October 04, 2006

Tech Tips for Every Librarian: Keeping Up With Keeping Up

Tech Tips for Every Librarian

In the October issue of CIL, Rachel helps librarians keep in the know:

We can use blogs to market our institutions; we can also use them as an integral component in our personal professional development plans. Perhaps not surprisingly, many "techie" librarians tend to create blogs in their areas of expertise, and their blend of technological know-how and library-specific focus makes their blogs a great place to start a quest for technical knowledge. Due to the mechanics of publishing cycles, blogs also tend to report on technologies and their implementations in libraries before the traditional media. Select blogs based on your personal needs; these may change as you look into different technologies for your library or your own personal development. Start with some broader tech-related blogs that focus on multiple technologies, such as those listed here; these will give you the background you need to delve further into those of interest.

September 04, 2006

Tech Tips for Every Librarian: To USB or Not USB

Tech Tips for Every Librarian

In the September issue, Rachel discusses all things USB:

Now that you're offering this useful service, how do you get people to take advantage of it? First, advertise its availability. Post a "Flash Drives Welcome" sign temporarily, make a note in your newsletter, post on your library's blog, and be sure that all public services staff members can suggest the USB drive alternative to people who are having problems with floppies or seeking alternative storage solutions,

Smaller USB drives are a great giveaway idea--think about the possibilities for National Library Card Signup Month or Summer Reading prizes. Some libraries also sell the devices to patrons. Prices are dropping and you can buy in bulk.

Be sure to provide instructions for patrons using their USB devices on public PCs. Include instructions on safely removing the hardware, on saving files to USB devices, and putting contact information on their drives in case they leave them in your PCs.

August 31, 2006

Tech Tips for Every Librarian: Share and Share Alike

Tech Tips for Every Librarian

For July/August, Rachel & I co-authored a piece on sites where librarians can share their expertise!

One of librarians' core strengths lies in the way we share knowledge and facilitate the free ex change of information. When we extend this strength to communicating, collaborating, and building networks with one another--in addition to the collaborative services we provide our patrons--we are truly unstoppable. And when we pool our knowledge and skills to share technology information and solutions, we are able to create a technical foundation that every library can build upon.

The power of community and collaboration shines through in several new technology-related projects, which we would like to share with you. These online resources harness the collective power of the library community, helping us implement easy technical solutions and learn more about technology so that we are then prepared to make the best choices for our own libraries and our local communities' needs.

We highlight:

June 02, 2006

Tech Tips for Every Librarian: Online Cool for Every Budget

Tech Tips for Every Librarian

This month, Rachel rolls out some of the HOT social tools! And ITI puts the whole article online!!

You don’t have to jump into implementing every one of these ideas and services, but do think outside the basic library Web site box and about meeting your users where they are. Most of these options are in some way “social” in that they are designed to bring people together and to create community online. We talk so often about libraries building community, as being at the center of the community—it’s essential for us to participate in these online spaces that are becoming central to many of our patrons’ lives.

The best way to begin building your interactive and interesting online presence is to take a little time to play with some of these tools, with an open mind as to how you might use them in your own library.

May 05, 2006

Tech Tips for Every Librarian: Ten Tips for Tech Trainers

Tech Tips for Every Librarian

I got back from Texas and Chicago to find the new issue of Computers in Libraries! This month, the department I write with Rachel Singer Gordon features Ten Tips for Technology Training. These are the online resources mentioned in the article.

A big shout out to the other side of the Atlantic to my training colleague and chum Rob Coers who played a big role in this article!

Twenty Technology Training Tips with Rob Coers

Training IM & Handouts made in PowerPoint

Being ready for anything when presenting: Practicing what I Preach

Core Technology Training Competencies via the Librarian in Black:

Flickr Training Images: &

BONUS (and so HOT): Darren Chase's IM poster for his library.

Pew Internet & American Life

Have you Updated your Classes lately?

Open Office Impress:

The Original Ten Tips Post:

March 26, 2006

Tech Tips for Every Librarian: FASTER IM

Tech Tips

IM Resources: In the April 2006 issue of Computers in Libraries, my "Tech Tips" piece is all about FASTER IM! Here are the links mentioned in the article. Happy IMing!


AskSJCPL Page:

Edifice Ref’s Trillian Training:


Fire Training:



IM Training at Tame the Web:

Library Success Wiki - Virtual Reference and IM:

MSN Messenger:

OCLC Perceptions:

Pew Report on Instant Messaging:

Sherri Vokey’s IM at UNLV Post:

Sherri Vokey’s Training Modules:


YAHOO! Messenger:

TTW on IM:

March 17, 2006

Tech Tips for Every Librarian: Free Finds for Frugal Libraries

Tech Tips for Every Librarian

Hooray! Here's the full text of Rachel's piece on Open Source Software!

This piece highlights some wonderful ways librarians can implement and work with wireless, but we still nee to serve the patrons who rely on us for basic computer access. Keeping software on public access machine current, given hefty licensing fees, pricey upgrades, and pervasive patches and updates, can be an expensiv hassle. We're all under pressure to provide more services for less money. Here, find some free and lowcos alternatives that are both easy to install and popular with patrons

You don't have to switch all your computers to Linux or be a geek to use free software. You can also combine free and commercial software on the same machines. All of these options run on Windows machines or Linux, most on Macs, and most will run well on older versions of Windows and older hardware .

February 18, 2006

How and Why to Try a Blog for Staff Communication

Tech Tips

This month I write about using Weblogs for internal communication. At the SisrsiDynix Weblog presentation laste week, this was actually a question from the audience we didn't get to.

How and Why to Try a Blog for Staff Communication. Rachel Singer Gordon & Michael Stephens. Computers in Libraries, 10417915, Feb2006, Vol. 26, Issue 2

Librarians report that there are benefits to using internal Weblogs. An important one is experience. Steve Backs, an adult services department manager at the Monroe County Public Library in Bloomington, Ind., began internal blogging within the last year "as part of our efforts to create reasons for staff to work with up-to-date technologies." This may be the most important benefit of internal experimentation and use of new tools.

February 17, 2006

Welcome to Our World

Tech Tips

This month, Rachel Singer Gordon and I start a Computers in Libraries magazine monthly department that will offer tips and strategies for technology projects in any kind of library for little or no cost! We begin with some background about our library experience. We'll be switching off between aithors month to month. Next month, I write about the benefits and mechanics of internal blogging for improved communication in libraries.

Welcome to Our World! Gordon, Rachel Singer Gordon & Michael Stephens. Computers in Libraries; Jan2006, Vol. 26 Issue 1, p40-41

All of this talk about new Web site techniques--"Web 2.0," blogs, instant messaging, wikis, digital rights management, iPods, RSS, audio content, and any other "hot" technologies you may be reading about--can be overwhelming. Sometimes we act so cautiously with the unknown--in this case, all things tech--that nothing gets done. Some librarians even admit to being "frozen" as the pace of change in technology and user expectations increases. There are resources available to help you make the right decisions (see sidebar) and to supplement the thoughts, advice, tips, and more that we'll be presenting here. Never stop learning and improving. Never be afraid to try something new as you seek innovative ways to meet the needs of your users.