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Start Your Own Mobile Device-Lending Program


Lending out mobile devices, such as e-readers, tablets, and laptops, is an exciting way to draw in new patrons. But acquiring, caring for, and making devices available for public use may seem challenging and overwhelming. At our September webinar, we invited Stephen Tafoya from the Garfield County Library District in Rifle, Colorado to share his experience with device check-out, including Kindles, iPads, and Google Chromebooks.

Kindle Kit

In every webinar, we ask our audience a few questions to get an idea of how much they know about a topic and what they're already doing. I was excited to see that many of the attendees had some sort of device-lending program and check out things such as Go Pro cameras, LeapPads, and high-end video editing software.

5 Graphic Design Resources for Non-Designers


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.

Two Perspectives on Tech Planning for Small Libraries


Does the thought of creating a tech plan for your library seem overwhelming? A mysterious process? Something that you've been meaning to do, but just keep putting off? Never fear, the incredible tech planners are here to help! In August, we hosted a webinar called Technology Planning Tips for Small Libraries. Our guests for this webinar were

If you've never even considered creating a tech plan for your library, or it's been a while, you're not alone. More than a third of our webinar attendees do not have a current technology plan, and 14 percent said they were not sure if they had one or not.

How New Mexico Does Library Digital Inclusion: Meet The Makerstate Initiative


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.

5 Tips for Getting Media Pickup for Your Fundraising Campaign


This post originally appeared on the TechSoup blog. This post was inspired by the fantastic media pick-up the two libraries featured in our July webinar got for their crowdfunding campaigns. 

John Turturro with megaphone being photographed by reporters

Getting the media to cover your organization's fundraising campaign can help you reach new donors, garner larger donations, and become a well-known, trusted entity in your community. But working with the media is tricky, especially if you don't have a dedicated marketing or press relations person on staff.

However, a little media know-how can help you get some attention for your campaign. After years of being on both the press side and the PR side of the media game, here are some of my favorite tips for elevating a fundraising campaign.

5 Ways Libraries Support Disaster Relief and Recovery


This post originally appeared on the TechSoup blog as part of our reflection on the 10 year annivesary of Hurricane Katrina. Has your library helped in times of disaster? Tell us about how you supported your community in the comments. 

A library helping with disaster relief

In July, wildfires swept through the Saskatchewan province in Canada, forcing more than 13,000 people to evacuate their homes. The Saskatoon Public Library opened its doors to these evacuees, and staff members stepped up their efforts to help the evacuees communicate with their family and friends. Staffers also let people from outside of Saskatoon check out books from the library and access other services.

"This is what a public library is all about," said Carol Cooler, the director of libraries and CEO at the Saskatoon Public Library in a press statement. "We're a community space; we're here for everyone, and our services and resources are free of charge."

Saskatoon Public Library's support is just one of many examples of public libraries supporting disaster preparedness and relief. Here are a few more public libraries that have helped in times of need.  

Making Use of Government Social Media at the Reference Desk


Dog at reference desk

At this year's American Library Association Annual Conference, I strayed a bit from my usual public library path and attended a session from two academic librarians who work at Columbia University. But like many sessions at ALA, this one shared some useful tips for public librarians, particularly those who work at the reference desk.

Chubing Hong and Tara Das, both government information librarians at Columbia University, discussed how government agencies have used social media to communicate both official and unofficial government information. Hong discussed how the government in China is just starting to embrace social media as a means for communication.

There's so much information out there for librarians on how to use their own social media, but what about how to use other social media for finding and sharing information? And can you use it to answer questions at the reference desk?

How to Create a Community Resource Guide


At TechSoup, we're all about community organizations coming together to improve the quality of life for citizens. So when I heard about a collaborative project between nonprofits, city agencies, and the local library happening in my own backyard (almost literally!), I knew I had to write about it.

The Visitacion Valley Resource Guide, available in both online and print formats, is a comprehensive guide to local elected officials, employment services, child care, parks and playgrounds, faith-based organizations, public safety, and more for this sometimes under-served San Francisco neighborhood.  

Because many residents of Visitacion Valley don't have Internet access at home and/or don't speak English, it can be difficult for them to find local information. The resource guide, available both online and in print, helps connect people to neighborhood information.

Get Windows 10 for Your Library


This post originally appeared on the TechSoup blog. Find out how to upgrade your library's computers to Windows 10 today!  

Windows 10 is here! For many organizations, the upgrade is free. Learn how to upgrade your systems.

If You Have Active Software Assurance, Use It to Get Your Free Upgrade

Windows 10 will be available for download through the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) on August 3, 2015. If you requested a Windows upgrade license through TechSoup after August 3, 2013, you have active Software Assurance for that license, and you'll be able to download the upgrade for free on that date. See our instructions for downloading software from the VLSC.

If you have active Software Assurance, it's important to upgrade through the VLSC rather than through Microsoft's other free upgrade routes. Why? Upgrading through the VLSC is the only way to get Windows 10 Enterprise and keep your Software Assurance benefits like access to e-learning courses. Even if you don't use the Enterprise edition currently, you'll keep your license rights to that edition if you want to upgrade from Pro to Enterprise later on.

Calling All Libraries — Come Celebrate Creativity with #CelebrateAdobeCC


This post was originally published on the TechSoup blog. Because the contest is open to libraries, we wanted to share it with our creative community. 

'Imagination is more important than knowledge. ... imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.' — Albert Einstein

TechSoup and Adobe have teamed up to bring you a Facebook contest where you can win $1,000 by submitting any and all content your organization has created using Adobe.

How fun is that?

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