Anyone can learn to code!

That was one of the main messages that were broadcast during Computer Science Education Week December 2013. Code.org and several other organizations created hour-long activities to engage and support people of all ages in learning to code. At its heart, the goal of Computer Science Education Week is to create visibility around the value of coding education, and to encourage everyone to experience and experiment with coding and programming computers. At the time I thought it was a great learning opportunity, but couldn’t quite see how it would fit into my library.

While at PLA earlier this year, one of the presenters mentioned a program they host at their branch called CoderDojo. This international initiative provides support and a network of resources for anyone who wants to host a meet-up for youth, parents, and mentors and focus on to learn the concepts and practices of coding in a fun, sociable, supportive environment. At CoderDojo, youth can develop websites, apps, animations, programs, games, and more!

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Free Events for Life After High SchoolFor me, my focus on helping teens transition from high school to adulthood began during the recession. I was working the help desk and there was a customer who was trying to complete the FAFSA on a paid website. I redirected them to FAFSA.ed.gov, but a few days later there was another customer who was doing a similar thing, only they had paid $80 for someone to fill out their Free Application for Federal Student Aid.

It may be the beginning of the school year, but one of my focuses this year is partnering with other organizations to ensure that accurate information gets to students and recent grads about college and alternatives to college. Read More →

The Information Policy & Access Center has released their findings from a 2013 Survey about Digital Inclusion.

You can read the full report online.

Digital Inclusion is more than Digital Literacy, focusing on not just access but supporting users to engage in digital communities. The report explored the roles of public libraries in four main areas: Read More →

Home Screen of Teen Summer Challenge

Games often provide an opportunity to have fun, learn new things, simulate real life, and explore things only dreamed of before. Whether playing a board game, role playing game, or a video game, players are challenged to overcome obstacles and use strategy to solve problems and meet goals. In classrooms teachers are using game elements more and more to encourage practice, assess mastery, or explore new concepts with students, while keeping lessons interactive and engaging.

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Reading Homeland by Cory Doctorow brings up many themes about the NSA, Privacy, and Edward Snowden.

June 5th marks the anniversary of Snowden disclosing thousands of classified documents, and Fight for the Future is organizing a campaign to educate internet users about security, and encourage the use of free privacy tools.

Sunday the New York Times ran an article about NSA who are creating a database of photos for facial recognition software.

Historically Libraries have been advocates for Intellectual Freedom (check out the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom for more information). We fight for our customer’s rights to have access to information, but as we work with the public, especially teens, we often need to teach them how to protect themselves online rather than just have us do the protection for them.

Now is a great opportunity to have programs on internet safety.

Below are some resources you can use to create an internet safety program for your community.

Consider putting print outs or bookmarks about internet safety out with a display of Dystopian Fiction like Cory Doctorow’s books and Web Programming books.

Cyber Display

Even if you don’t have time to create a display, consider purchasing the independently produced audio edition of Homeland, exclusively available on Cory Doctorow’s website, and adding it to your Overdrive Downloadable collection.

Lately I’ve had a few computer malfunctions in my life. The laptop I used for work was stolen, and the hard drive on my computer at home had a crash that even spin rite couldn’t fix. I lost some documents I was currently working on, but thankfully I’d been saving most of my important documents to a shared work drive. Since these debacles I’ve been making sure I save in multiple places and even invested in a service called Mozy to back up my files at home.

I wanted to share with you what tools I’ve been using to help offset another computer disaster:
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This week is  Choose  Privacy Week. To celebrate I wanted to write a post about passwords.

First, how many of you use the same password for every site you log into? Do you have the same user name as well?

I know often times we hear IT and other computer professionals tell us to never use the same password, but in reality we are often over worked, and have more important things to do with our brain cells than memorize a bunch of silly passwords (like memorize a bunch of book titles) Right?

I used to feel the same way until I read a blog post about how easy it is to guess one’s password.  Follow the link to see how easy your password is to hack, and then check back here for tips to make your password more secure. Read More →

Apple recently reached over 10K apps in the Iphone catalog. I’ve been reading about the iPhone and development of smart phones over the past year. Intrigued and also captivated by the ever increasing shiny.

While I have a smart phone, Its not an iPhone. I’ve really not seen many teens with an iPhone or iPod touch. Maybe I’m not looking hard enough though.

All this development for smart phones has me wondering how many libraries are truly prepared for this new trend. Many report that Android will give iPhone a run for its money. I’ve found a few libraries have dabbled in mobile website development, but not many.

My question is this: What services does you library offer via mobile phone? Do you allow people to text with a librarian, or IM using a service that works on peoples phones?

Is you website mobile friendly? Take w3C mobile OK test

Do you have a Apple App? (Recently I read about this site that creates an app for small businesses. Is this something suitable for libraries?)

Read report by Admob

Find out more about mobile usability