24 October 2016 - 9:05am | by Jim Lynch

I know there are lots of social media tools beyond Facebook and Twitter that people are using that I should know about. But who has the time? That's why I like TechBoomers. They currently offer over 100 free courses composed of over 1,000 video and article tutorials.

TechBoomers.com is a free educational website that teaches older adults and others with limited computer skills how to use popular websites and apps. That means their courses are simple to digest and understand. It also makes TechBoomers a great resource for library staff and patrons to quickly find out how to use things like Snapchat, Vine, Pinterest, and Instagram.

Plus, all their content is Creative Commons licensed, which means you are free to reuse it in your own technology training for patrons or staff!

13 October 2016 - 2:07pm | by Ginny Mies

Woman looking at spreadsheet on computer

This post originally appeared on TechSoup.org. We're sharing it here because libraries also need to measure their social media activities to understand what is working well and what could be improved. Happy measuring!

When you're new to the world of social media analytics, it can be quite overwhelming not only trying to determine what to measure, but what tool to use. We recently published a recap of our webinar on social media analytics with Laura Solomon, a librarian and social media expert. There was so much covered in that hour that we barely scratched the surface in our recap and didn't have a chance to focus on analytics tools.

5 October 2016 - 10:32am | by Phil Shapiro

Community meeting at library

People come to the library with questions. Sometimes their questions are deflected as not being "ready reference" questions, meaning questions that can be answered by using one or two common reference tools. Is a question less valid if it is not a ready reference question? What would happen if librarians addressed questions by convening members of the community — pooling knowledge to discern and devise answers and solutions? The unanswered questions would have a higher chance of being addressed, which itself would promote more wondering.

Suppose someone came to the library and asked this question: "I don't have money to pay utility bills. In what ways can I make it through the winter in my apartment or house without freezing to death?"  That's a valid question, even though it's not your typical public library reference question.

There might not be one tidy answer to this question, but there are many approaches to answering this question. Naturally, all proposed solutions to this situation must place the safety of the community member first.

4 October 2016 - 10:33am | by Sarah Benlolo

Woman working on computer in library.

Our goal for TechSoup for Libraries is to help your library get the technology it needs. Keep reading for a few frequently asked questions about our donation program for libraries.  

Q: What is the TechSoup for Libraries product donation program?

A:  Our donation program is made possible by the generosity of our donors and their desire to help nonprofits and libraries flourish with the help of technology. These partners help out by donating their wares to you through the TechSoup for Libraries product donation program. The nominal admin fee listed on the product pages represents an amount you will pay to TechSoup to support our own 501(c)(3) nonprofit operation. The other work we do alongside running the donation program is focused on creating a supportive community for libraries to come together and learn, exchange ideas, and get inspired to make each library the best it can be. Get involved today by perusing our lively blog and signing up for our newsletter.

19 September 2016 - 3:21pm | by Ariel Gilbert-Knight

This blog post was originally published on the TechSoup.org blog. Whether you're looking for more creative ways to show your circulation data or want to educate your patrons on data visualization, this series can help you get started. You'll be creating awesome visualizations in no time!

Better ways to visualize your data, including bar charts, line charts, scatterplots, and maps

We know nonprofits and libraries gather piles of data, from program outcomes to constituent data to fundraising or advocacy campaign results. And you probably struggle to turn that data into meaningful insights that can improve your work or tell your organization's story.

That's why TechSoup has partnered with Tableau on a new blog series called "Beyond the Pie Chart."

Have you ever

  • Struggled to translate a bunch of boring spreadsheets into a visual format that's easy for your board, funders, or potential donors to understand?
  • Tried to create a report and couldn't find a chart or graph that would clearly illustrate your point?
  • Thought that analyzing your data was complicated or scary?

Then this series is for you!

19 September 2016 - 2:50pm | by Ginny Mies

Of the tasks that can make you go cross-eyed during your off-desk hours, one might be measuring social media analytics. Often, you have more questions than answers. What should we measure, and which measurements matter the most? What do the experts say? How does that apply to my library, and what can I show my administration or board? How do we even know if our numbers are good ones?

We invited Laura Solomon, author of The Librarian's Nitty-Gritty Guide to Social Media and Library Services Manager at the Ohio Public Library Information Network, to our August webinar. Here's what she said matters most when it comes to social media analytics in public libraries.

15 September 2016 - 11:26am | by Ginny Mies

Computer cat

We know that you're busy and might not know the full scope of what TechSoup offers libraries. This is why we hold quarterly free webinars that can help you take advantage of everything we do! Join us for the next TechSoup for Libraries - Maximize Your Technology Services with TechSoup webinar on September 22 at 11 a.m. Pacific time.

Here are a few things you'll learn.

1. You can register all of your branches at once.

Does your library have multiple branches, but only your main library is registered? Or maybe you have many locations, and the thought of trying to get every single one of them registered seems totally overwhelming? Guess what? You can register all of your library branches at once with TechSoup's bulk registration process! Here's what John Sarmiento, network engineer for the Peninsula Library System in California, said about bulk registration:

"It was such an easy process for me to get my 30 libraries registered with TechSoup using their bulk import tool. Now all 30 of my libraries can reap the cost saving benefits of acquiring software from TechSoup."

You'll learn more about this at our upcoming webinar, but you can email our client services team if you want to get started right away.

13 September 2016 - 11:12am | by Phil Shapiro


Crowdfunding is changing the world for the better, reducing barriers to entry for writers, innovators and inventors. So when I heard the news about equity crowdfunding becoming legal earlier this year, I couldn't help but wonder, "What role for public libraries?"

The intent of equity crowdfunding is to make it easier for individuals who are not wealthy to purchase shares in new business ventures. Doing so can be risky, and investors can always lose all their invested money. Yet, at the same time, there can be an upside to equity investment — when done wisely and prudently.

30 August 2016 - 3:24pm | by Ginny Mies

Librarian. Library Assistant. Page. Information Specialist. Cataloguer. These are just a handful of some of the job titles you'll find at a library. But what about "Tech Worker"? Pam Saliba and Andrea Cecchetto, branch managers for the Markham Public Library, embarked on a mission to change the way library staff viewed technology and their place in the technology world.

We invited Pam and Andrea to our July webinar to share with other libraries how they got the Markham staff on-board with technology. Andrea and Pam opened up the webinar by asking our attendees whether they think of themselves as technology workers. Interestingly, 67 percent responded that yes, they do see themselves as tech workers.

A Cultural Shift Toward Technology

Markham, located just north of Toronto, is known as Canada's high-tech capital. It's the home of 900 technology companies and their employees. In response to the booming technology industry, the Markham Library started hosting maker and coding events, launched a digital media lab, and purchased 3D printers. But to get the staff on-board with this cultural shift toward technology, the Markham Library had to do some work internally.  

25 August 2016 - 2:46pm | by Ariel Gilbert-Knight

To access TechSoup's new online course, you'll need to create an account on our training platform.

Here's how you do it.

1. Go to https://techsoup.course.tc/.

2. Create a training account. You need to create this new training account the first time you access the training platform, even if you're already a TechSoup member.

On the login page, click Need an account? Register now!

screenshot showing Need an Account? Register now! link

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.