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MaintainIT Cookbooks

TechSoup’s MaintainIT Project is a three-year grant project designed to collect advice from librarians about how they support their public access computers and their overall IT infrastructure.  I joined the team in August 2008 and wrote two IT manuals for the project.  These manuals, which we call Cookbooks, collect quotes, resources, best practices and advice.  With lots of help from friends, colleagues, advisers and working librarians, I chose the topics, arranged them, conducted background research (books, interview transcripts and web sites for the most part), edited quotes and wrote the copy.  I circulated the drafts to our advisory committee, listened carefully to their feedback and incorporated the changes that they recommended.  I also conducted some of the interviews with librarians, and wrote most of the questions used by our interviewing staff.

We created three cookbooks in all.  The first was written before I arrived at TechSoup.  In late 2007, I wrote Recipes for a 5-Star Library, which covers wireless networking, patron management software, print management software and laptop checkout programs.  In 2008, I wrote Planning for Success, which covers video gaming events, open source software, technology planning, buying and installing new technology, communicating about technology, partnerships and collaboration, maintaining technology, reusing and recycling computers, wide area networking, bandwidth management, network security and several other topics.

Again, I had tons of help writing both workbooks from a list of collaborators too long to name.  Check the acknowledgments for more information.  Stephanie Gerding deserves special mention since she wrote all the Web 2.0 and library partnership sections in Planning for Success.

I also post occasionally on our blog, edit the audio clips for our spotlight articles, and help to produce our MaintainIT webinars.  During the summer of 2008, I hired and trained Jennifer Nelson, a library school intern who helped us with our interviewing and our blogging.

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