Libby Updates

OverDrive recently released a significant update to the Libby app and there are a few changes I want to highlight.

LibbyUpdate2021Let's look at the changes by exploring the Shelf and the Timeline.

  • Patrons can see the number of items they have checked out and on hold at a glance. Also, there are some new tags to checkout. The one next to Holds is a Smart tag. This one contains titles I've borrowed in Libby and it's automatically populated by my activity. I created this wish list tag I created to keep track of books I'm interested in. (side note: patrons can now sync their Wish Lists from the OverDrive App or website to the Libby app)
  • As an audiobook listener, I am always curious about the length of the book. Now, instead of having to look at the details of the book or open it up, I can see the length of the book from my Shelf. A small change that made me very happy.
  • The highlighted bar at the bottom of the app is an easy way to get back to the title I'm currently listening to (or reading). If you happen to click on the X, it removes this bar from the screen and all you need to do to reopen the book is to tap on "Open in Libby."

LibbyUpdateNext, let's explore the Timeline screen.

  • At the top of the screen is the total number of items I've checked out, renewed, and returned along with the holds I've placed. Kind of fun information to know!

  • Next up is the timeline. In this case, it's showing my April activity. If you tap on the double arrow icon, you can change the month and see your activity for previous months.
  • At the bottom of the app is the Navigation footer. There are some new icons here. From left to right we have:

There are a few other updates and you can watch a short tutorial for a tour of the updates. For more information, visit Libby Help. Questions or comments? What do you think of the changes? Let me know!

 

 

 

 

 

 

March Madness for Windows key combos

If you love March Madness and you love Windows keyboard commands, have I got the Twitter feed for you----

Vote for your favorites or just learn new keyboard commands to make your Windows computing life easier!

MarchMadnessForWindowsKeyCombos

Internet speed test campaign extended through April 15

DPI is continuing the campaign to collect information on Wisconsin’s internet connection speeds until April 15 to gather as many statewide results as possible by that time. The speed test initiative will continue as an ongoing collection after April 15. To date, Wisconsin residents have taken over 240,000 speed tests, with an average of 3,383 tests per day.

This data will give the Governor’s Task Force on Broadband Access and other broadband task force groups the information they need to target improvements where internet performance is poor. 

See Internet Speeds in Your District

What is the average speed in your district broken down by ISP? You can use this dashboard to see speed test data for your district over a 30-,60-, and 90-day period. To filter the data, select today’s date in the Select a Date menu, then select your district in the District menu. For more information on how to use the report please reference the how to view this data link on the DPI Broadband website.

Internet connection quality is a priority to make sure Wisconsin students can equitably participate in online and blended learning. How does your district’s average speed align to the FCC household broadband guidelines?

How to Participate

Help make sure your community is included in this collection by spreading the word and encouraging residents in your community to test their home internet speeds using M-Lab’s speed test.

To help get the word out, DPI has created a communication toolkit that features email templates, social media post templates, and images to include on web pages and social media. You're invited to use that template to put together or spruce up your own communication campaign to let people know about this ongoing speed testing.

Thank you for your help in improving internet speeds in our communities!

Wisconsin's Digital Library Dashboard

Wisconsin library patrons love Wisconsin's Digital Library! In fact, in 2020, Wisconsin patrons checked out almost 7 million ebook and digital audiobooks (6,999,763 to be exact!). How many of those checkouts were yours in 2020?

OverDriveDashboardAs of right now, on February 18 at 3:58 p.m., 996,458 items have been checked out and 519,949 items have been placed on hold. How do I know that you ask? Today, a new Digital Library Dashboard was launched. You'll find this link at the bottom of Wisconsin's Digital Library homepage.

In addition to seeing the numbers change every second or so, you'll also see what items are being checked out or placed on hold. If you're quick enough, you can click on the cover image for more information about the title and place your own hold or check it out. It's a great way to fill up your hold list.

I made a video* so you can see an example of how fast these numbers are changing. I find the dashboard mesmerizing and I've had it open on my computer all day. I'm finishing this post up at 4:14 p.m. on February 18 and the numbers are now:

  • loans = 996,783
  • holds = 520,106

Happy reading and listening!

