2012 in review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 2,400 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 4 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Fear Not the New Gadget


You have just gotten comfortable with the current models of e-readers and tablets that your patrons got for Christmas last year and have brought to the library in hopes of learning how to use them, only to realize that you will be faced with a whole new set of problems and questions this year because every company is offering a newer, prettier, faster device for the Christmas buying season.  Fear not!  The basics you struggled to learn last year still hold true.  Knowing some basics will help you navigate each device, no matter the maker.

Home Screen          home1                             home3                                    Home2
Every device has a home screen with some degree of personalization options. 
The e-ink readers usually have options to sort the titles on the screen by most recent, title or author.  The color devices often have a multi-screen home page (designated by a series of small dots at the top or bottom of the screen) or a favorite’s shelf. Books can be added to the home page or placed in the library for later use. Typically, holding your finger on the book icon will open a menu for making changes on where to place the title. Some Color devices also allow for you to personalize the background of the home screen with wallpaper. The wallpaper menus are usually found in the settings menu or by pressing and holding a finger on a blank area of the home screen.

General Settings                 settings1                         settings3                       settings2
Every device has a list of settings. 
Settings usually include lists of options for setting up Wi-Fi, brightness, volume, display, date and time, security, and parental controls.  They may also include options for connecting to social media, setting up the home screen, shopping for new material, and adjusting the keyboard to personal tastes. To find the settings menu on a device look for something that looks like a cog.  The symbol styles vary slightly in look, but most devices have some version of a cog to tap to open the settings menu.

Menu            Menu1                       menu3                          menu2            Menus allow you to select various options.  Sometimes the settings options will be opened first through a menu.  On e-readers the menu might be opened by a button.  On touch devices the menu will look like a piece of paper with lines on it or bullets and lines. 

Reading Settings              Text1                          text3                         Text2When reading books on digital devices, there are several settings that can be adjusted to make the reading experience more comfortable for the reader.  The reading settings are found by tapping the icon with two A’s.  The typical adjustments include the font size, the margins, the line spacing, the color settings, and the font settings.

Device Storage       library       Library1       library3       library2                 
Each device will store a number of books. 
Many devices will allow you to add newspapers, magazines, music, videos, and apps.  If these items are not visible on the home screen they will be found under the menu by the name of the material you are searching, in your device library, or media shelf.  Most companies also offer archived storage.  This allows the user to remove a purchased item from the device to free up space.  The content will live on the user’s account associated with the device.  The content can be downloaded to the device again at any time.

Wi-Fi     wi fi 1                                         wifi3                                               wifi2Nearly all mobile devices have the ability to connect to the Internet. If you have wireless Internet at home, a local restaurant, a motel, or your Public Library you will have to connect your device to the network. Be aware that some hotels charge for this service and it will be added to your bill at check-out. Look for the Wi-Fi symbol on the screen. If you do not see it or it looks empty, with no lines showing connectivity, then you are not connected to the Internet. Go to the settings menu to turn on the wireless and connect to the local Wi-Fi.

3G and 4G
Some devices can be purchased with 3G and 4G connectivity.  These devices will connect to the Internet over cell phone connections.  This type of connection is generally slower than a Wi-Fi connection; however you can access the Internet from more places.  Many areas of the country do not yet offer 4G cell connections and some still do not offer 3G. 

Battery     battery1                         battery3                          battery2
Mobile devices run on rechargeable battery power.  A single charge will expend at varying rates depending on the activity being done with the device.  Reading takes less power than surfing the Internet.  Watching videos takes even more power. A symbol on your screen that looks like a standard battery will show you how much power is remaining.  The center of the symbol will change color as your battery discharges. If the battery goes completely flat, the device will not turn on until it has been plugged in for up to 30 minutes.

Shop/Store          shop1                     shop3                   shop2New purchases can be made right from the device.  Most devices will use the words “shop” or “store” and/or an icon with a shopping bag to indicate how to access their available online content.   Depending on the type of device the content available may include books, magazines, newspapers, apps, videos, and music. The device will have to be connected to the Internet in order to shop or purchase content. Many books and apps are free and the stores usually allow the user to search for content by key words like “free.”  The Overdrive app is free for users to download on color devices and allows the user to borrow books from their local library through Montana Library2go.

Windows 8: To upgrade or not to upgrade, that is the question.


