Registration now open for Big Talk From Small Libraries 2015

Big Talk From Small Libraries is back!

Registration for the 2015 Big Talk From Small Libraries online conference is now open! Details can be found on the registration page.BigTalk2015

Big Talk From Small Libraries 2015 will be held on Friday, February 27, 2015 between 8:45 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. (CT) via the GoToWebinar online meeting service.

The schedule of presentations has not yet been set. We’re in the process of contacting presenters now, and we’ll have a schedule available for you soon.

More info about the online conference can be found on the event website.

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Thing #87: New Year’s Learning Resolutions

It’s a new year, and a great time to jump start your professional learning program.NYE-R2

For this month’s Thing, we’d like you to think about your personal professional development – what would you like to accomplish this year? And since it’s the start of a new year, we’ll make it official with a New Year’s Learning Resolution.

Keeping up with new tools, technologies and services is hard. It’s easy to get buried in work or life, and lose track of your goals.

Along with our other New Year’s resolutions, let’s reinvigorate our personal education plans. Is there something you’ve always wanted to learn, but have been putting off? Have you started learning about something new, but didn’t finish? Is there just a general area of study you’d like to investigate?

For myself, I’m going to work on learning how to code. I’ve tried to do it before, I’ve looked at places to learn online for free. But, I’ve never kept up with it or completed any course. So, this year, I will! I’m going to use Codacademy to accomplish my New Year’s Learning Resolution.

Codeacademy is a site full of free classes and exercises to teach different kinds of programming languages, like Javascript, Python, PHP and Ruby. I can also learn more about creating websites with HTML and CSS. They track your progress and offer badges to encourage you to continuing learning. I’m hoping those interactive features will help me stick to it this time.

So, what do you want to learn this year?


1. There’s only one step to this month’s Thing – write a blog post telling us about your New Year’s Learning Resolution! :)

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Book Thing #36: Inner Navigation by Erik Jonsson

This Month’s BookThing we’re opening the Commission’s year-long focus on User Experience (UX) with Erik Jonsson’s Inner Navigation: Why We Get Lost and How We Find Our Way.

From Booklist:

Inner NavigationNo matter how detailed a map may be, it omits some facets of the physical space it represents. When people enter such a space, their mind’s eye fills in the omissions as they navigate, but nearly everyone (not just male motorists!) has had the experience of becoming lost in a mapped-out space, even a familiar one. With a lifelong interest in this type of bewilderment, Jonsson presents idiosyncratic anecdotes about getting lost. Inattention is certainly an element in such befuddlement, but Jonsson avers that more is involved. We possess a “cognitive map” that may not be precisely up-to-date with the actual physical space, which continually changes its appearance. We may also view the physical space from angles that may differ from the map in our minds, causing us to get turned around in familiar neighborhoods or unable to locate the car in the parking lot. Jonsson acquired his interest in these cognitive aspects of spatial sense while trekking through Scandinavian forests. An interesting, offbeat ramble.

About Erik Jonsson:

Born in Sweden in 1922, Erik Jonsson grew up using the forest as his navigation school. He moved with his family to California in 1969. He lives in San Diego, California.

To earn 3 CE credits answer the following three questions in a 300 word blog post or a three minute video posted to your blog:

  1. What did you / what can librarians learn from this book?
  2. How might the focus of this book impact library service?
  3. How might the focus of this book impact library users?

If you would like to plan ahead, next month’s book will be Information Doesn’t Want to be Free by Cory Doctorow.

Please contact the Information Services Team if you’d like to check out any of these titles from the Commission. Thanks.

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Book Thing #35: Hieroglyph: Stories & Visions for a Better Future

Since December is a busy month for many, we’re going to take a slightly different approach with Hieroglyph: Stories & Visions for a Better Future; a little non-ficiton a little fiction. But don’t let the size scare you off. Check out the special directions at the end of this post.


HieroglyphInspired by New York Times bestselling author Neal Stephenson, an anthology of stories, set in the near future, from some of today’s leading writers, thinkers, and visionaries that reignites the iconic and optimistic visions of the golden age of science fiction.

