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Subject: K-20 librarians interactive video conferencing

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"Videoconferencing Librarians Interest Group"

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  • From: "Morrison, Jean" <>
  • To: <>
  • Subject: "Videoconferencing Librarians Interest Group"
  • Date: Wed, 23 Nov 2011 12:56:42 -0600

If you have received it multiple times--I am sorry, but It keeps coming back
to me as undeliverable.

1) Please describe your past experience or interest in using
videoconferencing within your organization.

The Missouri State Library sponsors a network of videoconferencing centers in
Public Libraries across the state through LSTA funding of grants. Some of the
equipment is in need of replacement, and we are currently pondered what the
next better technology that meets the expanding options in distant
communications will be. I am the Consultant for Technology and Electronic
Resources for the State Library and videoconferencing falls under my
position—including researching and selecting equipment for state-wide public
library recommendations, working with the state-wide consortium that provides
videoconference bridging services, supporting videoconferences held in-house,
and sponsoring LSTA Grants to fund videoconferencing centers in public
libraries. Very few of our public libraries can afford to purchase
videoconferencing center equipment without a grant.

Our current network is widely dispersed and travel time is an annoyance as
well as becoming enough of a financial burden that it is no longer as
effective as we would like. It provided a great service and made
communication easier in the past. We have found streaming of video to
desktops is very popular and saves travel while increasing participation, but
it is asynchronous, more like watching television than participating in
information sharing. I want to know what our options are so we can develop a
more effective alternative for the public libraries in our state, but still
meet the budget constraints we work with.

I would love to see a method of synchronous communication that could provide
every library a way to log into a live data stream to communicate such as: to
share a biologist’s zoo animal presentation to interactively show their
summer reading attendees or have their staff be able to attend a live,
interactive session without traveling out of town. This type of sharing is
now only accomplished at a few sites because don’t have the videoconferencing
facilities to do so.

Bandwidth availability is slowly coming to some parts of rural Missouri, but
it also appears to be much more expensive. The issue of how a library can
afford the increasing costs that comes with today’s view of adequate
bandwidth is a concern that is hitting us hard. Today the baseline bare
minimum to operate a small public library is T-1, tomorrow it is ??? and
generally at much higher cost!

1) What's the most important thing you hope to get out of participating
in this group?

A sense of the options that will allow more sites to communicate in a
face-to-face mode without having to travel, yet is affordable enough that it
can be funded and used in smaller locations. Ideally, it would also not
require 10Mb of bandwidth to operate, that does not require a dedicated
full-time IT person—wish list, dreaming big!

2) Are there specific questions, topics, collaborative activities you'd
like the group to explore together?

Perhaps a survey of what other states and large entities are using for
synchronous communication to all or a majority of their state’s sites, across
large geographic areas.

A discussion about what hardware/software we see that is needed to recommend
to vendors who might be interested in producing (or have already produced
,and I just don’t know about it) that will accomplish sharing communication
even at the smaller sites—yet is affordable on the small budget that would
result in specifications for vendors or if it exists, vendor comparisons.

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  • "Videoconferencing Librarians Interest Group", Morrison, Jean, 11/23/2011

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