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iPads, roving reference, and dancing librarians

A few years ago the subject of roving reference came up in our Joint Technology Committee meetings, and the word on the street then was that laptops were a little clunky for the task. The iPad seems like it might be ideal for roving reference. It's lightweight, portable, has an on-screen keyboard and wireless capabilities.IPadReference

So I thought to myself, "there must be a library out there who is already singing the iPad's praises when it comes to reference... maybe there's even a video!"  Here's what I found (in order of decreasing relevance and increasing singing & dancing):

Which still leaves me with some questions--- are many libraries doing roving reference? Are they using iPads, other devices, or no devices at all? What about SCLS libraries--- have you borrowed the SCLS iPad and taken it for a spin at your reference desk and around your stacks? (link to check availability)

Photo courtesy of Mosman Library: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mosmanlibrary/4634213760/

Getting people online

Online Stef pointed me in the direction of a TechSoup post about the "We Are Visible" project, a project designed to empower people who are homeless through social media.

In addition to giving examples of how social media have helped people who are homeless, the "We Are Visible" site offers some great, animated tutorials on creating an email account, joining Facebook, joining Twitter, and starting a blog. ----- good resources for any library that helps people get online.

And on the subject of homelessness, I was interested to learn that there is a Homeless Book Club here in Madison, held at Bethel Lutheran Church:  http://streetsofmadison.blogspot.com/

Converting a PDF document into a graphic

Have you ever received a PDF document with a cool graphic in it and wished that you could extract it and save it?  Well, now you can.  Well, actually you could for a while, but I never knew that you could do it.  I never even thought of doing it until Rob Smithson from Monona needed to do it.  I didn't think it was possible as PDFs usually always contain text and you almost never need to convert it into a graphic.  With some help from Kerri we found a simple and easy way to do it.  Here are the steps I used:

  1. Open PDF file in Adobe Reader
  2. Click on the Tools menu item
  3. Click Select & Zoom option
  4. Click Snapshot Tool
  5. Hold down left mouse button
  6. Draw a box around what you want to make into a graphic
  7. Release the left mouse button
  8. Reader automatically copies the selected area
  9. Open Paint or any other graphics program
  10. Paste the selected area into the graphics program
  11. Save as the graphics format that you want

That's it, really easy isn't it?  Now you don't need to buy a special program to change a PDF into a graphic.

Public Domain eBooks Added to OverDrive Collection

Project Gutenberg OPAC graphic A new set of eBooks has been added to the WPLC Digital Download Center Collection (aka OverDrive): public domain titles from Project Gutenberg. This is a separate set of eBooks from the main OverDrive collection, containing over 15,000 titles. ("Public domain" means that these titles are no longer under copyright protection and includes many classics.)

If you've reached your checkout limit of 6 titles from the main collection, or simply want a different selection of eBooks, try out the public domain collection! You do not need to sign in to download the titles in the public domain collection, and checkouts from this collection do not count against the regular checkout/lending limits. These titles are "always available," so there are unlimited simultaneous downloads (i.e. no hold lists), and downloads do not expire.

The public domain collection of eBooks also uses the Adobe Digital Editions software currently used by the DRM-protected eBooks in the Digital Download Center. Please refer to the ‘tips’ link at the top of the introduction to the collection for instructions on how to download content.