This was supposed to be turned in to the d2l dropbox, but d2l seems to be down, so I’m posting it here for now.
A Brief discussion of the LSTA plans for Arizona and for Colorado
I read both the LSTA plan for Arizona and the one for Colorado. In general, the library system in Colorado is not nearly as developed as Arizona’s, and the plan mainly consisted of adding infrastructure, as many schools and rural libraries lack basic equipment and interconnectivity. In contrast, Arizona’s infrastructure is much more complete and sophisticated, so that the LSTA is focused on staff development, with the goal of equipping “librarians with the skills and resources to identify, assess and address the needs of today and tomorrow, thereby expanding their capacity to be responsive leaders in shaping the future of their Arizona communities” (1). Arizona’s plan is much more complete, and does a better job of connecting concrete and measurable goals with desired outcomes; but this is also the result of having a much more developed library system with better resources for development (more money, more expertise).
Arizona’s plan does an excellent job of describing the needs of its constituents, identifying the growing disparity in educational outcomes for varying demographic groups and the challenges presented by Arizona’s growing population, diversity, and economic climate. From the needs assessment, the Arizona LSTA identifies four areas of need: Lifespan Learning Continuum; Virtual Access; Training, Education & Consultant Support for librarians; and (because of the upcoming Arizona Centennial), support for Arizona Centennial projects. The LSTA also identifies five goals for serving the community, and then identifies desired outcomes for each goal in each of the four areas of need. These outcomes are further specified by describing projects along with measurable results for evaluation purposes. These goals seem to meet three of the five e-rate criteria: they are clear, measurable, and describe a realistic strategy for producing the desired outcomes; they include a professional development strategy to insure that librarians and support staff have the skills they need; and they include an on-going evaluation process.
The two areas where Arizona’s plan seems to be lacking is an assessment of the telecommunication services, hardware, software, and other services that will be needed to improve education or library services; and a budget. However, the budget is not required after FY2011; and as far as an assessment of the infrastructure needs, Arizona seems to have more than adequate infrastructure. The plan states that its goal is mainly to focus on the training and equipping of librarians, so perhaps the plan does not dwell upon the other areas in as much detail.
However, the plan does describe specific projects that seem to imply an expansion of certain services, necessitating equipment and software. For example: on page 16, the plan describes a project in which “state library staff equip a mobile digitization lab to train rural community library staff on digital collection basics” (16). The equipment and software are not specified, but many of the technology planning articles we read this week suggest that these descriptions should be a vague as possible to avoid being tied down to specific technologies and software, since new technologies keep becoming available. Thus, Arizona’s LSTA chooses to imply technology acquisition in the project descriptions rather than specify it. This could be a problem for e-rate approval, but Arizona hired two consultants to help write the plan, so presumably it passes muster.