In his 2011 article “Innovation Starvation,” Neal Stephenson argued that we—the society whose earlier scientists and engineers witnessed the airplane, the automobile, nuclear energy, the computer, and space exploration—must reignite our ambitions to think boldly and do Big Stuff. He also advanced the Hieroglyph Theory which illuminates the power of science fiction to inspire the inventive imagination: “Good SF supplies a plausible, fully thought-out picture of an alternate reality in which some sort of compelling innovation has taken place.”

In 2012, Arizona State University established the Center for Science and the Imagination to bring together writers, artists, and creative thinkers with scientists, engineers, and technologists to cultivate and expand on “moon shot ideas” that inspire the imagination and catalyze real-world innovations.

Now comes this remarkable anthology uniting twenty of today’s leading thinkers, writers, and visionaries—among them Cory Doctorow, Gregory Benford, Elizabeth Bear, Bruce Sterling, and Neal Stephenson—to contribute works of “techno-optimism” that challenge us to dream and do Big Stuff. Engaging, mind-bending, provocative, and imaginative, Hieroglyph offers a forward-thinking approach to the intersection of art and technology that has the power to change our world.

About Ed Finn:

Ed FinnEd Finn is the founding director of the Center for Science and the Imagination at Arizona State University, where he is an assistant professor with a joint appointment in the School of Arts, Media and Engineering and the Department of English. He is also an affiliate faculty member of the Human and Social Dimensions of Science and Technology program.

Ed’s research and teaching explore digital narratives, contemporary culture and the intersection of the humanities, arts and sciences. He is currently working on a book about the changing nature of reading in the digital era. He completed his PhD in English and American literature at Stanford University in 2011. Before graduate school Ed worked as a journalist at Time, Slate and Popular Science. He earned his bachelor’s degree at Princeton University in 2002 with a Comparative Literature major and certificates in Applications of Computing, Creative Writing and European Cultural Studies.

To earn 2 CE credits read the Foreword, Preface and Introduction, any three stories, and the Interview at the end of the book. (Feel free to read the whole book if you’d like.) If you’re having trouble choosing which stories to read, each of them has a “Story Notes” at the end which should give you a good idea of the topic of the story. Then answer the following three questions in a 300 word blog post or a three minute video posted to your blog:

  1. Which stories did you choose to read an why?
  2. What did you / what can librarians learn from this book?
  3. How might the focus of this book impact library service?
  4. How might the focus of this book impact library users?

If you would like to plan ahead, next month’s book will be Inner Navigation by Erik Jonsson.

Please contact the Information Services Team if you’d like to check out any of these titles from the Commission. Thanks.

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Thing #86: Google Keep

With all of the holidays at this time of year, one thing that many people need is a way to take notes and make lists. While paper is reliable, it’s easy to forget and not all that easy to share unless all the involved parties are in the same room. So, in the spirit of not giving you too much extra to do at this time of the year, yet also showing you something that you might fine immediately useful, I present to you Google Keep.

At its most basic level, you can think of Google Keep as online sticky notes. To create a new note just log in (via a Google account,) click Add Note, and start typing. Once you’ve created your note you can give it a title at the top and change various options such as color and images via the icons at the bottom of each note.

Google Keep in a desktop browser

Google Keep in a desktop browser

A note can be free text, or you can turn on the check boxes. For example, if you’re creating a grocery list and you use the check boxes, when you click a check box, the content of that item will be struck out; crossing a completed item off your list.

An open note in Google Keep

An open note in Google Keep

You can easily use Google Keep on a desktop or laptop computer or via an App available in the Google Play Store. (Unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be an iOS app, but you should be able to use the Web version via Safari without any problems.)

The Google Keep app

The Google Keep app

Lastly, and this was a much needed improvement that was added very recently, each note also has a share icon through which you can share notes with another Keep user. So, if you need to collaborate on a note or list, this will allow you to do just that.

When you’re done with a note, you can archive it for later retrieval, or trash it completely.

I’ll admit that there are a few other features that I’ve not mentioned but I’ll leave you to discover those on your own.


  1. Log in to Google Keep and create some notes.
  2. Check out the different features like changing colors, adding images, and check boxes. (See if you can find the features I didn’t mention.)
  3. Share a note with me. Send the invitation to
  4. Write a blog post about your experience. Embed your final product into your post or include links to anything you’ve created. Some things to think about:
    1. What tools did you use? How did they work?
    2. How might you use these tools in your library?


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