22 June 2015 - 3:45pm | by TechSoup Announcements

This post was originally published on the TechSoup blog. At library conferences this past year, we regularly got one question: Are you getting Adobe Creative Cloud soon? Now we can finally give you the answer you want: Yes! Public libraries are eligible for discounted Creative Cloud individual licenses for staff. Your library can use Adobe Creative Cloud to create flyers, make promotional videos, design newsletters, and more. 

TechSoup is proud to announce the newest product in the Adobe donation program: Creative Cloud.

Creative Cloud is the evolution of Creative Suite: a suite of design applications for creating graphics, video, audio, and interactive content for print, the web, and mobile devices. You can use Creative Cloud to tell your story in a variety of media.

TechSoup offers access to 60 percent off the retail rate on the first year of a Complete plan membership for one user. Adobe will then automatically bill you at 40 percent off the retail rate for every year after until you cancel. You can request discounted rates for as many individual memberships as you need, and this offer is available to 501(c)(3) nonprofits and public libraries regardless of their size and budget.

This plan includes the full version of every Adobe Creative Cloud program, full access to its related services, access to Behance ProSite, and 20 GB of cloud storage space. Adobe also provides all updates and upgrades without any additional cost. See the program page for more details about this membership offered through TechSoup.

12 June 2015 - 4:07pm | by Dan Rivas

Pyjama party

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.

11 June 2015 - 1:28pm | by Ginny Mies

How can you organize STE(A)M (Science Technology Engineering [Art] Math) programs for teens — and actually have them show up? At our May webinar, Teens and Tech: Creating Successful STEM Programs in Libraries, we invited three librarians to share practical planning tips and programming ideas.

  • Heather Booth and Jacquie Christen (Robot Test Kitchen) shared ideas for engaging teen technology programs that any size library can do.
  • Amanda Allpress (Shasta Public Libraries) spoke about a successful graphic design workshop for teens that went beyond the technology to also explore creativity and business.

In addition to programming advice and ideas, our speakers shared some of their programs' shortcomings and what they learned from them. If you're looking to try something new when it comes to teen programming, you'll discover some new ideas to put into action.

10 June 2015 - 3:42pm | by Ariel Gilbert-Knight

This post was originally published on the TechSoup blog. As our fiscal year comes to a close, we wanted to reflect on what resonated with our members this year. While some issues, such as Internet security and technology training, might resonate stronger with libraries than say, crowdfunding, we thought you'd find this list interesting. 

Fiscal year end is a time of reflection here at TechSoup. Well … reflection and crunching epic piles of data. We're reviewing what worked well this year and what we can improve for next year. This includes understanding what you, our nonprofit community, found most interesting in 2014–2015.

Here are the top 10 reasons you tuned in to the TechSoup blog this year.

29 May 2015 - 2:27pm | by TechSoup Announcements

This post originally appeared on the TechSoup blog. Did your library request any of these products this year? Tell us what you got and how you used it in the comments!

Cheerleaders and fans at a high school pep rally

It's time! You've been waiting all fiscal year to find out what the top 10 TechSoup products are for 2015. Are you on #TeamMicrosoft or #TeamSymantec? Get your final bets in now.

28 May 2015 - 3:35pm | by Ale Bezdikian

This post originally appeared on the TechSoup.org blog. We thought the library audience would be interested in these apps for a few reasons: storytelling, copyright issues, and potential privacy violations. Read on to learn TechSoup's Ale Bezdikian's musings on the Periscope and Meerkat apps.   

 

someone's hand holding a phone up at a concert to film it

The nonprofit sector thrives on a community of rich storytelling. Whatever form that storytelling takes, from photo essay to member video, story-driven content is dynamic, shows impact, and can attract new potential donors. Many of these stories, however, are only as good as their delivery strategy or the platforms used to connect them to wider audiences. And that's where live streaming can be useful.

27 May 2015 - 3:52pm | by Ginny Mies

This post was originally published on the TechSoup.org blog. At the Innovative Libraries Online Conference, we got a lot of questions about Microsoft's Software Assurance and the Volume Licensing Service Center. We thought calling out some of the top benefits will be useful for other libraries that have received Microsoft donations through TechSoup. 

If your nonprofit or public library received donated Microsoft software through TechSoup, you probably used the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) to get your software. But did you know there are special perks from Microsoft, too?

In case you're not familiar, the VLSC is an online tool for managing Microsoft Volume Licensing agreements, downloading products, and accessing volume license keys. Microsoft includes two years of Software Assurance with all Volume Licensing products it donates through TechSoup.

Software Assurance is a collection of benefits included with Microsoft products requested through TechSoup. Here are five — no, wait, six! — great and unexpected benefits you can take advantage of via this program.

22 May 2015 - 11:52am | by Phil Shapiro

As a maker, I love nimble. Nimble means able to move fast. The state of Delaware was nimble when it was the first to ratify the U.S. Constitution. Today, the state is moving fast to bring making and creativity to its public libraries.

I noticed on Twitter that the person spearheading this is Sarena Fletcher, an administrative librarian for Delaware Division of Libraries. I caught up with Sarena recently to hear her story, recorded in this short audio interview on YouTube. 

I loved hearing from Sarena how the Delaware libraries are working in partnership with the Barrel of Makers makerspace to teach Scratch computer programming classes at the libraries. The only other makerspace I know of that's partnering with a public library is the Santa Barbara Makerspace in California.

21 May 2015 - 11:41am | by Laura Kindsvater

This post originally appeared on the TechSoup blog. Because librarians sometimes need to think like graphic designers (think program flyers, website redesigns, and posters!), we thought the TechSoup for Libraries community would find it useful.   

 

Vermeer painting of Girl with a Pearl Earring with the girl holding a camera

The future is a visual one. These days, people often share images that communicate a wealth of nuanced information (rather than relying on words), and visual literacy is becoming a requirement. Given this new reality, how can we communicate with and engage our communities?

Meggan Frost, public services librarian for Paul Smith's College in upstate New York, gave a knockout presentation on graphic design recently for the Nebraska Library Commission. She explained that when something is designed well, it makes us want to get closer to it. It makes us pay attention.

She offered four fundamentals of graphic design to guide us in creating materials that will engage others, as well as three useful shortcuts — plus some bonus information on how to find inspiration.

Here are Meggan's tips on the four fundamentals of graphic design.

18 May 2015 - 10:45am | by Jim Lynch

Homework wordcloud

According to a 2013 ALA survey, almost all U.S. public libraries now offer online and in-person homework assistance?. In rural areas, this service is especially important because the library offers high-speed broadband access that many homes can't afford.

Urban areas have their own challenges that also include lack of Internet access. We decided to have a look at what is working well — and not so well — in the world of library homework help programs.

Pew Research finds that 54 percent of teachers say all or almost all of their students have access at school to the digital tools they need to be academically successful, but just 18 percent say the same is true for their students at home. The Miami Herald recently reported on how critical the Miami Dade libraries are in addressing this need.

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