guest series

Edge Benchmarks: Individual Technology Instruction

In this TechSoup blog series we are exploring examples of successful technology training programs and giving practical advice on how to create similar programs in your library. We start off the conversation about technology training models with Model #1: Individual Instruction, and how to make it easy to implement for just about any library.

Early Impressions from Edge Initiative Beta Test Data Analysis

Although we’re still in the early stages of digesting the rich data provided to us by the 160 libraries that took the time to participate in the Edge Initiative beta test, the University of Washington team has gained some initial impressions and insights from the responses.

Technology Training Series: Models from Libraries

Are you looking for ideas for technology instruction services in your library? Tips for how to offer public technology assistance? Ways to improve digital literacy in your community? Then look no further. This is the first in a new TechSoup blog series to explore examples of successful technology training programs, and to give practical advice on how to create similar programs in your library.

Free Tools for Determining Your Library's Energy Use

According to the EPA, buildings consume 40% of the energy used in the U.S. and 72% of the electricity generated. There is a direct link between the amount of energy your library consumes and the annual operating expenses for your building. Once you manage your library's energy consumption and loss, your utility expenditures will go down, allowing funding to be directed to other programs.

Social Networks and Marketing: the Lester Public Library Experience

I was hired for my first-time directorship at the Lester Public Library (LPL), Two Rivers, Wisconsin in March of 2007.  Becoming a part of this rural community of roughly 12,500 people driven by agriculture and manufacturing on the shores of Lake Michigan was going to be a challenge.  I wanted to have an active role in the community, sooner rather than later. To my delight, social networking helped me achieve this goal, quicker than I had ever envisioned.

Is there a kit for that? Flip video cams make programming a breeze

In the last fiscal year, Sacramento Public Library increased its public program offerings by 32% over the previous year: 133,725 people attended some 5,213 programs throughout our 28 branch library system. At least part of the reason we’ve been able to increase our programming, despite all the "tough economic times" (this is Sacramento, California, remember) has been through the development of boxed programs for our staff.

Sharing, collaborating, and growing

Thanks to guest blogger Lanita Noland, Technical Coordinator and Cataloger, at Lake Cities Library, Lake Dallas, Texas (Dallas/Fort Worth Area) for sharing her insight into how her library meets community needs while keeping costs down by using open source software and sharing resources through a library consortium. - Stephanie Gerding

Societal Impacts of Digital Exclusion

Recently I was asked to comment on the importance of digital technologies from the perspective of local governments, which led me to think philosophically.

Benchmarks, from PLA's perspective

Earlier this year, the Public Library Association joined 12 other organizations to develop public access technology benchmarks. The group is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; the Urban Libraries Council is serving as the facilitating organization. Members of the group have been working very hard examining the history and roles of benchmarking and thinking about what sort of common, measurable services libraries offer. The purpose of the benchmarks is to develop a tool that libraries can use to quantify their public access services and to give libraries a common language in talking about these services to local decision makers.

Benchmarks could be the trick to getting the support we need

I have to be honest, when I first heard about the Benchmark project I was a little circumspect. In my experience, most people don’t even know what the definition of a “benchmark” really is and it is often misconstrued as a goal or an objective. While benchmarks do work with goals and objectives, and even, *said in a whisper* strategic plans, they are by definition different. A benchmark is an industry standard or point of reference against which things may be compared or assessed. For example, a company wishing to improve would look to another company that is setting the industry standard in terms of development, quality, or service, and use that company’s success as a benchmark for setting their own goals.

Creative Commons License

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