Technology and Youth Services Programs

Technology and Youth Services Programs: Early Literacy Apps and More

tweentabWednesday May 20, 2015
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Central Time
Register now for this webinar

A brand new LITA Webinar on youth and technology.

In this digital age it has become increasingly important for libraries to infuse technology into their programs and services. Youth services librarians are faced with many technology routes to consider and app options to evaluate and explore. Join Claire Moore from the Darien Public Library to discuss innovative and effective ways the library can create opportunities for children, parents and caregivers to explore new technologies.

clairemooreClaire Moore

Is the Head of Children’s Services at Darien Library in Connecticut. She is a member of ALSC’s School Age Programs and Services Committee and the Digital Content Task Force. Claire earned her Masters in Library and Information Science at Pratt Institute in New York. Claire currently lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Then register for the webinar

Full details
Can’t make the date but still want to join in? Registered participants will have access to the recorded webinar.

LITA Member: $45
Non-Member: $105
Group: $196
Registration Information

Register Online page arranged by session date (login required)
Mail or fax form to ALA Registration
Call 1-800-545-2433 and press 5
email [email protected]

Questions or Comments?

For all other questions or comments related to the course, contact LITA at (312) 280-4269 or Mark Beatty, [email protected].

LITA Lightning Rounds at 2015 ALA Annual

litaLT15Will you be at the American Library Association Conference in San Francisco this June? Do you have a great new technology idea that you’d like to share informally with colleagues? How about a story related to a clever tech project that you just pulled off at your institution, successfully, or less-than-successfully?

The LITA Program Planning Committee (PPC) is now accepting proposals for a round of Lightning Talks to be given at ALA.

To submit your idea please fill out this form:

The lightning rounds will be Saturday June 27, 10:30 – 11:30

All presenters will be given 5 minutes to speak.

Proposals are due Monday, May 4 at midnight. Questions? Please contact PPC chair, Debra Shapiro, [email protected]


Creating Better Tutorials Through User-Centered Instructional Design

guidanceA LITA Preconference at 2015 ALA Annual

Register online for the ALA Annual Conference and add a LITA Preconference

Friday, June 26, 2015, 8:30am – 4:00pm

Have you wanted to involve users as you design interactive e-learning, but aren’t sure where to start? In this unique, hands-on workshop, you will learn the core and emerging principles of instructional and user experience design and apply what you have learned to design, develop, and test a tutorial you create. The three dynamic and experienced workshop facilitators will cover topics including design thinking, user-centered pedagogy, user interface prototyping, and intercept usability testing while providing hands-on practice in each area.

Check out these 3 tutorials examples:

Popular vs. Scholarly Sources
Academic Search Complete
Locating Manuscripts in Special Collections


meryYvonne Mery, Instructional Design Librarian, University of Arizona

Yvonne co-authored the book, Online by Design: the Essentials of Creating Information Literacy Courses. She has co-authored several papers on the integration of information literacy in online classes and presented at numerous national conferences on best practices for online information literacy instruction.

blakistonrRebecca Blakiston, User Experience Librarian, University of Arizona Libraries

Rebecca has been at the University of Arizona Libraries since 2008, and the website product manager since 2010. She provides oversight, management, and strategic planning for the library website, specializing in guerilla usability testing, writing for the web, and content strategy. She developed a process for in-house usability testing, which has been implemented successfully both within website projects and in an ongoing, systematic way. She has authored, Usability Testing: a Practical Guide for Librarians.

sultLeslie Sult, Associate Librarian, University of Arizona

Leslie is in the Research and Learning department. Her work is focused on developing and improving scalable teaching models that enable the library to reach and support many more students than was possible earlier through traditional one-shot instructional sessions. With Gregory Hagedon, Leslie won the ACRL Instruction Section Innovation Award in 2013 for their work on the software Guide on the Side, which helps instruction librarians create tutorials for database instruction.

