13 May 2016 - 1:58pm | by Ginny Mies

I recently wrote an article for Public Libraries Online on how the Berkeley Public Library (BPL) in California is making coding more accessible to its community through free workshops. The volunteer who is leading these classes is Sameer Siruguri. He is actually a former TechSouper and had reached out to the TechSoup for Libraries team to see if other libraries have done similar programming. 

Tech + Volunteers = Library Success!

Hour of Code at Chattanooga Library

The focus of my story was the coding programs for adults (inspired by the excellent Library Journal piece, How to Talk Code: Digital Literacy). But I thought this was also a wonderful example of how volunteers can help support technology and digital literacy initiatives.

I interviewed Siruguri along with Dan Beringhele, an adult services librarian at the Berkeley Public Library's Central Library, and Anwan Baker, the supervising librarian for adult services. Siruguri had approached the BPL because he was searching for a venue to host a RailsBridge workshop, a weekend event that teaches coding to underserved people. Previously, the Central Library had only offered basic computer classes, and both Beringhele and Baker wanted to see if there was any interest in more advanced programs, like coding.

The three planned an introductory class for adults that covered the basics of HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript. The class was so well received that they're planning a follow-up class that is focused specifically on JavaScript.

12 May 2016 - 12:08pm | by Ginny Mies

Most libraries provide some sort of digital literacy training, from public computer classes to drop-in technology labs to one-on-one help. TechSoup for Libraries' March webinar was all about free digital literacy training resources and tutorials. We invited guests from two organizations that specialize in digital literacy:

  • Scott Allen, program manager for the Public Library Association (PLA) where he oversees DigitalLearn.org
  • Jessica Rich, curriculum coordinator of GCFLearnFree.org

Online learning at the library

The most popular digital literacy activity among our webinar attendees was "technical reference questions" with "drop-in assistance" coming in second.

6 May 2016 - 3:03pm | by TechSoup Announcements

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

6 May 2016 - 12:03pm | by Gary Lutz

In 2000, the Patchogue-Medford Library published a book that told the story of the library's first hundred years. In 2013, the time seemed right to tell that story once more in a new medium: video.

New Technology Brings New Opportunities

With the increasing availability, democratization, and inexpensiveness of high-quality motion picture equipment and with the pervasive popularity of video sharing sites, libraries now have incredible opportunities. Promotion, publicity, and advocacy can now be off the printed page and into a new medium. Having already completed several other short video projects, the library decided to take on a more expansive video project that would tell a full story.

At the centennial of our library, our local history librarian wrote a book for children and their parents about the library's history. The Library Story was printed and published by our library.

In connection with our library's forthcoming expansion back into our original Carnegie Library building, the time seemed right to tell that story once more in another medium.

3 May 2016 - 3:33pm | by TechBoomers

Article source: What is OverDrive for Libraries by TechBoomers.com. On May 18, TechSoup for Libraries is teaming up with TechBoomers' Steve Black for a webinar Digital Skills for OlderAdults: Teaching Technology. We thought we'd give a sneak peek at some of the training TechBoomers provides for libraries, such as this "how-to" article on OverDrive.  

Lots of people like to go out to their local libraries to borrow books and other forms of media, sometimes to learn something new, and other times just to be entertained. But it's not always easy to make it to the library; it may be closed, the weather may be inclement, or some people may generally have difficulty getting around.  Wouldn't it be nice if the library could come to you instead?

It's time for you to meet OverDrive. With OverDrive, you can borrow and enjoy materials from your local library or school's digital collection, including audiobooks, e-books, music tracks, and movies.  And all that you need to access it is a valid library card or student ID.

28 April 2016 - 4:10pm | by Dahna Goldstein

This post originally appeared on the TechSoup blog. We thought our library audience would appreciate grantseeking and funding advice from Dahna Goldstein, the director of philanthropy solutions at Altum. 

young woman making a contemplative face sitting in front of math calculations on a chalkboard

Not all grants are created equal, and some aren't even worth pursuing. One way to decide which grants to pursue is with a net grant calculation. You can then make the case to your executive director for why a particular grant is not worth chasing.

The net grant calculation helps discern the net monetary value a grant will provide to your organization.

22 April 2016 - 1:20pm | by Ginny Mies

This is part of our series on digital storytelling and originally appeared on the TechSoup blog. We also covered this topic in the TechSoup for Libaries/Kixal digital storytelling presentation at PLA 2016. You can find all of the resources, slide deck, and handout for that presentation on this document

Woman taking photograph with tripod

A compelling story makes a video stick with its audience, but if it looks poorly made, nobody's going to watch it. So as you're plotting out your next great digital story, make equipment-planning and budgeting part of the process. No matter your budget or movie-making skills, you can find the right combination of equipment for your nonprofit or public library.

15 April 2016 - 12:13pm | by Ginny Mies

Has your library embarked on a digitization project? Or have you wanted to, but you're unsure where to even start? If so, you're not alone. During our February digitization webinar, we asked hundreds of library attendees about their experiences with digitization:

  • About 30 percent had worked on a digitization project.
  • Forty-one percent answered that they were just getting started.
  • Twenty-three percent said they had not begun any digitization projects at their library.

Digitization can be a daunting project to take on, but there are many benefits to digitizing your special collections. It can expose your library to new audiences, help you build partnerships with other organizations, and showcase your library's collections and services.

At the end of last year, the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) released a free self-guided curriculum for public libraries to get started on digitization. TechSoup for Libraries invited Franky Abbott from the DPLA to discuss the curriculum for our February webinar. We also invited Jennifer Birnel from the Montana Memory Project, who helped develop some of the training content, and Sarah Hawkins from the East Central Regional Library, who participated in the trainings.

13 April 2016 - 2:09pm | by TechSoup Announcements

person holding a camera with text announcing key dates--see below for details

Ladies and gentlemen, Storymakers 2016 is here. For the sixth year, TechSoup's annual challenge will help public libraries and nonprofits learn how to increase their storytelling skills for fundraising and advocacy purposes. We also have a contest in which we're giving away US$7,000 in cash prizes and a new camera.

Learn more

4 April 2016 - 4:40pm | by Ginny Mies

Somebody applying hand sanitizer

My first shift at a volunteer-run library within a transitional housing center went so well. It had been a while since I worked a desk shift, so I was fearful that I'd be out of practice. But the patrons were great, I was able to easily locate items in the collection, and I got a fun array of questions.

Two days later, however, was an entirely different story: I was sick. And not just sick with a little cold, but eight-hours-of-complete-agony sick in which I spent more time in the bathroom than my bed.

During my recovery, I saw a message posted in the housing center's internal volunteer message board with the subject line: "NOROVIRUS OUTBREAK?!" I considered all of the things I had done in the library that day: moved chairs, picked up headphones, pulled DVDs, fixed the TV, put away headphones, shelved books, threw out old magazines … and not once did I use hand sanitizer.

To prevent future outbreaks, I crowdsourced some tips from other librarians on how they keep their technology and spaces clean — especially during flu season. Sharing headphones, in particular, seems to be the biggest germ spreader, and therefore, many libraries no longer lend them out.

Lysol wipes also are a popular tool in the library sanitizing arsenal.