Assistant Director for Information Systems
Detroit Public Library
Technology and the changing needs of patrons have revolutionized the operational structure of libraries. Patrons are no longer visiting the library simply to browse the aisles for a great read. Computer access is vital for those looking to type up a resume, conduct research for a homework assignment, or tackle a group project from a centralized, well-connected location. The provision of a reliable internet network is fundamental in today’s library environment.
With the need for a reliable network comes the need for unabated endpoint capacity. Providers have to be ready to adapt in order to meet the needs of anyone who walks through the library’s doors. With such an unpredictable client base to serve, a flexible yet secure firewall is a necessity. To learn more, Merit discussed the importance of high-end protection with Victor Ibegbu. Victor has served as the Assistant Director for Information Systems at the Detroit Public Library for the past seven years. After emphasizing the importance of technology in libraries, Victor said that his goal is to “Encourage patrons to utilize the library’s computers.”
With endless innovations and technological advances changing his industry, Victor has first-hand experience making necessary adjustments to meet the needs of library patrons. The Detroit Public Library’s current focus is increasing endpoint capacity with its users in mind. Victor’s example centered on the video-sharing platform, YouTube. “Once the platform began requiring HD, it created some problems for us,” Victor recalled. “The requirements started at 3 Mbps, then jumped to 20, then to 50.” These requirements demanded a service provider that was able to assist the library in intelligently managing the pipeline. Holding the status of Merit Member, the Detroit Public Library turned to their partner to create and manage their network.
As an information access point, libraries regularly receive subpoenas from law enforcement. Because libraries take measures to protect the privacy of their patrons, this task is inherently difficult. If a firewall is unable to see devices or applications that are being used, it is limited in its ability to protect the network or the end-user. However, with the proper configuration in place, it becomes manageable.
While working with a previous provider, Victor experienced delayed response times, limited support, and unreliable service. Delays in service could have catastrophic effects on the library and patrons. These shortcomings motivated Victor to switch firewall providers. He decided to turn to the organization that he had trusted in the past. When asked about his decision to once again partner with Merit, Victor commented that the quality of service has exceeded his expectations. “Since moving over, we’re able to access by traffic type, time of day, IP address, etc. We can also manage traffic and move it how we want.”
Since 2009, Merit Network and the Detroit Public Library have continuously strengthened their partnership. Victor credited the decision to partner with Merit on firewall services to the positive experience with the network installation and maintenance. “Whoever we partner with has to know that this is a dynamic platform. They have to understand our goals and objectives,” Victor commented. “Merit was meticulous and they invested the time to get it right.” Throughout the conversation, Victor repeatedly stressed the importance of quality service. When asked about his experience with Merit, Victor said, “We became Merit members and built a relationship with the organization on the network side of things, so we understood that Merit is a proactive provider.” He reiterated the impact that response time has on all technological facets, particularly those involving threats to the firewall.
Throughout his career, Victor Ibegbu has seen the evolution of the library environment. Today, library computers are an open-source tool for the public, being used with no defined restrictions. This presents uniquely formidable challenges for individuals in Victor’s position. In his words, “We need to be open to the public, but strong behind the scenes.” When it comes to a firewall provider, Victor believes there are a plethora of challenges to consider. To overcome those hurdles, the Detroit Public Library requires a provider that is adaptable. “Our partner has to have the capacity to take on changes; anybody could walk through our doors at any time and request anything.”
Victor and the Detroit Public Library needed a provider who could meet the challenges of today but is also willing and able to adapt in order to overcome the challenges of tomorrow. Merit Network has exceeded Victor’s expectations on all fronts. With a deep understanding of members’ network and traffic, Merit is able to provide customizable solutions. Merit is a meticulous and proactive partner, resulting in the provision of high-quality service.