Guide on the Side

“Understanding that many librarians are feeling the pressure to find methods to support student learning that do not require direct, librarian-led instruction, the University of Arizona Library’s Guide on the Side provides an excellent tutorial grounded in sound pedagogy that could significantly change the way libraries teach students how to use databases,” said award committee co-chairs, Erin L. Ellis of the University of Kansas and Robin Kear of the University of Pittsburgh. “The creators have made a version of the software open access and freely available to librarians to quickly create online, interactive tutorials for database instruction. This allows librarians to easily create tutorials that are both engaging to students and pedagogically sound. Guide on the Side serves as a model of the future of library instruction.”



  • LITA Member $235
  • ALA Member $350
  • Non-Member $380


To register for any of these events, you can include them with your initial conference registration or add them later using the unique link in your email confirmation. If you don’t have your registration confirmation handy, you can request a copy by emailing [email protected]. You also have the option of registering for a preconference only. To receive the LITA member pricing during the registration process on the Personal Information page enter the discount promotional code: LITA2015

Register online for the ALA Annual Conference and add a LITA Preconference
Call ALA Registration at 1-866-513-0760
Onsite registration will also be accepted in San Francisco.

Questions or Comments?

For all other questions or comments related to the course, contact LITA at (312) 280-4269 or Mark Beatty, [email protected]

Yes, You Can Video!

A how-to guide for creating high-impact instructional videos without tearing your hair out.

smvideoclapperTuesday May 12, 2015
1:00 pm – 2:30 pm Central Time
Register now for this webinar

This brand new LITA Webinar promises a fun time learning how to create instructional videos

Have you ever wanted to create an engaging and educational instructional video, but felt like you didn’t have the time, ability, or technology? Are you perplexed by all the moving parts that go into creating an effective tutorial? In this session, Anne Burke and Andreas Orphanides will help to demystify the process, breaking it down into easy-to-follow steps, and provide a variety of technical approaches suited to a range of skill sets. They will cover choosing and scoping your topic, scripting and storyboarding, producing the video, and getting it online. They will also address common pitfalls at each stage.


anneburkeAnne Burke
Undergraduate Instruction & Outreach Librarian
North Carolina State University Libraries


andreasorphanidesAndreas Orphanides
Librarian for Digital Technologies and Learning
North Carolina State University Libraries

Then register for the webinar

videobuttonsFull details
Can’t make the date but still want to join in? Registered participants will have access to the recorded webinar.

LITA Member: $45
Non-Member: $105
Group: $196
Registration Information

Register Online page arranged by session date (login required)
Mail or fax form to ALA Registration
Call 1-800-545-2433 and press 5
email [email protected]

Questions or Comments?

For all other questions or comments related to the course, contact LITA at (312) 280-4269 or Mark Beatty, [email protected].


Librarians, Take the Struggle Out of Statistics

statisticsrandomCheck out the brand new LITA web course:
Taking the Struggle Out of Statistics 

Instructor: Jackie Bronicki, Collections and Online Resources Coordinator, University of Houston.

Offered: April 6 – May 3, 2015
A Moodle based web course with asynchronous weekly lectures, tutorials, assignments, and group discussion.

Register Online, page arranged by session date (login required)

Recently, librarians of all types have been asked to take a more evidence-based look at their practices. Statistics is a powerful tool that can be used to uncover trends in library-related areas such as collections, user studies, usability testing, and patron satisfaction studies. Knowledge of basic statistical principles will greatly help librarians achieve these new expectations.

This course will be a blend of learning basic statistical concepts and techniques along with practical application of common statistical analyses to library data. The course will include online learning modules for basic statistical concepts, examples from completed and ongoing library research projects, and also exercises accompanied by practice datasets to apply techniques learned during the course.

Got assessment in your title or duties? This brand new web course is for you!

Here’s the Course Page

Jackie Bronicki’s background is in research methodology, data collection and project management for large research projects including international dialysis research and large-scale digitization quality assessment. Her focus is on collection assessment and evaluation and she works closely with subject liaisons, web services, and access services librarians at the University of Houston to facilitate various research projects.

April 6, 2015 – May 3, 2015


  • LITA Member: $135
  • ALA Member: $195
  • Non-member: $260

Technical Requirements

Moodle login info will be sent to registrants the week prior to the start date. The Moodle-developed course site will include weekly asynchronous lectures and is composed of self-paced modules with facilitated interaction led by the instructor. Students regularly use the forum and chat room functions to facilitate their class participation. The course web site will be open for 1 week prior to the start date for students to have access to Moodle instructions and set their browser correctly. The course site will remain open for 90 days after the end date for students to refer back to course material.

