Blog

10 November 2016 - 2:46pm | by Jim Lynch

Ready Set Connect participants

We certainly love nonprofits and libraries here at TechSoup. The only thing we like better is when they get together to do extraordinary work. Ready, Set, Connect! (RSC) is a collaboration of Oakland Public Library and the nonprofit Community Technology Network (CTN) in the Bay Area.

Their Ready, Set, Connect! project provides serious technology career training to local teens who then provide digital literacy tutoring at the library. It is an innovative program that both organizations hope can be replicated across the country.

24 October 2016 - 9:05am | by Jim Lynch

I know there are lots of social media tools beyond Facebook and Twitter that people are using that I should know about. But who has the time? That's why I like TechBoomers. They currently offer over 100 free courses composed of over 1,000 video and article tutorials.

TechBoomers.com is a free educational website that teaches older adults and others with limited computer skills how to use popular websites and apps. That means their courses are simple to digest and understand. It also makes TechBoomers a great resource for library staff and patrons to quickly find out how to use things like Snapchat, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Plus, all their content is Creative Commons licensed, which means you are free to reuse it in your own technology training for patrons or staff!

1 April 2016 - 10:38am | by Jim Lynch

Champagne glasses clinking in celebration

This post was originally published on the TechSoup blog. Because this ruling directly affects digital inclusion efforts, we thought our library audience would also be interested. 

In The Tech That Will Change 2016, I boldly predicted that this is the year that the digital divide will finally be bridged in the United States.

I based this largely on a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposed rule change to expand theUniversal Lifeline Program to include affordable $9.25-a-month home broadband.

Well, the FCC did it! The new rule was passed today, finally making home broadband affordable to nearly everyone.

21 January 2016 - 4:17pm | by Jim Lynch

We thought our library audience might be interested in the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and how they impact global philanthropy. The International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) has made it a priority to “ensure that the new UN Sustainable Goals recognize the importance of access to information for development, and that libraries are able to play a key role in implementing the goals” (read the full report here).  Throughout 2014, IFLA was active in the UN Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals and released a call for action, the Lyon Declaration on Access to Information and Development, urging UN Member States to commit to information access. This post originally appeared on the TechSoup blog

Chart of the 17 goals. 1: No Poverty; 2: No Hunger; 3: Good Health; 4: Quality Education; 5: Gender Equality; etc.

Now that the United Nations Millennium Development Goals have expired and in some ways, have succeeded surprisingly well, the UN has developed a new set of even more ambitious goals. These new UN Sustainable Development Goals are the de facto agenda for global philanthropy, and they have a new dimension: technology targets to enable implementation.

Governments, foundations, and charities learned a good deal from working to implement the previous UN goals. Lack of infrastructure and weak political will in various countries hampered progress. That may be why technology (for example, rapid mobile phone adoption worldwide) may be so important for realizing the new goals. I'll say more about that below.

2 December 2015 - 11:09am | by Jim Lynch

LoC Great Hall

Over on the TechSoup blog, I just did a profile of iFixit's Kyle Wiens, who won the 2015 refurbishment lifetime achievement award. One of his recent accomplishments was to successfully advocate for exemptions to the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). Many of the exemptions free up device owners' rights to repair or alter their electronics devices. There are a number of new digital rights management (DRM) changes that affect libraries.

Every three years the U.S. Copyright Office department of the Library of Congress devises adjustments to the DMCA. The DMCA makes it illegal to circumvent digital rights management (DRM) copy protections. It does things like prevent the copying of movie DVDs and music CDs, or the jailbreaking (rigging) of a game player so that it runs unlicensed games.

Protesting DRM

3 November 2015 - 9:25am | by Jim Lynch

From time to time, we like to check to see what product donations public libraries particularly like among the more than 400 offerings on TechSoup. We thought you might like to know what your colleagues are interested in.

Hidden Gems for Libraries

 

From reading programs to language dictionaries, these products are especially popular among our library members. There might be something on this list you haven't yet considered for your library!

27 October 2015 - 5:36pm | by Jim Lynch

Plucking a password

This blog originally appeared on the TechSoup blog. We wanted to share it with our library audience because there's a special section on teaching privacy to library patrons as well as a section on teaching Internet security to kids. What resources do you use at your library to teach Internet security? 

There are a handful of things each of us should do to keep secure online, right? We should make our passwords long and strong, keep our software updated, and all the stuff they list on StaySafeOnline.org.

But wait. There's more! We know that one size does not fit all, when it comes to teaching and learning about online security. Luckily, there are some great Internet safety resources that are specific for healthcare organizationslibrariesseniorskids, and small offices (like the ones that most nonprofits have). Here are some of those that we like.

18 September 2015 - 10:52am | by Jim Lynch

This post originally appeared on the TechSoup blog. We wanted to share it with the library community as so many of you are designing flyers, websites, and promotional images for programs and events. 

Whether you're creating a postcard, flyer, presentation, or fundraising email, a little design know-how goes a long way.

Don't have a graphic designer in-house? No problem. With the recent launch of discounted Adobe Creative Cloud memberships on TechSoup, we have been doing some great webinars and blog posts on graphic design basics and how to use Adobe tools.

Basic Know-How: Graphic Design for Non-Designers

Design Seeds screenshot showing palettes and matching images

Four Things Non-Designers Should Know About Graphic Design by our Laura Kindsvater is a very plain language intro if you're just getting started, including

  • The basics of layout so that the important stuff gets noticed.
  • Figuring out which colors to choose.
  • Where to find good images.
  • Not overloading with too many fonts.
  • Finding handy free tools and design templates.

8 September 2015 - 12:54pm | by Jim Lynch

Little girl playing with banana circuit

What does digital inclusion mean for libraries? It's the idea that all libraries, even budget-constrained ones, can provide access to current information and communication technologies for their patrons. This could include computers, apps, and current software, plus more exotic things like 3D printers, robotics, toys, programming, and trainings.

Nice idea, but how might small, rural, and other libraries without big budgets get innovative technology and training? Meet the New Mexico Makerstate Initiative.

18 May 2015 - 10:45am | by Jim Lynch

Homework wordcloud

According to a 2013 ALA survey, almost all U.S. public libraries now offer online and in-person homework assistance?. In rural areas, this service is especially important because the library offers high-speed broadband access that many homes can't afford.

Urban areas have their own challenges that also include lack of Internet access. We decided to have a look at what is working well — and not so well — in the world of library homework help programs.

Pew Research finds that 54 percent of teachers say all or almost all of their students have access at school to the digital tools they need to be academically successful, but just 18 percent say the same is true for their students at home. The Miami Herald recently reported on how critical the Miami Dade libraries are in addressing this need.

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