Category Archives: Technology

E-rate Form 471 Application Filing Window Now Open

The Form 471 application filing window for Funding Year 2019 opened today at noon EST and will close on Wednesday, March 27 at 11:59 pm EDT. You may now log on to the E-rate Productivity Center (EPC) and file your FCC Form 471 for FY2019.

This makes Wednesday, February 27, the deadline to post your Form 470 to the USAC website, meet the 28-day posting requirement for the competitive bidding process, and submit a Form 471 by the filing window closing date.

However, we do not recommend waiting until the last day to submit your Form 470! If there are any issues that day, like the E-rate servers are slowed down because it is the last day to submit, or you can’t submit the form due to reasons on your end, such as illness, weather, power outage, etc., then you would miss the deadline and lose out on E-rate altogether. So, get your E-rate Form 470 submitted as soon as possible!

IMPORTANT: Before you file your Form 471, check your Form 470 Receipt Notification for your Allowable Contract Date – the first date you are allowed to submit your 471. Do not submit your 471 before that date! Remember, after you submit your Form 470, you must wait 28 days to submit your Form 471. Note: This Notice is now emailed directly to you. You can also find it within the EPC portal in your News feed.

Do you need help completing your forms? Do you have questions about E-rate? You’re in luck!

USAC has Form 471 resources on their website:

And more recorded webinars, demos, and training materials are available on the NLC E-rate webpage.

If you have any questions or need any assistance with your E-rate forms, please contact Christa Porter, 800-307-2665, 402-471-3107.

Posted in Education & Training, Library Management, Technology | Tagged | Leave a comment

Facebook Login on Third-Party Sites

Facebook for Developers imageHave you ever been on a website that asks you to login using Facebook? This usually appears as a quick one-click button that lets you link this app to Facebook so you don’t have to manually enter a lot of your own information into the new website. So how do websites get this button on their website?

It’s surprisingly easy. Take a look at the Facebook Login Overview on Facebook for Developers. Any website can use the Login if they only need access to a user’s public profile and email address. The overview states that “to ask for any other permission, your app will need to be reviewed by Facebook before these permission become visible in the Login Dialog to the public who’re logging into your app with Facebook”.

Looking at their App Review process, apps have to submit a request on a feature by feature basis and match that request to the product offered on their site. Businesses also need to verify their business identity. Businesses also have to sign a usage agreement.

That is somewhat reassuring, but let’s rewind a bit here. Any business, verified or unverified can use this Login feature to gain access to the public profile. Think about what’s on your public profile: a cover photo, gender, networks, schools attended, age range, language, country, and any information that appears on public searches. Imagine what companies can do with some of this information.

Some of these third-party websites may also sync up with Facebook to post some of the information from their app on your profile’s timeline. For example, Goodreads is a very popular website among librarians. Depending on how you set up your Goodreads account, you may have given Goodreads permission to automatically post your completed books to your timeline. Do you want all of your Facebook friends to know everything you read?

If you’ve already accidentally synced an app with your Facebook profile, there are usually ways to undo or change the settings. Here’s Goodread’s Help page if you want to take a look at the permission shared between Goodreads and Facebook. They also provide information about how to adjust the settings.

Posted in General, Technology | Leave a comment

Drones in the Library!

One day, drones may deliver library books to home bound library patrons. That day may come sooner than you’d think.

Drones are Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and can be controlled remotely or fly autonomously through the use of a pre-programmed flight plan. These drones use sensors to control their flight path and to collect various types of data. This data can range from weather information to chemical emissions to a collection of photographs.

Today, drones are being used in the military, by landscapers, construction workers, farmers, artists, researchers, and just about every industry known to man. So how are they being used in the library? Here are a few examples:

Drones on Loan: People want to learn about drones and take them for a test drive. The Arapaho Library has 4 copies of a Hover Camera Passport Drone available in their regular catalog. Georgia Highlands College has a similar system in place. If you would like to replicate this in your library, try testing out demonstrations with one drone and gather patron interest. If there’s interest, it might be time to update your loan policy to cover damage and incidentals on a drone for loan!

