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April 19 2011


What do librarians know about apps? Plenty.

Today I had the great pleasure of sitting in a room--a small room--with the FCC Chairman, Julius Genachowski, as he announced a new project in collaboration with the Knight Foundation: Apps for Communities. This exciting new venture will put $100k of prizes in the hands of folks who dream up creative and useful ways to capitalize on existing public data and connect local folks to local data that solves local issues.

While Chairman Genachowski likely didn't have librarians in mind when nurturing this idea with the Knight Foundation, my first thought was: librarians! You might be thinking, "but I'm not a coder," and that may be true, but you have ideas. And you know your community. And you're crafty, innovative, and smart. What does your community need?

From the FCC:

This challenge is an effort to drive the great technical skills we have in our country out into our local communities. A particular goal is to build new applications to improve access for people who struggle with accessing information and services online: Seniors, non-English speakers, people who are uncomfortable with technology, and others. This contest seeks to bring the value of broadband to people who are, up until now, less likely to be online."

These people are in your library, using your library's services. What do they need? Do they need access to information during a disaster? Do they need to know where urgent care facilities exist and how to get there by public transportation? These were just two ideas shared during the press conference and discussion, but you likely have better, more focused ideas because you know the patrons who walk through your doors.

But what to do with your idea? Well, here's an idea:

One of TechSoup's projects, NetSquared, holds monthly offline events for anyone interested in technology and social impact. These local gatherings are an opportunity to share ideas, learn from one another, and collaborate on projects to create real world impact. What's more, they take place in 80 cities around the world, and if one doesn't exist near you, you can start on AT YOUR LIBRARY! How cool is that? Perhaps this FCC/Knight Foundation challenge is just the venue for you to share your idea with folks who could really make it happen. Try it. Or let me know why not. Or share your idea in the comments. Or just plain get in touch.

February 12 2011


Hello My Name is Bobbi Newman

Hello I am Bobbi Newman, I am a librarian in a public library. I’m responsible for our website, online services, new and emerging technology and training and development for staff and the public. I am also speak and provide training for libraries nationally and internationally. 

I am dedicated to helping libraries find their place in the digital age. I’m passionate about 21st century literacies and the role of all libraries in equal access and opportunity for all. My professional interests include digital and technology based services, the digital divide, and improving existing services through expanding traditional methods, while creating innovative new practices. I write about these and other issues at Librarian by Day.


February 11 2011


Hello From Snowy Kansas!

I am the Digital Branch & Services Manager at Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library. That really means this - I'm in charge of technology and all our web and social media services.

My professional/personal priorities? They sorta blend - I love connecting people to the content they want, and to each other. I do that by building web experiences that rock, and by teaching others to do it, too.

In our neck of the woods, we bring project planning and creativity to our collaborations, as well as a knack for goal setting. Our main needs from collaborators? That really depends on the project - we are very purposeful in selecting collaborators or partners for a project.

But that's just my library. In general, libraries love partnering with non-profits and other types of organizations! We don't generally have much funding - but we make up for that in creativity, a deep, deep knowledge of content in all forms and where to find it, and in working with our local communities.

Links to stuff:

November 27 2010


Better than burning…how bout banning?

Books, that is. A high school in Houston (TX) has banned books in its library in favor of e-books and coffee. Novel (excuse the pun) concept…but what the heck?

Thanks to Amanda Emily for this link to what is either the greatest or most profoundly stupid idea yet in education.

The Lamar High School Library has been converted from a bookish enclave to a dawn to dusk coffee house and the only reading is done electronically. While I am thrilled at the expansion of technology, I am appalled at the methodology. Books were tossed out wholesale…with some teachers refusing to allow their students to “volunteer” to get rid of books “any way they can.”

I mean – come on! Wasn’t there some way to phase this in? While those who can afford e-book readers, laptops and who are lucky enough to be among the few who get in line early to check out the limited library readers, many will be left looking in from the outside. The technology limits who can access this new paradigm…and also excludes those who don’t have the bucks for the (not free) coffee and dunken donuts or wherewithall to use this marvelous new facility during the expanded hours.

So here’s the ranking:
Bright idea ahead of its time – 10 out of 10 points
Method of implementation – minus 4 out of 10 points
Overall evaluation – let’s wait and see if students actually read more and/or learn more. (BTW, is anybody keeping track?)

October 20 2010


Archiving is a headache…

…unless you begin it on Day One of your adventure into the digital world AND you keep it up every day. Ya see, whether pro or aspiring pro, you’re gonna shoot hundreds of photos and hours of video and generate an awful lot of “stuff.” A wise person, of course, reviews and edits down even the raw data/video/photos – but you’ve still got a LOT of stuff. Get behind for a day or a week and the headache begins.

Well cruising b-roll has paid off again!

Pro-User Dennis Hart was caught in a nightmare of a situation, attempting to search thru twenty or thirty hard drives with hundreds of projects on them when he discovered DiskLibrary from ObviousMatter.

Here’s what he has to say about it:

“Indexes whatever’s on the disk automatically and puts it into a search-able data base. All for only $39. Tried it on a nearly full Terabyte drive and it worked flawlessly. Indexed thousands of files in under 15 minutes. Faster than data transfer. Highly recommend.”

I checked out their website and the program (which, from what I could see onsite is Mac only) will organize file formats from document to image to video and more.

Might be the magic pill for that oncoming headache…

October 14 2010


TechSoup Webinar: Story of an Open Source Library

TechSoup Talks LogoThis webinar will cover specific open source tools (some of which you may not have heard of before!) that work well for libraries and the benefits and challenges associated with their use. Meadville Public Library uses open source software on 90% of their public access computers.

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May 17 2010


TechSoup Webinar: Make it Easy to Give By Taking Online Donations

Are you interested in taking online donations, but not sure where to start? This can be a very confusing process, with many options and it’s not easy to determine what the best solution is for your nonprofit or library. Attend this free webinar and learn about the different ways that you can raise money online and the tools to make it safe for your donors.

We will talk about ways to take donations, learn about related products that TechSoup offers, specifically Comodo, and hear about organizations using those tools.

This webinar is ideal for decision makers, development directors, website managers, or anyone interested in learning more about taking online donations.

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March 05 2010


TechSoup Webinar: Get Started on Facebook

Many nonprofits and libraries are using Facebook to interact with their constituencies and reach out to new audiences – but what’s the best way to get your organization started on this hugely popular social networking site?

In this webinar Kami Griffiths will interview social media consultant John Haydon, who will walk through the essential steps to establishing and managing a successful Facebook presence for a nonprofit or library. We will also hear from Gabe O’Neill of Kids Are Heroes, who will share lessons learned from developing their own Facebook page. Get practical how-to information, learn best practices, ask questions, and leave with action items that will help you create an engaging Facebook presence for your organization.

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