Library seeks new tech co-ordinator

Duane Hicks

The Fort Frances Library Technology Centre and Rainy River Public Library are on the lookout for a technology co-ordinator for the remaining 10 months of a two-year contract.
Raj Sritharan, who started here last July after moving from London, Ont., will be leaving the position Aug. 30 in order to start a new permanent job at the Lethbridge Public Library in Lethbridge, Alta.
“It’s been a great experience. It was really great meeting the community and everyone,” enthused Sritharan.
“I can’t say enough good things about the library and the work environment here.
“The public has been very welcoming,” he added. “It’s hard to leave, but the opportunity is something that doesn’t come around that often so it’s hard to turn down.
“But I am sure the next person in my position will definitely enjoy working with the staff here, and the public in this town, especially if they’re coming into it with the same expectations I was.”
Sritharan will be the online services librarian in Lethbridge—a newly-created job which deals with managing electronic databases, e-materials, and different aspects of the periodical collection there.
“It’s something that’s very new and exciting, and I am looking forward to it,” he noted. “But I will be sad to be leaving the staff members here and I’ll be missing a lot of the members of the public here.
“It’s kind of bitter-sweet.”
Library board chair Joyce Cunningham said she wishes Sritharan well, and is hopeful the library can find a new technology co-ordinator to carry on with the groundwork he’s laid.
“The whole technology portion of the Fort Frances Pubic Library has been extremely important, and in the new building we’re pushing for the development of technology,” she noted.
Cunningham added Rainy River also has been pushing for the same thing, and that both library CEOs will be looking at what they need to develop most with a new co-ordinator in the next 10 months.
The technology co-ordinator position was made possible through a grant from the Ontario Library Service North and Southern Ontario Library Service awarded to the local library and Rainy River Public Library.
Given the position is funded for just two years, the technology co-ordinator’s role not only has been to work with library patrons and other members of the public, but also train other library staff to be able to do tasks associated with the technological capabilities of the state-of-the-art facility here.
“Ongoing staff training has been a pretty important part of this position, and I’ve been working with staff in terms of training them in website editing and managing the social media presence of the library,” noted Sritharan.
He’s also helped with the transition to the radio-frequency identification system at the new facility, among other things.
“Right now we have very enthusiastic library staff that loves working in a new building and keen to learn as much as they possibly can,” said Cunningham, adding she hopes that will continue with the new tech co-ordinator.
Cunningham said it’s unfortunate Sritharan is leaving, but admitted “this happens when you have contract positions.”
“People are happy to the take the contract positions, particularly the new graduates, because they are looking to get some experience; they are building their résumé, of course,” she noted.
“But they’re always looking for something that can be permanent, and so this is understandable.”
According to the job description, the technology co-ordinator is “responsible for overseeing the technology centre, acting as liaison with the Rainy River District Future Development Corp. and the business community, assisting staff, library customers, and businesses to adapt to new information skill sets, planning and hosting workshops and tutorials, and assisting with webinars and video-conferences.”
Because the grant was awarded to the local library and the one in Rainy River, the technology co-ordinator must spend one day a week in Rainy River, providing training to staff and patrons with new technologies.
“It can be a very exciting opportunity for somebody to work in a new facility and to look at where we can go with the technology development,” said Cunningham, noting the new technology co-ordinator does not necessarily need to have a degree in Library and Information Science.
A complete job description and application forms are available from the Civic Centre or Town of Fort Frances website at www.fort-frances.com
The deadline for applications is this Friday (Aug. 19) at 4 p.m.
An online version of the job ad can be found at http://www.fftimes.com/node/244770