Registration Information

Register Online page arranged by session date (login required)
Mail or fax form to ALA Registration
Call 1-800-545-2433 and press 5
email [email protected]

Questions or Comments?

For all other questions or comments related to the course, contact LITA at (312) 280-4269 or Mark Beatty, [email protected].

LITA Webinar: Beyond Web Page Analytics

Or how to use Google tools to assess user behavior across web properties.

analyticssmallTuesday March 31, 2015
11:00 am – 12:30 pm Central Time
Register now for this webinar

This brand new LITA Webinar shows how Marquette University Libraries have installed custom tracking code and meta tags on most of their web interfaces including:

  • Digital Commons
  • Ebsco EDS
  • ILLiad
  • LibCal
  • LibGuides
  • WebPac, and the
  • General Library Website

The data retrieved from these interfaces is gathered into Google’s

  • Universal Analytics
  • Tag Manager, and
  • Webmaster Tools

When used in combination these tools create an in-depth view of user behavior across all these web properties.

webpageanalyticsFor example Google Tag Manager can grab search terms which can be related to a specific collection within Universal Analytics and related to a particular demographic. The current versions of these tools make systems setup an easy process with little or no programming experience required. Making sense of the volume of data retrieved, however, is more difficult.

  • How does Google data compare to vendor stats?
  • How can the data be normalized using Tag Manager?
  • Can this data help your organization make better decisions?

Continue reading LITA Webinar: Beyond Web Page Analytics

ALA Midwinter 2015 LITA Preconference Review: How User Testing Can Improve the User Experience of Your Library Website

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Tammi Owens

Last July, Winona State University’s Darrell W. Krueger Library rolled out a completely new website. This January we added to that new user experience by upgrading to LibGuides and LibAnswers v2. Now, we’re looking for continuous improvement through continuous user experience (UX) testing. Although I have some knowledge of the history and general tenets of user experience and website design, I signed up for this LITA pre-conference to dive into some case studies and ask specific questions of UX specialists. I hoped to come away with a concrete plan or framework for UX testing at our library. Specifically, I wanted to know how to implement the results of UX testing on our website.

The instructors

Kate Lawrence is the Vice President of User Research at EBSCO. Deirdre Costello is the Senior User Experience Researcher at EBSCO. I was a little nervous this seminar was going to be surreptitious vendor marketing, but there was no EBSCO marketing at all. Kate brought decades of experience in the user research sector to our conversations, and Dierdre, as a recent MLIS with library experience, was able to connect the dots between research and practice.

The session

There were six participants in our session, with a mix of public and university libraries represented. Participants who attended the session are at all stages of website redesign and have different levels of control over our institutional websites. Some of us report to committees, while others have complete ownership of their library’s site. As in the Python pre-conference, participant experience levels were mixed.

The session was divided into four main sections: “Why usability matters,” “Website best practices,” “Usability: Process,” and an overview of, a company EBSCO uses during their research. Kate and Deirdre presented each section with a slide deck, but interspersed videos and discussion into their formal presentation.

The introductions to usability and website best practices were review for me, but offered enough additional information and examples that I continued to be engaged throughout the morning. Some memorable moments for me were watching and discussing Steve Krug’s usability demo, and visiting two websites: and

After lunch, Kate went step-by-step through a typical usability testing process in her department. She has nine steps in her process (yes, nine!), but after she explained each step it somehow went from overwhelming and scary to doable and exciting.

After another break, Kate and Deirdre invited Sadaf Ahmed in to speak about the company Unfortunately, this was less hands-on than I expected it to be, but I was gobsmacked by the information that could be gleaned quickly using the tool. (In short: students use Google a lot more than I ever imagined.)

At the end of the day, Kate and Deirdre set aside time for us to create research questions with which to begin our UX testing. By that time, though, everyone was overloaded with new information and we all agreed we’d rather go home, apply our knowledge, and contact Kate and Deirdre directly for feedback.

