Library Leadership

78. Implementing High Tech Amenities with Trish Hull

Adriane Herrick Juarez with Trish Hull

How do we integrate high tech amenities into our libraries? On this show I go on-site at the new Kearns Library in Utah, a branch of the Salt Lake County Library System, where I talk with manager Trish Hull. Trish has built a new 35,000 square foot facility chock full of the latest technology to serve her community – from a culinary arts kitchen, to VR goggles, to 3D wood cutters, to programmable robots – you’ll find it all in this stunning new library. I talk with Trish about how to get stakeholders on board with new tech offerings in libraries and how to integrate tech services into our buildings and with employees, and provide thoughts on how to do this even if you’re not building a new library. Images produced by Nate Vineyard.

Full Transcript

Library Leadership Podcast is brought to you by Innovative. Focused on accelerating libraries’ impact on the world, Innovative helps spark connections between libraries and their communities—with a comprehensive portfolio of solutions for libraries worldwide. Innovative technology makes resources accessible to patrons near and far. Learn more at www.iii.com/podcast.

Adriane:

This is Adriane Herrick Juarez. You’re listening to Library Leadership Podcast, where we talk about libraries, and leadership, and speak with guests who share their ideas, innovations, and strategic insights into the profession.

How do we integrate high tech amenities into our libraries? On this show I go onsite at the new Kearns Library in Utah, a branch of the Salt Lake County Library System, where I talk with manager, Trish Hull.

Trish has built a new 35,000 square foot facility chock-full of the latest technology to serve her community—from a culinary arts kitchen, to VR goggles, to 3D wood cutters, to programmable robots. You’ll find it all in this stunning new library.

I talk with Trish about how to get stakeholders onboard with new tech offerings in libraries, and how to integrate tech services into our buildings, and with employees, and provide thoughts on how to do this even if you’re not building a new library.

You’ll find images of the new building on our website at www.libraryleadershippodcast.com. I hope you’ll check it out. Enjoy the show!

Trish, welcome to the show.

Trish Hull:

Thanks! I’m excited to be here. It’s good to see you again.

Adriane:

And you as well. So, first of all, I have to say we’re here in your beautiful new Kearns Library. That is part of the Salt Lake County Library System.

Trish Hull:

Yes.

Adriane:

I got to go on an amazing tour of your beautiful new facility here so, congratulations on this beautiful building. It’s wonderful.

Trish Hull:

Thank you, yeah, we love it. It’s huge. We get our steps in, but it’s so much fun.

Adriane:

And I wanted to focus today, in particular, on leading the way in implementing high tech services, because you just showed me the amazing amenities you have here. So, first off as we start, can you tell me what high tech amenities you have in this new building? 02:23 

Trish Hull:

We have a lot. Even starting from the basic building itself, it’s a LEED building. It has a lot of solar on the roof and everywhere. It has geothermal heating, which is pretty high tech, which is also very efficient. We think that’s a really amazing piece. 

We have an auditorium that has—it’s got a lot of stage. It has a screen projector, of course. A lot of people have those things. What’s cool about it—it also has bluetooth capability in the auditorium, and in three other zones in the library that you can actually sync your phone to if you want to have music playing for an event, or something. I thought that was kind of a fun new thing.

We have our Create Kitchen, which isn’t high tech, but it is a new innovation that a lot of libraries are getting, but we think is really important for this community. And probably our biggest—well, we have our Teen Gaming Room that has a lot of tech in it. And then, we have our Create Space. All our new libraries will have Create Spaces. Here, we have a sound recording studio. We also have a green screen, and cameras. We can do video recording here as well. That’s where we’re talking from. We have the guitars, the drum pad, the keyboard, microphones, and the computer has all of the mixing software on it. So you can do all kinds of stuff in this space.

Then we have 3D printing. We have a bike repair station. We have a large plotter printer. We have a laser cutter/engraver, Glowforge. I have to remember everything – it goes quickly [laughter]. We have an AR VR—a couple of headsets. We have robotics for children, and adults. We have a vinyl cutter, a sublimation printer, sewing machine, serger, embroidery machine. And, the embroidery machine also has software on it that you can design your own embroidery. 

And our four computers that have all of the Adobe Creative Suite on them, they also have WaCom tablets attached, so you can design your own design, and then upload it to the Adobe Creative—whatever program you’re working in. HAA, I think that’s all [laughter].