  1. Do your research first.  Read articles and documents and watch videos to inform your decision.

    1. The Tech Soup Blog 
    2. The Tech Soup Learning Center
    3. Microsoft’s webpage
  2. Consult with your library, city, or county IT.  He or she should be on hand when you run the Upgrade Assistant and available to make decisions before, during and after the upgrade.
  3. Start small.  Upgrade one computer – preferably a touchscreen, if you have one. 
    1. This will give you an opportunity to try it out
    2. This will also give staff an opportunity to get familiar with the new operating system.
    3. You will have an opportunity to see how well your current apps and programs transfer to the new system, and troubleshoot any issues that arise.
    4. Introduce patrons to the new operating system
  4. Set up different user profiles on the new system and experiment with customizations.
  5. Test your library specific programs, especially DeepFreeze and EnvisionWare.

Positives

  • Newest operating system available for Windows systems
  • New Microsoft computers will be sold with this operating system
  • Tech Soup is currently offering Windows 8 Upgrades for $12.00
  • Great for use with Touchscreen computers
  • When you upgrade an existing Windows program to Windows 8 an Upgrade Assistant first checks your system to see if your computer meets the upgrade requirements
  • The Upgrade Assistant also tells you which programs will not transfer and alerts you to any potential problems
  • The operating system is fairly easy to use
  • You can switch between using the new “Tiles” start menu and the more traditional desktop menus
  • The Tiles Start menu is very customizable for different users
  • All of your favorites – websites, applications, and programs – can be saved as a Tile on the start page.

 Negatives 

  • Not all programs and applications are supported in Windows 8
  • The Upgrade Assistant may not be able to list all of the programs that will not transfer – this seems to be in the test mode currently.  Just because it is not listed as a problem, does not mean it won’t be a problem
  • Problem programs may need to be uninstalled from the computer before beginning the  upgrade process
  • Some problem programs are usable, but only from the traditional desktop, this requires switching to the desktop view to see some videos or former applications.
  • Some menus are hard to access with a mouse, because this operating system was designed for touchscreens. The scroll bar is sometimes hidden by a menu, which would not be a problem on a touchscreen, where you would just swipe to scroll
  • It takes an hour or more to upgrade one computer
  • A new system will be confusing at first and takes some time to learn


 

Nook and Kindle Tutorials


In order to continue offering your patrons support, a number of device tutorials have been added to WebJunction Montana.  Please refer your staff and patrons to these videos as needed.  The link below will take you directly to the videos.

http://www.webjunction.org/partners/montana/mt-digital-literacy/mobile-devices/webinars.html

I hope these tutorials are helpful.

Risk-takers Convene in Telluride


Guest Blog – by Donci Bardash

Have you been hearing your peers talk about “thinking sideways” and “role-storming” – or have you been surprised by a flash mob recently? Have you been asked to identify your library’s “meatloaves?” Are you wondering what’s in the water these days?

Earlier this month, ten Montana librarians attended the Risk and Reward (R-squared) Conference in Telluride, Colorado. The vision of the conference says it all: Faced with diminishing budgets, new technologies and changing customer needs, the traditional library faces extinction. We must adapt and innovate to transform from a quiet storehouse of books to a dynamic center of free engagement with knowledge.

The conference was designed to inspire creative, out-of-the-box thinking in four experiences (tracks): culture, customer curiosity, abundant community, and creative spaces. Some attendees confronted fears by holding snakes; others went to the streets of Telluride to interview the public about the role of libraries in their lives. Tamara Kleinberg, a creative-thinker and consultant so respected in her field that she is hired by Disney (yes- Disney) to inspire their employees, convinced us all to jump off our chairs.

The days were long, motivating, and exhausting (in a good way!)…

So what’s next? The attendees of the conference were so inspired that we’d like to bring a little bit of R-squared to Montana this spring. And for those of you who cannot wait quite that long, check out one of the many social media outlets documenting our experiences:

Twitter: #rsq12 or @rsquaredconf

Blog: http://www.rsquaredconference.org/blog

Facebook: R-Squared Conference

Or, read one of the many books we received:

Kleinberg, Tamara. Think Sideways: A Game-changing Playbook for Disruptive Thinking

Linkner, Josh. Disciplined Dreaming: A Proven System to Drive Breakthrough Creativity

McKnight, John. Building Communities from the Inside Out: A Path Toward Identifying and Mobilizing a Community’s Assets

McKnight, John. The Careless Society: Community and its Counterfeits

McKnight, John. The Abundant Community: Awakening the Power of Families and Neighborhoods

Simon, Nina. The Participatory Museum