Category Archives: Technology

2024 NLC Grants are Open for Applications!

Nebraska Public Libraries and State-run Institutions! Do you have an idea for a program or project you would like to see funded?

The Nebraska Library Commission has made funding available for four grants for 2024: Continuing Education & Training, Internship, Library Improvement, and Youth Grants for Excellence.

Applications are being accepted for all NLC grants right now! Don’t let your library miss out on these opportunities!

Grant applications for all 2024 NLC grants are due November 17, 2023.

For more information about these grants, register for the September 20 NCompass Live webinar, NLC Grants for 2024.

Continuing Education & Training grants help assist Nebraska libraries to improve the library services provided to their communities through continuing education and training for their library personnel and supporters. Successful applications will show how the continuing education and/or training proposed will support the library’s mission. There will be two rounds of CE Grants. The first fall grants will open in September and applications will be accepted for events/projects/classes that must be completed before July 1, 2024. The second spring round will open in March and applications will be accepted for events/projects/classes that begin after July 1, 2024.

Internship grants work to introduce high school and college students to the varied and exciting work of Nebraska libraries. The internships are intended to function as a recruitment tool, helping the student to view the library as a viable career opportunity while providing the public library with the finances to provide stipends to the student interns.

Library Improvement grants facilitate growth and development of library programs and services in Nebraska public and institutional libraries, by supplementing local funding with federal funds designated for these purposes.

Youth Grants for Excellence are available specifically for innovative projects for children and young adults in your community. The program encourages creative thinking, risk-taking, and new approaches to enable youth librarians to begin needed programs and try projects which they have been unable to undertake, and to offer an opportunity to expand youth service capabilities in new and different directions.

Posted in Education & Training, Grants, Library Management, Now hiring @ your library, Programming, Technology, Youth Services | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Call for Speakers: Big Talk From Small Libraries 2024

The Call for Speakers for Big Talk From Small Libraries 2024 is now open!

Submit your proposal by Friday, December 15, 2023.

This free one-day online conference is tailored for staff from small libraries; the smaller the better!

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 four 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!

Speakers from libraries serving fewer than 10,000 people will be preferred, but presentations from libraries with larger service populations will be considered. Speakers must be from small libraries or directly partnered with a small library and submitting a proposal to co-present with the library.

Big Talk From Small Libraries 2024 will be held on Friday, February 23, 2024 between 8:45 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. (CT) via the GoTo Webinar online meeting service. Speakers will present their programs from their own desktops. The schedule will accommodate speakers’ time-zones.

This conference is sponsored by the Association for Rural & Small Libraries (ARSL) and the Nebraska Library Commission.

Photo by Patrick Fore on Unsplash

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

NCompass Live at a SPECIAL TIME – 11am CT! AI: The Modern Day Pandora’s Box

Join us on next week’s NCompass Live on Wednesday, September 13 at a SPECIAL TIME – 11am CT, for ‘AI: The Modern Day Pandora’s Box’.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has unfurled a world of possibilities and opportunities, but just like Pandora’s box, it comes with its own set of challenges and ethical conundrums. Brian Pichman of the Evolve Project takes you on a deep dive into the complex landscape of AI, its implications, ethical concerns, and its transformative role in both private and public sectors.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Understand the multifaceted nature of AI and its applications.
  2. Explore the ethical questions surrounding AI, from data privacy to job displacement.
  3. Discover how AI can serve as a force for good and where it may fall short.
  4. Gain insights into how industries are adopting AI technologies for innovative solutions.
  5. Learn actionable strategies for responsibly integrating AI into your organization or research.

About the Speaker:

Brian Pichman is a renowned technology evangelist and the Director of Strategic Innovation at The Evolve Project, a collaborative platform that encourages innovation and transformative change. With a strong background in emerging technologies and a passion for public service, Brian focuses on facilitating conversations that drive meaningful changes through technology.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • Sept. 20 – NLC Grants for 2024
  • Sept. 27 – Pretty Sweet Tech
  • Oct. 4 – APPLE in Kansas – Training for New Library directors
  • Oct 18 – Learning Opportunities and Resources from WebJunction

To register for an NCompass Live show, or to listen to recordings of past shows, go to the NCompass Live webpage.

NOTE: This week’s NCompass Live will be held from 11am-Noon Central Time. Convert to your time zone on the Official U.S. Time website.

The show is presented online using the GoTo Webinar online meeting service. Before you attend a session, please see the NLC Online Sessions webpage for detailed information about GoTo Webinar, including system requirements, firewall permissions, and equipment requirements for computer speakers and microphones.

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Pretty Sweet Tech: CyberPatriot’s National Youth Cyber Defense Competition

Cybersecurity is one of the top growing tech careers in the nation. The Air Force Association started their CyberPatriot’s National Youth Cyber Defense Competition to help middle and high school students explore cybersecurity careers by taking on the role of a cybersecurity systems administrator, working to prevent and address cyber threats to a small business. CyberPatriots is now the world’s largest cybersecurity competition!

Eligibility: The competition is open to all schools and approved youth organizations, including Boys & Girl Scout troops, STEM groups, libraries, and homeschool groups. School and public libraries are encouraged to apply!

Learn more about the competition structure, team member requirements, costs, and tech requirements on the CyberPatriot website.

Registration is due by October 3, 2023 so start planning now!