Adriane:

I have library envy, Trish. It’s so beautiful. And I really wish everyone could see, you know, what we’re walking through today. But trust me, it’s gorgeous. It’s high tech. I’m sure your community is thrilled to have these services at their fingertips. And, I wanted to talk about stakeholders. So, how hard was it to get stakeholders onboard with implementing the high tech vision that has become a reality in your library? 04:41 

Trish Hull:

So, we’re a really good system. I really appreciate our leadership team because they do appreciate innovation. And, they’re willing to try things, and pilot things. So—and actually, you were our inspiration for 3D printing. And so, you guys had already established it up in Park City. We went up and saw, and decided that we wanted to try 3D printing. Once we saw how popular that was in the community, everybody was onboard. 

We now have a technology committee and an emerging technology committee. The technology committee helps run the programs and the Create Spaces, and they’ve allowed some new positions. We have a Create Librarian who is over all of the Create Spaces, and then each Create Space has a Create Library Assistant who is over that space. So that, right there, is an investment in people, and that’s important. I really like how they combine the library and the technology. So, this librarian knows both, instead of just having a tech person do it. That’s been a really big move for us. 

Then they’re providing money every year for new technology. So, if we see something else we think needs to be in this space there is some funding to do that as well—as well as maintaining what we have. And, keeping those programs going.

And also, it’s not just the new libraries, the older libraries as well. If they can find the space for it in their building, they will get support and money to put—they may not be able to put everything we have in here, because we have such a large space, but they can put maybe pieces of it. Like a lot have 3D printings. Many have AR VR. Another one has a sound recording studio. So, it’s just whatever piece they feel like is important for their community, and their branch. They will get that support and funding to do that.

And you know, you don’t have to do it on a large scale. A lot of things are expensive. But, one 3D printer is—you can get a good one for $500, even $400, right? And that’s what we have in some of the branches. And they’re very user-friendly. So, it isn’t just that we’re committed to the big ones, but we are. They’re building these new buildings with meeting space, and create space, not just collection space.

Adriane:

Right. And I’ve long admired the Salt Lake County Library System for how cutting edge you all are, and how supportive of these kinds of services—so, I’m incredibly impressed. And I can only imagine it must have been tricky to decide what was going to go in this space, right? So, what was the decision making process about which high tech elements to include in your building, and perhaps those to not include? 07:16   

Trish Hull:

Yeah, and that always depends kind of on your building. A new building you can build with the ventilation, and the power needs for a lot of this stuff, right? You can’t have a laser cutter unless you’ve got some good ventilation. So, that was always a factor. 

You look at your building and decide. But, you also have to look at your community and decide what’s important and what you might need for your community. It was really good— you know, we started with 3D printing. Our technology committee has always been forward thinking. So, we thought, Well, AR VR is important. And the libraries we’ve had it in, it’s been fabulous. People—usually popular, so that’s a no-brainer. You just think about what your community needs and what’s out there.

Sometimes the community doesn’t know. Like with 3D printing, if you would have asked your community they would probably have said, What? No, we don’t need that. But, it’s sort of a—’you build it, they will come’. And so we had to make the decision, Yeah, we look at this not just as a fun, clever thing, but this is the way of the future. You know, you look now at the medical world, the dental world, space [laugher] you know, there’s 3D printers in space, right? 

So, this is the way the future is going. And so, we looked at things we thought were going to make a difference in people’s lives—that maybe people need for jobs, job creation. Maybe they need the skills for something in the future like the Adobe Creative Suite. People need a lot of that information in order for them to make them employable. 

Sewing machines. You know, people just don’t sew anymore. It’s kind of expensive. You can buy clothes cheaper, but there are times you do need it. Who wants to go buy a sewing machine just to mend something or to do a logo, or to do a cosplay costume, right? So, now it’s providing access to equipment that a person may not just want to go out and buy on their own, or be able to afford on their own.

So, it’s all about access. It’s just like books in a way. It’s just technology and providing that access. There may be some things down the road. And there were some things. Like, we didn’t bring in big saws. I’ve seen some Create Spaces that have large saws and things. That creates a whole other level of dust and mess that maybe we don’t want to mix with books, and so we said no to that. Maybe down the road we’ll change our minds on that, I don’t know.

Adriane:

Sure. And you’re already leading into this, but how does the technology you have here benefit the community? Have you gotten feedback already? 09:41 

Trish Hull:

Yeah, I mean, I can’t tell you the number of people I bring into this space and show them this and they go, Oh, my gosh. My kids will die to get in here. This is so great. I have a podcast I want to do. I have some music I want to record. So, they are already asking for this. 

