Jackie from the Information Services Group as their plans also require the use of staff in new ways. As for tech support, there is already staff in some of the library buildings that are the primary persons for tech support but in others this support is being provided by librarians -- something which needs to change. Depending on Mary, Farideh, and Jackie's schedule, we plan to meet next at one of the 3 following times: Friday, October 23 at 2PM, Thursday, October 29 at 2PM or Friday, October 30 at 2PM.