Further study

To make sure we could implement user testing at our own institutions, Kate and Deirdre distributed USB drives filled with research plans, presentations, and reports. If they referenced it during the day, it went on our USB drives. This is proving to be beneficial as I make sense of my own notes from the session and begin the research plan for our first major UX test. Additionally, Kate ordered several books for all attendees to read in the coming weeks. These items alone, along with the new network we created among attendees during the day, may be the most valuable part of the session going forward.

Review in a nutshell

This pre-conference was, for me, well worth the time and money to attend. The case studies we discussed contributed to my understanding of how to ask small questions about our website in order to make a big impact on user experience. I left with exactly the tools I desired: a framework for user testing implementation, and connections to colleagues who are willing to help us make it happen at Winona State.

Tammi Owens is the Emerging Services and Liaison Librarian at Winona State University in Winona, MN. Along with being a liaison to three academic departments, her position at the library means she often coordinates technical projects and gets to play with cool toys. Find her on Twitter (@tammi_owens) during conferences and over email ([email protected]) otherwise.

ALA Midwinter 2015 LITA Preconference Review: Introduction to Practical Programming

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Anthony Wright de Hernandez

The Friday before Midwinter officially started, I attended the LITA preconference session Introduction to Practical Programming. As a first-time conference attendee with SQL, XML, PHP, HTML, and Visual Basic experience, I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect from a session that encouraged attendance by participants with no programming background. I chose to attend because I want to learn Python and thought this session would provide a good introduction to the language.

The Instructor

Elizabeth Wickes, a graduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, clearly knows programming in general and Python in particular. Her instructional style for this session was conversational and informative. Her passion and knowledge kept the daylong session engaging. The mix of basic programming information with Python-specific information ensured that no part of the day was wasted for anyone.

The Session

The session began with a brief overview of computing and programming languages. This was a great place to start for a class with a mixed level of experience. As someone familiar with programming, this provided a background for where Python fits in relation to other languages, why it was created, and how its general mechanics differ from other languages. For those with no programming experience, this overview gave a brief history of programming and included a fun introduction to the type of logical and literal thinking required when programming.

After the overview, we dove right in with an explanation of Python’s core data types. Again, the content was presented for mixed consumption. The data type explanations were basic and clear enough for beginners while those with more experience could remain engaged learning the mechanics of how Python interacts with each of the data types.

We had some hands on fun with Python by creating Mad Libs involving Q, from Star Trek, a list of colors, and some randomizing functions. Those of us who brought computers were able to try the code ourselves while Elizabeth demoed it on a screen for the rest of the attendees. Our quick coding exercise resulted in fun outputs like:

  • Q asked me, “So what kind of pythons do you want?”
  • I don’t know what kind of pythons I want!  Who wants 4 pink pythons?
  • So I just said, “Give me whatever kind of pink pythons you have in stock, Q”

One great thing about the session was that Elizabeth took on our specific challenges. We all had an opportunity to present the challenges we are facing at work and then get specific feedback on how to create a solution using Python. For example, one of the attendees needed a way to compare two lists of 40,000+ items and identify any items in one list that aren’t in the other. Elizabeth walked us through how to develop a Python script capable of doing the comparison and returning the desired results. There was some great practical demonstration during this part of the session but, sadly, there were only a few of us in attendance so we didn’t get to see the variety of applications that a larger pool of challenges would have provided.

Further Study

Of course, a single day session isn’t enough to become a master. At the end of the session, Elizabeth provided us with recommendations for further study, including:

Overall (for beginning programmers)

The session was well structured for beginners. There was no assumption of prior programming experience. Basic concepts were introduced smoothly and then built upon to bring beginners to a point where they could create something of practical use. Strategies were provided for researching answers to programming questions and specific recommendations for further learning were given.

Overall (for experienced programmers)

The session was a great introduction to Python. It was definitely designed for all experience levels but, as an experienced programmer, I didn’t find any section a waste. As a way to start learning Python, this session was great value. I got a basic foundation for the language and expert guidance on where to look as I continue my learning.

