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Creating Community through Community

The changing nature of libraries stresses a shift to deliberate action on the part of the library, and the sense of “turning outward” espoused by the American Library Association’s (ALA) “Libraries Transforming Communities” advocacy campaign. Documenting these connections serves to recast the library experience in a new light.

Revisiting Open Data Practices

If you had the word “iterate” on your PLA conference bingo card, this was your year. Concepts such as rapid prototyping, failing quickly, and agile development made their way into many of the program presentations, and all the featured speakers addressed issues related to embracing constant change. With that in mind, I’d like to take a second pass at a topic I covered in this column a year ago: how can libraries make better sense of the opportunities afforded by the open data movement?

It’s All Around You: Creating a Culture of Innovation

Innovation, you say? Ha, I respond. Being an innovator is easy. All you need is a brilliant idea that no one has ever come up with before. It also helps if you have the resources and team to make the idea a reality. And you should probably also have the ability to knock out these […]

Rules for Reflectors

It happened again, librarians. We’re at the end of another year, and hopefully all of you are making strides toward 2014 with a certain amount of confidence. I hope this finds you with an eagerness to start things anew—be it a calendar or fiscal year. But before you turn the page on 2013, take some […]

Of Tinkers and Technology: Creative Digital Programming for Youth

This is probably going to surprise no one: my wife and I, and our son, live in a highly connected household. The three of us work and play online, jumping seamlessly from computer to tablet to phone to television. Whether we’re planning, budgeting, socializing, or entertaining, using technology to enhance my family’s life has become an expectation, not a novelty.

Every Day I’m Tumbling

Like Pinterest, Tumblr allows users to collect interesting things they find (or create) online and share them with people in their network. But where Pinterest allows users to gather what they find into curated collections, Tumblr is more focused on pushing material out on the web and watching other folks consume it. If Pinterest is a cabinet of wonders, Tumblr is more like an all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant where delicacies come to you via conveyor belt.

In Search of Better Metrics

This may not be the column you’re looking for. One of the great advantages this platform has given me is the opportunity to sound like I know what I’m talking about. Working with new discoveries gives you the opportunity to proclaim yourself the first “expert” in any discipline. While it’s always been my goal to […]

E-Books, E-Book Readers, and Next Steps

Here’s a scenario that recently occurred at Topeka and Shawnee County (Kans.) Public Library (TSCPL). Topeka is currently participating in the Big Read, a grant-funded, community-wide reading program. TSCPL picked The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett as its Big Read book. It is available in paperback and an audiobook version from Overdrive. One of TSCPL’s […]

Premium Web Tools for Public Libraries

We’ve actually had this column idea kicking around for quite a while, and we are pretty excited to finally talk about it. The idea came during a phone call where we were talking about the combination of value and efficiency that libraries have. We were trying to list as many ways as we could think […]

Stuff We’ve Spotted Lately

Michael: “Hey David, how about for this column we jump all over the place and hit a string of ideas?” David: “What? I wasn’t paying attention. I was jumping between browser tabs and IM on my laptop.” Michael: “Perfect! That’s what we’ll make this column like.” David: “Huh? Ok.” Netflix Did you see that Netflix […]

Power to the People

This issue’s Internet Spotlight column is taking shape at 38,000 feet, somewhere over the middle of the United States. Flying back from the 2010 Computers in Libraries Conference, both our heads are full of fresh ideas, things to research, opinions to think about, questions that need to be answered, new friends and colleagues, and … […]

Foursquare for Libraries

In this Internet Spotlight column, let’s play a game. But not just any game. What if we make it a game that’s played completely online, that you can play with friends, and gives rewards for doing well? While we’re at it, let’s make it location-based (more on that in a second). Anyone know what game […]

Our Last Column, Part 2: Aloha and Greatest Hits, Or How to Stretch Beyond Print

Michael: It’s fitting that our last column is also a first for us—part two of a two-part series! David: Yep. We roll like that. Michael: Speaking of rolling, let’s roll . . . and get on with it! David: Right-o, my man! Last time, we were looking through some of our past columns, seeing how […]

Our Last Column, Part 1: Aloha and Greatest Hits

David: Hey, wait a minute! Does that title say “Our Last Column”? What’s up with that? Michael: Yessirree! Aloha seems like the right thing to say; in the Hawaiian language, it means affection, love, peace, compassion, and mercy. All things we hope our dear readers have for us when we make bad jokes in the […]

Talking the E-Book Talk and Walking the E-Content Walk

Ah, ALA Annual Conference: the heat, the rain, the gumbo and po’boys (after all, it was in New Orleans this year), the lovely Libraryland conversations, and camaraderie! Amid all of that, people were hungry to hear and talk about what is happening—and will be happening—with libraries and e-content access, particularly e-books. David: So e-books are […]