Let your curiousity guide you... toward open source

What happens when funds are scarce and librarians start leaning more into the techie category?

They get curious. And fearless. And they start using their information literacy skills to experiment with open source technologies to "squeeze every penny out of the machines we have," as Kevin Smith, from Cass District Library told us recently.

Jump in and play!

A recurring theme in the conversations we have with libraries is advice on how to become more comfortable working with computers. Most agree: just do it, just try.

I love hearing these stories, because they appeal to the fears we all have about learning new things, about change, and about messing things up.

Kim Priest from the Mary Cotton Public Library in Sabetha, KS recently shared:

Free support desk software: Ilient Sysaid

Getting overwhelmed tracking your tech support issues? The free version of Ilient Sysaid might help. Technology and Training Specialist Jaketha Farmer of the Lamar County Public Library in Mississippi informed us about the downloadable application that she's been using to track her library staff's requests.

Dream big when planning for the future

The thought of technology planning often musters up groans and grumbles--it's no easy task. But what if your library mixed it up, made it a bit more interesting, and involved the public?

Shaw Simonsen, the librarian at the Barnesville branch of the Lake Agassiz Regional Library in Barnesville, MN, recently shared a program her library system initiated to spark the imagination of community members and library supporters around what a library of the future might look like.

Dedication and motivation: volunteers can make it happen!

Can you imagine an all volunteer-run public library?

Better yet, can you imagine a volunteer-run public library that offers a wide selection of books, videos, e-books, DVDs, programs for the public, wireless access, and has the capacity to construct an impressive addition to their existing building?

Capitan Public Library in Capitan, NM, is that library, and Barbara Stewart, a volunteer, recently took time out of her busy day to tell us about her impressive and unique situation.

Outsource your wi-fi

Let someone else take over your airwaves. That's what the Scottsdale Public Library in Arizona did when faced with the rising support costs of offering a homespun wi-fi network to their patrons.

Locking it down: a comprehensive look at SteadyState

Many of the libraries that contributed to the Cookbook extol virtues on software that "locks down" or "wipes clean" their public computers. As any librarian will tell you, much of the maintainance of computers is derived from reversing what patrons left behind. Faye Hover from Smith-Welch Memorial Library may have said it best, "because I'm sick to death of coming in in the morning and having everything changed--the background, they would change the wallpaper. I needed something that can prevent them from doing all of this."

Keeping your color printer printing

Librarians wear many hats, but who thought one of them would be printer repair?

Creating Online Class Calendars

Are you offering classes to your patrons and looking for a tool to create an online calendar? Are having a hard time tracking those who have signed and managing waitlists?

MaintainIT participant in the news!

Annie Adamson, an energetic and innovative Systems Administrator at the Caldwell Public Library, AND a contributor to the Cookbook, was quoted today in the Idaho Statesman.