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5 Ways Libraries Support Disaster Relief and Recovery

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This post originally appeared on the TechSoup blog as part of our reflection on the 10 year annivesary of Hurricane Katrina. Has your library helped in times of disaster? Tell us about how you supported your community in the comments. 

A library helping with disaster relief

In July, wildfires swept through the Saskatchewan province in Canada, forcing more than 13,000 people to evacuate their homes. The Saskatoon Public Library opened its doors to these evacuees, and staff members stepped up their efforts to help the evacuees communicate with their family and friends. Staffers also let people from outside of Saskatoon check out books from the library and access other services.

"This is what a public library is all about," said Carol Cooler, the director of libraries and CEO at the Saskatoon Public Library in a press statement. "We're a community space; we're here for everyone, and our services and resources are free of charge."

Saskatoon Public Library's support is just one of many examples of public libraries supporting disaster preparedness and relief. Here are a few more public libraries that have helped in times of need.  

Making Use of Government Social Media at the Reference Desk

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Dog at reference desk

At this year's American Library Association Annual Conference, I strayed a bit from my usual public library path and attended a session from two academic librarians who work at Columbia University. But like many sessions at ALA, this one shared some useful tips for public librarians, particularly those who work at the reference desk.

Chubing Hong and Tara Das, both government information librarians at Columbia University, discussed how government agencies have used social media to communicate both official and unofficial government information. Hong discussed how the government in China is just starting to embrace social media as a means for communication.

There's so much information out there for librarians on how to use their own social media, but what about how to use other social media for finding and sharing information? And can you use it to answer questions at the reference desk?

How to Create a Community Resource Guide

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At TechSoup, we're all about community organizations coming together to improve the quality of life for citizens. So when I heard about a collaborative project between nonprofits, city agencies, and the local library happening in my own backyard (almost literally!), I knew I had to write about it.

The Visitacion Valley Resource Guide, available in both online and print formats, is a comprehensive guide to local elected officials, employment services, child care, parks and playgrounds, faith-based organizations, public safety, and more for this sometimes under-served San Francisco neighborhood.  

Because many residents of Visitacion Valley don't have Internet access at home and/or don't speak English, it can be difficult for them to find local information. The resource guide, available both online and in print, helps connect people to neighborhood information.

Get Windows 10 for Your Library

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This post originally appeared on the TechSoup blog. Find out how to upgrade your library's computers to Windows 10 today!  

Windows 10 is here! For many organizations, the upgrade is free. Learn how to upgrade your systems.

If You Have Active Software Assurance, Use It to Get Your Free Upgrade

Windows 10 will be available for download through the Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) on August 3, 2015. If you requested a Windows upgrade license through TechSoup after August 3, 2013, you have active Software Assurance for that license, and you'll be able to download the upgrade for free on that date. See our instructions for downloading software from the VLSC.

If you have active Software Assurance, it's important to upgrade through the VLSC rather than through Microsoft's other free upgrade routes. Why? Upgrading through the VLSC is the only way to get Windows 10 Enterprise and keep your Software Assurance benefits like access to e-learning courses. Even if you don't use the Enterprise edition currently, you'll keep your license rights to that edition if you want to upgrade from Pro to Enterprise later on.

Calling All Libraries — Come Celebrate Creativity with #CelebrateAdobeCC

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This post was originally published on the TechSoup blog. Because the contest is open to libraries, we wanted to share it with our creative community. 

'Imagination is more important than knowledge. ... imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.' — Albert Einstein

TechSoup and Adobe have teamed up to bring you a Facebook contest where you can win $1,000 by submitting any and all content your organization has created using Adobe.

How fun is that?

Crowdfunding Tips from Two Small Libraries

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Once upon a time, there was a suburban Chicagoland public library with an enormous dream: to raise enough money for its very own Incredible Hulk statue. And over on the East Coast, a one-room library without running water was dreaming of a more modern building.

Both libraries garnered an incredible amount of support for these dreams, from mentions in popular magazines to shout-outs from celebrities. Oh, and a substantial amount of money too. How did they do it? Through the magic of crowdfunding!

TechSoup for Libraries held a webinar on July 29 on tools, tips, and tried-and-true practices for running a successful library crowdfunding campaign. We invited the librarians from those two crowdfunding campaigns to share their experience:

  • Laura Bartnik, Northlake Public Library District (Illinois) shared how her library used crowdfunding to purchase and promote graphic novels and technology in the library.
  • Mary Anne Antonellis, M.N. Spear Memorial Library (Shutesbury, Massachusetts) used crowdfunding to support a capital campaign to build a new library.

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With Boost, you receive a stream of special offers that help us put more of the tech and resources you want in your capable hands for less money over time. You drive — guiding us with wish lists and feedback — and we go out and work to find you what you need and connect you to value-added deals that you simply cannot find easily today. It's all about boosting your success.

How the Orange County Library System Digitally Preserves Local History

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On the TechSoup for Libraries blog, we discuss the numerous ways the public library serves its community: as an information hub, a place for activities, a book and DVD repository, and so much more. But we haven't really discussed another important element of the public library: as conservator of local history.

At ALA, the Orange County Library System (OCLS) in Orlando, Florida discussed how it is preserving local history, from the perspective of its community, at a session called "Your Community Memories: Preserving Local Legacies." Donna Bachowski, the reference central manager and Vanessa Neblett, reference central assistant manager, discussed two projects that the library is working on to engage the community in local history.

MathAndCoding Turns the Library Into a Coding Classroom (Part 2)

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In Part 1 of this series, we introduced MathAndCoding, a nonprofit that offers teen-led programming classes for children in public libraries in the Silicon Valley area. In part 2, we offer a librarian's perspective as the host for this program.

As the first librarian to host it, Karin Bricker, library manager for youth and outreach services at Mountain View Public Library, had to overcome some initial skepticism. "They [Vineet Kosaraju and Nikhil Cheerla] are certainly capable, well-meaning kids. But they are still kids. So there was some initial back and forth early on in regards to curriculum."  

Bay Area Teens Share the Love of Coding (Part 1)

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On a balmy Californian Saturday afternoon, 14 kids, 8 boys and 6 girls, are figuring out the profit and loss of a lemonade stand. There's no real money involved, nor is it a real lemonade stand. And they're doing this using the programming language Java on their laptops.

With lines of code projected on a screen, these children listen intently in a conference room at the Mountain View Public Library, as part of a four-week course on programming. It's free to anyone who wants to attend, regardless of where they live. 

Kids learning how to code at the library

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