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FUN FACTS: Fourth of July

According to the United States Census Bureau, American flags are big business with $6.3 mil imports and $20.8 mil exports in 2018. Statistics like these are highlighted on Fun Facts:Fourth of July https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/sis/resources/fun-facts/fourth-of-july.html



This and other holiday visualizations are made available from the United States Census Bureau Statistics in Schools https://www.census.gov/schools/ which offers free educational resources using real life data. Besides Fun Facts, they provide other resources including maps, games, videos, and more. Activities are available by topic and grade levels with teaching guides.

Check it out, have a fun (safe) 4th of July, and don't forget your American flag!

Making the switch to wide screen monitors

I used to have 3 monitorsAre you using a 17 or 19-inch standard (square) monitor or two standard monitors at your workstation? You might want to consider switching to a widescreen format monitor. I made the switch to a widescreen monitor several years ago and I’d like to share with you some of the benefits you might be missing.

  • With modern PCs images, movies, and games look much better on a widescreen than the standard monitor because they are capable of much higher resolutions and use an HD format vs a standard definition format.
  • If you have multiple applications open, navigating between them is much easier when you have a bigger screen.
  • Space saver…sort of. If you are using two standard monitors in a dual monitor arrangement you may find that your desk becomes much less cluttered with a single widescreen monitor.

We’ve been offering our libraries 22-inch widescreen monitors for several years and more recently 24-inch monitors. Now, in just the past month we started offering 27-inch monitors. The next time you replace PCs, take a look at the monitor too. If you are using a standard monitor check out the options available to you. Sometimes you get a discount on the monitor when it’s purchased with a PC.


Photography in Libraries

Taking A Picture
Thinking about taking some pictures of all your fun Summer Library Program events? Perhaps you have a building project coming up. How do you use photos when you tell your story or market your services?

Wisconsin Valley Library Service had 2 photography-themed posts recently. Check out Anne's Digital Lite Blog post, "Photography in Libraries" and Jamie's Digital Byte video, "Photo Editing Apps" for some helpful tips and apps!

Image by Quinn Kampschroer from Pixabay

Easily Picking Colors with Pixie

I often find myself trying to select hex codes for colors to put on webpages, spreadsheets, etc. I do have an extension installed on Chrome that will help me select colors, but only those that appear on an existing site. I found another lightweight program that will help you select colors that appear anywhere on a screen with Pixie. Its interface is pretty dated, but it is very simple to use. Upon opening, this is what pops up:


It lists the three commands that can be used with it. When hovering over a part of your screen that is colored, it will change to this:



Now that the cursor is placed over a color, ctrl+alt+c will copy its HTML code (#B1005D).

If you want to zoom in on a part of your screen to narrow in on a more specific color, ctrl+alt+z will bring up the magnifier. From there, you can hover over the popup that comes up to choose a color.


The third command is ctrl+alt+x which just brings up the typical color chooser window.


Pixie can be downloaded for free here.

Helpful Google

GoogleGoogle is so helpful what with its great search engine, play store and virtual assistant. I just recently learned that Google is helping in another way. Google now tracks all of the purchases that you make online. You may ask, "How does it know what I buy?" Well, Google is using all of their helpful software together to extract any data that relates to purchases. So if you get a purchase receipt emailed to your Gmail account they extract all of the purchase data from that email. If you're uncomfortable with this, there is unfortunately no option to turn it off. The only way to get your purchases off Google's purchase page is to delete the email. This doesn't really work if you want to keep a record of your purchases. So then the only option you have left is to not use Gmail when making purchases. Unfortunately in today's world everyone wants your data, especially Google.

Media Mentions

Novelist_button_200x100One of the questions reference librarians get is "I heard this author on NPR" or "I heard about this book TV" and they want to see if the library has it or if they can get it. Occasionally, patrons would only remember bits and pieces of the information needed to find the title. When I was at Sun Prairie Public Library, we used to receive the MOTOR list - Mentioned on TV or Radio - which helped quite a bit.

While it's easier now to find the answers to those questions using various websites, NoveList made it even easier with their new Media Mentions. According to a recent post on the NoveList blog, "Media mentions will track which new titles have garnered buzz on popular U.S. radio and network and cable television programs..." 

MediaMentionsIf a title has Media Mentions, they'll appear as part of the detail page of the book. You can also use Advanced Search and select one or more of the media sources like NPR's Fresh Air or Morning Edition or CBS This Morning. For example, I did an Advanced Search for titles talked about on CBS This Morning and my results included three fiction titles: City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert, Collusion by Newt Gingrich, and Insurrecto by Gina Apostol. The results also include the date the title was talked about on the show.

If your library subscribes to Novelist Plus, Media Mentions is available there, too. As this is a new feature, the Media Mentions included are relatively recent - within the last few months. The article doesn't mention how often Media Mentions is updated so if a patron is looking for something talked about on NPR this morning, it may not show up in NoveList immediately.

One other NoveList thing - they've teamed up with LibraryReads for a webinar on July 17 called Crash Course in Romance. It's scheduled for 1-2 p.m. Central Time with a short 15 minute optional training following the main webinar.

Happy reading!

Who ya gonna call? Cyber Response


If you are a local government entity and you experience a cyber incident or threat, who ya gonna call? At the recent WiscNet Connections conference, I learned that there is something called the Cyber Response Team Program (CRT) that can assist your organization. They are described as the "volunteer fire department" of cyber security. It is funded through a grant provided by the Department of Homeland Security. According to the web page, there are currently three teams covering the state. This post in the DET Newsletter explains that the team assists with: prevention, protection, mitigation, response and recovery. 

Of course, if you are an SCLS Technology Services library, your first action when you experience a cyber incident or threat would be to call the Help Desk. 





Google Glass revisited

Remember Google Glass and how it was being marketed to consumers? Well, that really didn't take off (Thank goodness! The idea of everyone being able to record video and audio with their glasses felt a little creepy), but Google Glass is making headway in the business market. It turns out there are good uses for Google Glass there.

Google recently released a new version of the AR spectacles called "Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2." From their recent blog post:

"Workers can use Glass to access checklists, view instructions or send inspection photos or videos, and our enterprise customers have reported faster production times, improved quality, and reduced costs after using Glass."

If you have 2 1/2 minutes, check out the video and see what the future of Google Glass for the enterprise looks like.

Can you envision a way that libraries might use Google Glass?

More info:

Colón's manuscript

Usually we write about current and new technologies here but I'm changing it up this time and writing about old library technology.  About 500 years old. 

Hernando Colón, illegitimate son of Christopher Columbus, made creating the largest library in the world at the time his life's work.  Only about a quarter of the around 15-20,000 books he collected in the early sixteenth century still survive.  However, thanks to the discovery of the Libro de los Eptiomes manuscript, we now know have summaries of items that no longer exist. 

Once thought lost after Colón's death, the manuscript is made of nearly 2,000 pages of summaries of the items that had been in the collection. Colón had employed a team of writers to read and create a summary of every item and those summaries became Libro de los Epitomes.  His collection encompassed far more than just the classics, it also included items not usually found in collections of the day like news pamphlets, almanacs and ballads giving an insight into what people commonly read. 

There are currently plans to digitize and transcribe the manuscript.