Skip to content

DEADLINE EXTENDED: Volunteer Engagement Bootcamp

2017 May 26
by Jennifer Peters

Don’t miss the opportunity to apply for an expense-paid volunteer engagement bootcamp at the funky Lone Star Court in Austin on September 12-13! We have extended the deadline to submit an application to June 16!

Dispatches from Texas Libraries – Tom Green County

2017 May 24
by Kyla Hunt

In our effort to highlight the libraries that we visit while on our travels, this post is a part of our ongoing blog series titled Dispatches from Texas Libraries where we will raise up a library and the work they are doing for their community.

Last week, I enjoyed the opportunity to visit the Stephens Central Library of the Tom Green County Library System to facilitate the Leadership & Management Essentials workshop led by Dr. Julie Todaro. This session is a part of the Small Library Management Training Program; registration is still open for the Augusts session of Leadership & Management Essentials to be held in The Woodlands.

I want to start out by thanking Jill Donegan, the Library Director, and Marcy Bosquett, the Community Room Coordinator, for allowing use of their wonderful and very unique Sugg Community Room. The room, located on the 3rd floor of the Stephens Central Library, is big enough that we could have held at least twice as many people as we had comfortably. The floor has a colorful pattern perfect for keeping participants engaged, and a beautiful and ornate cloud ceiling (you can see pictures of the meeting room in the gallery below).

Stephens Central Library has a lot in common with the unique community that is San Angelo. For example, instead of the traditional coffee shop, the café The Western Ronin provides sandwiches and sushi. In addition to the traditional children’s and teen programming, the library offers STEAM Central, a Makerspace in the basement of Stephens Central offering tools such as a laser cutter, 3d printer, and a long-arm quilter.  Even the outside of Stephens Central reflects its community, both unique and vintage, modern and usable.  This is perhaps best symbolized by the San Angelo sheep statue in front of the library, painted in book and literacy related themes.

Continuing Education survey – we need your input!

2017 May 23
by Katherine Adelberg

The Continuing Education and Consulting team at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission is committed to providing high-quality training to Texas library staff. We’re conducting a state-wide Continuing Education survey to help us plan for the future. What topics would you like to learn more about? What training do your co-workers need?

We have two surveys open, one designed for public library staff and another for academic library staff. Please take a few minutes to answer the survey for your library type and help us develop training to meet your needs:

We welcome input from all library employees, from directors to library aides. Your answers will help us create in-person workshops, online training, and other resources. Please respond by May 31st.

Our vision is for all library staff to have the training they need to provide Texans with exceptional library service, and we need your help to bring that vision to life. Thank you!

Please contact us with any questions at ld@tsl.texas.gov.

Free CE and Training This Week – May 22-26

2017 May 21
by Christina Manz

Our weekly listing of free training online and free Texas workshops is updated as new events are added – throughout the week! See what’s happening on the CE calendar. Confirm the date and time when you register, or follow links for archive information. Events listed in Central Time.

Monday May 22-24, 2017
Small Library Management: Leadership & Management Essentials (TSLAC workshop, Alpine, Alpine Public Library)
This workshop provides foundational leadership and management skills that will enable you to accomplish your library’s goals. Highly recommended for new directors, managers, anyone interested in becoming a manager, and anyone that would like a refresher. It’s FREE for all Texas library staff. Leadership and Management Essentials is a 3 day in-person workshop offered every two years.
Time: 8:30-3:30 p.m.

Tuesday May 23, 2017
Government Media for Children (Federal Depository Library)
Participants will learn where to look for Government media appropriate for children, including podcasts, oral histories, and STEM materials that can be incorporated into websites and the classroom.
Time: 1-2:00 p.m.

Social Media and Volunteer Engagement (VolunteerMatch)
Volunteer engagement is changing. What do you need to know about social media as a volunteer program manager? How can you use social media to promote your volunteer opportunities and recruit volunteers? This webinar will offer an introduction to including social media in your volunteer recruitment and retention plans. You’ll see examples of Twitter, Facebook and YouTube pages, as well as blogs that other nonprofits have successfully used to draw attention to their organizations and volunteer opportunities. You’ll also learn about the social media tools available as part of your VolunteerMatch account that can help you promote your volunteer opportunity on other social networking sites.
Time: 1-2:00 p.m.

