Convert web pages to PDF for printing/saving in Chrome and Firefox

Some time ago I came across a handy extension available for Chrome and Firefox called Print Friendly & PDF. You can use this extension to generate PDF files from web pages that can be used to either print or save the web page as a PDF file. However, I have noticed that the extension doesn't work exactly the same in both browsers. 

Pdf-chromeFor example, when converting the home page in Chrome, the extension only picked up the one visible slide at the time that I did the conversion.

Pdf-firefoxI then switched to Firefox, and found that in Firefox, the extension captured all of the slides in the slideshow in one PDF file. 

You can find these extensions in Chrome by going to the upper-right hand corner menu and going to More Tools>Extensions, and then searching the Chrome Web Store. In Firefox, go to the upper right-hand corner menu and choose Add-ons.

Given that the extension works differently in different browsers, I think it's a good rule of thumb to keep your options open when using browsers. If something doesn't look right or work well in one browser, try another browser.

Ergo kit available
SCLS is now offering an Ergonomic Kit. This kit contains several types of mice, keyboards, gel pads and other devices, like a back rest and a foot rest. The idea is that you can “try before you buy” a piece of ergonomic equipment. If you’ve been wanting to try a new mouse, but can’t decide if you want a vertical mouse or a joystick style mouse, you can try them out and see which one works best for you. If the vertical mouse is your preference, then is there an advantage to the $100.00 mouse over the $40.00 mouse? You will also be able to decide that with this kit because it has both of them!

All the electronics in the kit are plug and play, meaning you don’t have to install any drivers or software to make them work.

Library Podcasts

IMG_0772I've talked about my love of podcasts - especially book related ones - in TechBits in the past. In my post from 2015, the book related podcasts all come from the media - NPR and Book Riot - not from libraries. Since then, I've learned about some library podcasts and wanted to share them with you. I know there are more out there and if your library has a podcast, please add it in the comments.

SCLS Libraries:

Wisconsin Libraries:

Outside Wisconsin:

Interested in creating a podcast for your library? Richard Byrne from Free Technology for Teachers shared a tutorial on using to create a podcast. An article in Library Journal called "The Chatty Librarians: Podcasting" shares two libraries and their experiences launching podcasts. Technology has come a long way in making podcasts easy to create. If you create one, be sure to let us know so we can highlight it.

Happy listening!

Digital Literacy Confidence

LogoDo you remember Project Play? It's still one of my favorite projects that I've worked on here at SCLS. While the Project Play website and information no longer exists, the concept of 23 Things is still very much alive. Let me explain.

I recently read an interview in Library Hotline called "Champion of Confidence" between Michael Stephens and Sally Pewhairangi, a librarian from New Zealand. In the interview, Sally talks about confidence being a big part of Digital Literacy. If you think about it, this makes sense. There's a great deal of self-doubt and fear about trying new things - especially for library staff or patrons who didn't grow up in the digital era.

This interview led me to Sally's website called The Library Boss*. I explored around, read some of the blog posts, and took the quiz to find out my Digital Super-Power. According to Sally, there are six Digital Super-Powers: adaptability, critical thinking, curiosity, empathy, patience, and problem solving. Guess which one I am?** Which one are you?

And, being the CE Consultant, I wondered if Sally would be a good speaker and if there were any archived webinars that she's presented. And, there is! I watched it and found the accompanying Padlet site which includes questions and answers by attendees of the webinar and others in the Australia and New Zealand library community. One of the comments referenced a project called 11 1/2 Things for Digital Literacy (a play on the 23 Things project). It turns out there have been a number of 23 Things projects focusing on Digital Literacy recently. Here are a few that I found:

In addition to topics like blogging, RSS feeds, and photos that were in the original 23 Things projects, the Digital Literacy 23 Things topics include digital security, accessibility, diversity, fake news and filter bubbles, gamification, augmented and virtual reality, digital curation, altmetrics, mindmapping, infographics, and more. All of these sites are open for anyone to participate. Check out some of the topics that interest you and play - it's the best way to learn!

*It also led me to figure out the time difference between Madison and New Zealand. Hmmm..what time to schedule a webinar...

**Not surprisingly, my Digital Super-Power is empathy!

People Counter Kits are available

I don't see anyone to count!
SCLS has two people counter kits available for any member library to use. These kits can be kept for 14 days are intended for in-library use only.

Kit 1 is a Bi-directional people counter kit – this is an easy to use basic people counter kit that will provide a count of how many people entered and exited your library. Two counters are included with this kit that also contains.

2 Transmitters
2 Receivers with displays
1 Magnet for resetting the counter
1 Instruction guide
Extra Command Strips

Kit 2 is a USB people counter kit – this is a more advanced people counter. Rather than a display to see how many people entered and exited the library it downloads data to a flash drive that connects to a laptop where you can see how many people passed by the counter every hour. This would be beneficial if you are interested in seeing trends as to what day of the week and during what time of the day the library gets the most traffic. This counter doesn’t indicate which direction people traveled so you will have to divide the total by two to get an accurate count. Two counters are included with this kit that also contains.