Delivery Drones: Right now, Amazon is pilot testing a delivery drone. Their website says their drones are “designed to safely get packages to customers in 30 minutes or less using unmanned aerial vehicles” using Prime Air. It’s not hard to imagine how these could come in handy for libraries one day.

Drone Demonstrations: You can also do some drone demonstrations in the library. This might take a bit of practice to get the controls down, but it’s definitely possible! It’s quite probably you could find an enthusiastic patron who has experience that might want to teach a few classes in the library.

Posted in General, Technology | Leave a comment

Augmented Reality in the Library

The best way to learn about augmented reality is to use it. The easiest and most cost-effective way to experiment with augmented reality (AR) is with an app. AR uses the camera from a smartphone or tablet to take in information from your surroundings.

The information is fed into an app and that app can be programmed to superimpose images, audio, or other computer generated media when a trigger point is reached. That trigger point can take the form of a specific object, a longitude and latitude registered via GPS, or a person’s face. Here are a few examples you might want to try in your library:

Pokemon Go: This one is incredibly popular across multiple age groups. It uses GPS on your phone to pinpoint location, your smartphone camera takes in images, and the app superimposes Pokemon at specific GPS location. So if you see someone walk into a tree with their phone held out in front of them, it’s possible they were trying to catch Pokemon.

BBC Civilisations AR: This app was made by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). They selected 40 different historical objects from famous museums and developed this app to allow people from around the world to project and explore there objects in their own home. They hope to gain user feedback to improve their project, so feel free to let them know what you’d like to see from an app like this in the future.

Metaverse: This augmented reality platform will let you try building your own AR app for free! They have plenty of walk-through tutorials to get you started with programming different images, animations, and interactive library games to pop up throughout your library building and surrounding area. Have fun exploring!

Google Expeditions: Of course Google has some AR apps. They also dove into AR platforms. Google Expeditions is designed to allow users to explore and learn more about different world landmarks, weather phenomenon, hard-to-reach locations, get up close and personal with animals, and digitally explore the world. Just a heads up that this app has VR and AR options. The VR side has had mixed reviews with compatibility issues for different headsets. The AR has better reviews, but takes a bit of practice to implement.

 

 

Posted in General, Technology | Leave a comment

What Robots Can’t Do

Nowadays, many robots are infused with artificial intelligence (AI). It may seem like robots can do anything, but they really can’t.

As librarians, this is good information to have. Some libraries help patrons with professional development. Help steer them towards  jobs that robots will not likely be able to do in the near future, if ever. To do this, it helps to first know what AI is and how it works.

AI is basically software that writes itself and can perform particular tasks. AI has a learning curve. Quite literally. The new machine must be trained by a large amount of data so it can detect the correct patterns and replicate the correct action(s). In the beginning, a human operator might supervise this machine and take note of any mistakes made. These mistakes will be logged and a new set of data will be fed to the AI software to correct the mistakes. This process is repeated until the machine is operating correctly in an unsupervised setting.

Let’s use the example of self-driving cars. There are several variables that go into driving. The car would have to be fed lots of information, including how to detect a stop sign. But if the car was only fed images of stop signs during the day, it might miss stop signs at night.

Needless to say, AI has a long way to go. It is powerful and has great potential, but it can’t do everything. Bernard Marr estimates that AI will take over “receptionists, telemarketers, bookkeeping clerks, proofreaders, delivery couriers, and even retail salespeople” (7 Job Skills of the Future (That AIs and Robots Can’t Do Better Than Humans).

But robots can’t feel. They may appear creative at times, but they are just programmed. Robots will never be the underdog that sees impossible odds and decides to try it anyway. Robots will never truly care about people. If patrons walk in asking which jobs are going to be safe from robots, steer them towards cultural preservation, emotion/ empathy based jobs, and creative problem-solving with human interaction. Humans will also be necessary to build, maintain and improve upon robots and AI.

Posted in General, Technology | Leave a comment

Internet of Things Compatibility

I’m sure many of you have heard the phrase “Internet of Things” (IoT) being tossed around recently. Basically, IoT is a network of interconnected devices that can communicate with one another. If a device has WiFi capability and sensors applicable to the device’s purpose, that device is able to be part of IoT.

