public access computers

Get Windows 10 for Your Library

This blog was originally published on TechSoup.org. If you miss the free upgrade offer, you can still request Windows 10 through TechSoup. 

Microsoft's free Windows 10 upgrade offer ends on July 29, 2016. If you want to take advantage of this free upgrade offer, now is the time.

Learn About the Free Upgrade

TechSoup is here to help you understand the best upgrade option for your organization. If you have active Software Assurance, use a Windows version that isn't eligible for Microsoft's free upgrade, or you need Windows 10 Enterprise, read on!

Your Library's Guide to Hardware from TechSoup

TechSoup's hardware selection is growing! Check out this list of programs, partners, and special hardware offers to help you find all the equipment you need to maximize your library's public access computers and technology services.

Get Connected with Mobile Beacon Hotspots

Mobile Beacon hotspot

How Waukesha Library Revamped Its Public Access Computers

Waukesha Library at night

Waukesha, Wisconsin might be most famous for being a "guitar town." It's the birthplace of Les Paul, music pioneer and inventor of the iconic Gibson Les Paul guitar. But the Waukesha Public Library also deserves fame for its innovative programs and dedication to its community. With the help of TechSoup's Refurbished Computer Initiative (RCI), the library is able to provide the valuable service of public access computers to Waukesha residents.

A Dynamic and Diverse Community

Located west of Milwaukee, Waukesha has a population of about 71,000. The library is the largest in a system of 17 libraries, and it serves about 100,000 people. The library supports a wide range of community members, everybody from tech-savvy students (the Waukesha school district has an iPad program) to manga-loving teens (who publish a biannual teen-created fanzine) to those who are homebound.

Waukesha has also increased its materials and services for non-English speaking people and English-language learners. The city has a growing Hispanic community that makes up more than 10 percent of the total population. The library works with local nonprofits, such as La Casa de Esperanza and the Waukesha Hispanic Collaborative Network, to provide Spanish-language programming, such as parenting classes and story times. The library works with the Greater Waukesha Literacy Council to mentor and tutor adults in English as a second language, reading, writing, spelling, and math.

Can You Get Tech Advice from a Print Book?

I was scanning the ALA Store when a book caught my eye: Technology for Small and One-Person Libraries: A LITA Guide. Given how many of our TechSoup for Libraries members come from small libraries, I thought this book would be a great subject for our very first book review! Is this guide something that belongs on every rural librarian's shelves? Can you get technology tips from a printed book? Will even the tech-savviest of librarians get something out of this book? Yes, yes, … and yes!

A Quick Caveat on Books About Tech

I'm possibly stating the obvious here, but it's important to note that when you buy a book on technology, there is almost always going to be something out-of-date in it. Technology moves so fast that even if the publisher were to continuously release updated versions of the book, it still couldn't keep up.

 Technology for Small and One-Person Libraries was published in 2013, and although the authors do a great job of keeping the descriptions and names of technology general, there is some information that isn't quite current. For example, the social media chapter lists a few platforms and tools to check out, but doesn't include Tumblr, Instagram, or Pinterest, which have become quite popular among libraries.  

How to Recruit and Engage Tech Volunteers at Your Library

Could your library use some assistance in staffing? Whether you work at a large city library or a small one- or two-staff-member rural library, volunteers can make a huge difference! But how do you recruit, manage, and engage volunteers? How do you make sure your volunteers keep coming back?

My kids got me a Kindle

Internet Filtering: Don't Do It

To filter or not to filter: that's a big decision public libraries face. Ever since the Supreme Court upheld the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA), libraries have felt pressure to filter Internet on public access computers.

Refurbished Computers Are Gaining Traction in Maine Libraries

Information Technology Exchange (ITE), a charity in Belfast, Maine (near Bangor) operates the PCs for Maine program, which provides refurbished computers to schools, nonprofits, and libraries for use as public access stations. What is unusual is not that this low-cost equipment is available to Maine libraries, but that it is becoming popular. How did this happen?

Join The IMPACT Survey Pilot for Free Eval and Advocacy Tools

You can be one of 400 U.S. library systems to join the IMPACT survey pilot. You’ll be provided with free evaluation and advocacy tools useful for measuring and communicating the impact of providing free access to computers and the Internet

Securing Public Access Computers: Some Alternatives to Windows SteadyState

After I wrote about Windows 7 and SteadyState last week, Sarah Washburn asked me a question that led me to look up some of the alternatives to Windows SteadyState that might help libraries secure and manage their public access computers if they’re really anxious to leave behind XP and/or Vista for Windows 7.