Blog

15 January 2016 - 2:03pm | by Phil Shapiro
Video booth at the UT Library
 
Public libraries could strongly benefit from having one or more "video booths," which are small, sound-insulated rooms for community members to perform various video- and multimedia-related tasks. 
 
The following tasks could be included:
 
  1. Creating screencasts, narrated explanations of activity on the computer screen.
  2. Engaging in Skype job interviews.
  3. Creating video book reviews for Amazon.com (see some examples).
  4. Participating in Google Hangouts.
  5. Recording spoken voice for digital storytelling projects using the free Audacity sound recording and editing software. (See my review of The Book of Audacity.)
  6. Recording of singing and other musical performances for YouTube or other purposes.
  7. Creating free multimedia educational content, such as animated children's stories.
  8. Recording "passion talk" videos, where community members speak directly to a webcam about a topic that stirs them — in the style of a TED talk.
9 November 2015 - 9:35am | by Phil Shapiro

I'm a big fan of the Inkscape vector graphics program, which is a no-cost equivalent of Adobe Illustrator and runs on all major computer platforms (Linux, Macintosh, and Windows). Back in 2007, I created a short promotional video showing the range of graphics that people can make using Inkscape.

Inkscape, when paired with Animatron (a freemium HTML5 online animation tool), can be used for creating narrated, animated children's stories. These tools might also be used to create multimedia motion graphics stories for libraries, nonprofits, foundations, government agencies, and more.

22 May 2015 - 11:52am | by Phil Shapiro

As a maker, I love nimble. Nimble means able to move fast. The state of Delaware was nimble when it was the first to ratify the U.S. Constitution. Today, the state is moving fast to bring making and creativity to its public libraries.

I noticed on Twitter that the person spearheading this is Sarena Fletcher, an administrative librarian for Delaware Division of Libraries. I caught up with Sarena recently to hear her story, recorded in this short audio interview on YouTube. 

I loved hearing from Sarena how the Delaware libraries are working in partnership with the Barrel of Makers makerspace to teach Scratch computer programming classes at the libraries. The only other makerspace I know of that's partnering with a public library is the Santa Barbara Makerspace in California.

1 May 2015 - 5:15pm | by Phil Shapiro

Ten years ago, I started my current public library job in Takoma Park, Maryland. Soon after I started the job, several Hurricane Katrina refugees arrived at my public library. It's scary to lose your entire city to a hurricane. When you show up in a new city, it's vital that the people you meet welcome you as valued members of their community.

One of these refugees, Desiree, was a wheelchair user. When she asked me for help in obtaining a donated computer, I put her at the front of my list of waiting recipients. When a donated Dell desktop came in, I set it up for her in her apartment and told her to contact me when it wasn't working.

Over the years, I visited her apartment to provide tech support, but I didn't feel the burden of tech support as being heavy – until she obtained a Google Chromebook.

25 March 2015 - 1:58pm | by Phil Shapiro

Some school and public libraries around the world are setting up makerspaces or creative tinkering spaces, but not every library has the space or budget to do so. How can your library support makers without having its own makerspace? There are lots of ways to do it. Here are a few tips to get you started.

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