Once upon a time, there was a suburban Chicagoland public library with an enormous dream: to raise enough money for its very own Incredible Hulk statue. And over on the East Coast, a one-room library without running water was dreaming of a more modern building.
Both libraries garnered an incredible amount of support for these dreams, from mentions in popular magazines to shout-outs from celebrities. Oh, and a substantial amount of money too. How did they do it? Through the magic of crowdfunding!
TechSoup for Libraries held a webinar on July 29 on tools, tips, and tried-and-true practices for running a successful library crowdfunding campaign. We invited the librarians from those two crowdfunding campaigns to share their experience:
- Laura Bartnik, Northlake Public Library District (Illinois) shared how her library used crowdfunding to purchase and promote graphic novels and technology in the library.
- Mary Anne Antonellis, M.N. Spear Memorial Library (Shutesbury, Massachusetts) used crowdfunding to support a capital campaign to build a new library.
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On the TechSoup for Libraries blog, we discuss the numerous ways the public library serves its community: as an information hub, a place for activities, a book and DVD repository, and so much more. But we haven't really discussed another important element of the public library: as conservator of local history.
At ALA, the Orange County Library System (OCLS) in Orlando, Florida discussed how it is preserving local history, from the perspective of its community, at a session called "Your Community Memories: Preserving Local Legacies." Donna Bachowski, the reference central manager and Vanessa Neblett, reference central assistant manager, discussed two projects that the library is working on to engage the community in local history.
In Part 1 of this series, we introduced MathAndCoding, a nonprofit that offers teen-led programming classes for children in public libraries in the Silicon Valley area. In part 2, we offer a librarian's perspective as the host for this program.
As the first librarian to host it, Karin Bricker, library manager for youth and outreach services at Mountain View Public Library, had to overcome some initial skepticism. "They [Vineet Kosaraju and Nikhil Cheerla] are certainly capable, well-meaning kids. But they are still kids. So there was some initial back and forth early on in regards to curriculum."
On a balmy Californian Saturday afternoon, 14 kids, 8 boys and 6 girls, are figuring out the profit and loss of a lemonade stand. There's no real money involved, nor is it a real lemonade stand. And they're doing this using the programming language Java on their laptops.
With lines of code projected on a screen, these children listen intently in a conference room at the Mountain View Public Library, as part of a four-week course on programming. It's free to anyone who wants to attend, regardless of where they live.
When I heard way back in 2013 that the San Francisco Public Library (SFPL) was building a dedicated teen digital media space, I was thrilled. The city of San Francisco is the home of many technology companies, such as Twitter and Adobe, and many residents work for tech companies in the surrounding Bay Area.
Libraries today offer much more than books. At many libraries across America, children listen to stories read out loud by librarians, bird lovers attend chapter meetings for the Audubon Society, veterans get together to plan the next event for the Wounded Warrior Project, knitters learn how to master tricky stitches, gamers trade secrets, and aspiring writers hear stories from authors who once sat in the same folding chairs.
The ability to meet, listen to, and interact with people who live down the street or across town makes libraries vital civic centers at a time when community and communal spaces are disappearing.
Managing such an important public service can be difficult, especially if your library hosts multiple events each week and is the meeting place for dozens of community groups. Various software tools exist — from simple online calendars to robust event-management systems — but how do you know which technologies are right for your library?
We talked to a number of library staffers and nonprofit technology experts about the tools available to help you create and manage programs your patrons will appreciate and enjoy. Here's what they had to say.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.