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How a Kansas County Library Standardized the User's Computer Experience

The Kansas library was able to create the same experience for all users across 180 public computers.

Whether it’s your favorite shirt, movie or restaurant, we all like getting that old familiar feeling, and sitting down to our computers should be no different.

But imagine trying to create the same experience across 180 public computers. Seem impossible? By moving to a hyperconverged infrastructure, the Topeka and Shawnee County (Kan.) Library was able to do just that, as well as introduce a new virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) that will speed, simplify and improve management of the computers.

By choosing to implement the Nutanix 3060-G5 hyperconvergence solution, the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library team gained not only the future agility and longevity it needed to address its growing patronage but also features and capabilities that would benefit the library immediately, says Brian Mithen, a network and systems administrator at the library.

One of these major changes is that library patrons and employees now have access to a consistent user experience, no matter their device.

“One of the things I really like about working for the public and for the staff here at the library is providing the service and the continuity of experience. So, any computer they sit down at they experience the same set up every time,” says Mithen. “They have easy access to the software to build resumes or apply for jobs.”

Since the library, which caters to 3,000 patrons a day and circulates 2.4 million items a year, does not operate branch locations, it relies on the web, remote access to book lockers and other mobile services to reach its patrons. Hyperconvergence offered IT the opportunity to grow and future-proof the data center services for some time, deploy VDI and even make more space in its data closets.

“Without technology, this library really couldn’t function,” says Topeka and Shawnee County Library CEO Gina Millsap. After reaping the benefits of hyperconvergence, the library is able to employ speedier online mobile book checkouts and has enhanced opportunities for system scalability and accessibility.

“Some governmental entities and nonprofits tend to not upgrade because it costs money. [But] it’s a good thing to spend money in the right places if that’s going to help you succeed,” says David King, the library’s digital services director, of making the switch. “Having a newer system in place is not a scary thing.”

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Jul 03 2017

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