Gamification: Strategies for Merging Learning Theory, Games, and Instructional Design (Insync Training)
This workshop will provide hands-on experience with gamification, the application of game mechanics and design processes in traditionally non-game contexts. Skillfully done, this can foster more engaging, informative, and/or cooperative educational, recreational, political, and business environments.
Time: 1-2:00 p.m.

Measures that Matter: A View into the Current Public Library Data Landscape (WebJunction and Chief Officers of State Library Agencies)
The initiative will first take stock of the current landscape and then re-envision how data could be collected, stored, used and disseminated more productively in the future. In this webinar, the first in a 3-part series, we’ll discuss the view that emerged from looking at a number of major library surveys and data collection tools, and consider opportunities to pursue a national action plan to move the field toward ever-more meaningful measures.
Time: 2-3:00 p.m.

Emerging Tech Trends in Libraries – Part 7 (Infopeople)
With so much new technology coming at us so fast, it can be difficult to keep up. As part of the Emerging Tech Trends series, presenter Laura Solomon continues the exploration into emerging technology trends, and how these trends might (or might not) re-shape library services.
Time: 2-3:00 p.m.

Wednesday May 24, 2017
NCompass Live: Ad Filters -The Case For and Against Installation on Public Computers
(Nebraska Library Commission)
Ad filters – people are now using ad filters for reasons other than just blocking advertising, such as a way to keep their devices safe from malware attacks. Should you consider using ad filters on your public computers as part of your computer security protocols? Scott Childers, Southeast Library System Director, will discuss the implications of using this technology in your library.
Time: 10-11:00 a.m.

Effective Strategic Planning Part 3: Implementation, Measurement, Reporting (4Good)
No matter how rewarding a planning process is in cultivating your stakeholders, focusing your board and staff, and developing your organization, and no matter how promising the goals and objectives of your plan, strategic planning cannot be successful unless it drives action. A bit of wisdom from the business world is that we manage what we measure. This webinar rounds out our strategic planning series with a look at selecting what to measure and how to use, track and report the data.
Time: 12-1:00 p.m.

Summer Reading 501: Helping Generation App Read This Summer (edWeb)
As we release our K-12ers for the summer, are we adequately psyching Generation App up for…wait for it…READING? Oh sure, there’s a list. You know the list, right? The summer reading list? Is this really the most effective way to promote independent reading for Generation Next? Is it the most effective way to improve reading skills? Research indicates that attention spans are waning for learners of all ages. In this session, facilitators will highlight strategies to engage school-aged learners with summer reading. This webinar will benefit librarians.
Time: 4-5:00 p.m.

Thursday May 25, 2017
Advanced Crowdfunding Strategies
(Firespring)
“I created a crowdfunding campaign, but why isn’t anyone giving to it?” This may be the most frequently asked question among crowdfunders today. The reality is, crowdfunding is more than just launching a page and waiting for the internet to shower you with money. You have to have a plan. This workshop is a can’t-miss for anyone trying to crack this code.
Time: 12-1:00 p.m.

Bozarthzone! Show Your Work: The New Knowledge Management (Insync Training)
As training practitioners we spend a great deal of time talking about how people learn and how to help people learn and how to use that learning to help organizations improve. But “learning” often looks like doing, and talking with others about what we’re doing. This is frequently how we learn and how we help others learn. In this session we’ll look at what to narrate as well as how and when. The bottom line? To improve workplace learning and knowledge management we need to stop saying, “Tell me what you do” and start asking, “Please show me how you did that?”
Time: 1-2:00 p.m.

Dispatches from Texas Libraries – Mount Pleasant

2017 May 17
by Kyla Hunt

In our effort to highlight the libraries that we visit while on our travels, this post is a part of our ongoing blog series titled Dispatches from Texas Libraries where we will raise up a library and the work they are doing for their community.