The ability to get space to do these kinds of things is really limited to a small group of people, right? If you’re in that industry maybe you know how to do it. I wouldn’t know where to go. We’re partnering with the Mundi Project and some other people for music programs. It doesn’t matter your income level, or your education level. Everybody has talent. And, so many people have musical talents, and artistic talents. And, they just need a place where they can express that. We think the library should be that place.

And we’re free, right? We need to offer that free. If they want to go on to a higher level, we’re not going to be able to do that. But at least that exploration level—to learn, if you really, if this is your calling, if this is your thing. The library should be the place where you can figure that out. And yeah, they’ve already—they can’t wait until this opens up. I can’t tell you the number of people who stand outside the door and, When are we going to open? [laughter]

Adriane:

Completely, completely, I can see that.

Trish Hull:

Hopefully, really soon, hopefully.

Adriane:

Yeah, well good. What would you say to other librarians about how they might implement high tech solutions in their libraries, even if they’re not developing a new building? 11:01 

Trish Hull:

You can do it. Just find a corner. You just have to find a little piece of property, a little piece of ground in your building, a little bit of real estate that you can put a 3D printer in. You can have things that you don’t even have to have space for, like AR VR headsets you can keep behind the desk and then take into your meeting room space, and do. 

You can buy sound recording equipment. The background noise, that’s the tricky part, right? But, you can do it. We’ve had it at other libraries. It may not be the best. You’re not going to, you know, put it out there for professional use, but you can do a podcast anywhere, right? You know that. 

You can do any kind of a computer if you can just, you know, convince your powers that be, the funding powers to buy Adobe Creative. And a lot of times they’ll let you get the education license. And then you can provide that opportunity. 

So, you start small and then you’ll see how your community just thrives on it, and that leads to more, and to more, and a lot of times they’ll tell you, Oh, can you get this? This would be a cool thing. And if you have people asking for it, that’s an important thing for your funders, for your administration to know because eventually you go to your people for taxing, right? And if you’re doing what they want to do, they’re going to say, Yeah the library’s that cool place that has this, and this, of course we want them in our community. We’ll pay a little bit more in taxes. So, I think you can make that circular argument there that, you know, you do it for them, then they’ll come back and support you as well.

Adriane:

That’s fantastic. How has staff handled the roll out of the new technology? And, how do libraries get everyone up to speed and keep them there as tech evolves? 12:39 

Trish Hull:

That’s tricky, however, I was fortunate. But, I’ve experienced this on both sides, so I’ll talk about both sides. When we hired for this building, we knew it was going to be a high tech building. We knew that it was also going to be a high teen use building. And so, we came in and said, Okay, when I’m hiring for people I need to know how you feel about technology. And so, we would ask questions. We only hired people who were excited about technology, not just comfortable. They had to be excited. We only hired people who were excited about teens, not that could handle teens [laughter], or who could control teens. I wanted that person to say, I love working with teens. So, we hired specifically for those purposes in this building. 

However, I have worked at libraries where we’ve had 3D printing and other technology and I had librarians who were like, I’m not going to do that. What? And it was really fun, because I think most people understand technology is here to stay. And maybe they’re uncomfortable about it. So, we would—just the ones who were excited about it got to be the ones who worked on it. 

I had one librarian who—he was not excited at all. He said, I’m not—I don’t even care about that. But we put the 3D printer right at the librarian desk so people could see it, right? And they got excited about it. And he realized after a little while that it wasn’t just technology, it was a piece of machinery. He was really good with machinery, and his hands, and fixing cars, and stuff. So, he ended up helping us fix the 3D printer, and then he started learning how to use the 3D printer. I don’t know that he ever did a lot with the computer side, and the design side, but he understood the printer, and he would start promoting it to people.

So, I think you give them time to look at it, and to get excited about it. And then if they want to become more involved, it’s got to be on their own terms. You need to have those people though, who are just the early adopters who are really excited, and want to do it. You have to have somebody that is really excited about it. And that is probably the best way. And people eventually come around.

Adriane:

That’s good. And I like what you’re saying about how we might already have skills that are transferable, that we haven’t even thought about. And, how we can apply that to these new technologies. Anything else you’d like to share? 14:58 

Trish Hull:

You know, I just think it’s really exciting that we’re looking to the community for what they want, you know? We looked at the Kearns community—they wanted meeting spaces. We knew we had tons of teens coming in, so we wanted opportunities for teens. These are kids—you know, we are a lower income area. They need opportunities. They need the ability to come into a room like this and say, Hey I could play guitar. Maybe music is the area I want to do something in. I really like coding for the robot there, and I want to learn that, maybe that’s an area for my growth. I can be, you know, I don’t have to live in poverty. I can go to college. I can learn these things. And, that’s what I see the library as, not just for teens though, because I think there’s adults here as well. 

