Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Your library is on the phone

The AccessMyLibrary iPhone® app is now availableNow it's easy to bring your library to patrons. Boost usage by encouraging them to download the AccessMyLibrary mobile app from Gale. AccessMyLibrary uses GPS to find public libraries within a 10-mile radius of the user's location, then gives them free, unlimited access to your reputable, authoritative Gale online resources — without the need to authenticate.

Watch the video to see the app in action and try it out yourself. Then tell your patrons to download the free AccessMyLibrary app from the App StoreSM for use on their iPhone or iPod touch® today.Watch the video »

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Get Organized This Semester With Google Calendar

If you’re in college, chances are you’ve already started your spring semester or it will be starting very soon. One of the most difficult parts of college (besides the homework, of course) is managing a complex and ever-changing schedule. If you think of each class as an individual job – making each of your professors your boss – you’ve got a lot of people to manage just to get through the week.
One of the best things you can do to start your semester off right is to leverage free online tools to help you manage your classes. In this article, I’ll show you how to manage your schedule and get organized this semester with Google Calendar.

Step 1 – Collect Your Schedules
Before you can get organized with Google Calendar, you need to get all of your schedules together. Start by locating an official copy of your semester course schedule (which is typically available from the same website you use to register for classes). You also need to find schedules for any extracurricular activities, work, or events you plan to participate in during the semester.
Get as much information as you can for each of your events to make your schedule as robust as possible. This includes dates, durations, locations, required textbooks – even teachers. Don’t be afraid to include too much information in this step, you can always remove it later.

Step 2 – Identify Important Dates and Events
Try to identify any important dates or events that will occur this semester. The highest priority dates will be for things like when tuition is due, last day to add a course, last day to drop a course, and the date when financial aid will be dispersed.
If your university posts an official calendar, check that out and make note of any other significant events.

Step 3 – Get Organized with Google Calendar
Now that you’ve got the hard steps out of the way, you just have to put it all together. Head over to Google Calendar (this requires a free Google account) to get started.
We’ll start by creating an individual calendar to hold your class schedule. Creating an individual schedule gives you the option of toggling it on/off later on which can be handy if you’ve got a lot of events. Click Create under My Calendars on the left side of the screen.

You will be given a variety of fields to fill in like the name and description of your calendar. You will also be given the option of sharing your calendar which is great if you want to keep your
friends or relatives in the loop.

To start adding courses to your schedule, click the arrow next to your calendar on the left side of the screen and select Create event on this calendar.

Since most of your courses will repeat throughout the week, you can use the Repeat… checkbox to schedule patterns like Monday/Wednesday/Friday or Tuesday/Thursday. You can also set the last day of semester in the Until: box so your calendar will automatically clean itself up when the semester is over.

Before finalizing the course entry, I recommend adding extra information about the course in the Description field such as the instructor, textbook, and office hours.

Keep adding calendar events until your schedule is full! Don’t forget to add things like your work schedule or extracurricular activities.
Step 4 – Accessing Your Calendar
Now that you’ve got your entire schedule in Google Calendar, the last step is to make it available on any devices you own. You can always access your calendar from any web browser, but one of the best ways to interact with your calendar is to get an application for your mobile phone.
Google Calendar currently syncs with many popular mobile operating systems such as Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, Nokia/Symbian, and Windows Mobile.
Another great way to keep an eye on your calendar is to add it to your Gmail sidebar. To do this, enable the Google Calendar Gadget in Gmail Labs. If your course schedule calendar isn’t visible, click Options –> Edit visible calendars and enable it.

Step 5 – Notifications
It can be especially hard to keep track of your schedule at the beginning of a new semester, but Google Calendar can provide notifications via SMS and email to keep you on track. To enable notifications, click the arrow next to your calendar and select Notifications.

If you’re really concerned about missing classes, you can enable reminders that can alert you before each class starts. This could come in handy during the first week of class and can be easily disabled after you are familiar with your schedule.

