Category Archives: Technology

Your Library Has What?! A Guide to Libraries of Things

Libraries have circulated books since the 19th Century, and, as AV materials became available, so did the ability to circulate music and movies (in whatever format was currently available). In the past 5 years, however, there has been an uptick in libraries circulating materials considered “non-traditional.” Patrons of libraries with a “Library of Things” may find themselves checking out Halloween costumes, snowshoes, artwork, instruments, or any number of things their heart could desire. Libraries around the globe are doing what they can to help provide their communities with items to make their every-day lives easier.

Many librarians are scared to take on this new collection since it seems so unprecedented, but fear not. We have collected tips and tricks from around the library-sphere (and internet) to help make the plunge a little bit easier. Read on to have your fears put to rest.

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Remote Help: Zoom

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North Dakota is a much larger state than people often realize. With about 70,000 square miles, it ranks in the top 20 largest states (fun fact).

The North Dakota State Library (NDSL) strives to serve all libraries across the state in a timely and efficient manner. Several departments, like Library Development (LD), are frequently on the road conducting site visits and providing assistance to libraries. However, North Dakota’s geography can sometimes be a burden, especially when assistance is needed immediately. Thankfully, technology is here to help.

When a library has a pressing issue (that cannot be resolved via phone or email) and visual assistance is needed, LD utilizes Zoom.

Zoom is a communication platform that allows for collaboration, video conferencing, online meetings, webinars, etc.

With Zoom, LD can easily share their screen and walk you through the issue. This can also work vice versa: You can easily share your screen and visually explain things on your end.

Using Zoom may particularly come in handy with any WordPress questions or during the Annual Report/ State Aid seasons.

Here’s how a Zoom session with Library Development (LD) would work:

  1. Contact LD about your question or issue.
  2. If your inquiry cannot be resolved via phone or email and a visual aid would make the situation easier, LD will initiate a Zoom meeting.
  3. LD will provide you with the Zoom meeting information (either the link to join and/or the meeting ID number).
  4. Once you get the information, attempt to join the meeting. This can be done by clicking on the meeting link/URL or entering in the meeting ID on Zoom. If you do not have Zoom installed on your computer, you may be prompted to download it. (NDSL’s webinars and NDLA’s meetings are conducted via Zoom. So if you don’t have Zoom downloaded, it would be a good idea to have it anyway.)
  5. You will be redirected to join the Zoom meeting. In the Zoom meeting, you or the LD representative will be able to share their screen.

FAQ:

  • No microphone on your computer? – No problem! The Zoom meeting can be muted and you can talk with your LD representative on the phone while you collaborate and share screens.
  • No webcam on your computer? – No problem! A webcam is not required to participate in a Zoom meeting. As long as you are able to view the meeting screen, there shouldn’t be any issues.
  • Will there be any costs to use this service? – No! Zoom does have a variety of different plans, some of which have a fee. However, Zoom also has a basic plan that is free. But, there will be no costs for libraries to attending a Zoom meeting that LD sets up.
  • Does Zoom have remote desktop capabilities? – No. Zoom is not remote desktop software, so LD will not be able to gain access to your computer via Zoom. Zoom is a collaboration platform and only allows for the sharing of screens. You would still have full access to your computer, but all meeting attendees would be able to see your screen when you share it.
  • How can Zoom meetings be joined? – https://youtu.be/vFhAEoCF7jg
  • How do I share my screen? – https://youtu.be/9wsWpnqE6Hw

zoom_meeting

Zoom is very user-friendly, and a meeting would look something like this (when there are no webcams and a screen is not being shared).

Fake News Browser Extensions

Thank you for visiting.

This resource has moved!

It can now be found on the North Dakota State Library’s LibGuides: https://library-nd.libguides.com/fakenews

We’d hate to see you leave empty-handed, so here is an image of a man riding a bicycle down the steps of the U.S. Capitol (courtesy of the Library of Congress).

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“A perilous ride,” 1884

Coding, STEM, & STEAM Resources

Coding Resources

Coding Apps, Websites, & More

Coding Clubs

Coding for Girls

Hour of Code

STEM & STEAM Resources

Books: STEM, STEAM, & Coding

Girls Who Code

The North Dakota State Library is excited to announce its partnership with Girls Who Code. Girls Who Code brings computer science opportunities to elementary, middle, and high school girls in your community—no coding experience is necessary to facilitate a weekly club.

