Gesture-sensing technology

You may have already used gaming systems like the Microsoft Kinect that can "see" your gestures from across the room. Well, Google is working on a way to expand these gesture controls everywhere, and it's pretty darn cool.

This little 25-second video snippet will give you a peek at what we're talking about:


If you have 4 minutes to spare, the full video that talks about the project (Project Soli) is worth a view.

Planning Year End Ordering

What to do with all that leftover money just sitting around your libraryAs the end of the year approaches it’s time to start thinking about how to spend any money you might have left over in your budgets. The deadline for ordering PCs and Peripherals through SCLS this year is November 13th; this date guarantees an invoice in your hands in 2015. If you don’t require an invoice in 2015 you can order through the end of the year and you should receive it in January or February, depending on when you order.

Cleaning up out of control Excel spreadsheet cells

I use Excel spreadsheets to manage projects.  Format tool
Sometimes when the spreadsheets get big and the cells have a lot of information in them, they end up with empty space at the top of a cell. I wished for an easy way to clean this up and there is one! Here is how you fix it.

  1. Highlight the column with the messy cells.   
  2. Click on the Format option and a drop down box will appear.   
  3. Click on AutoFit Row Height and each cell in the column will automatically adjust its width.

Below you can see the before and after pictures. If the adjacent cells are bigger than the one you are trying to adjust, it won't get any smaller. But, you can see that this simple command made a big difference.





Excel before


Excal after


BluetoothYou've all heard of Bluetooth and likely use it on your mobile device or laptop. Do you know why it's called "bluetooth"? I didn't until I came across this paragraph in The Almost Nearly Perfect People by Michael Booth:

AlmostPerfect2"I am chatting to Mike, a guide here at Trelleborg, one of Denmark's largest Viking sites, in western Zealand. We are watching a reenactment of the kind of battle fought by the man who built this impressive circular fortress in AD 980, the legendary Viking king Harald Bluetooth (namesake of the wireless technology, which was invented in Scandinavia)." p. 46

This interesting side comment led me to Harald Bluetooth's Wikipedia page and the Bluetooth website where I learned even more. According to the Cultural Depictions & References section on the Wikipedia page, the Bluetooth logo is a combination of the Nordic runes for Harald Bluetooth's initials. 

I love how the past influenced the present in the story of Bluetooth. I'll always think of King Harald when I sync my Fitbit to my phone using Bluetooth.

'Tis the season for...germs in the library!


Scrubbing the gunk off of keyboards and mice turns out to be a little different than disinfecting them... and when it comes to disinfecting, would you be surprised if I told you that alcohol doesn't disinfect against everything? Hand sanitizer either! Disinfecting against enterovirurusnorovirus (stomach flu), and influenza (flu) requires some special action.

Disinfecting against viruses
A little Google searching brought me to this excellent FAQ by the New Jersey Department of Health about the respiratory virus Enterovirus-68. It gives recommendations for what WILL work to disinfect surfaces to prevent the spread of enteroviruses (and noroviruses) in the section, "What is the best way to clean surfaces?" 

Is it worth the trouble?
Before you don your hazmat suit and sanitize your public PCs, you should know this: in the case of the influenza virus, disinfecting might not make a big difference. From WebMD:

But before you douse all your possessions with bleach, there’s one thing you should know: Experts say that you really don’t need to bother.

“Honestly, if you’re trying to prevent the flu, there’s just not evidence that spraying everything with disinfectant is going to make any difference,” says Christine Hay, MD, assistant professor at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Read more here:

So...what's the take-away for stopping viruses?

  • Disinfection. If you feel like you want to disinfect, use a bleach solution or look for products that specifically say they kill norovirus and rhinovirus. Make sure that they will not damage the equipment you are disinfecting! (Monitors and other types of screens especially may require special products)
  • Prevention! Focus on handwashing (scrub those nasties away!), not touching your face with unwashed hands, and trying hard not to spread any viruses you may be carrying (stay home when you're sick, cover your cough and sneeze!).

