Orion Township Public Library, Lake Orion, MI
MLIS, University of Texas, Austin, 2000
Implementing Technology Solutions in Libraries: Techniques, Tools, and Tips from the Trenches (Information Today, 2011)
Photo c/o Karen Knox
Just named director at Orion Township Public Library, Karen Knox came to Movers & Shakers attention because of her work as IT manager of the Rochester Hills Public Library (RHPL), MI. When she came on board in 2005, the technology required a total overhaul.
“It was amazing to watch,” recalls Director Christine Lind, who says Knox, who was promoted to RHPL associate director in 2009, developed an overall plan. “She installed an entirely new network, updated a phone system, revamped an old-fashioned website, migrated to a new library automation vendor, and installed about 200 new computers. She did all of this with a very part-time staff…vastly improv[ing] our customer service, staff moral, and efficiency.”
In 2010, Knox migrated the majority of the servers to a virtual environment. “We were able to save power and be more efficient,” says Knox.
None of this surprises Larry Neal, director of the Clinton-Macomb Public Library, who has known Knox for 20 years, especially through the Library Technology Division of the Michigan Library Association, where their collaborative projects included electronic voting in a pre–SurveyMonkey era, authoring an e-newsletter at a time when paper ruled, and offering “techno tours” of excellent programs around Michigan. “Karen was a key player in making it all happen,” says Neal, a 2007 Mover & Shaker.
She’s helped train the next generation, too. Working with a team of three university students for their senior design project, in January 2011 Knox launched a mobile website and mobile library catalog with text notification functionality. Since it went live, the site has seen 28,000 visits, and more than 1400 customers use the text notifications. “These new projects connected us with customers who are on the go,” says Knox.