Jefferson County Public Library, established in 1818, is the oldest public library in Indiana. Today, the library serves approximately 33,000 people. In addition to lending books and other items such as video games, the library offers outreach deliveries, genealogy research, craft programs, author talks, computer assistance, faxing and notary services, and more.
“A lot of what we do is highly based on technology,” said Judi Terpening, library director. “For example, we have public access computers that are free for the public to use. Many times, our patrons visit the library because we’re in a rural area, and they don’t have internet access at home. More and more people bring their own devices, so we also offer Wi-Fi services.”
Quite a few people need assistance when using computers, which is why staff started offering one-on-one assistance. Many younger people struggle to use a computer because they are so used to working on their phones. The dedicated staff helps patrons with everything from printing to job applications. Local agencies often send people to the library for help completing forms, setting up email addresses, filing for unemployment and social services, etc.
Having the public-use model puts the Library in a unique situation when it comes to IT. Many IT organizations can handle businesses, but a public library is different because there are so many different people using devices. This adds a whole other layer of complexity. When Terpening became director, she was concerned about security issues. “Our devices were mismatched and inadequate,” she said. Once she reached a point where she could understand some of the problems, she realized it was time to outsource.
“When we were looking for an IT company, we interviewed several of them. Many had no idea how to work with a public library system. AVC did,” Terpening remarked. “In fact, often AVC attends library training webinars. It’s nice to know AVC is keeping up with changes in the library field as well as technology needs.”
Especially for a library, having an IT team as well-versed as AVC adds a level of integrity and experience.
“We know we can trust them,” Terpening says. “They listen to our goals and needs. Each year we sit down and talk about our big dreams for the library. AVC makes it happen.”
One nice and thoughtful thing AVC does is schedule updates during the night which minimizes downtime during the day. This ensures continuity in services. If there is an issue, staff who submit a helpdesk ticket receive a quick response.
Here’s Terpening’s advice to other organizations looking for IT support: “It’s really hard to hand off your IT. It’s like handing off your banking. You need trust. AVC is trustworthy, they have integrity, and they follow through. They’re also responsive. AVC listens to your concerns and helps you tailor a program that fits your budget and your goals.”