Although it takes a little time to put it all together, having your schedule online and available on all your devices can be a great asset throughout your semester.
MakeUseOf 1/19/2010

Monday, January 18, 2010

Friday, January 15, 2010


According to a new library survey, U.S. public libraries have expanded available job resources, and more people are turning to libraries for technology access and help in applying for jobs and government assistance online. The survey also found, however, that half of states have reduced funding to public libraries and to state library agencies, and close to one-quarter of urban libraries have reduced open hours. Adequate staffing is the leading challenge to aiding job seekers. More than three-quarters of all public libraries reported increased use of their public Internet computers over the past year, and 71 percent reported increased wireless use, according to the survey conducted by the American Library Association (ALA) and the Center for Library and Information Innovation at the University of Maryland in fall 2009. Two-thirds (67 percent) of all libraries reported that staff members help patrons complete online job applications and offer software or other resources (69 percent) to help patrons create resumes and other employment materials. The vast majority of libraries surveyed provide access to job databases and other online resources (88 percent) and civil service exam materials (75 percent). Forty-two percent of urban libraries report offering classes related to job seeking, and about 27 percent collaborate with outside agencies or individuals to help patrons complete online job applications. But just when people need their public libraries the most, funding for this valued resource is decreasing, as governments cut library budgets as a way of addressing state and local deficits. More than half of responding state library agencies (52 percent or 24 states) reported cuts in state funding for public libraries between FY2009 and FY2010; and 11 of these states reported cuts were greater than 11 percent, double what was reported last year. In addition, nearly 75 percent of state library agencies also have received cuts resulting in fewer available staff, reduced funding for library materials and subscription databases, and continuing education for public library staff and trustees. Funding for Pennsylvania’s Office for Commonwealth Libraries, for instance, was cut in half and reduced staff levels from 56 to 21. Decreased funding has impacted staffing levels at many public libraries. The number one challenge affecting libraries’ ability to help job seekers is a lack of adequate staff to effectively help patrons with their job-seeking needs. Almost 60 percent of libraries surveyed agreed or strongly agreed that the library does not have enough staff to help patrons with job-seeking needs. Forty-six percent agreed or strongly agreed that library staff does not have the necessary skills to meet patron demand; and about 36 percent agreed or strongly agreed the library has too few public computers to meet demand. The number of libraries reporting a decrease in operating hours increased significantly. Nearly one-quarter of urban libraries and 14.5 percent of all libraries (up from 4.5 percent last year) report their operating hours have decreased since the previous fiscal year. Nationally, this translates to lost hours at more than 2,400 public library branches. Thirteen state libraries (28 percent) reported they were aware of public library closures in the past 12 months. Twelve states reported closures of five or fewer libraries; and one state (Indiana) reported more than five closures in the past year. For more information on the survey, please visit The study is funded by the ALA and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Fast & Fabulous Homemade Bread, Soup & Salad

January 28th
6:00-8:00 P.M.
Nothing says "comfort" on a cold day like warm soup and bread!
Let cooking instructor, Staci Joers demonstrate how to mix up fresh dough and bake up a delicious loaf in just minutes a day.You'll sample Artisan-style breads such as Herbed Baguette or Whole Wheat Peasant Loaf, served with Italian Wedding Soup. Simple Italian Salad, and Chocolate Glazed Brownies for dessert.The cost of this program is $20.00. RSVP by January 20th as this class fills up quickly!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Where I Write

I don't know about the rest of you, but I wonder about what a given writer's studio looks like. Do they have a studio? An office? Do they just bang away at a laptop sitting on the dining room table? The way an author lays out their workspace is really intriguing to me.

Where I Write is a project by Kyle Cassidy. It's a collection of photographs and interviews with authors about where they do their job. It's a fantastic and intimate look into the places that our favourite books first happen. He's planning a compilation book of his own, including the workspaces of Neil Gaiman and Lois McMaster Bujold.

By Great Western Dragon on Profiles

Monday, January 4, 2010

Let It Snow…

This January, we seem to be surrounded by snow. It made this librarian want to do some online research on the topic. You could say I have snow-on-the-brain!

The snowmobile was invented here in Wisconsin in 1924, according to the Wisconsin Historical Society. The Snowmobile Hall of Fame and Museum is in St. Germain, Wisconsin and the World Championship Snowmobile Derby is being held this month in Eagle River.
Almost 187 inches of snow fell over a 7 day period on Alaska’s Thompson Pass in 1953. That’s over 15 feet! For more snow facts visit the National Snow and Ice Data Center.
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation maintains a Winter Road Conditions Map online. provides snow condition reports for downhill, cross country skiing, and snowmobiling.
Weather Underground provides historical global weather conditions. Simply select a location and date.

Amy Crowder - January Newsletter WSLL