Develop your SLP (Super Librarian Powers)

We've heard lots about the "Summer Slide" and how the Summer Library Program helps to prevent this.  

This summer, Jean will be introducing a 12 week program for librarians on the Know More blog to enhance and improve their SLP (Super Librarian Powers). Starting June 1, she'll highlight a variety of online resources (aka databases), searching tips & tricks, and more. Each week's post will also include a short activity to help you to become more familiar with the resource, and links to additional training and help.

Sounds like fun, right? You can follow the Know More blog via RSS or email (sign up is on the right side of the blog under "Subscribe"). If you're not already familiar with all the great online resources or you just want to brush up on them, here's an easy way to do it!

Friday Fun: Parody songs by librarians

Like the librarian parodies and other library-related videos we've posted in the past? This post on BookRiot (and comment section at the bottom) has a whole lot more. Fun stuff!

One that hadn't made the list when I looked if over: "Check It Out." The Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library made this parody of Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off" in homage to Taylor Swift and her outspoken support of public libraries and literacy and in celebration of National Library Week. See the answer key to reveal all the Taylor Swift references in the video:

Documentary Heaven

DocumentaryHeavenLike documentaries?
Try Documentary Heaven.

They don't host the documentaries, but they do curate and embed free titles from other sites. You can search, or you can browse in many ways, including by category, complete list by category, and top 100. 

Documentary Heaven FAQ 
Lifehacker review of Documentary Heaven

Vroom, vroom

When I was growing up, I was led to believe by the time I was an adult we’d all be driving Winding_road_clip_art_16800flying cars.  While that particular prediction has (sadly) remained out of reach so far, there are a number of new technologies in testing and being implemented. 

Google and Nokia have been experimenting with driverless cars and rumors are that Apple is as well.  Last year Audi revealed a driverless concept car that was able to reach 140 mph around a racetrack. California has issued approvals to let both Audi and Google start testing self-driving cars and a driverless “car” is now in use in London though it’s limited to 12 mph. 

While it’s not the fully self-driving car, Ford has released a new technology that uses a camera to read speed limit signs and reduce the speed of the car accordingly by reducing the gas intake.  When the speed limit rises, the driver can then accelerate but only to the new speed limit.  They have also developed a technology that is able to detect people in the road ahead and will automatically apply the brakes if the driver does not. 

They’re even looking at adding technology to the roads.  Anything from using the breeze created by passing cars to power LED lights in the roads to sensors to detect icy conditions to heating elements to deal with the ice. Not sure how you reboot a highway though.

Anonymous playlists

YouTube playlists make it easy for viewers to watch a collection of pre-selected videos. Normally, playlists are created while logged into YouTube and are saved under an account.

But... there's also a way to create an anonymous playlist on-the-fly!

Why would you want to do this? Let's say you're helping a patron find information and there are some relevant videos on YouTube. You can stitch these together as a playlist and send the patron a single link!

Here's an example (using mostly cat videos, of course!):

Cat video 1:
Cat video 2:
Cat video 3:
Cat video 4:
Craig's very suspenseful woodchuck video: 


Take this base URL:

and glue the video IDs separated by commas
onto the end.

The resulting URL (which wraps because it is so very long):,3yNSF7ljOoU,0M7ibPk37_U,OUtn3pvWmpg,aPh3aOwDZWs 

takes you to an Untitled Playlist containing all 5 videos.



The Google Art Project

My TechBit is about the Google Art Project from the Google Cultural Institute.  The Google Art Project offers a way to make your new tabs in Google Chrome more exciting and educational.  All you need Paint_Palette__Arvin61r58 to get started is the extension for the Chrome browser.  Once you have it installed, you can configure your Chrome browser to display different artwork each day or with every new tab opened.  You can click a link on the new tab that will show you more information about the artwork.  You’ll also be able to use Google's viewer to zoom in close enough to see the actual brushstrokes!


When I was in grade school in the 80s, I remember reading an article about the future in Electric Company magazine. One of the predictions they made was for holograms (holographic TV, to be more specific).

Well, it looks like holograms may finally be here. Microsoft is stepping into the world of holographics with Microsoft HoloLens, a product that "brings high-definition holograms to life in your world, where they integrate with your physical places, spaces, and things."

As with products like Google Glass and virtual reality headsets, I'm sure it will be quite a while still before everything works as beautifully as depicted in the videos -- but it's a pretty cool vision for what the future might look like. Personally, I'd love to have someone walk me through a plumbing repair using hologram technology!

Browser-Based Audiobooks - Coming Soon!

First there was OverDrive READ - browser-based books and then streaming video in Wisconsin's Digital Library. Now, there's browser-based audiobooks!

What does that mean for you or your patrons? They no longer have to download the OverDrive app for audiobooks, they can listen instantly in their browser. Check out their blog post for a movie-like trailer about this coming feature. This is the first I've heard of this new feature so after I try it out, I'll let you know more.

And, here's a special treat for you. Jane Henze from DeForest Area Public Library sent me this fun, slightly dizzying, video of the New York Public Library sorting center as filmed by Nate Bolt with a Drone. Thanks Jane!


Enjoy and have a great holiday season!


More library tech blogs

CircuitheartA few years ago, I shared 6 Library Tech Blogs I Love. There are so many good ones, I'd like to share a few more blogs and sites I read regularly:

Wisconsin library system blogs

  1. Library Sparks (Winnefox) - Where The Ides has a tech focus (and a recipe archive!), Library Sparks includes ideas from around the system & around the country, on programming, fundraising, grants, free stuff, and more.
  2. NicBits (NFLS) - All sorts of information from NFLS ranging from programming, notes from library tech conference sessions, news around the system, and more (This recent session summary from ARSL2014 on "Tablet Slinging Librarians" got me thinkin'!)
  3. Digital Lites (WVLS) - WVLS updates, news from libraries in our area, training opportunities, helpful tips and resources, national library news and more. (Check out their "New e-reader 'cheat sheet'!" post)
  4. WPLC (WiLS) - all the news about the Wisconsin Public Library Consortium and Wisconsin's Digital Library (OverDrive)!

Other library tech blogs

  1. David Lee King - social web, emerging trends, and libraries
  2. Digital Shift (Library Journal and School Library Journal) - all sorts of info, but my favorite section is for Library Journal Technology articles 
  3. LibraryTechTalk - A blog from librarians at Towson University which focuses on practical applications of technology in many different library areas and settings
  4. Makerspaces + Libraries - a (remember my post about topic all about library makerspaces

And finally... 

The Division for Libraries and Technology has introduced the Wisconsin Libraries Blog to replace Channel Weekly for communicating news pertaining to Wisconsin's libraries. You can sign up for email updates, or follow it using your favorite RSS reader.

Who did I miss? What should I be reading? Do you have a recommendation for a good library tech site? Please share it in the comments!

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.