What's educational, fun, and found in most libraries? Computer games!
Faye Hover from Smith-Welch Memorial Library in Hearne, Texas is using computer games to educate her younger patrons, and they don't even know it. "When the kids were here, they didn't have anything to do, and I thought, 'well, if I get a game computer and put some interesting games and trick them into thinking they're having fun, when they're really learning something, well this will be a good thing.'"
I've heard from several library staff that having a tech mentor is a valuable resource for learning about computers. For example, take Barbara Keefe, Technology Services/Reference Librarian at the Windham Public Library. One of her patrons, a former IBM employee, taught Barbara (among a number of tech things) how to crack open a computer to upgrade RAM and to wear an ESD wrist strap when working with hardware.
With so much going on--ALA and more!--I haven't had an opportunity to announce that the first Cookbook is available and ready for rural libraries to use!
You can download it from our site here: http://maintainitproject.org/cookbooks
At the Rural Library Sustainability Project workshop at ALA last Friday, Jana Ponce, Director of Parker Public Library in Parker, AZ shared her inspired idea for getting the word out to seniors about public computer classes ...
She transforms her library's class schedule into simple place mats, and distributes them to the local diner where seniors frequent. (!)
Libraries have been quite successful using wish lists to expose their needs. When a community member sees something tangible they can donate, such as a printer or a bookshelf, they often feel motivated to help out. This is not a new idea. At the Rural Library Sustainability Workshop, libraries shared stories of televisions, paint, art supplies, and other commodities community members donated.
Libraries are spending an increasing amount of time helping patrons complete online forms. One librarian from Georgia shared that when a Lowes store opened recently in her town, her library had applicants streaming in, eager to complete a job application. "In my town, we're it" she shared, while other Georgian librarians nodded their head in recognition of this challenge. Not many folks in her town own computers, so her library provides the only access to the Internet, and the only spot to complete an online form.
It's been a pleasure spending the past two days lunching with rural librarians. My first lunch date included librarians from Mississippi, Montana, and Kansas. All had such inspiring stories to share, and all were initiating impressive programs in their libraries. There's a reason they were chosen to participate in WebJunction's Rural Library Sustainability Project: these women are leaders.
Don’t hate me because I’m not a big fan of Twitter. I have friends who use it and I’ve followed bloggers who swear by the coolness of it, and I haven’t yet determined a reason to join the bandwagon. Until today.