The Greenwood Public Library Constantly Adapts To Meet Its Community’s Needs, And AVC Technology Is The Only IT Provider That Can Keep Up

Company Name: Greenwood Public Library

Name & Title: Cheryl Dobbs, Executive Director & Emily Ellis, Associate Director

Location: Greenwood, IN


Industry: Public Services

Recently, the Greenwood Public Library hosted a Mo Williams-themed story time event. They had popular characters like Piggy, Elephant, and Pigeon from the author’s books make guest appearances and read to the children in the community. “It became this wonderful chaos of families, children, and community members sharing these beloved stories and getting excited about reading. They got to meet the characters, participate in games, and have fun at the library,” gushed Emily, the Associate Director of Greenwood Public Library.

Emily, who started as a teen librarian, has been working at the library for 17 years. She works closely with Cheryl, who has been at the library for 20 years and is now the Executive Director. In the last two decades, the duo has been responsible for shaping how the library serves the Greenwood community, but even before they came on board, the library had played an integral role in the community for 107 years.

When Cheryl stepped into the director role 12 years ago, things looked a lot different than they do today. “Our computers were not dependable and not standard, being hand-built as we needed them,” she said with a laugh. Eventually, the library selected a managed IT provider in the area, but because of a cyberattack scare, Cheryl decided to switch to AVC Technology in 2019.

A Near Miss

Another library in the area, which used the same IT service provider that Greenwood Public Library partnered with prior to working with AVC Technology, experienced a ransomware attack. It took three months to get them back up and running, and like any diligent leader, Cheryl wanted to ensure her organization wasn’t going to experience the same outcome.

“I called them up and asked, ‘How did that happen?’ she explained. They said it was because the servers weren’t being updated regularly, so she asked what anyone would. “Are ours being updated regularly?” When they told Cheryl that she was in the same boat as their client that had just experienced three months of downtime, she immediately decided to find a new provider.

At the Indiana Library Federation Conference, she saw AVC Technology do a presentation all about cybersecurity, and that sealed the deal. The switch wasn’t painless, but that was mostly because of where Cheryl and her team had been positioned by the previous provider. “It was a hard switch in some ways because our system wasn’t great. We didn’t realize how out of step we were,” she admitted.

More Than Books

When considering technology needs, it’s important to remember that libraries do so much more than check out books to patrons. They provide community events, access to technology, and so much more. For Cheryl and Emily, watching and listening to their community to adapt to its needs has become second nature. Ten years ago, not many people were looking for a space to record a podcast or film a video, but today, everyone needs recording studios, so the Greenwood Public Library prioritized building one in the recent remodel of their 52,000-sq.-ft. campus.

“We noticed over the last six years the need for families who are having appointments with social workers, therapy sessions, or supervised visits. We’d see families huddled together in a corner of the library for hours at a time, and when we finally figured out what was happening, we decided they needed a dedicated space that was more private and intimate,” Cheryl explained, as she was recounting the story for how the GPL Living Room came to be.

Cheryl, Emily, and the 37-person team at the Greenwood Public Library are constantly changing their approach to better serve their community. They know what it looks like to be solution-oriented and innovative, and it’s those same qualities that make the working relationship with AVC Technology so seamless.

Boots on the Ground

Emily, as part of her role, serves as the main liaison between AVC Technology and the library staff. She monitors ongoing IT challenges and helps keep a log of all the issues that are sent to the team at AVC. “They are very easy to work with,” she said of the team at AVC. “No matter who answers the phone, they don’t treat me like I’m stupid. They listen to my concerns, help me understand what’s going on, and provide a solution.”

For years, the staff and patrons at GPL dealt with public computers that would have “out of order” signs plastered on them more often than not and faulty printers that took up more space than they were worth. But since AVC came into the picture, those same issues rarely happen. The team at AVC stops by regularly to ensure that everything is working properly, connect with the library staff and the community it serves, and stay updated on how things are set up.

It might sound unnecessary to stop into the library when most IT issues can be solved remotely these days, but for Emily, having an IT provider who knows where things are in the library is an immense help. “They know the lay of the land. They’ve done some labeling for us to make things easier, so when I’m in a certain closet with switches and plugs, they know where everything is and how to direct me. That’s a huge difference from how most places operate,” she said.

A Library’s Focus Area: Literacy

At the end of the day, everything the team at GPL does is to promote literacy in their community. Community outreach events help draw people into the library who may not have been exposed otherwise, and even the GPL room plays a role in connecting children who usually don’t spend much time in public libraries to a lifelong resource center. “We have after-hours events for adults, a teen room for teens, and summer reading programs for all ages,” Emily explained. “We’ve seen local reading scores drop since 2019 in our area, and they haven’t recovered. We’re trying to do everything we can to build those up.”

The Greenwood Public Library has a big task at hand, and to be able to do it, the team needs a company like AVC Technology that they can depend on. There isn’t enough time in the day to deal with inefficiencies, bad service, or—worst case—a cyberattack that shuts them down for months on end. With AVC, they get to focus on what matters most: their community.