28 October 2015 - 5:47pm | by Ginny Mies

shiny lock on green door

These tips from the Internet Society not only can help all of us as individual consumers, but they're also useful for your library's basic computer or tech skills classes. This blog was originally published on the TechSoup blog

For a lot of us, shopping season is just around the corner. And for those of us who can't be bothered with crowded malls or lines at the register — it's online shopping season.

But before you spend time loading up your online shopping cart, take a few minutes to learn a little about managing your digital footprint and also protecting your online privacy. When it comes to your online privacy and identity — knowledge is the gift that keeps on giving. Here are 10 tips that can help from the Internet Society!

27 October 2015 - 5:36pm | by Jim Lynch

Plucking a password

This blog originally appeared on the TechSoup blog. We wanted to share it with our library audience because there's a special section on teaching privacy to library patrons as well as a section on teaching Internet security to kids. What resources do you use at your library to teach Internet security? 

There are a handful of things each of us should do to keep secure online, right? We should make our passwords long and strong, keep our software updated, and all the stuff they list on StaySafeOnline.org.

But wait. There's more! We know that one size does not fit all, when it comes to teaching and learning about online security. Luckily, there are some great Internet safety resources that are specific for healthcare organizationslibrariesseniorskids, and small offices (like the ones that most nonprofits have). Here are some of those that we like.

21 October 2015 - 5:08pm | by Sarah Washburn

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. TechSoup is participating by amplifying what other agencies, collaborators, and libraries in our network are doing to raise awareness around this important issue. Here are a few ways libraries are participating this month.

19 October 2015 - 4:48pm | by Ginny Mies

Pinterest cake

When you think of Pinterest, interior decorating ideas, vacation aspirations, and overly complicated recipes might come to mind. But a lot of libraries are using Pinterest to build up community interest with boards ranging from reader advisory to showcasing historical archives to promoting library events and programs.

TechSoup for Libraries recently did a webinar with Lauren Drittler of the Arkansas River Valley Regional Library System. As the assistant director, Lauren has created 61 boards and has built up 1,600 followers to the library's Pinterest account. Watch the webinar here:

I thought I'd share a few other interesting and successful library Pinterest accounts to check out for your own library's Pinterest goals.

23 September 2015 - 11:36am | by Ginny Mies

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.

18 September 2015 - 10:52am | by Jim Lynch

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.

8 September 2015 - 1:10pm | by Ginny Mies

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.

8 September 2015 - 12:54pm | by Jim Lynch

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.

2 September 2015 - 2:06pm | by Ginny Mies

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.

27 August 2015 - 1:15pm | by Ginny Mies

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.  

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