Elsner Library Consulting

New Edition of the BEST Management Book EVER for Librarians

Fundamentals of Library Supervision, Second Edition

by Joan Giesecke and Beth McNeil

ISBN 9780838910160

Admittedly I have not read either the first or second edition, but I assume Joan is still putting together an excellent book. I still wish we had used Practical Help for New Supervisors as our graduate school management textbook.

Elsner Library Consulting thanks you for a wonderful time helping libraries throughout the world. Edward Elsner is working as Librarian at the Oswego Public Library, oswegopubliclibrary.org. Feel free to call 810-423-0579 or email edward_elsner AT yahoo.com to say hi or propose collaborations.

Technology & Your Library - 2009 Version

Edward answers your questions.

  1. You can find skins to protect monitor screens by searching for "flat panel monitor protector" in any web search engine. Kensington and Protect Computer Products make them and they are for sale by Dell, ProtectCovers.com, and others.
  2. I found several mentions of Facebook locking up computers when accessed with Internet Explorer. Apparently these freezes are often caused by installing an incompatible add-on. Microsoft has suggestions for working with IE7 available at Optimize IE7. Let me know if this is happening with Firefox at all. Thanks.

Reach People WHERE They Are!

Start with an interest area for technology resistant patrons (and staff) and then show them how to use technology to find information about it. Examples include cross-stitch patterns on the Internet and movie trivia. Each one of you is a teacher and trainer for others.
Technology is accessed early and at every stage in learning.

First we will discuss the current state of technology in public libraries and in the United States generally.

USC Center for the Digital Future - 2008 Digital Future Report
Digital Future Report
also available from the Annenberg School

Web 2.0 receives plenty of discussion and it is a hot topic, but how beneficial would 2.0 tools be to your library?
TechSoup's Intro to Web 2.0 Tools
Web 2.0 Tools of Interest to Libraries

Technology Watch List Archives from WebJunction
Technology Watch List from 2008

Library Journal covered their Technology on a Shoestring: Big Tools for Small Budgets.
Library Journal Article

  • Voicethread.com (collaborative multimedia application)
  • Drop.io (online file sharing and collaboration)
  • Zamzar.com (free online file conversion, including saving to .flv for Flash videos)
  • Ning.com (create your own social network)
  • Skype.com (VOIP - voice over Internet protocol / web phone)
  • Google.com/Docs (online word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software!)
  • Zoho.com (productivity and collaboration applications of all kinds including Docs)
  • TigerLogic.com/ChunkIt (plugin to peer deeper into your searches, pulls out text around your search terms from each result)

Blogging / RSS Feeds - show my Bloglines account

Portable Media Players

  • Sony's eReader
  • Samsung's Blackjack
  • Palm's Treo 700wx
  • Creative's ZEN
  • LG Chocolate
  • Apple's iPhone

Sites for Downloadable Audiobooks, Videos, and More!

Digital Audio Books article cached by Google from SmartComputing.com
Growth of Digital Audio Books

What's Up with Technology @ Canton Public Library
Visit Canton Public Library's Tech Page

Overall, I've never been interested in blogging, journaling, or twittering for that matter. There is already so much being said by so many people; I enjoy being the collector and pointer to all of these great resources and discussions. Enjoy!

Now we will look at where technology may be going this year and try to predict where it might be five years from now. Think back to where technology was five years ago to get an idea of how much things WILL change.

Cell phones are the main access source for millions of people. We need to continue developing ways to reach cell phones whether with our catalog, texting, or through providing web access while users are in our libraries.

Staff need time to play with new technology. You may want to create a "petting zoo" with one of each latest device in your staff area. Examples include a Kindle or Sony eBook reader, iPhone, webcam, and an MP3 player. They WILL be asked to help the public with these devices and people WILL try to connect them to your network to download or upload information.

2009 Web Predictions from Read/Write Web
Their 2007 predictions from the last installment of Technology and Your Library were: RSS, structured data, widgets, web office, rich Internet applications, browser based applications, RDF-semantic web, and Amazon web services almost all of which are now hitting the mainstream.
2009 Predictions

Ten Trends & Technologies for 2009 from Tame the Web
Technology Trends

2009 Library Technology Conference topics
Program Listings for Library Technology Conference

Emerging Technology Trends from the Computer Electronics Show
Emerging Trends

Things I would like to see include a universal Readers Advisory Wiki, personalized alerts regarding my favorite authors and artists, and information delivered to me in summarized form only on the areas I am actually interested in currently.

Troubleshooting Common Computer Problems

Back up library files regularly! It only takes a USB drive and some time every month or three. Have all patrons save their files to USB drives or burn them to CD.

PowerPoint on Computer Hardware
This is from the International Network for the Availability of Science Publications, INASP.info

Alt - F4 is the universal exit key combination. You can hold down the Alt key and then hit F4 to exit from most children's games.

Ctrl - Alt - Del brings up the Task Manager, or at least a menu where you can choose the Task Manager. The Task Manager will show you all the applications currently running on the computer and their status. You can force unresponsive applications to close from here.

Remember to try the Esc key too.