After signing up, facilitators will receive access to the club curriculum completely free and can learn to code right alongside the students.

3–5th grade club: This club is run similar to a book club and does not need computer access. Books are provided for free. Check out the sample curriculum here.

6–12th grade club: This club does require computer access for each participant. To view the learning platform and sample curriculum, follow the instructions below.

  1. Visit the online learning platform, Girls Who Code HQ
  2. Create an HQ Account by clicking Sign Up and “I want to start a club or I want to volunteer for a club.” This does not obligate you to host a club.
  3. Click on the different icons to learn more about the clubs.

To learn more about the Girls Who Code organization, you can check out these links: Overview; Club Summary

To apply to host a club, click here. Remember to indicate North Dakota State Library as your partner affiliation.

For more information, please contact Abby Ebach at aebach@nd.gov or 701-328-4680.

Library Technology Planning

A technology plan outlines a library’s goals and strategies for utilizing technology to achieve its overall mission, goals, and objectives. It also addresses the library’s current inventory of technology equipment and software utilized in the library, as well as a plan for the future purchase/replacement/maintenance of equipment and software.

Standards for Public Libraries

While it is good practice for libraries to have technology plans, not all libraries are required to do so. However, the North Dakota Library Coordinating Council (NDLCC) Standards for Public Libraries does require a 3-5 year technology plan at the Future-Focused level (F13).

Library Technology Planning for Today and Tomorrow

The following sections are adapted from the “Library Technology Planning for Today and Tomorrow” webinar by Diana Silveira (available online via WebJunction).

Aspects of a Technology Plan

  • Technology assessment (evaluate what you have, evaluate current usage, and identify critical issues)
  • Community input and the definitions of options
  • Goals and outcomes (goals should be S.M.A.R.T.)
  • Planning/ timeline
  • Budgeting
  • Criteria for evaluation
  • Planning for the future

What Should be Included?

  • Internet access (bandwidth)
  • Routers, firewalls, etc.
  • Hardware (staff and public)
  • Software (staff and public)

Connect Your Plan to Your Community

  • Who are your users?
  • How is your community changing? (age, demographics, etc.)

Determine Staff Needs

  • How do staff needs vary from users?
  • What software is needed or wanted?
  • How do you plan to gather and understand staff needs?

Evaluating Technology

  • Usability
  • Performance
  • Price
  • Quality of technology
  • Warranty
  • Support
  • Quality of the product

Continually Evaluate

  • User feedback
  • Usage Statistics
  • Anecdotal evidence
  • Training numbers
  • Are there issues? (Are there issues with training, maintenance, charging, audience, location, marketing, etc.?)

Plan for the Future

  • Use the technology assessment as a living document
  • Note recommendations for the next review/ plan

Resources

TechSoup

State Libraries

Other

State Library Has A Drone!

Attention North Dakota libraries! The State Library now has a drone! The DJI Phantom 3: Drone Kit is available in KitKeeper. The kit includes a drone and an iPad for shooting and editing digital video. The kit only circulates to public and school libraries in North Dakota, and it be checked out up to 8 weeks. To reserve the drone kit or to learn more about it, visit KitKeeper at: http://www.eventkeeper.com/kitkeeper/index.cfm?curOrg=nodak

drone

2016 ARSL Conference

arslOn October 26-29, I had the pleasure of attending the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL) 2016 Conference in Fargo, North Dakota. This was my first national library conference, and what a conference it was! Each day was full of interesting speakers and great sessions.

Perhaps my favorite moment from the conference occurred during Will Weaver’s speech. Weaver is the author of Red Earth, White Earth, A Gravestone Made of Wheat and Other Stories, Saturday Night Dirt, and Striking Out. In his speech, Weaver talked about the importance of libraries and how they have influenced him over the years. He held up a book at one point, and confirmed with the crowd of librarians that it was indeed a library book. He admitted he has the tendency of accidentally stealing library books when he visits them for various engagements. As it turns out, a librarian from the library to which the book belonged was in attendance! As the audience roared with laughter, Weaver had the librarian come up to the front and he returned the book to her.

I thoroughly enjoyed each keynote speaker, and I don’t think there was one session I regretted attending. If anything, I regretted not being able to attend more sessions!

I attended two sessions on programming. One was on teen programs and the other was on how to utilize your community for library programs. The session on teen programs, presented by the librarians at the North Loan City Library in Utah, offered some great ideas: Nerf gun events, teens volunteering at the library to earn points, forming a teen advisory board, and creating an email list just for teens so they can stay up-to-date on what teen-related things are happening at the library.