Anthony Wright de Hernandez is a recent graduate from the University of Washington iSchool. He is the appointed librarian for his local church and is currently seeking employment in academic libraries. You can learn more at his website:

Why We Need to Encrypt The Whole Web… Library Websites, Too

The Patron Privacy Technologies Interest Group was formed in the fall of 2014 to help library technologists improve how well our tools protect patron privacy.  As the first in a series of posts on technical matters concerning patron privacy, please enjoy this guest post by Alison Macrina.

When using the web for activities like banking or shopping, you’ve likely seen a small lock symbol appear at the beginning of the URL and noticed the “HTTP” in the site’s address switch to “HTTPS”. You might even know that the “s” in HTTPS stands for “secure”, and that all of this means that the website you’ve accessed is using the TLS/SSL protocol. But what you might not know is that TLS/SSL is one of the most important yet most underutilized internet protocols, and that all websites, not just those transmitting “sensitive” information, should be using HTTPS by default.

To understand why TLS/SSL is so important for secure web browsing, a little background is necessary. TLS/SSL is the colloquial way of referring to this protocol, but the term is slightly misleading – TLS and SSL are essentially different versions of a similar protocol. Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) was the first protocol used to secure applications over the web, and Transport Layer Security (TLS) was built from SSL as a standardized version of the earlier protocol. The convention of TLS/SSL is used pretty often, though you might see TLS or SSL alone. However written, it all refers to the layer of security that sits on top of HTTP. HTTP, or HyperText Transfer Protocol, is the protocol that governs how websites send and receive data, and how that data is formatted. TLS/SSL adds three things to HTTP: authentication, encryption, and data integrity. Let’s break down those three components:

Authentication: When you visit a website, your computer asks the server on the other end for the information you want to access, and the server responds with the requested information. With TLS/SSL enabled, your computer also reviews a security certificate that guarantees the authenticity of that server. Without TLS/SSL, you have no way of knowing if the website you’re visiting is the real website you want, and that puts you at risk of something called a man-in-the-middle attack, which means data going to and from your computer can be intercepted by an entity masquerading as the site you intended to visit.

Fig. 1: Clicking the lock icon next to a site with TLS/SSL enabled will bring up a window that looks like one above. You can see here that Twitter is running on HTTPS, signed by the certificate authority Symantec.
Fig. 1: Clicking the lock icon next to a site with TLS/SSL enabled will bring up a window that looks like one above. You can see here that Twitter is running on HTTPS, signed by the certificate authority Symantec. [Image courtesy Alison Macrina]
Fig. 2: Clicking “more information” in the first window will bring up this window. In the security tab, you can see the owner of the site, the certificate authority that verified the site, and the encryption details.
Fig. 2: Clicking “more information” in the first window will bring up this window. In the security tab, you can see the owner of the site, the certificate authority that verified the site, and the encryption details. [Image courtesy Alison Macrina]
Fig. 3: Lastly, clicking the “view certificate” option in the previous window will bring up even more technical details, including the site's fingerprints and the certificate expiration date.
Fig. 3: Lastly, clicking the “view certificate” option in the previous window will bring up even more technical details, including the site’s fingerprints and the certificate expiration date. [Image courtesy Alison Macrina]
Data encryption: Encryption is the process of scrambling messages into a secret code so they can only be read by the intended recipient. When a website uses TLS/SSL, the traffic between you and the server hosting that website is encrypted, providing you with a measure of privacy and protection against eavesdropping by third parties.

Data integrity: Finally, TLS/SSL uses an algorithm that includes a value to check on the integrity of the data in transit, meaning the data sent between you and a TLS/SSL secured website cannot be tampered with or altered to add malicious code.

Authentication, encryption, and integrity work in concert to protect the data you send out over TLS/SSL enabled websites. In this age of widespread criminal computer hacking and overbroad surveillance from government entities like the NSA, encrypting the web against interception and tampering is a social necessity. Unfortunately, most of the web is still unencrypted, because enabling TLS/SSL can be confusing, and often some critical steps are left out. But the digital privacy rights advocates at the Electronic Frontier Foundation are aiming to change that with Let’s Encrypt, a free and automated way to deploy TLS/SSL on all websites, launching in Summer 2015. EFF has also built a plugin called HTTPS Everywhere which forces TLS/SSL encryption on websites where this protocol is supported, but not fully set up (a frequent occurrence).

