By Tori Benavente
Post-Record staff writer
When people of all ages purchase or receive new tech
nology, like a Macbook or Kindle, the joy they feel is frequently accompanied by the frustration of learning how to actually use it.
For the Camas community, the frustration may be alleviated later this year, after the Camas Public Library implements its newest staff position — technology and collections manager — to address a growing need for more technological help.
Library Director Connie Urquhart said that the primary focus of the new manager will be on content delivery. The manager will be responsible for helping patrons access various technology resources inside the library, such as ebooks and DVDs, and for updating the library’s website and search catalog.
Urquhart became the library director in July 2016, and one of the things she noticed when she started was the library’s lack of capacity to offer one-on-one help with devices.
“That’s something I’d like (the technology and collections manager) to implement, whether it’s through our staff or volunteers, to be able to offer times when people can come in and bring any device — whether it’s an ebook, phone, tablet or laptop — and say ‘I’m having a problem,’ or ‘I just don’t know how to download this book,’ and then a (staff member or volunteer) can spend a half-hour with them and show them how to use it,” Urquhart said.
The Camas library is beloved by the community because it’s really homey and traditional, but patrons don’t see the library as a go-to place for technology, Urquhart added.
“I want to change that a little bit,” Urquhart said. “The library can still feel like a nice, warm place to go, but I want the people to come in and have access to the best and most modern technologies.”
Melanie Kispert, 61, has lived in Camas since the mid-1980s and frequents the library often. Kispert said the library’s existing technology suits her needs, but that she would like to get more help learning how to use personal devices, such as the Mac computer she has at home.
“Especially if they could support some of the more popular software, that would be very helpful. I have some things that I’d like to do, but I’m not quite sure how to do them,” Kispert said. “It’d be great if we could just come to the library and ask questions.”
Urquhart said that the staff wants the new manager to do their best to ensure that there is a complete collection of ebooks for adults and teens, DVDs, graphic novels and CDs at the library.
The library would also like to increase its number of Makerspaces, a group that relies on the expertise of community members to help each other create things, Urquhart said.
“The point is a community coming together to learn and share their knowledge, so it could be for all ages, and sometimes it’s really focused on technology,”
Urquhart explained. “It’s really dependent on what the community wants and needs.”
The library offers a once-a-month program called K-3, which resembles a mini-makerspace where children in kindergarten through third grade can gain knowledge on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) related programs.
The library’s goal, however, is to offer more of these types of programs for all ages — something Urquhart hopes the new manager will delve into.
“They can kind of get a feel for what’s best for the Camas community and what would work well here at our library, and see what would be the most responsive for our patrons,” Urquhart said, adding that the new manager also will coordinate the library’s increased technology assistance for personal laptops and tablets, attend makerspace events and create one-on-one tech-learning opportunities for community members.
“This person is going to be coordinating all of that in a way that is always keeping their eye on the future,” Urquhart said. “It should be really seamless for our community, so they may not even realize that we have come so far and improved so much. But they will realize that using the library has become much more convenient for them in their busy lives.”
The job position requires a specific skillset, and the library director expects to see applications from a wide range of people. The position requires a master’s degree, refined technical skills and the ability to fit into the Camas community, which means the new manager must have customer service skills and a positive attitude.
The position is non-represented and the salary was approved at Step 1 for $5,732 a month, and at Step 7 for $6,866 a month, Urquhart said.
The job posting will be on the city of Camas website within the next week. The library hopes to conduct interviews for the position in mid-August, and Urquhart hopes to have someone starting in the new position in September.