March 29, 2017

Streaming Story Times | Field Reports

Chris Moody

Do you want to web stream your story times? The Youth Services Department at the Fayetteville Public Library, AR, hoped to make these events available to parents and children who couldn’t get to the library, and our patrons’ response has been fantastic!

Introducing VR | Field Reports

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To support the changing needs of faculty and students researching mass media, popular culture, and video games, the University of North Texas (UNT) Media Library, Denton, began developing a game collection in 2009. This collection first included console games and in-house access to gaming PCs and then grew to include tabletop games in 2010. Because virtual reality (VR) headsets and devices are a natural fit, we included VR equipment on our wish list until 2015, when we finally had funding for an Oculus Rift DK2 ($350).

VHS Copyright and Due Diligence | Field Reports

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In the mid-1970s, the advent of the VHS format revolutionized the ability of libraries to collect and loan film. Now, collections developed during the 25-plus years of the format’s dominance present an impending crisis.

Gig City Music | Field Reports

US Ignite Gigabit Application Summit demo between Austin and Chattanooga 
Photo credit: Susannah Spellman

During Chattanooga’s StartUp Week, October 3–7, the Chattanooga Public Library (CPL) hosted a long-distance music collaboration between the visiting international OneBeat Fellows, the world’s foremost music diplomacy program, and the Miami, FL–based Fellows of the New World Symphony, America’s Orchestral Academy. Using the ultra-high-speed connectivity of Internet 2 and low latency (LOLA) software inside the library, the long-distance live event was one of a kind, featuring young gifted musicians from all over the world in both locations performing together while more than 700 miles apart.

Flipped Classroom Tech Teaching | Field Reports

Allyson Coan

A few weeks ago, the Skokie Public Library (SPL) finished its four-week “Cracking the HTML Code: Build Your Own Website” program using a MOOC/flipped classroom mashup. Now in its fourth iteration, this class has had successes, failures, and everything in between. Needless to say, we’ve learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t.

Preschool STEM Lab | Field Reports

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Children are naturally curious about the world around them. Science programs and activities are a great way to capture their interest and encourage the development of early literacy skills. Many science activities and materials are easy to incorporate into library programs; you may find that you’re already including elements that increase STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) knowledge, for example, talking about color mixing or identifying and playing with shapes.

Building Blocks of an Innovation Space | Field Reports

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The maker movement and 3-D printing technology catalyze innovation and promote entrepreneurship by emphasizing “making” over “consuming” and facilitate experiential learning and rapid prototyping. To many, library Maker spaces are also often the only facility within their reach that offers open access to 3-D printing and scanning equipment. For these reasons, creating a Maker space for patrons is often an ­attractive project.

Conducting Small-Scale Usability Studies | Field Reports

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We knew there were problems with our library website at Fitchburg State University (FSU). Users either couldn’t find what they wanted or were unaware of the site’s existence. This was particularly a problem owing to the limited number of librarians available to assist. While there was some consensus among librarians regarding these design problems, there was little agreement as to how these problems could be ­addressed. We decided that usability testing was needed before making changes, but we didn’t have the budget to develop an expensive usability lab with one-way mirrors, sophisticated eye-movement testing devices and the like. Despite this, with a little creativity, we were able to design a solid and reliable usability study with limited resources.

Linux Privacy Essentials | Field Reports

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Providing Internet access to the public has come to be an important service, but it can be quite a challenge to do so in a secure, cost-effective way. Maintaining patron privacy on a shared, public computer is one of the problems that librarians face every day. My solution was to switch to an open source (OS) platform for our patron computing.

Make Your Own | Field Reports

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Can I take this home? is a question I would hear every day while in the Hotspot at the Free Library of Philadelphia’s (FLP) Village of Arts and Humanities. The “thing” in question was a MaKey MaKey, and the answer was always, “No, but you can take home what you are plugging it into!” Working with youth aged seven to 18 years old we were creating computer-connected mazes with Play-Doh, homemade Dance Dance Revolution dance-pads using copper tape, and novel game controllers operated by licking ice cream.