When troubleshooting equipment problems try the following steps:

  1. Check to make sure it is plugged in.
  2. Check the power strip making sure it is plugged in and turned on.
  3. Be sure the equipment is turned on.
  4. Make sure there is paper, and be sure paper is properly inserted, in any printer or copier you are trying to use and also ensure ink or toner is installed correctly and not empty.
  5. Read any displays or error messages, write them down, and attempt to decipher them by searching in help or online.
  6. If a program will not close try Alt-F4, the exit program shortcut, or Ctrl-Alt-Del to forcefully end the program.
  7. If a file won't open by double clicking on it open the application first, such as Word, and then open the file from within the application.
  8. If a web site will not open try stopping the site and going to it again or typing ping or tracert followed by the site at a command prompt to see if the site is up and where you may be getting blocked or bogged down in the various servers between you and your destination.

When bubble jet printers start spewing unrecognizable characters or stop responding:

  1. Turn off the printer
  2. Unplug all cables from the back of the printer
  3. You may need to delete any current print jobs
  4. Turn it back on
  5. Plug the cables back in

F8 during boot up to select Windows Safe Modes or Last Known Good Configuration.

F2 (or other Fkey) to enter the BIOS and change boot priority, etc.

At a command/DOS prompt: type in chkdsk to check your hard disk if not booting right. You can repair the disk by doing chkdsk /r

If nothing working try to boot with nothing attached to the computer except the mouse, keyboard, and monitor. Remove any printers, scanners, Ethernet cables from the back and remove any cards from inside the computer (Ethernet, audio, etc.).

Shut down the computers and turn the power to them off. For extra protection, unplug your power strips from the outlet. Plug everything back in and turn it on only once stable power is restored.

The Library Technology Companion excerpt on Troubleshooting
Library Troubleshooting

Search archives, online, a manual, or the help feature for the problem you are experiencing. Be willing to try fixing problems yourself. The worse thing that will happen is you will need to reload the software or image of the hard drive.

Know experts and tech support numbers and be willing to ask librarians or vendors. There are many resources outside your library! Develop a relationship with a local computer tech business who may be able to help with maintenance work, set up, and purchasing new equipment at discounts.

Questions and Break

Security and Common Technology Tasks

Edward says "Usability is ALWAYS more important than security!"

A good security policy is to not use obvious passwords, to change passwords a few times each year, and to limit who can change the server and other computers.

65,535 Ports exist for use with TCP/IP. Gibson Research and Sygate scan ports for vulnerabilities so you can be more secure.

  • 80 = web browser
  • 21 = FTP (file transfer protocol)
  • 110 = email server is a common IP address for Internet Default Gateway

The minimum security required for a small public library network is a software firewall and an anti-virus program updated daily. Windows XP Professional operating system has a built in software firewall.
You also need to install programs to find and remove adware and spyware, software programs placed on your computer by web sites to bug you and track your online activity.
If you place your server on the public Internet, you will also want a hardware firewall and someone capable of daily monitoring the server logs for unauthorized activity.

learn more about firewalls from WebJunction at Firewalls

Work with your technology consultant to correctly install and set up these important safeguards.

A great introduction to all the vagaries of computer and network security can be found at the Infopeople Project, Security, and from WebJunction, Security.

MaintainIT Project of TechSoup.org
Cookbooks for Technology in Your Library

Competencies for Sustaining Public Access Computing
WebJunction Competencies

The Print Screen key sends an image of the ENTIRE screen to your clipboard. You can then paste it into any of your documents. This is a great way to create step-by-step instructions for basic tasks.

Show patrons how to print one page or selection at a time (File —> Print —> left side of Print window). They can choose the current page or selection button. Selection is anything currently highlighted in the document or on the website

Technology Planning

If all your computers are always full, you need more computers (laptops or desktops) and/or shorter time limits for your patrons.

If the Internet is slow most of the time, you need a faster connection such as cable, DSL, or fiber-optic. AT&T now offers fiber-optic connections in many areas. However, the faster your connection, the more time people will spend online.

Look into providing special desktop or laptop computers for creating movies, burning DVDs, downloading audio music and books, or accessibility.

WebJunction tips and hints for Small Libraries
Tech Planning: The Big Picture for Small Libraries

USF requires 5 points to be covered in your Technology Plan

  1. Goals & Strategies
  2. Professional Development
  3. Needs Assessment
  4. Budget (Sufficient to Support Technology)
  5. Evaluation

CIPA FAQ from Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Libraries Division

Technology Planning for USF E-rate from LoM's Beginning Workshop
Technology Planning

Sample 2009-2011 Technology Plans
Jackson County Public Library Technology Plan
Public Library of Enid and Garfield County Tech Plan
Morrill Public Library Technology Plan

Sample Internet Policy with CIPA Required Language
Fresno County Public Library Internet Policy

List of Approved Library Tecnology Plans from the Library of Michigan
see related content for all the forms and websites you'll need
Approved Technology Plans

TechAtlas for Libraries. One inventory method.

A simple spreadsheet or database can work just as well.

The Public Library Helper HAS MOVED to scribd.com!

see new links below to every chapter, now being updated

…just add building, technology, staff, and collection.

by Edward J. Elsner

illustrations by L. L. Ruddy

Finances Chapter

Legal Chapter

Management Chapter

Marketing & Public Relations Chapter

Planning & Statistics Chapter

Policies (Board Positions) Chapter

Procedures (Daily Library Tasks & Forms) Chapter

Technology Chapter

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