Additional resources:

Office 365 - Where did "reply" go in my email?

Microsoft is totally committed to Office 365 and it shows.  They are constantly improving and upgrading it.  Most enhancements are really neat (swipe, pin messages, etc) however the latest upgrade may have annoyed some users.  Not only did the reply button move, they changed the default to reply all!  I'm amazed at how many comments I got about it. Now I'm NOT an O365 programmer (so please don't assume I know Microsoft's motivation behind the change)  but I did a quick look in the options and found out how to make reply instead of reply all the default again!

  1. Login to your email (Office 365)
  2. Click on the gear icon in the upper right
  3. On the drop down click Options
  4. On the Options menu on the left, expand Mail (if necessary)
  5. Click on Reply settings
  6. Select Reply and click Save

That's it!  You are back in business...wait where did "Forward" go?  Just click the arrow next to "Reply" to get a menu that includes Reply all and Forward.


Digitization/Oral History Interest Survey Results

Recently we surveyed SCLS member libraries about a topic that is getting attention*: digitizing materials and collecting community members' oral histories. With 25 SCLS member libraries providing substantive responses, the survey had a response rate of 47% and included libraries from all counties in SCLS.

Screen shot of survey summary resultsFindings in brief:

  • 92% believe it would be somewhat to very useful for SCLS to provide equipment to digitize historic print materials and/or capture oral histories.
  • A more detailed summary of survey responses is available.

Printed Materials:

  • 92% are somewhat to very interested in digitizing local printed media.
  • Photographs were the type of print material with the greatest number of respondents indicating a strong interest in digitizing (18).
  • For each aspect of the printed material digitization project life cycle, 60% or more of respondents indicated a need, with equipment needed by the greatest number (20).

Oral Histories:

  • 80% are somewhat to very interested in interviewing community members to gather oral histories.
  • For each aspect of the oral history project life cycle, 60% or more of respondents indicated a need, with audio editing software needed by the greatest number (18).

Thank you to all the library staff who completed the survey! SCLS staff will use this feedback as we plan future programs and services.

* For example, Wisconsin is joining the Digital Public Library of America, WPLC has a work group on Collaborative Digitization, there was a full-day digitization workshop offered at WiLSWorld 2015, and it's been discussed by SCLS's Library Innovation Subcommittee and Digital Content Work Group. (And those examples are just from sources I monitor consistently. What else am I missing?)

Disable Outlook on the Web Notifications

If you're not a fan of sounds or notifications when a new email arrives to your Office 365, do this...

  1. Click the Gear. Gear

  2. Click Options.
  3. Click Message Options.
  4. Uncheck Play a sound when new items arrive.
  5. Uncheck Display a notification when a new email message arrives.
  6. Click Save.



Office 365 signatures

steps 1 & 2Need to update your O365 email signature? (maybe you still have a line about a new email address that isn't so new anymore...?)  Need to create a signature?

You'll find help with signatures in the Microsoft documentation about signatures.

Step 3

Soofas for Your Library?

SoofaNo, that's not a typo - honest! A friend from Columbia, Missouri (where I lived and went to Library School) sent me an article recently about a Soofa in front of their city hall. It was very intriguing and I had to share it with you.

Soofa is a solar-powered charging bench. The company was started out of MIT in 2014 and is based in Boston. Their mission "is to update the urban context for the mobile generation." When I read the article, my first thought was how libraries could use something like this in their outdoor spaces. Many libraries have gardens, wi-fi gardens, or patrons using their parking lots to access wi-fi. How cool would it be to not only offer wi-fi but a place to charge their device at the same time?

Soofa was unveiled at last year's White House Maker Faire (see this article for a picture of President Obama using one) and since then has been installed in cities across the nation. According to this Boston Globe article, 11 benches were installed in Cambridge, Massachusetts and 100 more have been sent around the country. I'll be watching for one to show up in Wisconsin and at a public library.