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Maine State Library Network Breaks Communication Barriers

June 21, 2012
at 10:20 am PST

With the radically changing technology landscape and evolution of e-readers, tablets and notebooks, the traditional city or county library has been forced to move beyond “checking-out books” to become a center of resource for entire communities. It has truly been exciting to see the transformations taking place.

To meet new resource demands, libraries have been increasingly making efforts to have state-of-the-art technology in place. The Maine State Library Network (MSLN), which works with 269 public libraries throughout Maine, has taken great strides to ensure it is keeping up with the times.

Maine’s public libraries faced a challenging connectivity issue with the geographic disparity of its library sites. This posed a significant barrier to communication among the various library centers, negatively affecting resource distribution and training programs for library employees.

As part of the Maine Public Library Information Commons Project and the Broadband Technologies Opportunities Program grant, MSLN set out to meet the following goals:  Use video conference hubs to better connect and serve a maximum of 1,030,714 Maine citizens in their counties; and, provide local librarians with advanced training in technology and information skills.

To accomplish these goals, MSLN adopted collaboration technologies, such as telepresence, with the goal of eliminating the gap between library centers.

Cisco’s collaboration solutions enable librarian training and information sharing between remote sites. Using Cisco TelePresence, MSLN trains approximately 24,000 individuals per week, with the goal of reaching 120,000 per year. In addition, MSL uses collaboration technology to connect to schools and teach patrons basic computer skills. Collaboration technologies are enabling MSLs and a number of other organizations to connect with students and the community via video without travel.

For more details on how MSLN is using collaborative technologies, check out the Maine State Libraries Case Study.

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