On Wednesday, September 1 from 2 to 3 p.m., join TSLAC staff for a live webinar to learn about three new competitive grant opportunities for libraries made possible by emergency pandemic funding through the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA):
1. Texas Supports Libraries Grant Program is designed to help communities respond directly and immediately to the pandemic as well as to related economic and community needs through equitable approaches.
2. Texas Telehealth Grant Program will award libraries with the equipment and resources needed to facilitate a telehealth project at their library facilities.
3. Texas Digital Navigators Grant Program will help libraries develop and implement a unique Digital Navigator program to help close the digital divide in their communities.
The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) will begin accepting grant applications for these programs on September 3, 2021. Awarded projects will run December 2021-August 2022.
Attend this webinar to learn more about these programs and determine whether they might meet the needs of your community.
The 2020-2021 school year is shaping up to be uniquely challenging. Some students will be in the classroom, and some will be at home and exploring online learning. Public and school libraries will need to work closely with each other and with families to ensure all students are able to equitably continue their education. During this webinar, we will explore TexShare and TexQuest databases, as well as additional resources, to help assist families both at home and in their classrooms.
We will be hearing from Kyla Hunt, Youth Services Consultant; Laura Tadena, Inclusive Services Consultant; Liz Philippi, School Program Coordinator; and Russlene Waukechon, Networked Information Coordinator.
This webinar will be recorded; however, for maximum benefit, including the ability to ask questions in real time, we strongly encourage you to attend the live session.
Copyright and Creative Commons resources for patrons, students, and library workers
More than ever, libraries need resources for free, including copyrighted images and other online content. In this webinar, we will be exploring resources to help you find information on copyright issues involving remote learning and other services, as well as online repositories of content you can use with patrons and students.
We will also be taking a deep dive into Creative Commons, which allows content creators to create licenses to share their creations with the world while holding on to their copyright. They also provide searching tools for students, teachers and the public to find content to use for free.
In this session, Kyla Hunt, Youth Services Consultant with the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, and Liz Philippi, TSLAC’s School Program Coordinator, will explore ways to locate Creative Commons licensed materials and to promote their use in your library. Please note that the presenters are not lawyers and cannot provide legal advice.
This webinar will be recorded; however, for maximum benefit, including the ability to ask questions in real time, we strongly encourage you to attend the live session.
[Interested in learning more about how libraries are ensuring patrons still get their needs met through library technology in the age of COVID-19? Sign up for an interactive discussion facilitated by TSLAC on August 18, 2-3:30 p.m. CDT: “Texas Technology Chat – Library Technology for Contactless Service” (1.5 hr CE credit). Register here.]
Originally, before the pandemic, new contactless technologies such as self-service kiosks and patron print management tools were developed for use in libraries for two main reasons:
Make staff more efficient at their job
Provide extra convenience for patrons
Depending on a library’s size or situation, implementing these features could be seen as merely perks, even unnecessary frills. They were often just nice add-ons, ways to make the library feel more modern and state-of-the-art.
It wasn’t too hard to level criticism at these particular contactless services back then. They could be considered barriers to connection between the library and the community it served. Using them meant patrons had little to no interaction with staff, thought to be the heart of the library. The concern was patrons might lose that personal touch that should go with library services, and the library itself would become more remote and distant. Soulless, automated machines would serve as the face of the library, replacing the crucial community-building work of friendly, caring, and human staff. Beyond the thinking in this regard, there was the added expense and staff training sometimes needed to implement this new technology. And for many, it was seen as an unnecessary reliance on new technology to perform library services that had traditionally been done by hand (and quite well, thank you) for as long as libraries have been around.
And then the pandemic happened.
We’re seeing now that there is suddenly a new purpose to these contactless technologies: safety! No longer are they nice perks; they’re necessary and potentially life-saving.
One can now add the following reasons to implement:
Prevent close social interaction with staff
Prevent patrons from waiting in line or being forced to gather in small spaces with other patrons
Allow patrons to minimize time in the library as much as possible
Efficiency (reason # 1) is even more important now if libraries are experiencing staff loss or volunteers being let go. With brand new safety measures and pandemic-related services to be performed, staff have less time to handle the basic services of circulation, public access computer management, printing, etc. To list just a few of the added tasks: clean surfaces repeatedly, fill curbside orders, present virtual programs, assist patrons phoning in to make appointments to come into the building, etc., etc.
One big change is there often needs to be less public access computers due to spacing requirements, ensuring patrons stay six feet apart. Having less computers means more demand, so a library needs a new system in place, if there wasn’t one already, that sets reservations and enforces time limits –or needs to include more portable computers like laptops and tablets so patrons can use these devices throughout the space to stay socially distant from one another.
To sum up: self-service used to mean efficiency and convenience. Now self-service equals safety.
Decades ago, with the emergence of computers and networks, libraries had a significant phase of automation to convert their card catalogs to OPACs and ILSs. Now we are entering the Second Age of Automation. It’s not only the catalogs, but every library service that needs to become automated to make it contactless and safe.