Last week, I had the pleasure of traveling to the Mount Pleasant Public Library in Mount Pleasant to facilitate the Leadership & Management Essentials workshop led by Dr. Julie Todaro. This session is a part of the Small Library Management Training Program; registration is still open for two of the remaining sessions in the Leadership & Management Essentials series.

I want to start out by thanking the Head Librarian, Helen Thompson, for being an extremely accommodating hostess (and an engaged student!). The Mount Pleasant Public Library has a lovely meeting room that was the perfect space for this interactive workshop. The meeting room is clearly well-used by the library as evidenced by the longing expressions in the children who passed by, waiting for Summer Reading Programs to start for the year.

The Mount Pleasant Public Library invites in the entire community from the very outside, with their lovely rose bushes, library statue and garden area. Their children’s space is just as user-friendly and attractive as the reset of the library. The library is clearly a place built for the people of Mount Pleasant, and the space reflects that.

One unique aspect of the Mount Pleasant Public Library that I loved was their small but impressive Historical Museum. This museum was opened in January 2013 (though the collections began in 1969), and includes a Caddo grass hut, a hand hewn log cabin, and information on other aspects of Mount Pleasant history. This is such a wonderful reflection of the history of the community, and finds a perfect space in the library of Mount Pleasant.

Free CE and Training This Week – May 15-19

2017 May 14
by Christina Manz

Our weekly listing of free training online and free Texas workshops is updated as new events are added – throughout the week! See what’s happening on the CE calendar. Confirm the date and time when you register, or follow links for archive information. Events listed in Central Time.

Monday May 15-17, 2017
Small Library Management: Leadership & Management Essentials (TSLAC workshop, San Angelo,Tom Green County Library System – Stephens Central Branch)
This workshop provides foundational leadership and management skills that will enable you to accomplish your library’s goals. Highly recommended for new directors, managers, anyone interested in becoming a manager, and anyone that would like a refresher. It’s FREE for all Texas library staff. Leadership and Management Essentials is a 3 day in-person workshop offered every two years.
Time:
8:30-3:30 p.m.

Monday May 15, 2017
Volunteers in the Library
(Idaho Commission for Libraries)
Join the staff at the Idaho Commission for Libraries for this informative discussion about volunteers in the library. No registration is required. Log in at: http://icfl.adobeconnect.com/ce
Time: 1:30-2:30 p.m.

Tuesday May 16, 2017
Your New TexShare Resources from Gale (TexShare workshop – Lewisville, Lewisville Public Library)
In this workshop, you’ll learn all you need to know about integrating TexShare’s new Gale resources, Science In Context and LegalForms, into your library. Science In Context is an engaging online resource providing contextual information on hundreds of today’s most significant science topics. We’ll examine how to find what you need (like science experiments) and show off user workflow tools like Google/Microsoft integration, citation generator, and more. LegalForms provides a comprehensive look at various types of legal documents. It offers the most robust collection of accessible legal information available. These forms are “attorney forms” — officially approved forms actually used at a typical law firm. Many of the forms and documents are available in Word or Adobe format and can be edited and used with minor modifications to suit users’ needs by simply “filling in the blanks” with relevant and accurate information. We’ll explore how to search and browse the resource to find the forms you need as well as examine additional tools that provide help for understanding legal terminology, concepts and more. This workshop will be led by Gale trainer, Stacey Knibloe, who likes an interactive session so bring your questions and reference needs!
Time: 10-12:30 p.m.

Growing Readers Together: Early Literacy Services Beyond Your Library (Colorado State Library)
Join us for this interactive session to explore valuable community partnership opportunities, promotional possibilities, and methods for providing outreach to families, unlicensed childcare providers, and beyond.
Time: 1-2:00 p.m.

Bozarthzone! Where’s Your Power? What’s Your Point? (Insync Training)
Tired of seeing PowerPoint shows that have neither power nor a point? This session provides strategies for developing memorable slides with punch, not just pretty slides peppered with bullets. Join us as we look at ways to hook our learners, highlight critical information, and create learning points that will stick.
Time: 1-2:00 p.m.