As you dive deeper into the wonderful world of IoT, you will quickly discover that not all devices that are marketed as “smart devices” will be compatible with one another. Some of you may have discovered this with the Amazon Echo system. The Echo uses Alexa, their natural language processor, to accept spoken commands to control connected devices.

CNET put together a list of devices that are compatible with the Echo. You might notice that many of these devices are either made by Amazon or have “Alexa” in the description. This means the Echo is leaning towards being a proprietary device, it favors items that are made and specifically designed for its own system. Many companies do this, not just Amazon. Hopefully cross-compatibility will be more popular eventually, but not just yet.

Long story short, as you’re incorporating IoT devices into your home or library, choose a reasonably priced brand, then carefully check compatibility with your chosen brand before making any purchases. A little prior planning can go a long way to save time and money!

Posted in General, Technology | Leave a comment

‘E-rate: What’s New for 2019?’ Recording now available

The recording of the E-rate: What’s New for 2019? online session is now available.

What is E-rate? How can my library benefit from E-rate? How do I apply for E-rate?

E-rate is a federal program that provides discounts to schools and public libraries on the cost of their Broadband, Fiber, and Wi-Fi Internet access and Internal Connections, such as wiring, routers, switches, and other network equipment, in order to make these services more affordable.

The E-Rate Productivity Center (EPC) is your online portal for all E-rate interactions. With your organizational account you can use EPC to file forms, track your application status, communicate with USAC, and more.

What does your library need to know to use EPC? In this workshop, Christa Porter, Nebraska’s State E-rate Coordinator for Public Libraries, will cover the basics of the E-rate program and show you how to access and use your account in EPC to submit your Funding Year 2019 E-rate application.

If you have any questions or need any assistance with your E-rate forms, visit the NLC E-rate webpage or please contact Christa Porter, 800-307-2665, 402-471-3107.

 

Posted in Education & Training, Library Management, Technology | Leave a comment

For the Maker in You

The maker movement has seen some amazing things in recent past. But what exactly does it take to become successful as a budding maker? There are many answers to this question, but one overarching theme across the board is this: learn from failure. Failure is a fact of life. It can lead to growth. It can lead to finding a new passion.

As libraries set up more and more maker stations, start teaching failure in your training classes. If a patron walks in and gets frustrated because they didn’t succeed right away, encourage them to keep trying. Remind them that Rome wasn’t built in a day. True artistry takes years of practice.

If somebody experimented with a new design on a new machine that didn’t turn out quite the way they wanted, take a look at it. Find where they went right and provide constructive criticism on where they went wrong.

For those librarians with new and unfamiliar technology, encourage the patron to take a second look at their own work. Ask them what they see now that they didn’t see when they first made the design. Ask the patron what they would do to change the design to improve it. Get them thinking. Wait for them to have that “eureka!” moment.

As librarians, there are lots of things we can do to empower our patrons to try new and different things. One of the most powerful things we can do is encourage failure.

Posted in General, Technology | 1 Comment

Call for Speakers: Big Talk From Small Libraries 2019

The Call for Speakers for Big Talk From Small Libraries 2019 is now open!

This free one-day online conference is aimed at librarians from small libraries; the smaller the better! We are looking for speakers from small libraries or speakers who directly work with small libraries. Small libraries of all types – public, academic, school, museum, special, etc. – are encouraged to submit a proposal. We’re looking for seven 50-minute presentations and five 10-minute “lightning round” presentations.

Do you offer a service or program at your small library that other librarians might like to hear about? Have you implemented a new (or old) technology, hosted an event, partnered with others in your community, or just done something really cool? The Big Talk From Small Libraries online conference gives you the opportunity to share what you’ve done, while learning what your colleagues in other small libraries are doing. Here are some possible topics to get you thinking:

  • Unique Libraries
  • Special Collections
  • New buildings
  • Fundraising
  • Improved Workflows
  • Staff Development
  • Advocacy Efforts
  • Community Partnerships
  • That great thing you’re doing at your library!

