This whitepaper reviews technology provision across UK public library authorities. It focuses on People’s Network PCs, Wi-Fi and wireless printing, considers the operating systems and deployment methods in place, and compares ICT resourcing structures.
The key findings cover:
- The suitability of the operating systems used across People’s Network PCs, with Windows XP still featuring in up to 50% of library authorities
- Different approaches to the deployment of the People’s Network, including traditional thick client, thin client and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) – an area gaining importance given hardware funding issues and delays in technology upgrades
- The extent of Wi-Fi roll out – complete in only 40% of library authorities – with an overview of the work left to be done, following funding provision in the 2015 budget but other issues to consider beyond the financial
- Libraries’ plans for wireless printing as a way of further leveraging wireless network investment – interest for introducing this service has recently grown to include nearly half of all authorities
- The complex support arrangements often in place, comprising different teams and a move towards more authority-wide initiatives – nearly 60% of libraries rely on centralised ICT resources, and 25% now outsource their ICT
In this context, ideas around library technology provision, its hosting, coordination and communication are explored. This is with a view to supporting library authorities and all ICT stakeholders as they progress towards achieving a modern and sustainable library service.