3 September 2019 - 5:24am | by Amanda Hickman

A journalist conducting research at a library

Editor's Note: This post originally appeared in Source, an OpenNews project designed to amplify the impact of journalism by connecting a network of developers, designers, journalists, and editors to collaborate on open technologies. It was originally written for journalists, but we thought the piece so unique and useful to librarians and library workers that we're reposting it on TechSoup for Libraries in a two-part series. Find the original here.

At Factful, where we're building technology for journalists and civil society researchers, we're researching ways to make contemporary state-of-the-art data processing and storage tools more accessible to investigative reporters. One question driving our research was whether or not it made sense to create a large-scale data commons, a place where publicly useful sets of information could be stored, curated, and compared for the common good. Ultimately, we decided that for us the answer is no, at least for now. There are plenty of incomplete or out-of-date data commons projects already, and building and maintaining a truly comprehensive project is a massive undertaking.

Along the way, we did compile a pretty comprehensive roundup of data repositories and commons projects that could be valuable tools for reporters, investigators, or anyone looking to increase accountability through publicly available information.

28 August 2019 - 12:21pm | by Elizabeth Boggs

Teens discuss javascript coding at a library

If you saw my blog post on TechSoup for Libraries, Simple Coding Lessons for Teens, and taught your teens to create web pages with HTML and CSS coding, then congratulations!

Where do you go from here, though? Your teens have the coding and web page creation basics, and they may be clamoring for more!

You can advance these skills using JavaScript coding, which builds on HTML and CSS by adding interactivity to web pages.

2 August 2019 - 3:21am | by Jim Lynch

A hand pulling a page out of a book

What's new in library tech! Welcome to our monthly collection of fun news items from our great Twitter feed or wherever we find them.

This month we humbly offer a nice recap of the entire ALA 2019 Conference, news on some new ALA intellectual freedom resources, hitting the alarm about how big publishers are choking off access to digital content for libraries, the top 10 books written by librarians, social services case management Oklahoma style, and the quest by two enterprising fellows to visit and rank every public library In Massachusetts and beyond! We hope you enjoy our completely random batch of Newsbytes this time around!

31 July 2019 - 5:13am | by Tammy Allgood Wolf

The LITA Top Tech Trends Committee panel of library technology experts presenting at the ALA conference in Washington, D.C.

The latest LITA Top Tech Trends Committee put together a diverse panel of library technology experts to talk about trends and advances in library technology at the ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. The panelists discussed artificial intelligence, network security, online news literacy, data mining and curation, cloud computing, coding for the very young, girls in STEM, cutting-edge humanities scholarship, and data literacy education. Here are the panelists and the emerging trends.

29 July 2019 - 5:20am | by Amy Hooper

People accessing a digital pop-up library through mobile devices

In Evanston, Illinois, four new libraries have appeared. Except that they look nothing like libraries and everything like, well, posters with instructions to access a Wi-Fi hotspot. Because that's exactly what they are.

"How can a Wi-Fi hotspot anchor a library?" I hear you ask. My thoughts exactly. So I did a little digging and found … not a lot. It seems that these strange but rather clever libraries are still a relatively unknown phenomenon in both the tech and library worlds.

10 July 2019 - 4:38am | by Jim Lynch

A hand pulling a page out of a book

What's new in library tech! Welcome to our monthly collection of fun and hopefully useful news items from our great twitter feed and wherever else we find them.

This month we offer news on the new crowdfunding platform just for libraries courtesy of EveryLibrary, lactation pods for nursing moms in Cedar Falls, Iowa, and the library-sponsored drag prom for LGBTQ+ kids in Arlington, Massachusetts. Also find out about the free Library Extension browser add-on that tells you which books on Amazon are at your local library, 19 oddball secrets of public librarians courtesy of Mental Floss, and David Lee King's library-centric take on the new Pew Research report on mobile technology and home broadband adoption. We hope you enjoy our curious selection of Newsbytes this time around!

2 July 2019 - 2:59am | by WebJunction

Community members participating in a discussion

Editor's Note: It is vital that public libraries understand the needs and interests of their communities and patrons to stay relevant in the 21st century. That's easy to say, but hard to do. Online and paper surveys are a common tool for this, but they have limitations. The main limitation of the survey approach is that it generally avoids direct interaction between a library and its community members or member-to-member interactions.

WebJunction has addressed this by compiling an astonishingly rich resource describing other useful techniques for finding out what your local community wants called a Basket of Discovery Tools. We like it so much that we reprint it here with permission from WebJunction to ensure that this great resource gets the widest possible attention.

28 June 2019 - 5:41am | by Dr. Steve Albrecht

Library patrons talking at a table

So a patron has — for whatever reason, and there can be many — a significant body odor, dental odor, or other hygiene problem. This is not a patron who rode his or her bike to your library and didn't towel off properly. This is a person who we can all smell from several feet away. It could be a combination of body odor, mouth odor, a personal toiletry problem, or unclean clothes (wearing the same unwashed garments day after day). Either way, this a library workplace issue, which can really start to bother the staff who have to serve or work near this person. It demands a "patron coaching" conversation.

3 June 2019 - 6:33am | by Jim Lynch

A hand pulling a page out of a book

What's new in library tech! Welcome to our monthly collection of fun and hopefully useful news items from our great twitter feed and wherever else we find them.

This month we offer nothing less than the state of America's libraries in 2019 and the hot debate in Colorado on whether libraries should get into the local news business. On a more practical level, check out the new free U.K. cybersecurity tool to discover your vulnerabilities, how Canadians are reinventing tool lending libraries, some DIY makerspace game ideas for teens, and how the Contra Costa and Santa Barbara libraries in California have joined the movement to eliminate overdue fines.

28 May 2019 - 6:31am | by Elizabeth Boggs

Teens learning HTML and CSS in a library computer lab

Teens today keep hearing about coding, coding, coding — and libraries are responding! Many teens in school and public libraries seem to have ample exposure to Scratch coding, a simple coding structure that uses drag-and-drop coding blocks.

What if teens want to go further, though? What if they want to use the coding skills for which they have to type out actual coding languages instead of dragging and dropping? Libraries can do that too!

Over the course of a school year, teens at the Spring Branch-Memorial Library in Harris County Public Library used HTML and CSS coding to create web pages. From a blank Notepad page, these teens crafted web pages with content and design aspects they chose.