Big Talk From Small Libraries 2019 will be held on Friday, February 22, 2019 between 8:45 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. (CT) via the GoToWebinar online meeting service. Speakers will be able to present their programs from their own desktops. The schedule will accommodate speakers’ time-zones.

If you are interested in presenting, please submit your proposal by Friday, January 18, 2019.

Speakers from libraries serving fewer than 10,000 people will be preferred, but presentations from libraries with larger service populations will be considered.

This conference is organized and hosted by the Nebraska Library Commission and is co-sponsored by the Association for Rural & Small Libraries.

Posted in Books & Reading, Education & Training, Grants, Information Resources, Library Management, Preservation, Programming, Public Relations, Technology, Youth Services | Leave a comment

Computers in Libraries Conference 2019 (March 26-28) Discount

The Nebraska Library Commission is offering a group discount to all Nebraska librarians who attend the Computers in Libraries 2019 conference. this year it will be held at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City, Arlington, VA, on March 26-28, 2019. Detailed information about the conference can be found on the conference web page.

This year the Gold Pass will be available for the group rate of $629 (regular rate is $819). The Full 3-day Pass will be $359 (regular rate is $519). (No discount rates are available for the preconference workshops, unless purchased as part of a Gold Pass.)

In addition, discount prices of $599 (regularly $719) on the Library Leaders Summit (includes all three days of CIL), and $149 (regularly $219) on the Internet@Schools Track are also available.

To receive the discount:

  1. Go to the Computers in Libraries 2019 Registration page.
  2. Click on the “Register Now” graphic at the top of the page.
  3. Type priority code NLC19 in the Priority Code field at the top of the form, and click the “Activate Now” button. Discounted rates should appear on the registration form after you successfully activate the code. If you don’t see the discounted rates on the form, please contact Susan Knisely for assistance.
  4. Complete and submit the online form by the February 22 deadline.

Deadline: Online registrations must be submitted by February 22, 2019 to receive discounted rates.

Posted in Education & Training, Technology | Leave a comment

Governor Ricketts Joins the Bayard Community in Celebration of a New School – Library Partnership

On November 16th, 2018 about 120 students and residents of from Bayard attended an Open House at the Bayard Public Library. The Open House promoted the library’s new Homework Hotspot. The Bayard Public Schools and Library have established a technology focused partnership to provide school district students and staff access to the school’s internet at the library. The new Homework Hotspot will feature internet speeds up to 200 Mbps, which is a dramatic increase from the libraries current internet speed of 15 Mbps.

Gov. Pete Ricketts answers questions from Bayard Public School students.

Gov. Pete Ricketts attended the event and addressed the critical need to provide high-speed internet for all residents in rural communities. About 15% (45,000) of Nebraska’s public K-12 students have no internet at home, or internet so slow or unreliable that they are not able to carry on digital learning activities. Many of these students go home with a school district-owned device, such as Chromebooks, which require a constant internet connection. The new Homework Hotspot at the Bayard Public Library will help address this “Homework Gap”.

Now, Bayard school district students can bring their school issued devices or use one of the two desktop computers that are connected to the fixed-wireless Wi-Fi connection between the school and the library to work on homework and school projects.

Posted in Public Relations, Technology | Leave a comment

Library people: get the upper hand on your tech! The free Toward Gigabit Libraries toolkit is out and ready to help you!

The free Toward Gigabit Libraries toolkit is an open-source technology learning, diagnostic, and advocacy tool designed for public and tribal libraries in the US. The toolkit will guide you through a series of questions about your technology environment — and provide you with all the information you need to answer the questions.

The toolkit is an excellent way to diagnose and fix library technology problems. Some libraries have found it especially useful in preparing for E-rate requests, budget cycles, and even in helping open up lines of communication between library staff and tech workers.

Best of all, you do not need to be a “techie” to use the toolkit. Fifty-eight rural and tribal libraries piloted the toolkit in the US to ensure that it is as simple as possible to use. In the spring of 2017 five Nebraska Community Libraries, Atkinson, Gering, Valley, Walthill, and Wymore, were the very first libraries to pilot the toolkit.

