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401 Meeker St Delta CO 81416 970.874.4421

Library district links up with network

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Markee Travis

Staff members in the Delta County Libraries have been enjoying making jokes about varmints and critters recently as they embrace a new change in technology services throughout the county. The marmot jokes refer to an organization, Marmot Library Network, that will now be providing Information Technology (IT) services for the entire library district.

According to Jimmy Thomas, the executive director of Marmot, "Marmot was incorporated in 1985 as a 501(c)(3) organization. The consortium includes 16 public library systems, six academic libraries, and five school districts in Colorado." This consortium not only provides IT services for 11 member libraries plus Delta County, but it also hosts an integrated library system, which is the catalog that allows libraries to keep track of their materials. Additionally, Marmot offers an open source public catalog for a number of libraries, and researches projects that will benefit libraries in other ways. At the moment, Delta County Libraries is only taking advantage of Marmot IT services, the first library in the Marmot consortium to do so.

"Our contract with Marmot Library Network is the result of several months of negotiations and discussion involving our board, our staff, their board, and their staff," says district director Lea Hart. "Fortunately, Marmot is proving to be easy to work with and they really do know libraries."

The district has been utilizing temporary IT help since November, but Hart quickly realized that a permanent solution was needed. Maintaining the computers, Internet, phone system, and other hardware and software for five library communities in a rapidly growing technology landscape is a challenging job. With progressive projects started by the previous IT manager, Delta County Libraries has begun to establish a reputation in the library world as a forward-thinking rural district. Hart does not want to lose that kind of excellent IT service for the library district or its patrons.

Hart explains, "We decided that contracting with Marmot would be the best way to keep ourselves at the forefront of library technology."

Because Marmot is located in Grand Junction, the district will benefit from a local, hands-on contact as well. Markee Travis, who has been working for the library district for almost 15 years, recently stepped up as technology coordinator. She has spent several months travelling around the district updating computers and learning the technology systems that are in place so that she can work closely with Marmot to troubleshoot and convey information, as well as train staff and the public on various aspects of technology.

While Travis is one of the main instigators of the critter jokes, she looks forward to connecting with the organization. She says, "The Marmot team, with all of their combined expertise, will be a valuable asset to the Delta County Libraries."

Clearly, the name is the only part of this change that library staff is taking lightly. As a result, the public should simply notice the benefits of smoothly working computers, fast, functioning Internet, and staff members who have time to focus on programs, materials and patrons instead of technology problems.

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