or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk

Knowing What We Should Know

   February 17th, 2011

Computer with Question MarkJessamyn's observation on this USB keylogger thing got me thinking - without the context of that article, if I saw one of those in my library, I wouldn't have known what it was.

I would have known it shouldn't have been there, and maybe being plugged into the keyboard would have given me a clue, but I don't know.

This reminded me of a Technology Skills Library Staff Should Have list Sarah posted at ALA Learning (via). I wouldn't expect any staff to recognize a keylogger, but staff do need to be familiar enough with library equipment to recognize when something gets out of whack - printer not working right, copier making funny noises, website down, a monitor cable unplugged, or a foreign device plugged into a computer.

I like her list a lot, and am going to spend some time merging it with the idea from the Wilmington (MA) Library to break tech knowledge up into different levels to form a tech skills matrix.

Tech competencies is a topic I keep revisiting, because it is something that continually evolves - identifying keyloggers are just the latest addition.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

2 Responses to “Knowing What We Should Know”

  1. Bibliotecher Says:

    Honestly, this library was ‘fortunate’ to catch this USB keylogger. If it was installed on the hard drive, I highly doubt most librarians would recognize it, let alone know how to handle it. Besides, what lamer installs keyloggers on the public library PCs anyways, they must really want a bunch of Facebook passwords.

  2. Brian Herzog Says:

    @Bibliotecher: I think you’re right about most people not knowing what this was, even if they did happen to see it. But I wouldn’t minimize what could be stolen via this method – it’s our duty to protect patron privacy no matter how important their data might be, because it’s not just email and Facebook – lots of my patrons log into their bank accounts and stock portfolios, not to mention purchase things online with Paypal and credit cards. There really is huge potential there.