*There is no sound on the video and you can see how the number grew in just a few hours!

 

Help measure residential internet speeds in your community

This post is adapted from the DPI Broadband Speed Test Tookit prepared by IFLS Library System.

DPI is committed to improving digital equity in the state of Wisconsin. This year, they’re collecting data about internet speeds across the state. They need your help!

What they’re doing

DPI is collaborating with Measurement Lab (M-Lab) to collect data on internet connection speeds across Wisconsin. DPI will use M-Lab’s internet speed test data to create detailed reports and to provide maps of internet speeds across the state.

Why they’re doing it

The data will give the Governor’s Task Force on Broadband Access (and other broadband task groups) the information they need to target improvements where internet speeds and performance are poor. 

Your input is critical

In order to get an accurate picture of the state, we need a lot of accurate data. That’s where you come in. The more data M-Lab can collect, the better we can model internet connection speeds across the state.

How you can help

  • Include a link to the M-Lab Speed Test on your library websites, Facebook pages, and any other communication platforms your library uses. The URL to link to the speed test is https://speed.measurementlab.net/#/.

  • Encourage community members to test their internet connection speeds at home, several times if possible! Include this in e-mails and newsletters, tuck into pick-up bags, encourage your trustees and volunteers to participate and share.

  • Share the URLs of pages where you have posted the link, so DPI can get an idea of how the speed test is being promoted around the state. (They’re looking for your social media posts as well as your website.)

Suggested language

Facebook-cover-for-dpi-testing-1280x487

Toolkit

Kudos to IFLS Library System for sharing a toolkit with graphics to use for websites, social media posts, Facebook headers, newsletters, and bag-stuffers.

Cameras for virtual programing

Canon M50 III think virtual programs are going to be part of everyday life in libraries going forward, at least in some small part. So, I thought I would share with you some research I’ve been doing on tech gear you might want to use for your programs. I was going to write one complete post about all the gear I’ve come across over the last several months, but that would make for a long and boring post. Instead, I thought I would start with a short and boring post about cameras.

You’ve probably already been doing some form of virtual programming with a webcam or your phone which has probably worked alright for you so far. But, if you want to make your programs look better, you could upgrade to a digital camera designed with vlogging in mind.

When purchasing a camera to record programs or for live streams, I have 5 criteria to consider:

  • Articulating screen; so you can flip it around and see if you are in the frame
  • External mic jack; so you can connect a shotgun or lavaliere mic to the camera
  • Full HD recording; If the camera says HD 720 P, it’s not full HD
  • Good auto-focusing and tracking; this means the camera can quickly and quietly focus on a subject while moving around
  • HDMI output; for live streaming

If you find a camera that meets the first 4 criteria, you are well on your way to making your virtual programming better quality and easier on yourself.

Two cameras that came out in 2020 that I’m excited about are the Sony ZV-1 which was released in April and the Canon M50 mark II released in October. Both cameras meet all 5 criteria listed above and both go beyond by also offering 4K video. The biggest difference between these two cameras is the Sony ZV-1 is a Point and Shoot, meaning it has a fixed lens. The Canon camera is mirrorless which accommodates interchangeable lenses.

I struggled to find anything negative about either of these cameras. If I had to pick one thing, it would be that they both have a short battery life when recording video. Both cameras can overcome that, though. The Sony camera comes with a USB cable you can connect to a USB power source to keep the camera powered up while recording, and you can purchase a dummy battery with a power cable for the Canon camera.

These cameras cost anywhere between $700.00 - $800.00. If you would like to spend a little less and you’re not too concerned about the quality of live streaming the original Canon M50 can still be picked up new for around $650.00. If that’s still out of your price range you might be able to find a used Canon Rebel T5i or T6i that would give you the first 4 criteria and a USB port out for even less.

My intention here isn’t to go into great detail about either camera, you can find quite a lot of information online about both cameras, I just wanted to let you know these are available.
In a future post, I’ll write about microphones, lighting equipment, and stands.

Check out these videos for more information about each camera.

 

More Tools for Online Programming

My last TechBits post was about Interactive Tools for Virtual Meetings and Workshops. This time, I want to share a few physical tools that will help you host great online programs.

