guest series

Notes from the back room of a small rural library: this I believe

I was driving to work one day, down the miles of dirt road, listening to an audio book version of the This I Believe. This I Believe is a radio program of the personal philosophies of folks the what they believe to be true. (Hmm.., you say, I thought this was a tech blog. I'll get there..never fear, but I warn you this will be a looooong train.)

Our library's Kindle

Due to the rise of e-book readers lately, we have decided to purchase and play with an Amazon Kindle. I chose the Kindle since it is the apparent leader in the e-book market right now, but it looks like things might be changing with the increasing number of e-book readers entering the market. With the recent announcement of the Apple iPad, things are going to get interesting.

No trees were harmed in the making of this conference

For those of you who have never visited (or heard of) a virtual conference, let me set the scene:  hundreds of librarians huddle in front of PCs in their homes and small libraries across Iowa on a particularly freezing January day with coffee in hand.  All are about to take part in a conference, without going anywhere.  Keynoters Sarah Houghton-Jan and George Needham bookend the day while breakout sessions, poster sessions and even a virtual exhibit hall give every attendee the full conference experience – all without travel, or cost. 

Notes from the back room of a small rural library

I am the back room of a small rural library in Colorado. OK I am actually a person, but working in a small (did I mention understaffed) library means my job is all things associated with the back room: cataloging, accounting, book processing, acquisitions, technology, toilet plunging... Yup. Jack of all trades. To make the most of our limited situation, we try a lot of things. Some succeed, some never take off, some fail miserably, some revolutionize how we do business.

The Social Digitization Workshop - involving the community in the creation of a digital library

[The TechSoup for Libraries blog frequently features guest posts from library writers around the US.  With this post, however, we are excited to move beyond that to include the ideas and expertise of international library writers, too. Agnieszka Koszowska is a librarian and instructor at The Silesian Library in Katowice, Poland.]

"This is how we got an idea to involve the community members in creating and developing digital resources."

Volunteer-Powered Computer Classes

I coordinate the NetMaster program for the King County Library System. NetMasters are volunteer computer instructors who lead classes in the community libraries based on existing curriculum. Potential volunteers apply via our website and I contact them for orientation and training—this process is manageable, but does keep me pretty busy. Here is how it goes:

The Joys of Jing!

According to Liz (our system administrator), everything good comes from that is where she found Jing (  As the Web site says, "Use Jing to capture anything you see on your computer screen and share it an image or short movie."   You'll need to set up a free (limited use) account, which allows you to post stuff to

Schedule, organize, plan! Save time, money, and the environment.

Have you ever been at a meeting where everyone takes out their calendars and PDAs and tries to figure out when on earth they could possibly meet again? You watch them one-up each other with all the reasons they are SO busy they can’t possibly meet on this day, at that time, and so the process starts all over again.

A fund raising success story: Adopt-a-Computer

If the first 5 weeks of 2009 are anything to go by we're going to be too busy to blink our eyes this year. I figured I can take some time off in 2010!

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