The mining your community session, presented by the librarian of the Stanley Community Library in Idaho, was just as beneficial. Every community has its gems so utilize them! For example, if someone in your community knits as a hobby, ask this person if he/she would come to the library and host a program on kitting; or if someone is a toy collector, set up a display or have the person come in for a lecture on their history. Some of the great program topics from this session included knitting, adult coloring, lectures, writing classes, music, car maintenance, photography, and cooking.

Librarians are often seen as the people who know everything. As a result, we are likely to receive technology questions that we may not know the answer to, or perhaps the patron is not being receptive. One session on patron technology training tips addressed this. Some of the tips from this session included identify yourself as a technology trainer and do the best you can, create a plan, take deep breaths, narrate your process to the patron, focus on quality, create teachable moments, and implement a resource guide.

Another session, presented by California librarian/ trainer Crystal Schimpf, covered the basics of digital storytelling for libraries and how it can be used for advocacy. Technology is ubiquitous in today’s world so it makes sense for libraries to use it to promote themselves and reach patrons. Libraries can make videos that highlight a database, give a virtual tour, or provide a crash course on services. The sky is the limit! The session stressed that videos should be short but fun. When creating videos you will want to create goals, pick your video platform, write scripts, log your shots, and get the necessary equipment and software (which can be done at a relatively low cost). Once the videos are done, share them on social media and get them out there as much as you can.

One of the more entertaining sessions was presented by Harmony Higbie, director of the Underwood Public Library in Underwood, ND. The session was on Kahoot, a modern twist on trivia. Kahoot can be played for free on your computer, tablet, or mobile device. Kahoot can be used in the library for trivia, book clubs, and more! For more information on Kahoot, visit their website: https://getkahoot.com/

In addition to the before mentioned sessions, I attended two sessions relating to digital preservation. If you would like more information on this area, review the services offered by the Internet Archive. You can also contact the State Library’s Digital Initiatives coordinator.

There were around 500 librarians from across the country at the ARSL conference, and I was lucky to meet some of them and hear their stories. One of the librarians I met was from beautiful St. George, Utah, which is where the ARSL conference will be in 2017. The librarian will be the co-chair for the 2017 conference, and he had some great things to say about the St. George area (he even showed me a picture of the view from his backyard to prove his point).

If you are interested in attending the ARSL conference, I would highly encourage you to do so. You can learn more about ARSL and the annual conference at their website: http://arsl.info/

If you have any questions or would like more information on the ideas and conference sessions I shared, feel free to contact me.

Transforming Lives through 3D Printing at the Library

unleash-creativity[1]In September, I attended the NDLA annual conference in Jamestown. One of the sessions I attended was “3D Printing @ Your Library” presented by Greta Guck, the director of the Leach Public Library in Wahpeton. I thought it would be an interesting session, but it turned out to be considerably more inspiring than I expected!

Greta talked about how she was inspired to acquire a 3D printer after hearing Mick Ebeling speak at the ALA 2015 Midwinter conference. The founder of Not Impossible Labs and author of Not Impossible: The Art and the Joy of Doing What Couldn’t Be Done, Mick has used 3D printers to create prosthetic limbs for people in Sudan who have lost their arms due to violence in the area.

After the conference, I did some research and one of the articles I found about “Project Daniel” makes an excellent point: “To many people 3D printing can seem trivial or a bit silly, but for some this technology has the potential to transform lives.” Many people probably do think of 3D printing as something neat and cool, without stopping to think about the life-changing applications of the technology. Continue reading

A New Session

State Historical Society of North Dakota, William E. (Bill) Shemorry Photograph Collection (1-28-46-1)

State Historical Society of North Dakota, William E. (Bill) Shemorry Photograph Collection (1-28-46-1)

The governor will present his budget to the legislature today. One of the popular topics that has come up in recent years is oil revenue. This isn’t something new as demonstrated in the above photo from 1952. A Williston  City Commissioner, Neuman Ditsworth, leads a protest against legislative action on a oil tax bill. You can read more about it on Digital Horizons.

Take a few minutes to explore the new Digital Horizons website and our new content! The North Dakota Memories collection has new items from the Pembina County Historical Society and the North Dakota County and Town Histories collection has a number of new books for your searching ease.