We want to promote in our Create Kitchen healthy cooking, and healthy eating. We want to promote our business community up in our business center. So, we’re trying to build a library to meet the needs of everybody in the community. And, I think we’re going to be there as soon as we can get COVID out the door and back to our normal programming, we’re just going to have a blast here.

Adriane:

It truly looks like you’ve done it, Trish. And, I can only imagine the people pouring through the door when they open fully. I’m so excited for you.

Trish Hull:

We’re excited, yeah.

Adriane:

Do you have a favorite management, or leadership book, and why? 16:09 

Trish Hull:

Oh, my goodness. It’s sort of like asking me what my favorite book is, and it’s whatever I’m reading right now, right?

Adriane:

Right [laughter].

Trish Hull:

I have so many. And, I’m a leadership book junkie. The very first one that I just go back to all the time is Simon Sinek’s Start With Why. Because, I think that’s so critical for everything. But right now, I’m reading Deep Work by—and I never…Cal Newport. Because I have a lot of things I’m working on, and I’m realizing I’m having a hard time getting that deep work time. So, it’s been a really good book, and I’m trying to work out the, You don’t have to read your emails every minute they come in, [laugher] you know. Trying to figure out for myself how I can do some deep work, and I think it’s a really good one right now. But next week I’ll be reading a different one, so a different answer.

Adriane:

A different answer next week [laughter]. I think that’s perfectly fine.

Trish Hull:

You know there’s so much out there. And I think every book has some little piece of information that’s important for you. And, everybody has a different leadership mentality, not even style, just a different way of processing. I think that’s important to keep growing. As a matter of fact, Dan Rockwell had a thing today that said, an unused pond stinks. And I think that’s true. We have to keep changing, and growing, and flowing, and moving that pond water around, and figuring different things out, or we get really stagnant in what we’re doing.

Adriane:

We do. And, that’s what we’re doing on this show…

Trish Hull:

Right.

Adriane:

So, thank you for being with me.

Trish Hull:

You have great ideas on this show, yeah.

Adriane:

Trish, in closing, what do libraries mean to you, personally? 17:34 

Trish Hull:

Oh, man, everything. I moved around a lot as a kid, and my mom was a reader, and I was a reader. And we went to the library all the time. And every new city we went to, we got library cards first thing. So, when I became a mother and I was taking my kids to the library—kids were a little older and I’m thinking, You know these kids are going to college we need a little more income. I thought, I’m here at the library almost every day, I might as well work here. [Laughter] So, I got my first job as a shelver at the library in my late thirties, right? Mid-to-late thirties, and then from then on, I became a librarian. And so for me personally, it has totally changed the course of my life. I graduated in political science, but I came to the library and became a librarian. And now, I am a City Councilperson in my town, plus a library manager, and have the best job ever. And have the greatest opportunities ever. So, it’s been everything.

Adriane:

It is everything. And I agree. I was one of those people who came up through the ranks, and I should say, Trish and I went to library school together.

Trish Hull:

Yes, we did.

Adriane:

It’s been so fun to watch your career trajectory, Trish…

Trish Hull:

…yours, too.

Adriane:

Thank you, what you’ve done here, I’m so impressed. And, I’m really excited for people to listen to this show and see what all the technological possibilities are, and how they might be thinking about ways to implement them in their own libraries. So, thank you for being with me today.

Trish Hull:

Oh, you’re very welcome. And I’d just encourage them to keep an eye on the future.

Adriane:

Okay…

Trish Hull:

Right? Who knows what’s out there.

Adriane:

Absolutely. This has been fantastic, Trish. Thank you so much.

Trish Hull:

Thank you.

Adriane:

You’ve been listening to Library Leadership Podcast. I’m your host, Adriane Herrick Juarez. Our producer is Nate Vineyard. More episodes can be found at libraryleadershippodcast.com, where you can now subscribe to have new shows delivered right into your email inbox. You can also find the show on Apple iTunes, or wherever you get your podcasts. Thank you for listening. We’ll see you next time.

We would like to thank the Park City Library for their dedicated support of this show. The opinions expressed on this show are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect the views of Library Leadership Podcast, or our sponsors.

You may also like
68. Big Programming Ideas for Small Budgets with Chelsea Price
28. Assembling Superhero Library Teams with Kevin King

Leave Your Comment

Your Comment*

Your Name*
Your Webpage