SPEC Kit 302: Managing Public Computing (November 2007)

This SPEC Kit explores the management of library public computing, i.e., those computers that are located in public spaces for use by patrons, as distinct from staff computers and servers. By jointly looking at the scale of the public computing operations, the staffing and organizational structure, budgets, upgrades, maintenance, security, polices, and assessment, the survey pulls together and expands on issues covered in several previous SPEC Kits.

The survey was distributed to the 123 ARL member libraries in July 2007. Sixty-nine libraries (56%) responded to the survey. The survey respondents were primarily library deans, directors, and heads of library information technology or library systems departments. All 69 respondents indicated that their library contains public computers that need support. Responsibility for the support, service, repair, and replacement of computers in public library spaces falls solely on library staff in 44 of the responding libraries (64%). Support is shared with non-library staff in 21 of the libraries (30%); in four libraries (6%), the institution’s central IT staff provides sole support. In none of the libraries is computer support contracted out or provided by a consortium’s IT staff.

This SPEC Kit includes documentation from respondents in the form of job descriptions, public computing policies and procedures, and organization charts.

Cook, Michael, and Mark Shelton. Managing Public Computing. SPEC Kit 302. Washington, DC: Association of Research Libraries, November 2007.


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SPEC Kit 302: Managing Public Computing (November 2007)