Tablets & Weeding

Kitchen-garden-788629_1280I recently spent a couple days helping Cambridge Community Library weed their adult fiction collection in anticipation of the move to their new building - woo hoo! Weeding is not an easy job but it is a necessary one - especially if we want our collections to look like this nicely weeded and arranged garden.

Here are a few tools to help you with your next weeding project.

First, if you haven't heard of the Awful Library Books blog, I highly recommend it. In addition to highlighting books that should be weeded from collections and why, Holly and Mary write articles about the weeding process. I think many of you will agree with the concepts in this May 9 article, "Weeding: It Ain't Easy."

Second, take advantage of the reports and data (password required) from Koha (or your Integrated Library System). And, don't forget the collection development items in the SCLS Professional Collection. Titles like Fiction Core Collection, Public Library Core Collection, Best Books for Children (series), and others that will help with both selection and weeding.

Scanner2And, last, but not least - use the technology available to you to make this process easier. With the web-based nature of Koha, it was easy to take my iPad along with me in the stacks. Set it up on the cart, log into Koha, and weed away. There's also this pretty cool scanner that Craig wrote about in January of 2014. I tested the bluetooth scanner with Koha on my iPad, the Kindle Fire, and the Samsung Galaxy and it worked great for searching the catalog. Want to use it? Use the new Help Desk Portal and request to schedule the Mobile Circ Kit. If possible, please include the dates that you'd like to use the kit. While I couldn't test the scanner with all our member library catalogs, all SCLS libraries are welcome to use the kit.

P.S. I'm working on scheduling Holly and Mary from the Awful Library Books blog for a webinar later this fall.

The new SCLS Scanning Kit is available for checkout!

Whose cool parents drove a Camaro?The Scanning Kit is a package of 3 different scanners and a laptop. It’s ideal for patrons who want to bring in their old family photos or documents to the library and digitize them.


What the kit contains:


Fujitsu ScanSnap ix500 is a high speed duplex scanner that means it scans both the front and back of a photo or document at the same time. You can stack 25 to 50 photos or documents up to legal size (8.5x14) in the paper feed and it takes about 1 to 2 seconds to scan each sheet. This scanner does require a PC, which is why we included a laptop with the kit. The laptop does have DeepFeeze on it so be sure to save the files before shutting it down! Files can be saved to a USB flash drive, SD card or DVD.

Wolverine SNaP-14MP Film Scanner for scanning slides, negatives and prints up to 5x7 inch. Load negatives or slides in the appropriate tray and scoot them into the scanner to take their picture. This scanner doesn’t require a PC to save the images on an SD card, but it is nice to have one to view the pictures afterwards.

VuPoint Magic Wand hand held scanner is for scanning documents that might be in a book or binder that is difficult for standard flatbed scanners to digitize. The images are saved to a micro SD card and I’ve included an adapter so you can view the images on the laptop.


The kit is available for check-out to libraries starting today! To learn more, or to place a reservation, visit the Programming Resources web page.

 

Trivia Question! Can you guess which SCLS staff member's parents are in the image above? The image was scanned from a slide using this kit!

Book Podcasts

Podcasts2 It's no secret that I love reading and always have three* books going at one time. I also love listening to podcasts and my current subscription count is up to 16 different ones (I didn't know I had that many until I counted!)

Among those 16 podcasts are three book-related podcasts that I want to share with you. First is the NPR Books podcast. What I love about this podcast is that it compiles much of the book related content in NPR shows and puts it in one place. Sometimes it's a book review from a Morning Edition or it could be an entire episode of Fresh Air. If it's book related, it shows up in this podcast.

Second is the Pop Culture Happy Hour. I only recently started listening to this podcast and I've come to look forward to the new episode each week. I freely admit that I don't keep up very well with pop culture and this podcast helps with that. My favorite part, however, is the ending of each podcast where the panelists talk about what is making them happy this week and often that's a book. 

Third is a brand new podcast from Book Riot's Rebecca Schinsky and Liberty Hardy called All The Books. I listened to the first episode of this podcast recently and have several new books to add to my "To Be Read" list. This is a weekly podcast that comes out on Tuesdays as that's when new books are released. Visit the podcast site for each episode to get a list of books talked about on the show as well as others released that week.

As I was listening to Megan and Merri from the CCBC this morning* as they presented CCBC Shorts, I realized that not only do I love hearing people talk about books they love, I love listening to two (or more) people have a conversation about books they love. I can hear and appreciate the rapport, respect, and relationship that is evident between the contributors of Pop Culture Happy Hour, All the Books, and CCBC Shorts - and that makes me happy. I hope these podcasts make you happy, too. Happy listening and reading!

*I wrote this post on May 20, 2015 and the books I'm reading right now are Blood on Snow by Jo Nesbo (print), Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane (audio), and How to Start a Fire by Lisa Lutz (ebook).

 

F12 for website developer tools & device modes

Modern versions of Firefox, Chrome, and Internet Explorer each come with powerful tools for website development. In your browser of choice, hit F12 on your keyboard to toggle them on and off.

Screen shot of a website with Chrome DevTools & Device Emulation

Each browser offers variations on these tools, but these common utilities are my favorites:

A code inspector for viewing the page's HTML and CSS code and making on-the-fly edits to what you see onscreen. Edits made from the code inspector aren't saved anywhere—they only last until you refresh the page. Use it for: debugging tricky formatting, experimenting with new text or styling before actually making live edits.

A network tab reporting how quickly every component of the page loads, including total load speed and weight. Use it for: figuring out exactly which files may be slowing down the page.

Device modes for seeing how a web page looks on screens of varying sizes (with resolution presets for common devices). Use it for: checking how pages behave on small screens when you don't have access to the latest phones and tablets.

