Library Technology, 2017 Year in Review

Person looking at a calendar through a magnifying glass

For better or worse, 2017 was definitely a year to remember. This past year gave us new political realities and the need for libraries to repair budgets and memory holes. It also gave us a promise of simpler e-book lending, widespread Wi-Fi hotspot lending, and maker programs. We think public libraries met the challenges of this past year admirably. Here is a glance back at 2017 through the lens of library technology.

Library helps local youth learn to design video games

Last fall we wrote about the Independence (KS) Public Library and the Scratch programming classes they were offering for kids ages 8-12. Last Tuesday, the library once again provided its community with an opportunity to learn to be digital creators. They hosted a 4 hour video game design workshop. Game industry pros from E-Line Media! traveled to the small town to provide a workshop for 30 middle and high school students.  The event was made possible because of the National STEM Video Game Challenge and the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Libraries build digital communities

Today I'm co-facilitating an ALA session titled, "Libraries Lead Community Digital Inclusion." Along with my colleagues from WebJunction, ICMA, and IMLS, we'll be guiding librarians through activities that utilize IMLS' recently published Building Digital Communities framework. I'll be talking about gathering stakeholders and leaders for digital inclusion work. Here's what I plan to share.

Do you do digital inclusion?

Digital Inclusion is a tough term. Tough, because it isn't often one that organizations use, understand, or have even heard. Sure, there are all sorts of words we don't use or need to use, but for libraries, nonprofits, and elected officials, "digital inclusion" is increasingly an important term to add to our collective lexicon.

Free Online LE@D Class Available through IMLS Grant

I just saw this notice Pat Wagner shared from Kevin Haney, project director of the LE@D (Lifelong Education @ Desktop) program at the University of North Texas. LE@D classes are high-quality online, self-paced courses, with many library specific topics. In the spirit of full disclosure, I am the author of one of these free online tutorials, Grant Writing Basics. Enjoy!

You can access LE@D classes and information at

Digging Into the Digital Inclusion Framework

I was lucky enough to attend a Digital Inclusion Forum event in Los Angeles last month. The Forum was designed to gather community feedback on the proposed Framework for Digital Inclusion developed by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the University of Washington, and the International City/County Management Association (ICMA).

Our Sputnik Moment

I just returned from meetings in snowy Washington D.C. to participate in the Digital Inclusion Working Group, a group convened by IMLS, TASCHA/UW and ICMA. These discussions were to provide feedback on the first draft of a proposed Framework for Digitally Inclusive Communities, which is a direct response to mandates in the National Broadband Plan.