2 Transmitters
2 Receivers
1 laptop with people counter software and a power cable
1 Magnet for turning on the counter
1 USB cable
1 Instruction guide


General Data Protection Regulation law - what?

Europe's General Data Protection Regulation law goes into effect May 25, 2018.  The definition from Wikipedia is "The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (EU) 2016/679 is a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union and the European Economic Area. It also addresses the export of personal data outside the EU and EEA.

This law has been seven years in the making and, in light of other recent news about data privacy infringement, seems to be very timely.  If companies and websites that you may use have a global presence (like Google), you are probably seeing an increase in "required" information bits about how that company or website is protecting your privacy and/or changes you should make to your account to increase the protection of your personal data.  

Here's a link to an article in The Guardian (UK) that I was reading in my last copy of American Libraries Direct.

And an article from The New York Times May 6, 2018 

Enjoy! Heidi O. is a Chrome extension for highlighting text on a webpage.

Why would you use it?
I used it because I ran across a blog post that I wanted to share with a friend. We had just been talking about his work environment, team dynamics, and the importance of trust (and an interesting book I just started reading), and I wanted to call my friend's attention to specific sections of the post. I used the extension to highlight those bits, and the extension provided me a URL to the highlighted page.

Here's the original page:

and here's the URL to the highlighted webpage:


The link to the highlighted page includes a little toolbar at the top that includes a link to the original page, sans highlighting.

Now, of course, the kicker with this is that the URL is a shortened URL and it isn't apparent where it's sending the user, so I also included a very-clearly-from-me sentence in my email about the article I was sending so he knew it wasn't malicious.

Pretty nifty!

Using DuckDuckGo for Internet searching

Over the years, Google has become synonymous with Internet searching for many people, including myself. While Google is certainly convenient, I think it's a good idea to use alternative search engines as well. 

Years ago, I used DuckDuckGo and recently I was surprised to learn that it's still around. In addition to navigating directly to to execute your search, you can set it as a default search engine in your browser settings, or install the DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials browser extension. You can also download the DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser as an app on your phone or tablet.

Duckduckgo-privacyOne feature on the app that I like is the "privacy grade" that assigns a letter grade to each web site that you visit. You can click on the grade and get information about how well the web site protects your privacy.

Next time you have to do some Internet searching, try out DuckDuckGo as an alternative to Google and see if it works for you!


Visualizing Funding for Libraries













Finding funding sources for a library capital campaign, equipment, or programming is easier using the free Foundation Center’s data tool:


Sponsored by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Visualizing Funding for Libraries' provides access to who is funding (U.S. foundations) and where funding is going (U.S. libraries) using interactive maps, charts, and relationship diagrams.

I’m on a grants team looking for capital campaign funding for a rural Wisconsin library in Green County. To get started, I watched this webinar which offered great tips on how to use the tool:

Visualizing Funding for Libraries: You’ve Gathered the Data, Now What

Here are a few search strategies I am using:

  • Look at funders and recipients in Congressional District 1, 2, and 3 (i.e. Southern WI)
  • Use the “MORE” or advanced search options to look at support for “capital and infrastructure”
  • Sort all WI funders by number of grants given, look at the dollar values and funder profiles.
  • Sort grants by dollar value, look at year and details about the grant.

I also added map layers by selecting the U.S. Demographics icon in the bottom right hand corner of the map.

To understand the underlying data, I checked the FAQ:

“The data set includes foundation funding from 2006-present in support of five subject category areas: 1) academic, 2) government, and 3) public libraries; 4) archives and special collections; and 5) school libraries and media centers. The grants were coded to one or more of these categories by Foundation Center. Federal grants include only 2016 data at this time.” “The data set will be updated weekly as new data becomes available.”

This means that it may be worth my time to go beyond grants that just went to libraries. For additional research, I plan to visit my local Funding Information Network to use their resources, including the Foundation Directory Online (Professional), which they make available for free. I found six locations in Wisconsin, using the Foundation Center map lookup:

Funding Information Network

The closest location for me is the UW-Madison Memorial Library Grants information Collection:

There, I will continue to look for local funders and grants that align with our other programs/initiatives, i.e. technology, early literacy, workforce development, STEM, etc.   

Converting Old into New

New_year_father_timeIf you've been using computers as long as I have you're bound to have some old files laying around. The problem with these old files is that unless you still have the software you used to create them with you can no longer open or edit them. How sad! Well cheer up! I'm here to tell you how to convert those old files into new files. Back in 2009 Craig wrote a TechBits article about this and I thought it might be time to talk about it again. Just in case you or a patron has an old file that they really need to work with.

There is a website called Zamzar that offers a free online file conversion service. They can convert lots of old file formats into newer file formats so that they can be worked on using currently available software. Once you go to their website the conversion steps are as follows:

  1. Select the files you need to convert
  2. Select the file format you wish to convert to
  3. Enter the email address at which you wish receive the converted files
  4. Click the convert button on the screen

The files you chose are then uploaded to their server, converted, and then emailed to you. Simple as can be and it only takes a few minutes.