After Hours: Circulating Technology to Improve Kids’ Access

A LITA Webinar: After Hours: Circulating Technology to Improve Kids’ Access

makeittakeitarduinoWednesday May 27, 2015
1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Central Time
Register now for this webinar

The second brand new LITA Webinar on youth and technology.

For years libraries have been providing access and training to technology through their services and programs. Kids can learn to code, build a robot, and make a movie with an iPad at the library. But what can they do when they get home? How can libraries expand their reach to help more than just the youth they see every day? The Meridian Library (ID) has chosen to start circulating new types of technology. Want to learn about Arduinos? Check one out from our library! What is a Raspberry Pi? You get 4 weeks to figure it out. Robots too expensive to buy? Too many iPad apps to choose from? Test it from your library first. Join Megan Egbert to discover benefits, opportunities and best practices.

MeganegbertMegan Egbert

Is the Youth Services Manager for the Meridian Library District (ID), where she oversees programs and services for ages 0-18. Previous to her three years in this position she was a Teen Librarian. She earned her Masters in Library Science from the University of North Texas and her Bachelors in Sociology from Boise State University. Her interests include STEAM education, digital badges, makerspaces, using apps in storytime, and fostering digital literacy. @MeganEgbert on Twitter

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.
Cost:

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

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

Jobs in Information Technology: April 22

New vacancy listings are posted weekly on Wednesday at approximately 12 noon Central Time. They appear under New This Week and under the appropriate regional listing. Postings remain on the LITA Job Site for a minimum of four weeks.

New This Week

Associate Director of the Center for Humanities and Information, Pennsylvania State University Libraries, University Park, PA

Director of Research and Instructional Support, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA

Division Librarian, City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA

Emerging Technologies Librarian, Marquette University Libraries, Milwaukee, WI

Principal Librarian, City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA

Programmer Analyst II, Virginia Beach Public Library, Virginia Beach, VI

System Librarian, Colgate University, Hamilton, NY

Visit the LITA Job Site for more available jobs and for information on submitting a  job posting.

 

No Rules

Jack Black in School of Rock (2003)
Jack Black in School of Rock (2003)

Librarians are great at making rules. Maybe it’s in our blood or maybe it’s the nature of public service. Whatever it is, creating rules comes naturally to many of us. But don’t worry, this isn’t a post about how to make the rules, it’s about how to avoid them.

We recently introduced a new digital media space at the Robert Morgade Library in Stuart, Florida. The idea lab includes tablets, laptops, and cameras that can be checked out; a flexible space that encourages collaboration; tech classes that go beyond our traditional computer classes; as well as three iMac computers and a flight simulator. With all this technology, you would expect to find people lining up, but we’ve actually noticed that our patrons seem intimidated by these new tools. In 2012 the first idea lab opened at the Peter & Julie Cummings Library, but the idea of a digital media lab at the library is still a relatively new service for our community. In order to welcome all of our patrons to the idea lab, we’ve lessened the barriers to access by having as few rules as possible. Here are a few of the risks we’ve taken.

Less Paperwork
One of our biggest changes was reducing the amount of paperwork involved in checking out equipment. The original procedure called for a library card, picture ID, and a double-sided form in order to check out something as small as a pair of headphones. Now we offer an idea lab borrower’s card. Signing up for an idea lab card is as easy as signing up for a regular library card. The only additional requirement is a one-time signature on a simple form where patrons accept responsibility for any equipment that they destroy. After the initial registration, all the patron needs is their idea lab card from that point forward. The result is less paperwork, less staff time, and more use.
IMG_20150417_183546799

Open Access
The flight simulator has been a completely new venture for the library and we’ve encountered a lot of unknowns in terms of policies and access, such as: Is there an age requirement? Should patrons have to complete a training session in order to use it? Do you need a library card? We looked to other libraries to see how to regulate this new service, but ultimately decided to start with as few barriers as possible. As it stands, anyone can walk up and try out the flight simulator. You don’t need a card, you don’t need a reservation, and you don’t need any previous experience or training. It’s been a month since our grand opening, with no fatal injuries or broken equipment, just a lot of people crashing and burning (only digitally, of course).

