Montana Library Impact Videos


2012 in review

The 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.


  • 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.


  • 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


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


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

A Dose of Pride & Motivation –

Guest Blog by Donci Bardash

Sarah, Jennifer and I realize that we need your monthly reports for two reasons: first, to meet our federal obligations; second – and more importantly, to live through your stories while we all work from cubicle-land. Thank you for sharing your stories with us, keeping us motivated, and giving us the opportunity to celebrate with you!

Below are some of our favorite highlights from this quarter, that illustrate what a difference you are all making:

  • In one short month, Livingston-Park Library’s laptop check-outs sky-rocketed to 67 after they began promoting their laptops to patrons waiting for workstations.
  • A Livingston library patron with Parkinson’s Disease began using the new larger mouse on the ADA-compliant machines the very first day it was set up and ready to go. He was thrilled! He was easily able to navigate the mouse and do what he wished on the computer. He has an extremely difficult time with normal computer mice. In addition, younger computer users are enjoying the larger mouse and keyboards on these machines. One Saturday, three young girls came in (ages approx. 10-11) and wanted computers next to each other. The only choice was for an area that included an ADA-compliant machine. When asked who wanted to use that particular machine, they all raised their hands. They ended up taking turns on that one because they all wanted to use it.
  • Bozeman Public Library has started coordinating with the MSU Association for Women in Computing for technology training. They have also promoted their resources and workshops to their local women’s shelter.
  • Belt Public Library staff taught a man how to use the internet for job search, type a resume and submit for job openings. She gave him a thumb drive on which to store his resume and explained how it is used. He had never used one before.
  • eReader training demand has been so great in Butte that they’ve added more classes! Splitting the eReader training into sections by type of device (Apples, Kindles, Nooks) seemed to work very well for their patrons, although some of the classes were still very large.
  • A Carnegie Public Library patron stated “If it weren’t for the library and the new computers my family of six would be lost! We live 25 miles out of town. The library is a hub for my family to hang out when we are waiting for each other and all of our activities. We all use the computers every day. The librarians are geniuses and work horses. I get educated when I come here.”
  • Carnegie Public Library: Every Saturday a former resident and her high school aged son drive 35 miles to use our computer lab because the computers are updated and well maintained. They say it is a better experience than the computer lab in their new town which is not a BTOP library. The laptops are used for extended time projects like resumes, job applications, tax filing, etc..
  • Carnegie patrons are very pleased to have a place to work without worrying about a time limit.
  • Carnegie has had 18 successful on-line tax filers so far!
  • Darby patrons with training needs are grateful for the volunteer computer helper who works one on one with them using the patron laptop received through the BTOP grant. This allows them to work in a quiet corner or in the conference room so they do not disturb…
  • The Hearst Free Library computers were used non-stop during their Dr. Seuss Pajama Party on March 1st.
  • Several Laurel patrons are excited to learn that (with E-Device training) they can navigate digital checkout on their home computers. One new laptop user says that FB and email will open up a whole new way of communicating w/family.
  • The Parmly Billings Library is partnering with United Way to provide income tax filing assistance. The Library provides the space and the computers while United Way provides the expert volunteers.
  • Parmly Billings Library staff have been doing many eReader demonstrations – both in groups and individually. They get comments several times a week from patrons who are so happy to be able to make their device work with Montana Library 2 Go.
  • Preston-Hot Springs Town/County Library received an $ anonymous donation $ that is credited to the fact that the library has established the expectation for continual improvements of patron services and striving to meet the needs of patrons.
  • The reasons I like the library are because it is a quiet place to do homework or read. Most of all because the computers. Since I live out of town and have no Internet, it really helps me a lot to look something up for school. Or even to just have fun on. I really love the library.” Carnegie patron, aged 14


Computers in Libraries 2012 PreConference Sessions

Computers in Libraries 2012 preconference workshops began Tuesday in Washington DC.  I had the pleasure of attending a workshop presented by Jason Griffey about gadgets and mobile devices in the library and a presentation by Michael Porter and David Lee King called Let’s Make Video.

Jason Griffey brought with him a petting zoo of devices and discussed why libraries should be considering these personal devices as check-out items. If the current trend continues, the numbers of mobile devices sold will soon far outnumber computers being sold. Statistics show that mobile devices are more often being used to connect to Wi-Fi hotspots than traditional laptops. 

If your library is considering lending mobile devices, Griffey offered a couple of key pieces of advice.

  • ·         Choose the device that will fit your needs and will do the right job.
  • ·         From a management perspective, the device brand is less important than the operating system it is running.  The two most common operating systems are the Apple iOS and Android. There are tips and tricks for managing each and someone will need to be in charge of managing the settings on your devices.
  • ·         Decide who will manage your devices and create a process that will be smooth and easy to do.
  • ·         Understand the legal issues with apps and contents.

Michael Porter and David King showed some examples of great uses for videos to engage patrons and to promote library services.  We are a video oriented society and people like to click on video links.  This session demonstrated how libraries can take advantage of this with some very simple and inexpensive tools and how to begin creating videos.

The basic needs to begin creating video for your library are listed here.

  • ·         You will need time – videos are not made quickly
    • o   Time to plan
    • o   Time to script
    • o   Time to edit
  • ·         You will need some basic equipment
    • o   Editing software
    • o   Audio microphone
    • o   Video camera
    • o   Lighting
    • o   Video storage

Libraries can do many things with videos that will improve outreach and communication with patrons. Below are a few of the suggestions from this session.

  • ·         Tour the library
  • ·         Tour the book mobile
  • ·         Book reviews
  • ·         Meet the staff
  • ·         Training videos
  • ·         Oral histories
  • ·         Video contests