Wednesday May 17, 2017
NCompass Live: Binge Boxes, Boovie Bags, Book Box Binge, Makerspace Kits and More
(Nebraska Library Commission)
When space is at a premium but you want to be on the cutting edge… boxes, bags and totes can be used to create a whole new world of unique collections that serve our populations. Are we there yet kits, Binge Boxes, Boovie Bags, and much more have connected our programs to our collections and turned on new library patrons to what we offer!
Time: 10-11:00 a.m.

Expanding Your Reference Reach Through Marketing (OCLC)
Do you want to reach more people through your virtual reference service? A new marketing approach could help. Get essential best practices for creating smart marketing campaigns that create awareness and engagement. Learn the specific steps one library took to plan, launch and amplify a successful campaign. We know you’re busy, so our best practices webinars are now shorter with more concentrated advice. It’s a 30-minute burst of knowledge you don’t want to miss!
Time: 10:30-11:00 a.m.

Beyond Information Literacy: 10 Ways to Engage First Year Students! (Credo)
In the 21st century, academic librarians need to think of creative ways to promote library services and resources to their students, particularly first year students and faculty who teach them. From community engagement projects to special exhibits, this presentation will cover 10 activities that you can take back to your first year programs and apply them in your institution.
Time: 11-12:00 p.m.

FranklinCovey’s 7 Habits® Seminar—Free Online Session (American Management Association)
Get a powerful introduction to the highly popular, hands-on seminar, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People®, based on the international bestseller. In this complimentary online session, discover how the 7 Habits® can help you to lead yourself more effectively, engage and collaborate with others more successfully, and continually renew these capabilities. Your team and organization can also learn and harness these qualities for maximum results.
Time: 11-12:00 p.m.

Developing an Effective Mentoring Program (ACRL)
In this webinar, you will learn the many ways that mentoring programs can be structured and the benefits of each. In addition, librarians from UT-Austin will present their methods and approaches for mentoring graduate students new to library instruction as well as librarians with minimal teaching experience. They will also discuss a sustainable approach to a peer-mentoring program that can be adapted to any organization.
Time: 12-1:00 p.m.

Introduction to Finding Grants (Grantspace)
Are you new to the field of grantseeking? Discover what funders are looking for in nonprofits seeking grants and how to find potential funders.
Time: 1-2:00 p.m.

Thursday May 18, 2017
Libraries & Literacy (Texas State Library and Archives Commission and Texas Workforce Commission workshop – Melissa, Melissa Public Library)
This one-day in-person workshop provides training in the following: 1) Use of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission’s free digital literacy toolkit. You will go home with a free copy of the toolkit. 2) Access and use of the TRAIN PD CENTER @ TCALL, the statewide Professional Development and Resource Center for Texas Adult Education and Literacy (AEL). This resource is free to librarians and adult literacy providers. 3) Overview of Learning Express Library, an online resource available through most academic and public libraries. 4) Best practices in partnership development and an opportunity to meet potential partners. It’s FREE for all Texas library staff and adult literacy providers.
Time: 8:30-4:45 p.m.

Guiding Library Users in Literature Search, Evaluation and Sharing
(Library Connect)
Librarians will discuss how they educate a range of library users on literature search and related information literacy concepts, and on how they established a systematic review service: the process, librarian contributions and what users think of the service. The webinar will also explore the how-tos of responsible scholarly sharing and the benefits of a vibrant scholarly network.
Time: 10-11:00 a.m.

Independents Day for Crime Fiction (Booklist)
Booklist’s eighth annual Mystery Month will be rat-a-tat-tatting along by the time this webinar rolls into town like an outlaw gang with the law on its trail. Join freewheeling independent publishers Bloomsbury, Hard Case Crime, Seventh Street Books, and SOHO to view a lineup of America’s most wanted mysteries with a preview of their hottest new and forthcoming titles. Moderated by Keir Graff, Executive Editor of Booklist Publications.
Time: 1-2:00 p.m.