As stewards of information and providers of public internet access, librarians have a special duty to protect the privacy of our patrons and honor the public trust we’ve worked hard to earn. Just as we continue to protect patron checkout histories from unlawful snooping, we should be actively protecting the privacy of patrons using our website, catalog, and public internet terminals:

  • Start by enabling TLS/SSL on our library websites and catalog (some instructions are here and here, and if those are too confusing, Let’s Encrypt goes live this summer. If your website is hosted on a server that is managed externally, ask your administrator to set up TLS/SSL for you).
  • Install the HTTPS Everywhere add-on on all library computers. Tell your patrons what it is and why it’s important for their digital privacy.
  • Urge vendors, database providers, and other libraries to take a stand for privacy and start using TLS/SSL.

Privacy is essential to democratic institutions like libraries; let’s show our patrons that we take that seriously.

Alison Macrina is an IT librarian in Massachusetts and the founder of the Library Freedom Project, an initiative aimed at bringing privacy education and tools into libraries across the country. Her website doesn’t have any content on it right now, but hey, at least it’s using HTTPS! 

The inaugural in-person meeting of the LITA Patron Privacy Interest Technologies Group is at Midwinter 2015 on Saturday, January 31st, at 8:30 a.m. Everybody interested in learning about patron privacy and data security in libraries is welcome to attend! You can also subscribe to the interest group’s mailing list.

Getting Started with GIS

Layout 1Coming for the New Year: Learning Opportunities with LITA

LITA will have multiple learning opportunities available over the upcoming year. Including hot topics to keep your brain warm over the winter. Starting off with:

Getting Started with GIS (Geographic Information Systems)

Instructor: Eva Dodsworth, University of Waterloo

Offered: January 12 – February 9, 2015, with asynchronous weekly lectures, tutorials, assignments, and group discussion. There will be one 80 minute lecture to view each week, along with two tutorials and one assignment that will take 1-3 hours to complete, depending on the student. Moodle login info will be sent to registrants the week prior to the start date.

WebCourse Costs: LITA Member: $135 ALA Member: $195 Non-member: $260

Register Online, page arranged by session date (login required)

Here’s the Course Page

Getting Started with GIS is a three week course modeled on Eva Dodsworth’s LITA Guide of the same name. The course provides an introduction to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in libraries. Through hands on exercises, discussions and recorded lectures, students will acquire skills in using GIS software programs, social mapping tools, map making, digitizing, and researching for geospatial data. This three week course provides introductory GIS skills that will prove beneficial in any library or information resource position.

No previous mapping or GIS experience is necessary. Some of the mapping applications covered include:

  • Introduction to Cartography and Map Making
  • Online Maps
  • Google Earth
  • KML and GIS files
  • ArcGIS Online and Story Mapping
  • Brief introduction to desktop GIS software

Participants will gain the following GIS skills:

  • Knowledge of popular online mapping resources
  • ability to create an online map
  • an introduction to GIS, GIS software and GIS data
  • an awareness of how other libraries are incorporating GIS technology into their library services and projects

Instructor: Eva Dodsworth is the Geospatial Data Services Librarian at the University of Waterloo Library where she is responsible for the provision of leadership and expertise in developing, delivering, and assessing geospatial data services and programs offered to members of the University of Waterloo community. Eva is also an online part-time GIS instructor at a number of Library School programs in North America.

Register Online, page arranged by session date (login required)

Re-Drawing the Map Series

Don’t forget the final session in the series is coming up January 6, 2015. You can attend this final single session or register for the series and get the recordings of the previous two sessions on Web Mapping and OpenStreetMaps. Join LITA instructor Cecily Walker for:

Coding maps with Leaflet.js

Tuesday January 6, 2015, 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Central Time
Instructor: Cecily Walker

Ready to make your own maps and go beyond a directory of locations? Add photos and text to your maps with Cecily as you learn to use the Leaflet JavaScript library.

Register Online, page arranged by session date (login required)

Webinar Costs: LITA Member $39 for the single session and $99 for the series.

Check out the series web page for all cost options.

Questions or Comments?

For all other questions or comments related to the course, contact LITA at (312) 280-4268 or Mark Beatty, [email protected]