Southwest Kansas Library System

"The mission of the Southwest Kansas Library System is to provide resources, knowledge, and service to libraries in southwest Kansas through an enhanced use of technology programs, shared resources, and professional expertise. In a time of ever dwindling budgets and increased demand for services, donations from TechSoup have been essential for our organization to maintain our level of service."

— Charlene McGuire, technology consultant

Southwest Kansas Library System Flips Over Access to Handheld Video Cameras

Charlene McGuire works to keep the libraries of the Southwest Kansas Library System humming. As technology consultant, she helps the system's 40 locations meet their tech needs by handling everything from purchasing to computer and software installation to staff training.

Among her duties is helping to procure what the libraries need from TechSoup. While keeping in line with a budget for all 450 computers in 21 counties can be a challenge, Charlene employs a cost-saving strategy. When a library buys a new computer, it doesn't buy it with any software on it. It buys the software separately and staff members install it themselves, making it much more affordable.

Through TechSoup, Southwest Kansas Library System requested Microsoft Office and Intuit QuickBooks donations and numerous licenses to run them. In fact, Charlene estimates that less than half of the libraries, many of which are in rural areas, would never be able to afford the technology otherwise. 

But perhaps the libraries' greatest strides have been made with 60 Flip video cameras, also donations through TechSoup, that serve both staff and patrons. Staff members have made instructional videos for their individual library websites and recorded library events such as children's story times for public viewing on demand.

Library staff have also held trainings for the public who can check out Flips for vacations, for school projects, or to record special occasions. "They've had a lot of fun with them," Charlene says, "and we've seen a lot more content on websites. If we didn't have access to these Flip cameras through TechSoup, we wouldn't be doing this program."