The Toward Gigabit Libraries toolkit is free and open source, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. As well as being a stand-alone resource, you are free to use anything from the toolkit and mix it into other documents.

This resource is designed to empower practitioners to become more savvy and effective consumers, advocates, and providers of high-quality Internet access and digital services to their communities. Funded by an Institute of Museum and Libary Services Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian grant, the toolkit is designed to scale nationally to all libraries, regardless of size or geographic location.

The Library Commission plans to offer an NCompass Live Session early next year to highlight features of the toolkit.

Posted in Library Management, Technology | Leave a comment

Virtual Reality in the Library

Virtual reality is huge in the library world right now. The trick to making this technology popular in your library is to tie virtual reality (VR) into your community. Show how VR contributes to a greater good. The key is to find out what your patrons are passionate about and get creative about the industries to which VR is applied.

For example, did you know VR and augmented reality (AR) has been applied to the agricultural industry? An article in Future Farming describes a VR/ augmented reality app that helps drivers learn the control functions of a Claas tractor. The app uses augmented reality to digitally project and describe any feature on the control panel. This speeds the learning process and decreases user error on the job.

This is a great example to use when teaching library patrons about the possibilities for VR and AR across multiple industries. Similar apps have been made for tractor and machinery manufacturers. There are even Farming apps to give potential farmers a taste of the good life.

As a librarian, you can do great things by helping library patrons relate current technology to industries and hobbies for which they have a passion. Then everybody will want to learn more about how to use VR and how it works. Food for thought.

Posted in General, Technology | Leave a comment

NCompass Live: Best Practices for Digital Collections

Join us for the next NCompass Live, ‘Best Practices for Digital Collections’, on Wednesday, November 21, 10:00am – 11:00am CT.

To enhance access to their diverse materials, libraries are digitizing those materials and making them freely available online as digital collections on digital platforms. These collections provide another way for libraries to re-envision their materials and make them relevant to their communities. This presentation will cover best practices for creating and preserving digital collections, including workflows, standards, and staffing. It will also discuss the policies which should be developed for building successful digital collections, as well as the privacy issues which should be considered. In this presentation, individual digital collections from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and Creighton University Law Library, including the Omaha Oral History Collection and the Delaney Tokyo Trial Papers, will be demonstrated.

Presenters: Corinne Jacox, Catalog/Reference Librarian, Creighton University Law Library & Yumi Ohira, Digital Initiatives Librarian, UNO Criss Library.

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • Nov. 28 – Public Library Survey Using Bibliostat
  • Dec. 5 – Best New Teen Books of 2018: Popular Teen Novels – New Books They Need to Read
  • Dec. 12 – Summer Reading Program 2019: A Universe of Stories!
  • Dec. 19 – A Textbook Program is NOT for Us! Re-Imagining Failure Into New Possibilities
  • Jan. 9, 2019 – Graphic Novel Collection and Programming

For more information, to register for NCompass Live, or to listen to recordings of past events, go to the NCompass Live webpage.

NCompass Live is broadcast live every Wednesday from 10am – 11am Central Time. Convert to your time zone on the Official U.S. Time website. The show is presented online using the GoToWebinar online meeting service. Before you attend a session, please see the NLC Online Sessions webpage for detailed information about GoToWebinar, including system requirements, firewall permissions, and equipment requirements for computer speakers and microphones.

Posted in Education & Training, Technology | Tagged | Leave a comment

Google Maps Timeline: Friend or Foe?

An app on my phone will tell me exactly what I did on February 23, 2014. Apparently I went to a restaurant from 6:05PM to 7:23PM. It took me 23 minutes to drive back home. I was home the rest of the night.

That was almost five years ago, so how do I know all this? Easy! The first app I ever downloaded was Google Maps. It has a little known feature called “Google Maps Timeline”. I never read the full terms of agreement before I hit download. I just wanted to know how to get to the restaurant.

Even when I don’t actively use the app, it still tracks my every move with decent accuracy. The history can only be accessed through the app or your Google account. But what if you lose your phone or your account gets hacked somehow?