IMG_0970

Don’t RSVP
We took another risk by choosing not to use Envisionware’s PC Reservation system for our iMac computers. The 20 public PC workstations at Morgade use PC Res and are generally booked, but we knew that our patrons would be hesitant to sit down at a Mac for the first time. Instead we opted for a low-tech solution: labels that read “Multimedia Priority Workstation.” We welcome anyone to try our iMacs, with the understanding that video editing trumps checking your email. I actually stole this idea from my alma mater. I figured if college freshman could handle it, the general public probably could too.

multimedia_workstations

We’re incredibly lucky to be offering these services to our community and always looking for better ways to share and teach technology. Over time we might have to step back and make some rules, but for now we’re in a good place. If your library is considering offering similar services, I highly recommend starting with as few rules as possible. And I can’t wrap this up without acknowledging my supervisor, who has helped create an environment where it’s okay to challenge the rules. I hope that you have like-minded folks on your team as well.

Technology Disaster Response and Recovery Planning

Mallery_300Check out the newest LITA Guide: Technology Disaster Response and Recovery Planning

Most library disaster plans focus on response and recovery from collection and facilities disasters, such as fire and floods. But because technology is becoming ever more integral to libraries’ role in their communities, any interruption in service and resources is a serious matter. A disaster’s effect on internet and social media sites, electronic resources, digital collections, and staff and public infrastructure of PCs, tablets, laptops and other peripherals requires special consideration. Edited by Mary Mallery, “Technology Disaster Response and Recovery Planning: A LITA Guide” published by ALA TechSource, features contributions from librarians who offer hard-won advice gained from personal experience. Leading readers through a step-by-step process of creating a library technology disaster response and recovery plan, this compendium:

  • outlines the three phases of technology disaster response, with examples of planning and implementation strategies from several different libraries;
  • describes how to conduct an inventory and risk assessment;
  • provides detailed case studies of recent large-scale technology disasters in libraries and documents how lessons learned have helped to improve technology disaster planning;
  • offers an in-depth look at future trends in cloud computing, mapping out the new field of disaster mitigation, response and recovery planning;
  • includes useful resources such as checklists, templates and a sample communications plan.

Mallery is the associate dean for technical services at Montclair State University Library. She has published articles and presented on library technology-related topics extensively. She is the book review editor for the Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship and a regular contributor to the Web Review column of Technical Services Quarterly. She teaches classes in database design and management as well as metadata sources for library professionals at the Rutgers University School of Communication and Information as a part-time lecturer.

A Second Collaborative Technology

In September, I wrote a post about new collaborative technology from Crestron. We installed AirMedia in our library, and we are now looking at AirTame as a possible next generation version of collaborative technology.

collaborative-work
Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 3.0 License by http://region8wnc.ncdpi.wikispaces.net/

It works on all mobile devices. AirMedia does this too, but the tablet features have been less than ideal.  Airtame was able to raise more money than expected and is currently working to scale its production.

My university is also considering how collaborative technologies can be used in the classroom. This type of technology will allow for enhanced group work, enhanced presentations, and the instructor being able to move around the classroom to work with different students instead of being tied to the front of the classroom.

As technology continues to move toward mobile and wearable, the ability to show a group what is on a small screen will become more important in both education and the business world.

How is your library using collaborative technology?

How can libraries support new communication methods using collaborative technology?

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.
Cost:

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

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

Jobs in Information Technology: April 15

New vacancy listings are posted weekly on Wednesday at approximately 12 noon Central Time. They appear under New This Week and under the appropriate regional listing. Postings remain on the LITA Job Site for a minimum of four weeks.

New This Week

Associate University Librarian for Digital Strategies, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL

Data Curator, DST Systems, Kansas City, MO

Head Librarian, Systems & Applications #12530, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA

Learning & Assessment Designer, Harvard Library, Cambridge, MA

Systems Librarian, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, NY

Visit the LITA Job Site for more available jobs and for information on submitting a  job posting.

Bend Your Mind…and the Laws of the Universe: Adult Summer Reading 2015

Summer is right around the corner and a long held tradition in the public library community is summer reading programs. Synonymous with youth and young adult services, summer reading is worth the revisit by adults.

