I had the pleasure to present my first conference program alongside my esteemed colleague Linda Braun yesterday.’  We talked about apps at the Massachusetts Library Association Conference.’  As when any two people who are enthusiastic about a topic are given room to run with it, we could have gone on quite a lot longer than our hour and fifteen minute time slot.’  In an effort to economize on time, and deal with some inevitable technical difficulties, our presentation was a fast-talking, fun, and somewhat chaotic look at a bunch of apps we think are great and their potential for library applications.’  Discussion was sparked, and various people stopped by throughout the rest of my conference day to say they were excited to experiment and learn more about apps.

To prepare for our presentation we used a Google Doc to create an annotated list of apps we wanted to recommend.’  We weren’t able to discuss everything we listed, and our list is by no means comprehensive, but it is a selection of apps in various categories from gaming to art to academic, that we think you would enjoy.

Have a look at our document: Apps Apps Everywhere‘  and feel free to add some apps to our list.

When this month’s theme was announced I got to thinking of some of the innovations that have entered into my world since I was a child. I should state here that I am defining innovation according to its “invention” and “evolution” roots. I wanted to think about what new systems/ideas/products have been brought into librarianship that have made me wonder how we could have ever done without.

Like poor Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady, what have I grown accustomed to? So, I’ve been thinking about this for a while and here are a few of my favorite innovations without which I am sure my job and my life would be far more challenging and far less enjoyable. Read More →

When the kids come in with files from Office 2010 and Mac Office we always have issues. Our machines have Windows XP and Office 2003. How do we cope?
1. Google Docs is your friend. In almost any situation, Google Docs will take a file and open it so that a student can edit, print, save in another format.
2. Teaching students how to save in another format is NOT a waste of time but a time saver when the going gets tough. We prefer Rich Text because that format is available in all the platforms with all the software.
3. Emailing files can help provide evidence that the student had the work, they just can’t open it today. If we get the chance we try to ask them to copy and paste the document into their message, rather than attach it. Then we can copy and paste into our available word processing program or print directly from email.
4. Open Office is important for those students who have a computer but no money for software. Become familiar with it so you can help.

Coping with out of date technology is the fine art of making it work for your patrons. They can struggle to make technology work too, they just don’t obsess about it. They find a way around it. Take their attitude and make it your own.

Here is how it started. A librarian discovered that emails sent via Google Docs, asking teachers and students to collaborate on projects, were being filtered by the school. When the librarian asked the school technician about this she was told that use of Google Docs, and like services, was not allowed in the school because of a recent ruling by a state judicial body. She was further informed that the ruling stated that schools needed to archive locally all materials created by students and teachers, so using something like Google Docs – which is not local storage – would go against that ruling.

The librarian tweeted this discovery which started a discussion about whether this ruling could prohibit schools from using web-based collaboration tools. Emails and Twitter messages went back and forth and librarians working for the state’s law library system were asked if they knew anything about the ruling and its impact on schools.

Read More →