To help guide you through this new technological age we’re living in now, Digital Inclusion Consultant Cindy Fisher and I (with the help of our new Continuing Education Support Specialist Tomas Mendez —thanks, Tomas!) have put together a list of products for contactless services.
Reference, patron assistance, information/research help
Third party virtual programming software (by subject)
General building safety
Here are a few of the innovative highlights from the grid that may not have occurred to some:
To make curbside more efficient for staff and convenient for patrons, deploy 24/7 smart lockers outside of the library building for patrons to retrieve their holds.
If a staff member can’t position themselves next to a patron’s computer nor physically take control of their mouse and keyboard to assist them, screen mirroring software can be employed, even on the staff member’s personal tablet held at least six feet away.
For a scenario with the least amount of contact possible within the building, patrons can bring their own device to the library and use an app to not only scan the desired materials for check-outthemselves, but even automatically desensitize the RFID labels/detection strips via the same app before exiting.
With the complete loss of in-house programming, employ third-party, resource-rich online software to help conduct them virtually. This could be for social gaming, crafting, coding, to name a few. There are also services to provide live one-on-one job search coaching and homework tutoring for your patrons at their homes.
If you’d like to discuss the topic of library tech for contactless service further, please join our free interactive discussion webinar on August 18, 2-3:30 p.m. (all library types and sizes welcome!). We hope to see you there!
The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) is pleased to announce that we will be hosting a webinar on Thursday, May 14 at 10 a.m. titled “The Connected Library: Vetting and Partnering with Social Service Providers.”
As we can anticipate the social, financial, and mental health challenges of our patrons to escalate during and following this pandemic, libraries must connect and build relationships with local providers focused on these needs so that we may serve our communities as effectively as possible.
This session will explore why it is imperative that libraries connect with social service providers in their communities, how to cultivate these connections, and tips to make sure the agencies you work with are effective, ethical partners.
Presented by Patrick Lloyd, LMSW, Community Resources Coordinator for the Georgetown Public Library in Georgetown, Texas.
Don’t miss next week’s webinar from TSLAC to learn more about library communication strategies under COVID-19, plus the current news on policy initiatives, funding, and available resources.
REGISTER now for a free TSLAC webinar coming up next week on Thursday, April 23, 2-3:30 pm CDT!
Webinar: “Texas Libraries: Planning and Communicating the Library Message and Services under COVID-19“
Join Texas State Librarian Mark Smith and Assistant State Librarian Gloria Meraz for a discussion on strategies for planning and communicating the work of libraries during the current health crisis. Learn more about communications strategies you can implement today (see the resource PDF: “Planning for Libraries: Communications during COVID-19”) and find out about current state and national policy initiatives and funding related to the coronavirus. Also, members of the Library Development team will share some of the newest resources available to you.
Now is the time to prepare for the 2019 Texas Public Libraries Annual Report! Putting the information together now will reduce the aggravation, anxiety and frustration of pulling it together next year!
Join LSTA/Accreditation Program Coordinator Stacey Malek and Library Statistics Specialist Valicia Greenwood on Tuesday, November 12, 2019, 2:00-3:00 p.m., to learn about the information needed to complete the 2019 Texas Public Libraries Annual Report. Check out our new AR Prep Excel workbook and learn how to calculate the library’s maintenance of effort (MOE). Register here: Preparing for the 2019 Texas Public Libraries Annual Report: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/765988369853380867.
Aren’t available that afternoon? Register now and receive an email when the recording is available, so that you can watch when it is convenient for you.
Questions? Contact us at email@example.com.
I’m excited to announce I’ll be presenting a free 1 hour webinar later this month about Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (XR) in libraries with my colleague Liz Philippi, School Program Coordinator at TSLAC. This is going to be a lot of fun, so I’ll hope you’ll join us. Scroll down to click that registration link at the bottom (or click right here!)
The Future in Your Face: Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality in Libraries
Thursday, October 24 2019, 10-11am CDT
Behind the scenes, in workshops all around the world, powerful wizards are fashioning new realities, tinkering with how we interact with content and our own visual environment, and offering new opportunities to enhance our day-to-day lives. These creators are set to unleash their worlds in a big way, literally making them materialize all around us. The writing’s on the (virtual) wall: The Future is about to get up in your face. Our communities need libraries to hold their hands and help them take the first, bold step into this new world. Join TSLAC’s School Program Coordinator Liz Philippi and Library Technology Consultant Henry Stokes of ‘Henry’s High-tech Highlights’ as they take you through the latest tech trends in Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) with a focus on libraries. They’ll start with placing this emerging tech in context with other technologies throughout time, plot out for you the current AR/VR landscape, and describe various use cases they’ve collected. They’ll also outline the important roles libraries can play in the coming Wizarding World, including free to low cost ways to get started. All library types welcome!
As the saying goes, “Without data, all you have is another opinion.” However the challenges many librarians face are, (a) where to find appropriate data, and (b) how to present it effectively.
