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.

1 April 2016 - 10:38am | by Jim Lynch

Champagne glasses clinking in celebration

This post was originally published on the TechSoup blog. Because this ruling directly affects digital inclusion efforts, we thought our library audience would also be interested. 

In The Tech That Will Change 2016, I boldly predicted that this is the year that the digital divide will finally be bridged in the United States.

I based this largely on a Federal Communications Commission (FCC) proposed rule change to expand theUniversal Lifeline Program to include affordable $9.25-a-month home broadband.

Well, the FCC did it! The new rule was passed today, finally making home broadband affordable to nearly everyone.

30 March 2016 - 10:24am | by Ginny Mies

We're exhibiting at PLA 2016

TechSoup for Libraries will be at the Public Library Association's conference (PLA) in Denver, and we’re excited to connect with you.

23 March 2016 - 2:25pm | by TechSoup Announcements
Mobile Beacon logo

This blog originally appeared on the TechSoup blog. Libraries can use Mobile Beacon hotspots to connect bookmobiles, start a home broadband program, or sign people up for services at events. For more about libraries increasing home broadband adoption, read about a few mobile hotspot lending programs across the country. 

Broadband Internet service for 10 people for $10 a month. Sound good? It's returning to TechSoup after several months' absence. We're talking about Mobile Beacon, of course, provider of wireless broadband service to nonprofits and public libraries.

R850 hotspot

What Mobile Beacon is actually donating is a wireless LTE mobile hotspot with each one-year account you sign up for. The mobile hotspot can connect up to 10 computers, tablets, smartphones, and other devices at a time. To get one, you'll need to pay in advance for a year of service at Mobile Beacon's regular price of $120. This is fourth-generation (4G) LTE broadband service, with download speeds that average 6 to 8 megabits per second and can reach peak speeds of 25 megabits per second. Your devices need to be Wi-Fi-enabled to connect to the hotspot.

8 March 2016 - 10:16am | by Rachael Davis

A mess of cords

Incident report forms: everyone knows about them, and everyone hates them. The real tragedy about them, however, is that the incident you are sitting there writing about (all the while cursing to yourself in your head) was most likely preventable. "But Rachael," you ask, "what do incident report forms have to do with technology?" Well, I'll tell you.

Stand up and take a walk around your library right now and tell me what you see. I'll wait. … Are you back? Good, then what you probably noticed was all those cords you made sure to dodge as you were walking around just now.

Yup, those very cords are the ones that caused one of your patrons to trip, sprain an ankle, and then need an ambulance because it hurt too much to walk. Oh, and guess who is left to fill out the incident report form — that's right, Y.O.U. "But Rachael," you say, "isn't that the cost of doing business with all this new technology?" Well, it is and it isn't; allow me to explain.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.