Texas State Library and Archives Commission (2009). Flickr
Texas State Library and Archives Commission (2009). Flickr

 

Science fiction is a gateway

I believe there is a positive correlation between reading science fiction novels and genuine interest in emerging technology. When I was younger, I loved science fiction and fantasy. My interests range from A Princess of Mars to The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. The Twilight Zone was a mark of my childhood. What I read and watched informed my psyche and furthered my interests in futuristic technology that modern humans could only dream of. The bottom line is that these books sparked an interest. Almost all tech heads I know love science fiction and fantasy. Not everyone is into books, but most science fiction films are based on alternate worlds created by authors like Isaac Asimov and Philip K. Dick. Authors of science fiction and fantasy push the envelope on physics, technology, psychology and history. These novels take place in the “future”, a fictional past or serve as social commentary. They can are cautionary tales or impetus for the reader to become proactive in current affairs. I’m sure no one wants to live in a world similar to Pat Frank’s Alas, Babylon.
A few suggestions for your reading list

In 2011 NPR published a fan-selected list of the top 100 science-fiction and fantasy books for summer reading. While selecting the best science fiction/fantasy book of all time may be a point of contention amongst staunch fans, the point in doing so is impractical.

I went ahead and selected my favorites from NPR’s list as suggestions for summer reading. There are a few that are on my personal reading wish list and many are on my re-read wish list. Which eager reader doesn’t have a wish list?

 

The classics:

If you went to high school in the United States, you were probably forced to read these. You probably had to analyze the themes, tone, characters, etc. As a result the mere mention of them is trite, but they more than deserve their place on this list.

1984 by George Orwell

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

 

The epics:

Some of the best science-fiction/fantasy books are based in an infinite universe so that they require reader commitment and the ability to lift a ten pound book. Though your eyes may be weary, you won’t be at a loss for the possibilities that are illuminated through the text.

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Dune by Frank Herbert

Foundation by Isaac Asimov

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

The Giver by Lois Lowry (not on NPR’s list)

A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs (not on NPR’s list)

 

Notable mention:

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick

The Andromeda Strain by Michael Chrichton

The Gunslinger (The Dark Tower Series) by Stephen King

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

1632 by Eric Flint

The Body Snatchers by Jack Finney

 

Now that I’ve performed my reader’s advisory, what’s on your summer reading list? If you have any recommendations, reply to this post to share with others.

Tech Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself – Volume 5

Credit to www.aireidt.com
Credit to www.aireidt.com

To paraphrase Outkast, it’s the return of the Wreckster, LITA Blog readers. It’s been months since last I typed an installment, but not for lack of enthusiasm or material.

If this is your first Tech Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself, let me explain. TYBYWY is a curated assortment of tools and resources for aspiring library technologists at all levels of experience. I focus on webinars, MOOCs, and other free/low-cost options for learning, growing, and increasing tech proficiency. Thank you for reading!

Project Management Tools

Through the course of a recent group project, I’ve had the opportunity to explore a number or project management tools, applications, and methods. This TYBYWY is for my fellow compulsive to-do list writers. Consider it a love letter.

Level Up

I recently converted to Habit RPG. As you know, gamification is an ongoing interest of mine. Habit RPG literally gamifies your life, giving game mechanics (leveling up/hit points/rewards) to motivate you towards more productive and healthy behavior. You can build the structure of your app experience, creating your own set of dailies (daily tasks) and habits (good or bad which add or subtract points). The social element of this app can add friendly competition to a group endeavor. In terms of project management, the added incentive of creating and leveling up your character can really help you push over hurdles. You can also access and manage your Habit RPG from your mobile device and PC.

I like Habit RPG because I can integrate both my professional and personal checklists. I can remind myself that I need to get myself to yoga class even as I tackle programming logistics.

I cannot recommend this slightly unorthodox tool enough.

Image courtesy of http://leohartas.com/
Image courtesy of http://leohartas.com/

Collaborate

There’s a wide world of options for project collaboration out there now, with free and paid options galore. Whether you’re working with faculty on collection management or developing programming across departments, these tools which offer collaborative documents, calendars, and tasks lists can be a huge time saver. Bonus – your poor old PC won’t collapse under the weight of excessive open programs. I am working to move from a Skype + Google Docs + Outlook Calendar + SharePoint framework to a single online program.

