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Highlights and Learnings from CLA 2014

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Public librarians, academic librarians, LIS students, library staff, and library supporters from all over California gathered in Oakland at the California State Library Association's (CLA) annual conference. TechSoup for Libraries was in full force at the conference. We've compiled our highlights, learnings, and favorite ideas. It was a great way to see what libraries are doing on a local scale, but it was also an indicator of some trends that might take off nationally.  

Four Financial Literacy Ideas for Your Library

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Financial literacy can be both an intimidating topic to learn and teach. In October, we explored it in our Making Cents of Financial Literacy: Tech Tools and Innovative Programs webinar.

Our presenters came from libraries of different sizes:

They shared the innovative ways they're making financial literacy fun — for both patrons and staff!

E-Rate for the 21st Century: More Funding for Library Wi-Fi

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The Digital DivideFor the last 17 years, the E-rate program has helped provide schools and libraries across the U.S. with subsidized Internet service.

With almost one-third of Americans still not connected to the Internet, there has been consistent demand for increased E-rate funding. For example, TechSoup's donor partner, Mobile Beacon, has an infographic on its homepage showing that nearly 50 percent of U.S. libraries still lack sufficient Internet access to meet their patrons' needs.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) responded this July with an E-rate modernization plan to increase funding to libraries and schools for high-capacity Wi-Fi and broadband.

Healthy Fear, Healthy Habits: Teaching Privacy to Patrons

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Digital peeping toms. That phrase gives you the chills, doesn't it? It scary to think that your activity online can be tracked by corporations, the government, hackers, and other nefarious (and seemingly un-nefarious) entities. But with proper education, Internet users can fight back against these digital creeps.  

Take the ALA's Digital Inclusion Survey and See Your Library's Impact

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Every day, public libraries are on the front lines of digital inclusion. You might not know it, but you are a digital inclusion hero. Your public library is most likely doing the following:

  • Providing free Internet access
  • Teaching computer classes
  • Instructing teens on how to use the Internet safely
  • Helping patrons develop job skills
  • Providing access to health information

Reading and Story Time Apps for Your Library

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A pig playing an iPad piano was the last thing I expected to see at the Association of Small and Rural Libraries (ASRL) annual conference in Tacoma, Washington. Okay, it was just a pig puppet named Bacon, but still! Jeffrey Stoffer, library assistant at the Ak-Chin Indian Community Library in Maricopa, Arizona, showed just how creative one can get in the library with a tablet full o' apps. Luckily for us, Jeffrey shared his entire ARSL presentation (warning: large PDF file). This blog post just covers the reading and story time apps, but Jeffrey also talked about social media, writing, creativity, gaming, and problem solving apps for kids. 

Kid reading on iPad

One thing to note is that Jeffrey's presentation focused on iOS apps. Some of these apps might be available on Android and Windows platforms, or there might be similar types of apps on other platforms.

Is Your Library Using TechSoup Products and Resources for Security?

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Did you attend our Teaching Internet Safety webinar a few months ago? Have you received donated security software from us? Or perhaps you've used some of our helpful online security resources at your library? Tell us how your library is taking practical steps to keep your staff and patrons safe online for a chance to win a Microsoft Surface Pro tablet! 

Tell Your Rural Library's Story

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If you're a small or rural library, you probably have had to find some creative ways to advocate for your library. Storytelling is a powerful way to share the impact you have on your community. Best of all, it can be done digitally through video, social media, images, audio, and more.

TechSoup's own Jim Lynch was featured in The Daily Yonder sharing his expertise on digital storytelling for rural nonprofits, charities, and public libraries. While Jim shares examples from a number of inspiring rural organizations, the one nearest and dearest to our hearts is the Pottsboro Library.

How to Advocate for Your Library Through Storytelling

Your library is making an impact every day. Whether you're helping an adult apply for a job, teaching a teen how to code, or helping a sixth grader complete a research report, you're doing amazing work for your community. But does your community know it?    

New Infographic: Video Production Tips for Your Library

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TechSoup's Storymakers campaign empowers libraries to tell stories, increase visibility, and make an impact on their communities through digital storytelling.

Before you start your video, check out these basic tips about composing a great shot.

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