I signed up for Nextdoor not really knowing what it was. Advertised as a "private social network for your neighbors," I assumed it was a place where neighbors exchanged tips on local hidden gems or important community updates. Boy, was I wrong. The majority of posts were arguments over petty things, such as the noise level of the city garbage trucks.
When I moved to a different neighborhood, I was on the verge of deleting my account, but an announcement from a neighbor about the local branch library made me think twice. After a little digging, I found out that the neighbor was actually the children's librarian at the Visitacion Valley branch of the San Francisco Public Library system.
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.
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:
- Aubrey Carroll, Florence County Library System in South Carolina
- Heather Pelham, Georgetown County Library in South Carolina
- Kathleen Kalmes, New York Public Library: Science, Business, and Industry Library
They shared the innovative ways they're making financial literacy fun — for both patrons and staff!
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
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.
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?