Tool Pricing Pro Con
GitHub Free/$7 for Private Repository Active Community, simple set-up Designed/intended for developers, awkward for other projects
BaseCamp Two MonthsFree Trial/$20 a Month Intuitive as it is gorgeous Limited Features for Super Users
Trello Free Flexibility of format/visuals to represent projects and tasks Learning Curve for New Users
Apollo One Month Free/$23 a month Complete integration with outside programs (mail client/CRM/etc) Overwhelming to New Users

Of course the key to integrating any of these options is buy-in, and any technologist can tell you it’s easier said than done. However, the price is right and you’re probably ready for a consolidated online collaboration tool. Your library is too.

Tech On, TYBYWYers!

I’ll be back on May 13th with a slew of new free resources and tools. Let me know if you have any particular area, topic, or focus you would like me to explore.

 

“Why won’t my document print?!” — Two Librarians in Training

For this post, I am joined by a fellow student in Indiana University’s Information and Library Science Department, Sam Ott! Sam is a first year student, also working toward a dual-degree Master of Library Science and Master of Information Science, who has over three years of experience working in paraprofessional positions in multiple public libraries. Sam and I are taking the same core classes, but he is focusing his studies on public libraries instead of my own focus on academic and research libraries. With these distinct end goals in mind, we wanted to write about how the technologies we are learning in library school are helping cultivate our skills in preparation for future jobs.

Grace

DH2014

On the academic library track, much of the technology training seems to be abstract and theory based, paired with practical training. There is a push for students to learn digital encoding practices, such as TEI/XML, and to understand how these concepts function within a digital library/archive. Website architecture and development also appear as core classes and electives as ways to complement theoretical classes.

Specializations offer a chance to delve deeper into the theory and practice of one of these aspects, for example, Digital Libraries, Information Architecture, and Data Science. The student chapter of the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T) offers workshops through UITS, in addition to the courses offered, to introduce and hone UNIX, XML/XSLT, and web portfolio development skills.

Sam

Sam Ott, ALA Midwinter Meeting, 2015.
ALA Midwinter Meeting, 2015.

On the public library track, the technology training is limited to two core courses (Representation and Organization, plus one chosen technology requirement) and electives. While most of the coursework for public libraries is geared toward learning how to serve multiple demographics, studying Information Architecture can allow for greater exposure to relevant technologies. However, the student’s schedule is filled by the former, with less time for technological courses.

One reason I chose to pursue the Master of Information Science, was to bridge what I saw as a gap in technology preparation for public library careers. The MIS has been extremely helpful in allowing me to learn best practices for system design and how people interact with websites and computers. However, these classes are still geared toward the skills needed for an academic librarian or industry employee, and lack the everyday technology skills a public librarian may need, especially if there isn’t an IT department available.

Ideas

We’ve considered a few options of courses and workshops which could provide a hands-on approach to daily technology use in any library. Since many academic librarians focused in digital tools still staff the reference desk and interact with patrons, this information is vital for library students moving on to jobs. We imagine a course or workshop series that introduces students to common issues staff and patrons face with library technologies. The topics of this course could include: learning how to reboot and defragment computers, hook up and use various audio visual technologies such as projectors, and troubleshooting the dreaded printer problems.

Image courtesy of imgarcade.com.
The troubleshooting method we want to avoid. Image courtesy of imgarcade.com.

As public and academic libraries embrace the evolving digital trends, staff will need to understand how to use and troubleshoot ranges of platforms, makerspaces, and digital creativity centers. Where better to learn these skills than in school!

But we aren’t quite finished. An additional aspect to the course or workshop would be allowing the students to shadow, observe, and learn from University Information Technology Services as they troubleshoot common problems across all platforms. This practical experience both observing and learning how to fix frequent and repeated issues would give students a well-rounded experiential foundation while in library school.

If you are a LITA blog reader working in a public library, which skills would you recommend students learn before taking the job? What kinds of technology-related questions are frequently asked at your institution?