Successful Volunteer Interview Strategies (VolunteerMatch)
Interviewing each prospective volunteer can seem overwhelming, but it’s one of the best ways to ensure that the volunteers you recruit are the volunteers you need. This webinar introduces a variety of question types used in volunteer interviews and offers strategies for honing your interview skills. Materials will be provided to help you implement this process in your organization, as well as a training syllabus so you can learn how to recruit and train a volunteer staff to assist with prospective volunteer interviews.
Time: 1-2:00 p.m.

Project Outcome for Library Consultants (Public Library Association)
The Public Library Association’s Project Outcome is a free service designed to help public libraries understand and share the impact of their programs and services by providing simple, patron surveys and an easy-to-use process for measuring and analyzing outcomes. Libraries can use the collected outcome data to evaluate programming, inform internal and external decision-making, support strategic planning, and more. This webinar is designed to introduce consultants to the Project Outcome framework to better inform their public library work. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions and share their own experiences.
Time: 1-2:00 p.m.

Grow Your Library Volunteers!

2017 May 12
by Jennifer Peters

Would you like to expand your programming and services using trained volunteers? TSLAC has partnered with four state libraries on The Get Involved Collaborative, an IMLS grant-funded project that provides training and resources on skilled volunteer engagement to public libraries.

Why trained volunteers? As library budgets remain flat, and the need for services increases, trained volunteers are an untapped resource. Skilled volunteers can provide support to libraries in areas such as graphic design, public relations, grant writing, and event planning. Thanks to online recruitment tools, libraries in communities of all sizes can recruit local volunteers or search outside their communities for volunteers who can work remotely.

How do you get started?

  • Claim a VolunteerMatch Premium account. VolunteerMatch is a nationally-recognized online volunteer management system, and, through the grant, accredited Texas public libraries have access to enhanced Premium accounts through 2019. You can request an account here.
  • Register for an expense-paid bootcamp on volunteer engagement in Austin on September 12-13, 2017. TSLAC will accept up to 40 library staff (1 per library, please) to attend this intensive workshop, run by a volunteer engagement expert, and held at the funky Lone Star Court at The Domain.  You can download a copy of the application from our webpage. The application, plus a letter of support from your Library Director, is due by June 9.
  • Visit the Get Involved Clearinghouse. The Clearinghouse was originally developed by the California State Library, and has been expanded to all of the state libraries participating in the grant. It contains all sorts of volunteer management resources, including archived webinars on volunteer engagement, handbooks, sample job descriptions, photographs that you can use to recruit volunteers, upcoming training events, and more.
  • Attend Monday’s webinar titled “Volunteers—More Work? Or More Work Force?,” hosted by the Idaho Commission for Libraries, one of our partners on this grant. The webinar will be held at 1:30PM CST, and will be recorded. You can join the webinar here: https://icfl.adobeconnect.com/_a951056399/ce. More information on the webinar is available at the Get Involved Clearinghouse.

Questions? Contact Jennifer Peters, Community Engagement Administrator, at jpeters@tsl.texas.gov or 512-463-2214.

Free CE and Training This Week – May 8-12

2017 May 9
by Christina Manz

Our weekly listing of free training online and free Texas workshops is updated as new events are added – throughout the week! See what’s happening on the CE calendar. Confirm the date and time when you register, or follow links for archive information. Events listed in Central Time.

Tuesday May 9, 2017
Dealing With Difficult Behavior (Utah State Library)
This webinar will instruct on the ‘whys’ of difficult behavior. You will learn real-life tips and tools to de-escalate conflict, develop empathy for those exhibiting difficult behavior, and to take care of yourself in stressful situations.
Time: 11-12:00 p.m.

Crowdfunding 101 (Firespring)
Crowdfunding has quickly become a new tool in the fundraising toolbox. It allows nonprofits to leverage their networks to raise more money, faster, from a larger audience and is changing the face of nonprofit fundraising as donors welcome a more engaged approached to giving. Learn how your organization can use crowdfunding to raise the bar on your fundraising initiatives.
Time: 12-1:00 p.m.

