Case Study of a Community Partnership: State Library of Kansas
Organization: State Library of Kansas
Contact: Cindi Hickey
WebJunction Kansas is a service of the State Library of Kansas.
Our Mission Statement: The State Library of Kansas provides information services for state and local governments, for local libraries and their users, and for people who communicate with the library in the Capitol Building or at its other service locations.
The State Library of Kansas employs about 40 people. We are located in the State Capitol Building in Topeka and the Talking Books unit based out of Emporia State University in Emporia, Kansas. Our customers are a diverse group. Both face-to-face and virtually, we serve libraries and librarians from across the state—with a focus on public libraries. We are also a legislative service, serving state agencies, the legal profession, and lobbyists.
We provide state aid and a variety of consulting services and continuing education (CE) opportunities to the Kansas library world. We serve Kansas residents directly and through local libraries via our virtual services, which include HomeWork Kansas using Tutor.com, Audio Books & More using OverDrive, and a variety of online databases available to all Kansas libraries and residents.
In February 2008, we launched our new State Library website, which features “one-stop shopping.” Our homepage features a Google-like search box. Behind the scenes we have worked with Autographics to set up federated searching across our online databases and statewide catalog. We hope to add the rest of our information resources in the future. We are also using Quova to authenticate in-state visitors; this service lets in-state IP addresses directly through to the research results without a login. For Kansas residents who don’t pass the Quova test, we offer a temporary library card that can be validated at their local library. For out-of-state visitors, the search is conducted on anything that is free.
We work closely with our state’s seven regional library systems, which are independent and unique from each other. They were created through legislation and receive their funding through tax levies. We also work with the urban library systems (Kansas City, Johnson County, Wichita and Topeka). We also provide direct services to librarians around the state, especially through WebJunction and other CE offerings, as well as state aid and other grants.
Problem being addressed
We had identified a lack of online continuing education opportunities in Kansas, for which we had no capacity to develop and/or deliver content ourselves. The wild success in our state of the first offering about 4 or 5 years ago of the UNT course Managing Difficult Patrons—with more than 220 registrations—convinced me and others of the need for online CE. Our librarians were ready, and we needed resources to meet their needs and desires. We have lots of small public libraries and the librarians that serve them are rarely able to travel for networking and training. We needed a way to begin to connect librarians to online training and learning resources.
What prompted you to turn to WebJunction?
WebJunction had courses we could offer out of the box with little or no customization on our part. That was critical for us because I am the only person who works with WebJunction on a daily basis. For our first year, I was also the only editor.
Another important factor, from my point of view, was the incredible opportunity to join an already formed collaborative team to work on further content and community development.
I feel the whole of WebJunction is a hive of CE opportunity. Learning can occur in any of the major content areas. Taking that broad view of WebJunction as a CE portal, we are continuing to use WebJunction as we originally intended. What has changed is that we are beginning to add our own local content (with the help of my co-editor, Eric Gustafson) and more contributions from librarians outside our agency. I feel like we are growing an online community here in Kansas that benefits from being part of the larger WebJunction community.
Before the launch of the WebJunction Kansas Community Partnership, I worked with library managers to discuss our aim for WebJunction. I am the primary lead for WebJunction Kansas, but I do confer regularly with our CE Coordinator, Shannon Roy, and she often attends the monthly Community Partner online meetings that WebJunction hosts. Eric Gustafson, our Library Technology Consultant, is a WebJunction Kansas editor and Rhonda Machlan, our Resource Sharing Specialist, has been ably assisting us with the E*vanced calendar under the direction of Shannon. I have also been recruiting posters for BlogJunction Kansas from the field. Last but not least is the wonderful association I have with Brenda Hough, a longtime WebJunction advocate and contributor. I cannot measure her contributions to WJ-KS and to WebJunction in general.
At this point all of the marketing and promotion is created and distributed by me (Cindi Hickey). I use WebJunction materials and graphics, but try to add a local touch wherever I can. My approach is to weave WebJunction into State Library programs wherever it fits.
I would recommend WebJunction to my peers in other state libraries and have in fact done so on several occasions.
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