Tucked away in the basement an adobe home in the rural Panjwai District in Afghanistan is small one-room library. It has two shelves of about sixteen hundred books and magazines, a collection that has been largely developed through donations from around the world. The library gets about five visitors a day, but to twenty-two-year-old Matiullah Wesa, “five visitors in the village are more important than 100 in the city.”
Ginny Mies Author Archive
Ginny Mies works for TechSoup for Libraries where she is lucky enough to spend her time talking with public libraries about all things technology. She keeps on top of the latest tech trends and innovations in public library programming so she can share it with the TechSoup audience. She holds an MLIS from San Jose State University and has written for PCWorld, Macworld, and TechHive.
Sharing journalism resources is just one of the ways to foster relationships with local media.
When you think of finding the latest breaking news updates online, which social network comes to mind? The Pew Research Center recently published a report on a survey it conducted between January and February, 2016, with 4,654 members of the center’s American Trends Panel. The survey examined news-seeking habits of adults across social media platforms. For libraries, these survey findings provide insight on how to best reach patrons on social media as well as how adults find information online.
Library staff are constantly looking for ways to better reach and serve their local communities. From post-event surveys to embedded librarianship to collecting circulation statistics, libraries have different strategies for gathering information and measuring service success. Market segmentation and big data, two terms popular in the corporate world, can also help libraries make informed decisions about collections and services.
Sameer Siruguri is passionate about coding and computer science. And he wants to share his passion with everybody—especially those who are underserved in the technology industry. “My passion is to bridge barriers for beginners in the tech world, and provide some guided explorations of intro topics that will help answer questions like—where should I get started, and is this tech work something I like?” said Siruguri, the co-founder of Digital Strategies, a technical consulting agency.
It’s been a little over two and a half years since Edward Snowden’s revelations of the National Security Agency’s surveillance of American’s online and phone communications and records. Have American opinions of privacy been affected? And how has it shaped online behavior? Since the June 2013 Snowden leaks, the Pew Research Center began an in-depth study on how Americans view privacy and sharing personal information. Pew’s recently published report The State of Privacy in America reveals surprising results—and some interesting opportunities for public libraries to get involved in privacy and surveillance discussions.
Knowing what’s happening in the library and information field on an international level can help you drive impact locally.
Library staff should follow the news from the Consumer Electronics Show to get a sense of what technology is headed to their communities.
Think about the utilities you have at your library: electricity, water, and gas. Could your library survive without those? Probably not. Now, consider your programming and public access technology. How much of it relies on Internet connectivity? How much more could you be doing with better Internet connectivity?
Whether you’re helping a senior citizen use a tablet for the first time or helping a fifth grader with a research report, your library is doing amazing work every day. But does your community know it? And how can you tell your library’s story to increase public support?
Tech planning: it might not be the most exciting task, but it’s a necessary and important thing to do as you look at the bigger picture for your library. But while that all sounds good in theory, actually putting together a tech plan might seem overwhelming or arduous. How do you even begin planning out everything you want tech-wise for your library?
Public libraries are starting to play a larger role as a referrer of community health and social services. Many larger public library systems (such as Washington, D.C. and San Francisco) are adding social workers to their employee roster. In a recent TechSoup for Libraries and WebJunction co-hosted webinar, we examined social service referral programs from three libraries of varying sizes. And at ALA 2015, WebJunction showcased its Health Happens in Libraries program along with five library participants at a poster session.
But for libraries that don’t have the budget or staffing to develop a robust social services or meal program, a tool like Range is an easy (and free!) way to get started. One librarian I spoke with said that she posted a flier about Range on her library’s community bulletin board. She said that although they don’t get a lot of questions about social services, there is a high poverty rate in her community. She thought that posting Range’s information could help a family in need if they were too afraid to ask.
If you’re attending this year’s ALA Annual Conference, take some time to explore San Francisco’s special libraries, bookstores, and other literary landmarks. By no means a full list, here are a few fun destinations to squeeze into your itinerary.
Google recently changed its algorithm to give preference to mobile-friendly sites, dubbed “Mobilegeddon” by the technology press. Even if your website isn’t optimized for mobile yet, your library can still weather this update.