Promoting the 2017 Eclipse Across America: State Library Agencies Can Help Promote the 2017 Solar Eclipse (COSLA)
On Monday August 21, for the first time in almost 100 years a solar eclipse will sweep across the landscape of the US from Oregon to South Carolina. On that day, effects of the eclipse, from total coverage of the sun to partial coverage, touch every state and our communities are going to be interested in what is happening up in the sky. State Library Agencies (SLAs) can play a central role in engaging their public libraries around this significant astronomical occurrence helping to prepare and enliven interest in this impactful event. Whether a library chooses to be involved on the day of the event and/or offers eclipse-programming leading up to the event, librarians as respected leaders in the community can offer guidance and resources.
Time: 1-2:00 p.m.

The New Volunteer Manager’s Toolkit (VolunteerMatch)
New to volunteer management? Looking for a refresher on the basics? This webinar will walk you through the three primary Rs – recruitment, retention and recognition. We’ll discuss the most popular program components such as interviews, orientations, volunteer handbooks, and more. And, we’ll talk about the importance of managing risk for your program and your organization. All attendees will also receive a sample packet with examples of program documents and program assessment checklists to help you evaluate your existing program.
Time: 1-2:00 p.m.

Introduction to Fundraising Planning (Grantspace)
This introductory class will provide you the basic steps for developing a fundraising plan, including tips on:Making your case for support; Diversifying your organization’s fundraising base; Creating a plan of action. Start thinking about your organization’s fundraising strategies!
Time: 1-2:00 p.m.

USGS Library – Using USGS Image, Map, and Data Products for Information Inquiries
(Federal Depository Library Program)
Learn how to find and use print, geopdfs (TerraGo), ArcGIS (ESRI), and Google Earth files that are available from USGS on the topics of topography, water resources, oil and gas, uranium, earthquake, volcano, and mineral resources in the United States, as well as the USGS worldwide assessments.
Time: 1-2:00 p.m.

What’s New in Young Adult Literature – 2017 (Infopeople)
The world of young adult literature is a dynamic one that has become one of the most vibrant areas of publishing. Each publishing season brings a plethora of new titles, new forms, and new formats, many of which require new methods of evaluation. Keeping up with these changes and the 5,000+ new titles flooding the market annually can be a full-time job. This webinar will help you identify new trends and the best new titles for your collections.
Time: 2-3:00 p.m.

All For Tech & Tech For All Pt. 3 (Utah State Library)
Join three current and former NTEN Digital Inclusion Fellows from the Salt Lake City Public Library and Salt Lake County Library Services who are dedicated to teaching and learning about what Digital Inclusion is, why it matters, and what it means for libraries. Participants will leave these sessions with concrete tools and ideas they can use immediately with patrons, and will be enabled to continue the conversation with library boards and administrators.
Time: 3-4:00 p.m.

Thursday May 11, 2017
Nonprofit 911: Building a Fundraising Board
(Network for Good)
Is your nonprofit struggling to get donations from your board of directors? Join us for this highly practical, tactical workshop and learn concrete tips and tools to help your organization motivate your board and get more dollars in the door.
Time: 12-1:00 p.m.

Summer Craft Ideas with Hobbies and Crafts Reference Center
(TexShare)
This center offers detailed “how-to” instructions and creative ideas to meet the interests of virtually every hobby enthusiast. This is a fun resource that provides full text from leading hobby and craft magazines and books covering the topics of gardening, needlecrafts, scrapbooking, collecting and much more.  Bring your questions and suggested search topics and we will discover new ways to use this great addition to your online library.
Time: 1-2:00 p.m.

Designing Interactive Library Spaces on Limited Budgets (Demco)
The success of libraries in the future will be determined by their ability to create stories and engage their communities in new and exciting ways. One way to accomplish this is by putting technology, people and spaces together so patrons can become creators and innovators. Join Brian Pichman from the Evolve Project as he covers tips for success when designing interactive library spaces and experiences on a limited budget.
Time: 1-2:00 p.m.

Project Outcome Update: Website & Survey Management Improvements (Public Library Association)
The Public Library Association’s (PLA) Project Outcome is a free online toolkit designed to help public libraries understand and share the impact of their programs and services by providing simple surveys and an easy-to-use process for measuring and analyzing outcomes. On May 1st, Project Outcome will release upgraded tools and features to its website aimed to better serve user needs and provide more flexibility and customization. This webinar will highlight key new features and walk users through the new website, including how to use the new survey management and data entry tool and building custom reports. Participants will have the opportunity to ask questions.
Time: 1-2:00 p.m.