Yet, I chose to keep the app. Let me tell you why. Google is very transparent about how to access, delete or edit history, disable the feature, and outlines their privacy policy. It’s all right here. If the phone gets lost, I can log in through my PC and disable access.

I find it useful when I’m filling out timesheets. If you’re into scrapbooking and you use Google Photos, you can set your timeline to display photos you took that day. It’s great for timestamping memories.

Long story short, every piece of technology has pros and cons. Take a good look at what you’re actually downloading when you add a new app to your phone. Just because an app has a feature available, it doesn’t mean you are required to use it. If Google Timeline makes you uncomfortable, you are free to turn it off at any time.

Posted in General, Technology | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

‘E-rate: What’s New for 2019?’ Workshops Scheduled

‘E-rate: What’s New for 2019?’ has been scheduled in locations across the state and online.

What is E-rate? How can my library benefit from E-rate? How do I apply for E-rate?

E-rate is a federal program that provides discounts to schools and public libraries on the cost of their Broadband, Fiber, and Wi-Fi Internet access and Internal Connections, such as wiring, routers, switches, and other network equipment, in order to make these services more affordable.

The E-Rate Productivity Center (EPC) is your online portal for all E-rate interactions. With your organizational account you can use EPC to file forms, track your application status, communicate with USAC, and more.

What does your library need to know to use EPC? In this workshop, Christa Porter, Nebraska’s State E-rate Coordinator for Public Libraries, will cover the basics of the E-rate program and show you how to access and use your account in EPC to submit your Funding Year 2019 E-rate application.

Dates and locations:

  • November 27 – Columbus Public Library
  • November 29 – Lexington Public Library
  • November 30 – Lied Scottsbluff Public Library
  • December 4 – Seward Memorial Library
  • December 11 – Online, GoToWebinar

To register for any of these sessions, go to the Nebraska Library Commission’s Training & Events Calendar and search for ‘e-rate 2019’.

Posted in Education & Training, Library Management, Technology | Leave a comment

NCompass Live: Teaching Digital Literacy in Your Library

Join us for the next NCompass Live, ‘Teaching Digital Literacy in Your Library’, on Wednesday, October 31, 10:00am – 11:00am CT.

We all know that librarians are the information superheroes of the world. It’s only natural that we would hold the key to digital literacy!

When the topic is raised, people think of everything from learning e-readers, to practicing web safety, or building a website. This is all part of learning how to find, use, create and share digital content. The fun part is that digital literacy is always going to mean different things to different people. The trick is to find free resources library patrons will want to use.

This webinar will help you prepare to teach digital literacy in your library. Tune in to find out:

  • What is digital literacy?
  • How digital literacy is evolving
  • Using free, existing resources to save time
  • Deciding what to teach in your library
  • Catering to a wide variety of patron needs
  • Working with local schools

It’s time to put on your Digital Literacy cape and prepare your library for the future!

Presenter: Amanda Sweet, Technology Innovation Librarian, Nebraska Library Commission.

Upcoming NCompass Live events:

  • Nov. 7 – Letters About Literature: Read. Be Inspired. Write Back.
  • Nov. 14 – Reading Reflections: What Kids Are Reading Now
  • Nov. 28 – Public Library Survey Using Bibliostat
  • Dec. 5 – Popular Teen Novels: New Books They Need to Read
  • Dec. 12 – Summer Reading: The Next Frontier!

For more information, to register for NCompass Live, or to listen to recordings of past events, go to the NCompass Live webpage.

NCompass Live is broadcast live every Wednesday from 10am – 11am Central Time. Convert to your time zone on the Official U.S. Time website. The show is presented online using the GoToWebinar online meeting service. Before you attend a session, please see the NLC Online Sessions webpage for detailed information about GoToWebinar, including system requirements, firewall permissions, and equipment requirements for computer speakers and microphones.

Posted in Education & Training, Technology | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Potential for Blockchain in Libraries

Libraries might be playing with blockchain sooner than we thought!