If you hit F11 by mistake, something scary happens—all your toolbars disappear! Your browser has gone full-screen. Take a deep breath, and hit F11 again to toggle full-screen mode off.

More about developer tools:

StoryCorps App

I wrote about TED talks and listening to the TED Radio Hour podcast back in September of 2013. The 2015 TED Conference was recently held in Vancouver, Canada. As part of the conference, TED awards the TED Prize to "an extraordinary individual with a creative and bold vision to spark global change."

This year's winner is Dave Isay, founder of StoryCorps, and his Prize wish was to take StoryCorps global with a free StoryCorps app.

Storycorps_logo_10_yearsYou've probably heard of StoryCorps as it's been around since 2003. There's even a national program for StoryCorps to partner with libraries for patrons to share their stories. Having this program in your library required professional recording equipment and training for staff and volunteers. A great program but not feasible for all libraries.

The new StoryCorps app changes all that! Now, recording and sharing stories of your patrons, your family, and your friends is as easy as your smart phone or tablet. The app is available for both iOS and Android devices. StoryCorps even has questions to get the storytelling started.

How can you use this in your library? If your library has iOS or Android tablets available for either staff or patron use, download the app to them. Then, it would be easy to host an event for patrons to record and share their stories. Or, if you loan out tablets to your patrons, they could record stories of those who may not be able to come to the library. What a great way to collect local history and share it with the world.

Survey Results in Google Forms

Survey2I learned something new last week! I have been helping Corey Baumann, Delivery Coordinator, create a survey to evaluate their services. If you haven't taken it already, you can take it here until March 10.

We were looking at the spreadsheet and trying to figure out how to best analyze the results. Over 100 of you have already taken the survey so the spreadsheet is huge and awesome! 

Then, we were looking at how to close the survey on March 10 and I saw "Summary of Responses." Could it be? Had I really not known this existed all this time? So, I clicked on it and was amazed with the results. Here's one screenshot from the results so far. Isn't it pretty? 

SurveyResults

 

Build With Chrome

How often at your library do you see a pile of LEGO blocks poured out onto a play surface and think about what a chore it will be if you have to do clean up, or if you are the one who has to replace lost parts. Those days could be a thing of the past!


While doing some LEGO “research” I came across a site called Build with Chrome. This is a site where LEGO and Google Chrome teamed up to bring you an online environment where you can build with virtual LEGO blocks.


You don’t have to sign up for an account, but if you do you can pick out a chunk of land on Google Maps and build your own piece of paradise and have it published for the whole world to see.

 

RFID or not to RFID? - that is the question.

I don't think I've ever blogged (bragged) about the SCLS mobile RFID tagging kits.  Years ago (!) SCLS used grant monies to purchase equipment, carts and bins in order to provide a shared resource that libraries could "check-out" when they decided to implement RFID.  Providing these kits has meant that libraries using Bibliotheca software were not required to a) purchase their own mobile tagging kits or b) rent taggging stations. 

We have 4 mobile tagging kits; each kit contains an antenna (aka pad), FEIG reader with power cord, a laptop with both flavors of Bibliotheca tagging software, power cord, mouse, barcode scanner and a surge protector delivered to your library in a stylish grey delivery bin. We also have 3 carts that you can also borrow, if you do not have a cart in-library that you can use. The carts do not include a battery so you will need to use an extension cord to provide power to the equipment.  At your request, we will provide hands-on training in the use of the software and equipment.

If you are an SCLS LINKcat library, you can submit a reservation for use, with estimated dates, on the online Koha Support form.  Kits are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

PowToon for presentations

The folks over at the SPLAT (Special Projects Library Action Team) blog recently published a nifty post about PowToon. PowToon's mission is to provide "minimalist, user friendly and intuitive presentation software that allows someone with no technical or design skills to create engaging professional 'look and feel' animated presentations."

What can you do with it?
Use their templates and styles to design engaging animations and videos to convey your message. Jazz up a presentation. Present your statistics in an infographic video format. Scroll down their "About Us" page to see PowToon's current styles.

Here's a quickie TechBits promo video created using one of the PowToon templates:

How much does it cost?
The basic plan is free and will give you standard definition videos with PowToon branding uploaded to YouTube or hosted on PowToon. Upgraded plans will give you HD, download, and other options. There are also pay-per-export options.

How easy is it to use?
I spent a couple of hours playing around with it initially. Without watching any of the tutorials, I was still able to figure out how to get things moving. I imagine after watching some videos, I could do even more amazing things!

Examples
Check out the SPLAT example, PowToon examples, or my first attempt at an infographic-type video using @FakeLibStats' fake library statistics to see more about PowToon.  

 

(Don't follow SPLAT or @FakeLibStats yet? You should!)

 

Have you found a good tool for creating animated presentations? Share it in the comments!

 

Windows has a Built-in Unit Converter

Recently, I discovered that the Calculator program that ships with Microsoft Windows has its own built-in unit converter. I usually just use Google if I need to find how many ounces are in a liter, or convert Celsius to Fahrenheit. However, if I'm on a laptop without internet access, like stuck in the desert with a broke-down car and some stranger says the nearest shop is 4 leagues away, and I don't know how far a league is...I feel comforted to know that I could find that out.

To access the unit converter we first need to open Calculator. We can do this by either typing "calculator" into the search bar at the bottom of the Start menu, or navigating to Start > All Programs > Accessories > Calculator. Calculator generally looks like this:

Calculator

To open the unit converter, click on the View menu, then select "Unit conversion" near the bottom. We can also get to it by pressing the hot-key sequence of Ctrl+U. That brings up this handy pane that looks like this:

Converter

From here we select what type of unit we want to convert, then the 2 metrics we want to convert between, type in our starting value, and voila! Isn't that just awesome?