Blog

12 April 2018 - 12:34pm | by Phil Shapiro

Hand tearing a page from a book

Library tech newsbytes is a collection of fun news items from social media and pretty much anywhere else. We hope you enjoy our batch for this month!

7 March 2018 - 1:58pm | by Phil Shapiro

A teacher points to a data visualization on a screen

Understanding and using metadata is one of most basic literacy skills in the information age. Metadata is information about information. The subject line of an email is metadata. A simple file name for a document is metadata. The contents and index of a book are metadata. It makes me restless when I see my patrons not using metadata effectively. This restlessness is a skill that can be taught. I do that every day at my public library job. You can, too.

9 January 2018 - 1:43pm | by Phil Shapiro

Headphones and a typewriter

Public libraries are houses of stories, so they are the perfect venue for people to learn to share their own personal stories in audio form. These skills are not difficult to acquire, and people often have an expanded sense of self after their own audio stories are published online. The following tips might help your library walk down the audio storytelling path.

15 September 2017 - 1:09pm | by Phil Shapiro

Witch's Broom region of Veil Nebula

People often go to the public library to get things done. For a public library to fulfill its mission, it needs to be a "zone of the possible." What that means is that every question asked in a library must be given the best possible answer — an answer that a community member might not have been able to find without help. Libraries that are firing on all cylinders are anticipating those questions and are assembling answers before the questions show up in living, breathing form.

30 June 2017 - 8:50am | by Phil Shapiro

3D optical illusion

In my opinion, one of the functions of libraries and librarians is to facilitate the sharing of ideas, particularly ideas that can move the world forward. In that spirit, I want to tell everyone about a new free downloadable application named JigSpace. With this Window or Mac desktop app, anyone can create 3D animated presentations called Jigs. Jigs can explain, show, or teach anything in an intuitive and memorable way.

22 June 2017 - 8:39am | by Phil Shapiro

Car Wash

One of my hobbies at my public library job is buying affordable laptops on eBay and fixing them up. I then sell them at the same price I bought them for to people who need a laptop. When I noticed on eBay that a private school in Colorado was selling 10 Chromebooks for $500 (shipping included), I jumped on that deal. The model Chromebook they were selling was just two years old and still very usable.

19 May 2017 - 1:27pm | by Phil Shapiro

Children enjoying using a computer at a library

Sometimes what you yearn and work for happens of its own accord. At my public library job at a small public library in the Washington, D.C., area, I've been yearning for students to use our public computers more for educational uses and less for recreational uses. Admittedly, some of the recreational uses of our computers do fortify the mind. But it sure would be nice for at least some students to be doing their homework on library computers.

7 April 2017 - 9:24am | by Phil Shapiro

A windows logo and a gold dollar symbol outweighing a linux logo on a scale

Like everyone, I have my preferences about the hardware and software I like. I think it is natural to want others to share your tastes. My Somali-American programmer friend has taught me to be more open-minded. Here is how that happened.

6 February 2017 - 12:00am | by Phil Shapiro

Open source linux laptop computer with an illustrated penguin on the keyboard

People go to the public library to expand their horizons. At the public library, they can encounter new ideas, new perspectives, and new possibilities. Sometimes they'll even find new hobbies and new career paths.

5 October 2016 - 10:32am | by Phil Shapiro

Community meeting at library

People come to the library with questions. Sometimes their questions are deflected as not being "ready reference" questions, meaning questions that can be answered by using one or two common reference tools. Is a question less valid if it is not a ready reference question? What would happen if librarians addressed questions by convening members of the community — pooling knowledge to discern and devise answers and solutions? The unanswered questions would have a higher chance of being addressed, which itself would promote more wondering.

Suppose someone came to the library and asked this question: "I don't have money to pay utility bills. In what ways can I make it through the winter in my apartment or house without freezing to death?"  That's a valid question, even though it's not your typical public library reference question.

There might not be one tidy answer to this question, but there are many approaches to answering this question. Naturally, all proposed solutions to this situation must place the safety of the community member first.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.