Editor's Note: Today's guest blogger is Patti Butcher, Director of Statewide Resource Sharing for the State Library of Kansas in Topeka, Kansas. She received her MLS from Emporia State University in 1993. In addition to her current position she previously worked at the Central KS Library System, Northeast KS Library System, and has served as the State Librarian of South Carolina.

Last week, on April 1, the same day that Google re-named itself "Topeka," the State Library of Kansas (SLK) decided to "go Google" and switch our agency's email to Google Apps. But, unlike Google, we weren't fooling around!

The State Library of Kansas provides on-site and online information services for state government, the Legislature, all Kansas libraries and Kansas residents. We also work closely with seven regional library systems geographically distributed throughout our state. We have a large collection of print and audiobooks, plus state and federal documents. We manage a suite of online resources available 24/7 to all Kansans – from databases and digital books to online tutoring and services for the visually impaired.

Google Apps will provide the library’s staff with Gmail, calendar, video chat, real-time document and video sharing, backups, and additional services such as archiving powered by Postini. It will, for the first time, allow the agency’s multiple locations to have a staff intranet using Google Sites and join together teams that were previously separated by several firewalls.

The State Library relies heavily on technology so this chance to modernize our communications and collaboration systems is a welcome one. We switched to Google Apps for many reasons:
  • Substantial cost savings
  • Hosting by a trusted third party
  • Archiving and backups happening continuously in the cloud
  • 99.9% uptime, guaranteed
  • Strong recommendations from staff at the Northeast Kansas Library System, which made the switch last year
Now SLK’s IT staff will be able to focus on internal staff training needs and upgrading all of our technology systems – rather than on server maintenance. As we deploy Google Apps in the coming weeks, we will first be training our management team who will then work 1-on-1 with all staff to ensure that questions are answered and staff are comfortable with the new products and services. A number of State Library staff already have Gmail accounts and are familiar with its functionality.

Staff members are also interested in Google Apps capabilities beyond Gmail – like Google Groups and Google Docs. Our staff is eager to take advantage of the capabilities of Google Apps!

Staff from SLK will be at the Kansas Library Association conference in Wichita beginning tomorrow, Wednesday, April 7, and encourage anyone interested in Google Apps to seek us out.

Posted by Serena Satyasai, The Google Apps Team

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