A Timely Issue of Library Technology Reports

By Daniel A. Freeman |

We are extremely excited about the January Issue of Library Technology Reports, “Funding and Budgeting for Library Technology in Today's Economy” by Larra Clark and Denise Davis. With the current economic crisis, librarians are concerned about having the funds to keep up with the rapidly evolving technology needed to serve the needs of twenty-first century patrons. ALA TechSource is responding with an issue that offers not only a detailed look at the library funding landscape, but also expert-authored, practical guidelines for stretching your budget as far as it can go.

This report examines the current state of library technology funding, looking at common problems and concerns among librarians throughout the United States who make technological decisions for their facilities, and also provides a detailed analysis of funding sources and patterns in public libraries by size and population served. The report also looks at qualitative data from a series of visits to public libraries around the country where the authors interviewed staff to get a more detailed look at how librarians deal with technology funding issues.

The report also includes a number of chapters written by expert contributors who offer broadly applicable guidelines for technology planning, budgeting and saving money. Our contributors include ALA TechSource's own Jason Griffey, Tim Vollmer from ALA's Office for Information Technology Policy, consultant and former Colorado State Librarian Nancy Bolt and John Carlo Bertot from the University of Maryland's Center for Library Innovation--detail how through planning, budgeting and some clever tricks to expand the life of your hardware, you can stretch your budget further than you ever imagined.

This issue grew out of ALA's Libraries Connect Communities Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study. The studies, co-authored by Denise Davis and edited by Larra Clark, analyzed library technology funding with an unprecedented level of detail. We at ALA TechSource are thrilled that Larra and Denise chose to work with us in expanding the literature on this important topic.

Larra Clark is the project manager for the ALA Office for Research & Statistics. She joined the office in late January 2007 after working more than six years in the ALA Public Information Office as the manager of media relations.  Ms. Clark is the editor and a contributing author for Libraries Connect Communities: Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study. She completed her master’s in library science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in December 2006. Previously, she worked in nonprofit public affairs, media relations and print journalism in Chicago and Arizona for more than 10 years.

Denise Davis is the Director, Office for Research & Statistics at ALA. In this position she provides leadership and expert advice to ALA staff members and the public on all matters related to research and statistics about libraries and librarians; represents the Association to federal agencies on these issues; and initiates projects needed to expand the knowledge base of the field through research and the collection of useful statistics.  Denise also oversees sponsored grants and contracts, cooperates with agencies that collect statistics (e.g. National Center for Education Statistics and the Association of Research Libraries), provides support to several membership units and committees, conducts research for ALA and monitors research related to libraries and librarians.