In a free webinar on Thursday, October 10, 2:00-3:00 p.m., join TSLAC Library Statistics Specialist Valicia Greenwood and Program Coordinator Stacey Malek as they explore national, statewide and local statistical resources. They will also demonstrate how to create custom reports in Texas LibPAS, the Texas public library data collection portal (https://tx.countingopinions.com/). Discover what to do with the information you collect in the Texas Public Libraries Annual Report, and learn a few tips on how to showcase the library in a new way.
Readers of this blog may recall my posts last year raving about Westbank Community Library’s Free Play programming (part 1 and part 2). That’s just one example of the many innovative and inclusive programs this central Texas library is providing their community. I’ve invited staff members from the library to present a webinar for us to share more info about the great work they’re doing.
Join us on Thursday, September 12, 10 to 11 am (Central) – details below!
Innovative and Inclusive Public Library Programs
In central Texas, Westbank Community Libraries embrace their community, which includes neurodiverse individuals, busy families, and patrons of all ages. The libraries have identified unmet needs within their community and have developed programming that promotes learning, sharing, and discovery. Such programs have flexible hours and encourage intergenerational experiences and sensory exploration. Come join the webinar and hear staff members from the libraries present all about their innovative and inclusive programs.
Hello! Henry here. I’m happy to highlight a new high-tech hot topic. It’s historically been a hobby, but now it’s headlong become a hardcore habit, heavily hitting the right buttons on people’s hearts. Today I’m talking about…
Video Games & Esports
Two weeks ago, Google announced it was getting into the gaming business with its own platform called Stadia to come out this year:
A week later, Apple announced it was launching its own gaming platform this year called Apple Arcade (along with other new services such as a credit card and streaming TV channel).
What’s so special about these two tech giants’ gaming platforms? Typically video games require special hardware called consoles, but Google and Apple are each promising their platforms will remove the need for players to buy separate consoles and will instead put games on what people already own – their phones, tablets, laptops, computers, and TVs.
Google Stadia will actually run through the Google Chrome browser, which will stream the games live over your broadband. It will be integrated both with Google’s voice assistant so you can get help from the AI during challenging parts of the game you’re playing, and with YouTube (owned by Google) so you can easily share out a live stream of your gameplay.
Meanwhile, Apple Arcade will be an app that will run on Apple devices. It will be like a Netflix of games – an all-you-can-play service via a single subscription.
Details are still slim about both platforms, especially Google’s – but we do know Stadia will require an Internet connection, which means no playing offline. As for what internet speeds you’ll need to support Stadia, Google recommends 25 megabits per second – the same speed that Netflix has suggested to watch their streaming content. Most of the libraries in Texas don’t even reach this 25 Mbps download requirement for all patrons sharing their network WiFi bandwidth.
So why should I care?
What impact will two of the biggest industry names in the world entering the gaming market have on our communities and our libraries? What does gaming have to do with libraries anyway?
Both promote interest-driven learning and self-directed discovery.
Both help improve social skills. ALA writes, “Equally important, libraries as public gathering spaces can capitalize on the benefits of co-play, helping to improve players’ social skills by encouraging play together, in small groups, or large classes. The social setting of the library may also encourage users to be reflective in their play, building awareness, asking questions, and processing what is being learned through play.”
Both support digital literacy. Games help and encourage people to learn how systems (like interfaces and computers) work. These are crucial, next generation job skills, and libraries being in the business of assisting their communities with workforce development are wise to take notice.
For these reasons and many others, libraries – even here in Texas – have recently started offering esports programming.
The Future Today Institute (FTI) publishes an annual report on emerging technology trends, and for the first time in 2019, they’ve included esports – competitive digital gaming with all the trappings of traditional sports. They write that, “advancements in both gaming technology and streaming capabilities have led to an astronomical rise in its popularity and perceived legitimacy in recent years.” And they predict it’s primed to continue as a major cultural phenomenon. According to a market report by Newzoo, global esports revenues have reached $906 million in 2018, a year-on-year growth of +38%. The ridiculously popular game Fortnite is a big reason for this. Viewership of esports tournaments may soon rival those for the NFL. FTI points out esports results in a more engaged audience because it’s so accessible – the skills needed to compete are more attainable than classic athletic sports, “closing the gulf between fans and competitors.“
What does the rise of esports mean for libraries?
I’m glad you asked! There’s a lot to explore here.
I’ve actually asked someone who successfully runs an esports program for their public library to conduct a free webinar for us on the topic of esports and libraries next month on April 25th . Hope you’ll join me! Here are the details and the link to register below:
Title: Get in the Game: Esports and Libraries
When: Thu, Apr 25, 2019, 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM CDT
Description: Have you heard of esports but want to learn more? Ever wonder if esports could be featured in libraries? Interested in reaching and engaging more patrons through gaming and esports? Are you intrigued by a program offering which attracts a broad cross section of patrons of different ages, races, genders, and socioeconomic standing? Let’s take an in-depth look at esports and its community and discuss ways to build more games-related programming in libraries. Join our webinar with Tristan Wheeler (Outreach and Programming Services, Cleveland Public Library in Ohio) for an introduction to the Cleveland Public Library GAMING & ESPORTS event series. Discover how the world of libraries meets all things gaming and learn why a program like this is important to his library and could be for yours!