CLR Case Studies–Cleveland Public Library



  • The technical limits of telephone equipment provide one of the system’s biggest problems; sometimes the lines are jammed solid. The library plans to add more lines in the future.
  • The library is concerned about its ability to continue providing access to scholarly journals, especially retrospective collections. Early ideas for digitization within the library profession have proved too costly and unmanageable from a copyright perspective. “The Cleveland Public Library can’t resolve this alone. The profession must,” says Mason. The long-term preservation of information in digital form is a related area of concern.
  • Organization of information on the Internet, or lack thereof, challenges all Internet users. The Cleveland Public Library has attempted to deal with this by selecting the resources it chooses to offer, then presenting them within topical groupings through the Cleveland Public Electronic Library.
  • Staff training is crucial to keeping the library focused on its mission and to taking full advantage of the library’s investment in technology. A commercial firm trains staff to use basic office software, and four librarians from the library’s information systems group train staff (including CLEVNET librarians) on library and information systems software. They train selected staff members with library expertise and enthusiasm for the technology, who then train others on the staff. The library human resources group (rather than a formal training office) coordinates the efforts of staff to train each other. The goals are to train each staff member once per year, and to enable the staff to train the public in using electronic resources. Training and professional development remain at the core of the staff’s ability to cope with change and undertake new assignments. Formal technology training programs for the public at Cleveland will be addressed later, when staff technical training is further along and when facilities for training in the new main library addition are ready.