8 April 2015 - 8:35am | by Ginny Mies

Assistive technology continues to be an important topic as public libraries strive to become more inclusive spaces for all members of the community. The American Library Association has a clear policy on accessibility:

"Libraries play a catalytic role in the lives of people with disabilities by facilitating their full participation in society. Libraries should use strategies based upon the principles of universal design to ensure that library policy, resources and services meet the needs of all people." 

Accessibility is also a big part of the Edge Initiative, an assessment program that provides libraries with benchmarks, best practices, and resources for public technology services. 

Edge Benchmark 11 states:

"Libraries ensure participation in digital technology for people with disabilities."

Sounds pretty straightforward, but how do you actually implement this practice? We invited three speakers on our February webinar to share their unique experiences with assistive technology:

7 April 2015 - 11:12am | by Ariel Gilbert-Knight

Did you know that 98% of public libraries offer some form of technology training? And 95% offer employment and workforce development programs? Of course you do.

Libraries know all about how libraries support access to and use of technology. Unfortunately, in many cases the same can't be said of your legislators, local voters, the mainstream media, and others who may influence public library funding and support.

Common Craft put together a snappy video to help libraries address this perception issue. 

6 April 2015 - 12:08pm | by Elizabeth Pope

A well-designed, up-to-date website is critical for a library of any size. Your patrons rely on your website for basic information about your library, such as directions to a branch or upcoming events. They also may go to your website hoping to search an online public access catalog (OPAC), download an e-book, or browse an online exhibit. A content management system, or CMS, can help you provide these services and manage them effectively, whether you have a volunteer managing your site or an entire department doing so.

Teen on a computer at the library

A CMS is essentially a software package that lets you create and edit website content — including text, pictures, menus, and more — without having to know how to write code. 

1 April 2015 - 12:01pm | by Ginny Mies

Generally, I'm all for mobile apps or computer programs that support literacy. TechSoup for Libraries had a webinar a few months ago, in fact, on ways librarians can incorporate apps and technology into story time.

But when I heard about Clean Reader, the app that scrubs out "profanity" from books and replaces it with alternative words, I was offended. It's not explicit language that makes me grimace, but the fact that this app is a blatant form of censorship.

25 March 2015 - 1:58pm | by Phil Shapiro

Some school and public libraries around the world are setting up makerspaces or creative tinkering spaces, but not every library has the space or budget to do so. How can your library support makers without having its own makerspace? There are lots of ways to do it. Here are a few tips to get you started.

16 March 2015 - 11:46am | by Ginny Mies

 

"How can I get [insert type of e-resource or content] on my [insert type of mobile device]?"

If your library offers some sort of electronic resource, whether it be e-books, audiobooks, or simply your online catalog, you've probably heard this question before. Perhaps you get more basic, non-library-specific technology questions about mobile devices, like "How do I check my email?" or "Where can I watch a YouTube video?" No matter how large your library is or where it's located, you surely have patrons using mobile devices.

10 March 2015 - 11:31am | by Ginny Mies

I was scanning the ALA Store when a book caught my eye: Technology for Small and One-Person Libraries: A LITA Guide. Given how many of our TechSoup for Libraries members come from small libraries, I thought this book would be a great subject for our very first book review! Is this guide something that belongs on every rural librarian's shelves? Can you get technology tips from a printed book? Will even the tech-savviest of librarians get something out of this book? Yes, yes, … and yes!

A Quick Caveat on Books About Tech

I'm possibly stating the obvious here, but it's important to note that when you buy a book on technology, there is almost always going to be something out-of-date in it. Technology moves so fast that even if the publisher were to continuously release updated versions of the book, it still couldn't keep up.

 Technology for Small and One-Person Libraries was published in 2013, and although the authors do a great job of keeping the descriptions and names of technology general, there is some information that isn't quite current. For example, the social media chapter lists a few platforms and tools to check out, but doesn't include Tumblr, Instagram, or Pinterest, which have become quite popular among libraries.  

24 February 2015 - 10:25am | by Ginny Mies

Could your library use some assistance in staffing? Whether you work at a large city library or a small one- or two-staff-member rural library, volunteers can make a huge difference! But how do you recruit, manage, and engage volunteers? How do you make sure your volunteers keep coming back?

My kids got me a Kindle

20 February 2015 - 1:21pm | by TechSoup Announcements

This post was originally published on TechSoup.org. We're excited to share that eligible public libraries can now request donations of Box, a file-sharing, content management, and collaboration service. You can use Box to share files, such as photos from a recent event, with staff and volunteers. 

TechSoup is proud to announce our newest donor partner, Box.org.

Box.org provides organizations with the Box file-sharing, content management, and collaboration service.

See the Box.org Donation Program for details about this offer.

Creative Commons License

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