New & Improved Wisconsin's Digital Library Coming Soon

WIDigitalLibraryIn case you missed last week's announcement, Wisconsin's Digital Library is getting an upgrade. According to OverDrive, the new site will be faster and easier to use. You can see a preview of the site here.

The process will take place over a month or so and you can preview the new site and participate in training webinars. Barring any complications, the new site is scheduled to go live on November 7.

There will be several opportunities to participate in training webinars. Register for the date and time that works best for you - or watch for the recordings on that will posted here when available.

General OverDrive Training:

OverDrive Training on Wisconsin's Digital Library Site:

Because of the upgrade to Wisconsin's Digital Library, I've rescheduled the OverDrive Support Course to begin on November 14. There are a few spots left and you can register here.

Tips and Tools for Teaching Older Adults Technology

TechSoup for Libraries hosted a webinar in May on teaching older adults technology at the library. The webinar featured two guest speakers: Steve Black, the founder of TechBoomers, who shared information about this free resource for technology training, and Kathy Faubion, a computer class instructor from the St. Mary's County Library in Maryland who shared how she teaches technology to the older adults in her community.

I hadn't heard of TechBoomers prior to the webinar, so it was a nice introduction to another resource for basic technology and internet tutorials and documentation. TechBoomers was launched with the mission to "improve the quality of lives of older adults by empowering them to learn how to use technology," and offers over 80 free courses, 1,000+ videos, and article tutorials, with plans to add more in the future. Steve suggested many ways libraries can incorporate the free TechBoomers materials to teach digital literacy.

Kathy had lots of tips and suggestions to improve attendance, make lesson planning easier, and tailor training for older adults.

Watch the webinar, or read about the highlights in this TechSoup for Libraries blog post. Lots of good ideas!

Coding in Libraries

Have you ever found yourself thinking about coding in libraries and wondering,

  • "What role does the public library have in learning and use of computational thinking?"
  • "What resources are available to libraries?"
  • "Are there nearby community organizations and/or schools that are doing similar projects or have resources libraries can use through partnerships?"

If so, take a peek at this post from WI Libraries: "Coding Initiative in Wisconsin Public Libraries - Update."

The official roll out of the Coding Initiative in Wisconsin Public Libraries will begin fall 2016, and will kick off with a screening of the documentary film CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap at 20 public libraries around the state.

The initiative is a DPI-managed project using LSTA funds. You can find out more about it in the blog post and on the webpage where they will be posting updates and information in the next couple of months.

How to view multiple worksheets from the same workbook

I recently attended a class entitled "Advanced Microsoft Excel Techniques".  In this class I learned a lot of things that Excel can do that I never knew it could.  One of these things is the ability to view multiple worksheets, side-by-side, from the same workbook in the same Excel window.  Here's how you do it:

  1. Open the desired workbook
  2. Click the View tab
  3. Click New Window
  4. Click Arrange All on the View tab
  5. Click Vertical or Horizontal
  6. Check the checkbox in front of "Windows of active workbook
  7. Click OK

Voila!  You now have two worksheets open side-by-side.

2016 Technology Day

Tech Day 2016 - Digitization ProjectsThis year's focus for Tech Day is digitization projects!

At Tech Day on May 20th, we'll hear from Emily Pfotenhauer from WiLS about digitization, Recollection Wisconsin, and DPLA. The afternoon will feature a panel of your colleagues sharing their experiences of going through a digitization project. We'll finish up the day with an update from the SCLS Tech Team.

Full agenda and event registration can be found here.

Is this website safe?

File56ec29640e9f7Photo credit: CrimsonSoul

With all the nasty things floating around the Internet these days, this is a question that we should ask ourselves whenever we're on the Internet.  This is even more important if we are going to a website and downloading something.  Nowadays nasty stuff can hide in the ads on websites, Word documents (like "Locky" ransomware), and PDF files.

So you need to be very careful about the websites you visit, but how can you know if a website is safe or not?  I had this question asked of me recently and I did some research to answer this question.  I found a web page entitled "How to Tell If A Website Is Dangerous" that goes over this topic very well.  It gives you numerous links to some good sites that can check a site to see if it has been blacklisted, if it has malicious content and what the reputation of the site is (for more about this see Greg's TechBits article).  I also found that Google has a site for this as well and it is called Google Transparency Report.  So with this information you can now make good choices as to the websites that you visit.

Mobile Computer Labs are getting a face lift

Pelican 1640 case with laptop insertRecently SCLS implemented a new case for Mobile Computer Lab #1. We went from 5 bins down to 1 case.  The new case has a hard shell; it moves around on wheels and has an extendable handle, much like modern day luggage. The nice thing about this case is everything fits in one case, so packing and unpacking will go much faster.


Mobile computer labs 2 and 3 have been rearranged so instead of 4 bins each they are now in 3. This won’t change set-up and tear down time, but they are a lot easier to move around.

Learn together

At Tech Day in April, our presenter talked about helping patrons with technology. She brought up the idea that you don't need to know the answer to every technology question a patron might have--- you just need to treat the technology question like any other reference question, help the patron find the answer, and learn together. What an awesome way to approach technology questions!

Technology Reference Interview

Just recently, I saw this article about Colorado State Library's expanded Library Creation & Learning Centers website, a free online resource where libraries can access interactive technology and customer service training modules for staff, makerspace programming ideas, curated links to digital creation software, and more.

One of the things I ran across while browsing the site is this helpful (and super-cute) slideshow on using a Technology Reference Interview (~3-5 min). If you have a few minutes, give it a look!

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I want to let you in on a secret. Tech people don't know everything about computers either. We know lots of stuff, of course, but not EVERYTHING -- and we look stuff up all the time!

Confession: I had to look up how to close apps on a Windows 8 tablet---couldn't figure it out for the life of me! After a quick internet search and 15 seconds of reading, I am now an expert at the old swipe-down-to-close move.

"Modules Unraveled" Drupal training videos now free


flickr photo shared by cogdogblog under a Creative Commons ( BY ) license

When librarians ask about advanced Drupal training resources, from now on I'll mention the training videos from Modules Unraveled. Modules Unraveled recently changed to an ad-sponsored model, making its high-quality tutorial videos on Drupal modules free. (In the past the site was subscription-based, and that's a big barrier for many. Not anymore!)

Modules Unraveled provides intermediate to advanced coverage of select Drupal modules. You may already be using some of these modules on your library's website. For example:

  • "Calendar" powers many sites' calendars.
  • "Views" powers Calendar and almost any display that combines text and images from multiple nodes (Articles, Basic Pages, Events, etc.) into one page or block.
  • "Views Slideshow" powers image slideshows (aka carousels).
  • "Quicktabs" produces tabbed blocks for combined Search LINKcat/Search this website.

Beginner documentation for SCLS's version of these features shows how to use some of them, but falls far short of explaining how to tweak or significantly alter how they work. For the site maintainer who wants to do just that*, Modules Unraveled explains settings and configuration options for Calendar, Views, Views Slideshow, Quicktabs, and more—premium videos that are now available for free (in exchange for watching a 15-second ad).

* Contact me if you need extra permission to tinker with your SCLS-hosted Drupal site.

Library Freedom Project Holding Privacy Workshop after ALA

Library-freedom-project11

If you're attending ALA and are still in town the following Monday and Tuesday you may consider attending Library Freedom Project's Digital Rights in Libraries workshop being held at Noisebridge. The workshop will provide tools and training to assist privacy-minded individuals (staff and patrons) with their digital presence.