CookingClassThe inspiration for this topic came from a recent online cooking class I took. It was over Zoom and the presenter, Elyse Kopecky, wanted to be able to see all the participants cooking along with her. I was using my iPad Mini to attend and trying to find a place to put it so I could see Elyse, be seen, and cook was a challenge. As you can see in these photos, my first try was to use my cupboard and my second used a combination of books and storage containers.

If you are regularly presenting or hosting meetings, you may want to invest in a Ring light and a stand or tripod for your phone or camera. My colleague, Jamie Matczak from the Wisconsin Valley Library Service, recently added this Ring light and tripod to her equipment toolkit. There are lots of options out there so find one that works best for your needs. SCLS member libraries: if you need some advice, reach out to Craig Ellefson as he's helped many libraries with equipment needs this year.

Next, let's talk about sound. David Lee King recently tested a mobile friendly lavalier microphone. I like that this one is small and you don't have to wear a headset with a microphone to get good sound quality. On a similar topic, Richard Byrne from Practical Ed Tech recently covered Easy Ways to Sound Better in Virtual Meetings. He mentions a couple of microphones along with some tweaks you can make to Zoom to improve the audio quality. Again, there are lots of options for microphones so look for one that will work for you.

Lastly, attending this cooking class was a lot of fun! SCLS recently added a baking and cooking kit so you can host your own cooking show! Need some inspiration? Madison Public Library has a program called Cooking with Chef Lily and you can see the recordings here. Sun Prairie Public Library's program, Books and Cooks, features library director Svetha Hetzler cooking from a variety of cookbooks. And,I recently attended an event from Penguin Random House which featured a cooking demo with America's Test Kitchen Kids Editor in Chief, Molly Birnbaum.

SweetPotatoBiscuitsBy the way, I made Sweet Potato Biscuits and they were yummy! Happy Cooking!

 

 

Library Extension

Most of the time, when I'm interested in a book I'll head straight to LINKcat and do my searching there. Occasionally, though, I find myself on Amazon reading reviews of something I've heard about. In those cases, there is a handy browser extension that can quickly and easily tell me while I'm still on Amazon if the title is available in LINKcat or through Wisconsin's Digital Library (OverDrive) and provide links so I can hop over and place a hold. That extension is "Library Extension" and is available for Chrome, Firefox, and Edge.

LibraryExtensionForSCLS

You can find more information about Library Extension here:

Library Extension and many other very cool tools were covered in the Tech Days 2020 "Productivity and Technology" session.  Recording, slides, and list of apps can be found here: https://techdayswisc.org/resources

Happy searching!

Interactive Tools for Virtual Meetings and Workshops

Like all of you, I've been attending and facilitating virtual meetings, webinars, and workshops a lot since March. I wanted to share with you a couple of the tools I've learned about that can make your virtual meetings and programs more interactive and fun.

First is Mentimeter. I'd seen this tool but not really explored it until now. I recently attended a fabulous Thoughtfully Fit Communications Masterclass with Darcy Luoma and Mentimeter was one of the tools used during the presentation. From live polling to creating word clouds, there are many ways you can use Mentimeter during your presentations or meetings. The free version allows up to two question slides and five quiz slides for an unlimited audience. You may see this in an upcoming meeting or workshop! I signed up for my free account today.

StickyNote4Next up is Google Jamboard. This is a virtual interactive whiteboard. I first heard about Jamboard from Richard Byrne of Free Tech for Teachers in this blog post from last May. Richard has a short video showing how to use Jamboard - it's really easy! Jamboard can be used to brainstorm and share ideas or even as a virtual icebreaker. That's one of the ways I've used it recently. My favorite question to ask at the beginning of a workshop is "What is making you happy this week" (which I borrowed from the podcast, Pop Culture Happy Hour.) 

I set up a Jamboard for this Tech Bits post. Try it out and share what's making you happy this week. I started us off with the Great British Baking Show - Holiday Episodes. What's making you happy?

Patent FUN!

I think inventions and patents are cool, so I am sharing a couple fun ways to explore them:

US256265-Device for waking persons from sleep