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Spotlight Series: Rebecca McGuire

Allow me to introduce Rebecca McGuire, Visiting Instructional Tech Specialist at Mortenson Center for International Library Programs.  A division of the University of Illinois Library, the Mortenson Center, provides leadership and technology guidance to libraries throughout the world.  Rebecca shares information about this unique role, her favorite tech blogs, and predictions about the future of libraries. A full transcript of the interview can be found here. What is your background? “After getting a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and International Affairs, I spent a year teaching ESL students in a middle school. I loved teaching, but wanted to do it in a more informal environment, so I decided to get a Master’s in Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois. I also decided to pursue a certificate in Community Informatics, which really opened my eyes to how important access, understanding, and application of technology is to both personal…

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Spotlight Series: Brittney Buckland

Have you ever seen a really interesting library position and wondered how the person got there? This series will interview tech librarians to learn more about their journey, how they stay informed about emerging technologies, and tools they can’t live without. Allow me to introduce Brittney Buckland, Head of Technical Services at Merrimack Public Library in New Hampshire. Below is an excerpt of our interview, the full transcript can be accessed here. What is your background? “My undergraduate degree is a BA in the Arts: Art History from the University of New Hampshire (UNH). I finished my MSLIS with a specialization in Library and Information Services in 2013. I completed my Master’s completely online through Drexel University. I recently finished a secondary M.Ed. in Educational Studies through UNH, also completely online.” What were some of your early library jobs and how did they prepare you for your current position? Brittney’s first…

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#NoFilter: Designing Social Media Content in Canva

othmer library reading room

Following my last post in the #NoFilter series, I received some feedback indicating that it would be helpful to describe the actual process whereby one uses Canva to create compelling visuals for social media posts. While I do again emphasize taking some time to complete Canva’s immensely helpful Design Essentials tutorials, I will use this entry to describe some of the techniques I have developed for using Canva efficiently. Canva in this discussion refers to the free version of the service. There is a Canva at Work option available as well as a Canva Enterprise option for groups of over 30 members. You can compare the different versions on Canva’s Pricing page. Before delving into any graphic design project for your library, it is important to check if your institution adheres to any style guidelines for social media content. These guidelines may be a simple list of recommended fonts and…

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#NoFilter: Creating Compelling Visual Content for Social Media

laptop notebook pencil desk

The #NoFilter series has as its focus the numerous challenges that surround social media and its use in the library. In previous posts, I discussed sources for content inspiration as well as tips for content planning. This entry will concentrate on creating compelling visual content for your library’s social media. A strong visual component for a social media post is imperative for capturing the attention of users and bringing them into dialogue with the library and forming the relationships that are key to institutional social media success.  Social media is not a one-way self-promotional tool for a library, but rather an interactive space allowing a library to engage meaningfully with users, cultivate their support and kindle their enthusiasm for the library’s work. Quality visual content in a social media post has the potential to spur conversations with/among users who in turn share the library’s content with ever-wider audiences. Below are…

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#NoFilter: Social Media Planning for the Library

notebook pencil othmer library reading room

The #NoFilter series explores some of the challenges and concerns that accompany a library’s use of social media. In my January 2017 post, I discussed the importance of generating thoughtful and diverse social media content in order to attract users and stimulate discussion of the library’s materials and services. Part and parcel of the content generation process is planning. Wouldn’t it be great if social media wasn’t something the library had to think about in depth? If all of the content for various platforms could just be created on the fly, a content generation process seamlessly integrated into every staff member’s workflow? It’s a beautiful idea and it does happen this way at times. For example, you are walking through your library and you come across some stunning afternoon light pouring through a window. You take out your phone, snap a picture, and share it on Instagram or another platform….

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Tracking What’s Next At CES

CES 2018 Save the Date Banner

It’s no news that technology is a part of daily life, or that it’s an ever-increasing part of library life. One reliable way to keep ahead of what might be walking in the door tomorrow is monitoring consumer trade shows, the largest of which is CES (formerly the Consumer Electronics Show, now just the acronym). For 50 years, CES has showcased hot new gadgets that eventually had culture-changing effects: the Portable Executive Telephone (1968), the VCR (1970), the Commodore 64 (1982), Nintendo (1985), DVDs (1996), Plasma TVs (2001), and the first big wave of smart home technologies (2014). Some of these had direct impacts on libraries, and others only in how our patrons live their lives. As the time from a technology’s introduction to its adoption gets shorter, staying on top of what’s happening at CES is becoming more important. A few years ago, librarians began attending South By Southwest…

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#NoFilter: Social Media Content Ideas for Libraries

topsell theater of insects illustration

In my previous blog entry, I introduced the #NoFilter series which will explore some of the challenges and concerns pertaining to social media and its use in the library. For this post, let’s consider a topic that can be simultaneously fun and perplexing: generating quality content for social media! Thoughtful, consistent, and varied content is one of the keys to cultivating a meaningful social media presence for a library i.e., opening up channels of communication with patrons and encouraging enthusiasm for the library’s materials, services, and staff.  Where does one look for social media content ideas? Keeping in mind that the intricacies of each platform necessitate different presentations in content, below are three suggestions for where those in charge of a library’s social media may find some inspiration. Behind-the-scenes – The day-to-day operations in a library may not seem like the most riveting subject matter for a social media post….

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#NoFilter: Social Media and Its Use in the Library

Time and again we hear how useful social media is for library outreach. Use social media for advertising events in the library! Use social media to provide book recommendations! Use social media to alert patrons to library hours and services! Use social media to highlight collections! And yet for many libraries (academic, research, public, corporate, school, etc.), social media success remains elusive. We sit and grumble to our colleagues about how few followers we have on x or y platform or the lack of likes and shares our posts receive. We question whether the library is cool or hip enough with new generations of patrons. Then eventually we throw up our hands, stand on our desks, and boldly proclaim “I’m done with social media! I’m going back to papering the walls with flyers!” Dramatics aside, many of us have been in this predicament at some point. We question why we’re…

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Humanities & Technology at the Crossroads: Launching an Online Book Group

laptop and print book

My library hosts several book groups; last year, I facilitated 10 groups, with members reading everything from graphic novels to Iranian literature, at an average attendance of 7 members per group meeting. I arrange reading groups with an eye to what might appeal to a wide range of patrons, whether groups are led by experts in their fields, librarians, or patron volunteers. Last year, I conducted a book group survey, and the respondents indicated that the main barriers to attending book groups at our library included the inability to attend at the dates or times of the scheduled meetings, as well as significant geographical distance from the library. I’m always thinking about how tech tools might assist in improving public services, so I decided to try something I hadn’t seen in libraries: an online book group. The first decision to make was the reading focus. I chose non-fiction because several…

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Librarians in the Wild: Selling Librarian Skills Outside of Libraries

  When I decided to pursue the MLIS seven years ago, it wasn’t so that I could tap into a vast supply of readily available Librarian positions. I did it because I was drawn to the profession and intrigued about how technology was changing it. My first job search as a degree-toting Librarian was a lucky one: I happened to find a place who needed someone with a strong foundation in project management and web development as well as an interest in librarianship, and that is as good a description of my professional self as you will find. That’s how I ended up at Avery Library. Then life happened. As the project I was working on was ending, my wife and I decided to leave New York and return to San Diego. I’m not going to go into our reasons for moving, because they’re not relevant here; suffice it to say, my professional goals took a backseat to other considerations….