Blockchain began as a way to power cryptocurrency. A blockchain uses a network of computers that share resources. The network is used to transmit data and record each transaction in a permanent ledger. It’s harder to hack because each transaction request has to go through multiple, in-network verification points before a transaction goes through. This is more secure than having transactions route through a central financial institution, like a bank.

Cryptocurrency exists only online. It can only be used within a blockchain meant for that cryptocurrency. Only certain online sellers accept cryptocurrency. Essentially, cryptocurrency transactions are just the movement of data. A block is a set of verified transactions that is added to a larger chain for posterity and digital security.

Right now, companies everywhere are researching how to leverage blockchain for  record keeping, digital voting, medical recordkeeping, and possibly for libraries! Libraries are chock full of electronic records, metadata, catalogs, and all sorts of data that is shifted and needs to be tracked for posterity.

Blockchains can track version changes to records, timestamp original records and later iterations, track digital points of origin, record the librarian who originally entered the metadata, and allow for easier data sharing across institutions. Imagine access to a secure network of global resource sharing. Only those with a special encryption key would be able to alter the data.

The potential for positive change is at our fingertips. It just takes a bit of experimentation.

Here are some links to learn more:

What is Blockchain? The Most Disruptive tech in decades (Computer World)

Uses for Blockchain in Libraries (San Jose State University)

Posted in Technology | Leave a comment

150 Attend Sparks Grant Open House in Verdigre

On Tuesday, October 16th, over 150 residents attended the Sparks Grant Open House at the Verdigre Public Library.

“Which one is the homework computer?” asked Carter Nelson, a 6th grader at Verdigre Public School, the day after attending the open house. Those homework computers that Carter was referring to are part of an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), National Leadership Grant (NLG) awarded to the Nebraska Library Commission in partnership with the Nebraska Office of the Chief Information Officer in April of 2018.

The IMLS Sparks Grant, Nebraska Schools and Libraries–Breaking the Ice and Igniting Internet Relationships, as the name implies, is intending to kindle partnerships between schools and libraries, and through Internet sharing, to help narrow the Homework Gap for public K-12 students. The Verdigre Public Library has a new Homework Hotspot located in the library, with the internet for the hotspot provided by Verdigre Public Schools. The school offers internet speeds that are 7 times faster than internet speeds offered at the public library. Students and staff members from Verdigre Public Schools can access the school’s internet connection to complete homework by using either one of the two new desktop computers purchased by the grant or their own school issued devices. The library offers a location for students who may not have internet at home, have poor connectivity or very slow internet at home to complete their schoolwork.

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts attended the Open House. The Governor summarized the Sparks Grant and answered questions from the open house attendees for an hour.  The 100 plus students attending the event asked some tough and light-hearted questions ,”How does a state know how much money it will spend next year before knowing its income?”, “What are food stamps?”,  and “Did I hear you’re a Cardinals fan?”

Verdigre is one of five Nebraska communities that are participating in the grant project. The other communities include Bancroft, Genoa, Imperial, and Wymore. The Sparks Grant is for one year, at the end of that year, each community will evaluate the project and decide if they want to continue the project with local funding.

This shared internet is made possible in part by IMLS grant: LG-99-18-0018 and the following partners.

Posted in Education & Training, Grants, Technology | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

E-rate Fall Applicant Training Announced

USAC has announced the dates and locations for their annual Fall Applicant Training, and Omaha is one of the training locations.

If you are considering applying for E-rate this fall, we strongly recommend signing up for this workshop. There is a ½ day session for beginners followed by a full day for the main training. The workshop is free, but lunch is on your own.

The Omaha sessions will be held on November 13 and 14 at Creighton University. Full details and the link to register are in the USAC Schools and Libraries Program Special Edition News Brief.

The NLC will also be doing our regular fall E-rate workshops around the state, after USAC’s Omaha workshop. Those dates and locations will be announced soon.

If you have any questions or need any assistance with your E-rate forms, visit the NLC E-rate webpage or contact Christa Porter, 800-307-2665, 402-471-3107.

Posted in Education & Training, Library Management, Technology | Leave a comment