Teen Tech Week is a great time to start thinking about how to incorporate technology into your library services the rest of the year. Budgets are tight in libraries all over the country but technology keeps humming along, moving faster than we can keep up with monetarily. Teens specifically have an expectation that we should be keeping up. They aren’t wrong. So how do you advocate for enough technology funding to keep up with technology?
We shouldn’t stop proposing new ideas for service just because we don’t have a lot of money. It just means that we have to be selective with what projects we propose and very creative with funding sources. We also need to put as much thought as possible into the proposal before we go to management with it.
Here are some things to think about before proposing your project.
Have a detailed plan for what the project will cost. Make sure you’ve found the absolute cheapest way to do the project. Can you find grant funding to offset the cost? Is there a local business that provides the service that might be willing to cut the library a break? You can find information on grants and awards from YALSA at http://www.ala.org/ala/mgrps/divs/yalsa/awardsandgrants/yalsaawardsgrants.cfm.
What is your library’s mission, and how does the new technology advance it? It’s important to connect new technology projects with what your library currently does. Sure it would be great fun to buy a bunch of iPads, but to actually make it happen you need to be able to articulate why you want to buy a bunch of iPads. Connect it with your library’s mission and current programming. Point out multiple uses for the same device. If the technology will make someone’s job easier and faster to do, point that out as well.
Thinking about these issues before you go to your manager with an idea can save you a lot of time and hassle trying to get things done.