Beyond the Welcome Sign: Tailoring Immigrant Services for Success (WebJunction)
There is much more to supporting immigrants and refugees than hanging out a “welcome” sign at your library. Successful programs and services are specifically tailored to meet the needs of the range of populations who may come through your doors. Hear from Movers & Shakers who work with communities to empower vulnerable and often underserved populations with a sense of belonging and self-reliance. Learn innovative approaches to identifying and celebrating immigrant leaders; how to foster networking between native-born and newcomer populations and between immigrant groups of varying national origins; how to highlight immigrant-positive narratives; and more. You’ll be sure to find practical ideas among the multi-pronged strategies that these librarians have used to ensure that new immigrants really do feel welcomed by the library and the community.
Time: 2-3:00 p.m.

Results from the Texas Public Library Technology Survey

2017 May 8
by Cindy Fisher

Survey responses from public libraries in TX

Between December 2016 and February 2017, the Texas State Library distributed a survey and organized two focus groups about the library technology that public libraries are using, the kinds of technology training you need to enhance your tech skills, and what kinds of technology dreams you have for your library and for your community.

We asked a lot of questions and received so much useful information; your feedback has already helped guide some of the decisions we’ve made for the coming year. As we continue to process all of your feedback, you can be sure we will share with you all what we are working on.  To view some of the results visually in charts, maps, and graphs you can download the survey results here: TXPubLibSurvey-ResultsBlog (PDF).

To set the stage, we heard from just about 1/3 of all public libraries in Texas (about 174 total). Though we didn’t hear from everyone, the responses we did receive were representative of the percentage of libraries of difference sizes in the state (see the PDF file above for a detailed comparison). The responses were also very evenly distributed from regions across the state.

So, without further ado, here’s what we heard:

  • You feel okay about your current I.T. support arrangement at your library. Most of the responses were either Good or Fair, with a few on either end. Libraries serving populations  under 25,000 are more likely to be unsatisfied with their I.T. support, but larger libraries also struggled with their I.T. support.
  • Your I.T. needs are met through a multitude of ways. The most common combination was to have a full-time staff person juggling I.T. among their other responsibilities while also working with a City/County I.T. person. Hiring a contractor or working with a volunteer helped many smaller libraries also meet their I.T. needs.
  • Texas public library staff are of two different, almost equally split opinions on whether their library’s internet speed (either wired or WiFi) is fast enough for their patrons. Surprisingly, small libraries serving communities fewer than 25,000 responded affirmatively in higher percentages than libraries serving communities of 101,000 or more.
  • Your top preferences for technology training were, by quite a large margin, a tie between Teaching Technology to Patrons and Finding Funding for Technology. The next two most popular areas for training were Protecting Patron Privacy & Library Security and Troubleshooting Technology Issues. All of these training topics were the most popular across all library sizes.

And here are two things that surprised us:

  • Many of you responded that you wanted to offer classes to your communities however you felt constrained by staff time and expertise. Surprisingly this kind of technology teaching conflicts with what many of our focus group attendees relayed: even when patrons said they wanted classes, they didn’t attend; this was especially prevalent in many smaller libraries where they felt they spent a lot of energy planning class programs without a lot of uptake. We’ll continue to investigate a variety of options to help you meet your communities technology needs even with limited staff.
  • While in-person technology assistance is high, you also help troubleshoot over the phone a lot! This can be especially tricky since you can’t see the other person’s screen. We’ll make sure to investigate how we can help support this type of tech assistance.

We also wanted to know a little about what kinds of technology you were using. Here’s what you told us:

Integrated Library Systems (ILS)
The most popular Integrated Library System (ILS) is Apollo Biblionix. The next most popular was Atriuum Booksystems.

Computer Operating Systems
Texas libraries overwhelming use Windows-based operating systems both for their patrons and for their staff. Most are running either Windows 7 or Windows 10.

