guest series

BTOP Projects at Work: Fast Forward New Mexico’s Small Business Success Training

America didn’t invent entrepreneurship - but we sure do love it here.  Even President Obama is getting on the entrepreneurship bandwagon, announcing new programs to spur technology innovation that will lead to new companies being formed and hopefully, more jobs. 

Saving Space at our Rural Library with Laptops

Laptops could be a good solution for small libraries that don't have the space for a permanently installed computer lab. We're a small, rural public library (pop. 5200 (winter) to 8000 (summer). We have three public desktops, one stand up express station, and 6 public laptops, simply because we lack the space, and the desire, for a dedicated computer area. When I teach a computer class, I set up the laptops in one of our two small meeting rooms.

SEO Series Step Two: Place your keywords in the right places

The first step in our Search Engine Optimization Series involved identifying a list of keywords by exploring which keywords users are actually using to search. Now you want to make sure you are putting the keywords in places on your website where the search engines will find them. It’s important to understand how search engine algorithms determine relevancy. How does Google decide which sites show up in the top ten search results? One way is by weighting keywords based on where they are found on a web page.

Keeping kids safe on the Internet: one library's story

The Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System has put in place an Internet Safety Education Program featuring the NetSmartz Workshop, an animated, interactive, age appropriate software program designed by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.  This educational tool teaches Internet safety awareness to children, teens, parents, guardians, and educators and is available in three grade levels. The one thing that impressed our staff the most was that the workshop is totally self-contained.  A student can work through the entire program without assistance from library staff.

Getting Started with Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Step One

There are people in your community who don't use the library. Outreach is a great way to connect with these folks. But how can you make your library visible on the web? Reach people online using search engine optimization (SEO) and inbound marketing techniques. This series of blog posts will get you started with your SEO for your library’s website.

Thin Clients: a "blessing" for a small library

In 2008, the La Conner Regional Library was looking at replacing its old public computers.  At least one crashed on a daily basis, only some of the drives worked and they were a pain since we have no onsite IT people. 

Hiring Trainers for My Community-Based Nonprofit

A few weeks ago, we wrote about ACCEL, the organization managing the Connect Your Community project in Appalachian Ohio. In this guest blog post, Jason Schroeder explains his hiring process for the project. He argues that when hiring public computing trainers, the primary criterion should be community-mindedness, not technical expertise. - Elliot Harmon

Sharing IT experiences from Kansas

At the Emporia Public Library where I am the IT guy, we were working on upgrading our HDD protection software. The software we chose, based on price and apparent features, ended up being very problematic. We ended up abandoning it and purchasing a different software.

A cheap(er) self-checker system

Teton County Library has just created and installed our own homemade self-checker at a substantial savings ($1,200 instead of $15,000 per unit) and I wanted to see if any other libraries might want to use the system.

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