A guide to successful community technology projects

For Immediate Release
Wed, 03/27/2019


Rob Christopher

Marketing Coordinator

ALA Publishing

American Library Association



CHICAGO — As a newly minted librarian, Margaret Heller volunteered at a grassroots independent library founded to bring together the work of disparate art communities of Chicago. Since then she has participated in many library technology communities with stints on boards, working groups, conference planning committees, and social media-based outreach. Grounded in her research of dozens of community tech projects, Heller’s new guide “Community Technology Projects: Making Them Work,” published by ALA Editions, explores how they work, how to get involved, and how to make them better. Library technology managers, grantmakers, scholars, and project managers will all benefit from Heller’s incisive discussion of such topics as:

  • a historical overview, including the humble beginnings of OCLC and early library computerized cataloging projects, that offers lessons for today;
  • how to find community needs that match your motivation;
  • using personas to learn about community members;
  • choosing a name and legal structure for a new community;
  • five in-depth case studies, including Project Bamboo, Hathi Trust, and the Digital Public Library of America;
  • techniques for project management, documentation, and discussion;
  • forging a path from small, grant-funded projects to a sustained collective good;
  • reconciling hacker ideology and geek culture with inclusive communities;
  • proven methods for supporting tasks and emotions in library tech communities; and
  • successes and challenges of vendor user groups.

Heller is Digital Services Librarian at Loyola University Chicago. She has been active in library technology communities, serving on numerous planning committees and the LITA Board of Directors. She is the author of many articles and blog posts about topics including open access, web development, digital collections and services, and inclusion issues in library technology.

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