Patron printing
Generally, the larger the population served, the more likely it was for the library to have patrons manage their own printing needs using a print management system. Over ¾ of smaller libraries serving communities of 25k or fewer responded that they manage the printing needs of their patrons manually.

Managing patron computer use
Libraries of all sizes here in Texas implement computer time management software, however based on survey responses, the general trend is that libraries in larger communities tend to implement computer time management software while smaller communities (serving 25k or fewer) tend to use a paper log to assign and keep track of patron computer use.

Technology for patron use
Texas libraries provide many different types of technology for patron use but the three most common and most basic technologies that libraries implement are: public computers, printing, and WiFi access. A close fourth technology is scanning; lending laptop computers/tablets is a distant fifth most popular technology offered in libraries.

Ebooks
Just over 80% of responding libraries provide Ebooks to their patrons. The most commonly mentioned platforms and vendors were Overdrive, 3M Cloud Library, TotalBoox and Odilo.  Over one third of smaller libraries serving populations under 5,000 responded that they were not currently providing any kind on-demand downloadable or streaming services.

Social media use
Texas public libraries use a multitude of social media platforms to communicate with their patrons, however Facebook was the most popular with over 90% of libraries of all sizes responding that they maintained a Facebook presence for their library.  Nearly 40% of libraries use Twitter, almost 30% use Instagram and just over 20% use Pinterest. YouTube was a close fifth with 18% of libraries responding that they also used this service.

Word cloud of common patron technology questions

Providing Technology Help
You provide technology help to patrons in a variety of ways, with one-on-one assistance first-come, first-served taking the number one spot. Over half of you provide help via phone. Appointments, classes, and E-mail follow as the third, fourth, and fifth most common ways you provide technology help.

Your most frequent patrons questions revolve around basic technology questions like using email, printing, downloading ebooks, filling in online forms and applications, logging into the WiFi, as well as using and troubleshooting their devices.

Your Technology Ideas

Word cloud of library technology dreams

When it comes to what technology ideas you would like to implement given no constraints to time or money, your answers varied from things like getting high speed WiFi access, installing digital media labs with green screens, computer classes on all kinds of technology topics, upgrading your current technology, and adding makerspaces and robotics programs.

You are also so curious about how libraries of your size were finding funding to maintain and upgrade your technology and how your colleagues are staying up to date on technology trends when technology changes so quickly. You also wanted to know what their best practices were in lending and sharing technology with the community, training library staff, and running makerspaces and other hands-on technology programs.

In coming months, we’ll be diving into these answers and what we heard from our focus group participants to better understand what we can do to help you realize these ideas. This is just the beginning!

Questions or comments on the survey? Great! Connect with us this Thursday, May 11th at either 10AM or 2PM and share your thoughts. At either time that you decide, click on the following link to join us: https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/295620789.  You will need headphones or audio speakers to participate.  You may also call in at 1 (872) 240-3311; when prompted, use the following access code: 295-620-789. Just an FYI, this is not a webinar and does not carry any CE credit. This is an opportunity for you to ask questions or share ideas! Hope to hear from you on Thursday!

We Need Your Feedback on our LSTA 5-Year Plan

2017 May 3
by Katherine Adelberg

The State Library is seeking your comments and suggestions as we develop our Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Five-Year Plan 2018-2022.

This plan will drive much of our library programming for the next five years, so we want to hear from you! You can read the draft here: https://www.tsl.texas.gov/ld/pubs/lsta2013-2018draft. There is space for comments at the bottom of the page.

Please provide feedback on the goals and priorities listed in the draft by May 16th!

The LSTA Grants to States Program is a federal program that provides funding to each state on a population-driven formula. Federal funding for the program in Texas is approximately $10 million per year. Decisions regarding how available funds are spent are made at the state level; however, expenditures must be consistent with the purposes and priorities that are established nationally.

Many popular programs are either partially or fully funded with LSTA dollars, including:

  • TexShare databases,
  • continuing education and consulting,
  • competitive grant programs, and
  • statewide interlibrary loan.

Thank you in advance for your feedback!