While you’re on the site, check out the Air Force’s other cybersecurity resources for senior citizens:

  • CyberGenerations: This pre-packaged program is designed to introduce senior citizens to cybersecurity basics, password management, common internet threats, scams and fraud, and social media safety. CyberGenerations offers a Self-Paced Guide, and Workshop Resources to help facilitate virtual or in-person workshops.
  • Tech Caregiver: This training course with resources and guides certifies trainers to assist senior citizens to safely operate online. This is a good course to get comfortable facilitating CyberGenerations workshops in your community.
Posted in Education & Training, General, Pretty Sweet Tech, Programming, Technology | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

The Veterans Health Library: Helping Veterans Stay Well and Well-Informed

What is the Veterans Health Library?

The Veterans Health Library (VHL) is coordinated by the Department of Veterans Affairs’ National Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention. The VHL is a comprehensive online health resource provided to assist Veterans, their families, and caregivers understand and maintain their best health no matter where they receive care. It features timely health topics and provides a list of Veteran Resources based on the most-frequently searched topics. Health information on the website is regularly reviewed to ensure it remains evidence-based, up-to-date, and relevant to the needs of Veterans. With more than 1.6 million page views per year, the VHL is a popular resource for health information that empowers Veterans to better understand their health, their healthcare, and their options.

How does one access the Veterans Health Library? Who can use it?

The Veterans Health Library is a free-of charge platform available to anyone with an internet connection and its contents can be used by anyone regardless of where they receive their care. There is no required sign-up or login for the Veterans Health Library and users can access health information from the site at any time. Users may simply go to https://www.veteranshealthlibrary.va.gov.

VHL content is crafted to aid its users to better understand and manage their own healthcare. Many VHL resources link to uniquely Veteran-focused information, benefits, and programs that help inform Veterans, their families, and caregivers. The VHL can also be accessed by Veterans through MyHealtheVet, an online portal for Veterans receiving healthcare through VA. MyHealtheVet serves to help Veterans manage their prescriptions, appointments, secure messages with medical staff, and their health records.

What health content is available?

The Veterans Health Library hosts health information and resources, written using plain language, health literacy, and accessibility principles, with many materials in both English and Spanish. This includes over 1,600 health information sheets and 6,000 medication information sheets, all in an easy to print format. The VHL offers a catalogue of over 250 health videos across 15 categories such as Cancer (18 videos), Diabetes (15), Medications (19), Pregnancy and Women’s Health (18), and others. It contains in-depth Online Guides on topics such as cardiology, dental, eye and vision care, general health, and orthopedics.  Interactive Go-to Guides include text, videos, printable action plans, quizzes and more to help Veterans better manage their chronic conditions such as asthma, chronic heart disease, diabetes, heart failure, lung disease, and stroke recovery and prevention. Additional Decision Aid Tools help Veterans to better understand treatment options, share results with their healthcare team, and work with them in developing a personalized treatment plan. The Decision Aid Tools assist Veterans in talking with their providers about their own personal health decisions around colorectal cancer screenings, diabetes care, and both flu and COVID-19 vaccinations.

How do users navigate the Veterans Health Library?

The VHL provides a four-minute video tour to help users understand how to get the most out of the VHL and find what they need. The web tour is fully transcribed and designed to help users learn the website and how to share it with Veterans and others.

There are several ways for Veterans, their families, and caregivers to quickly and easily find the health information they need on the website. There is a main search box that provides a keyword search across all content categories and formats. Below the search box there is an alphabetical browse of the Health Encyclopedia articles. Each article includes a side-bar full of links to related content and VA resources relevant to the health topic within the article.

The Veterans Health Library provides browsable clusters of curated content that serve users who wish to explore additional health information through the tabs on Living WellDiseases & ConditionsTests & TreatmentsMedicationsRehabilitationMental HealthLiving With… [chronic conditions], and Additional Resources. Each of those categories are broken down into sub-categories that range from a few to a few dozen related resources. This curated approach leads users to dozens of related resources within the VHL as well as resources and benefits available through other VA programs, so Veterans and users can find the information they need.

When should I suggest the Veterans Health Library to a Veteran or other user?

The VHL offers resources to help Veterans better understand and take an active role in their health care. Share the VHL with Veterans, their family members, and caregivers as a tool they can use to better understand and manage their own health. Specific resources may be beneficial with certain health situations such as:

  • Instructional graphics to help Veterans understand how to take their medicines.
  • Tracking diaries to support self-care and self-management of health conditions.
  • Online guides to help prepare for surgical procedures.
  • Preventive screening information to stay up to date with recommended tests.
  • Health sheets to educate family members and caregivers on Veteran health issues.

By recommending the VHL to Veterans and those close to them, you can help empower them to take charge in pursuit of their best health.

How can I learn more?

The Veterans Health Library provides an overview of its contents and functions and has a list of frequently asked questions. You can also contact the My HealtheVet Help Desk via the online form or by calling 1-877-327-0022. The Help Desk is available Monday through Friday between the hours of 8 am – 8 pm EST. You can provide feedback through the user survey linked on every page. Together, librarians can help ensure that Veterans are well and well-informed.

Posted in Education & Training, General, Information Resources, Technology, What's Up Doc / Govdocs | Leave a comment

Just for Kids Streaming Video Database Trial (through 9/28/23)

Infobase is offering Nebraska public libraries trial access to their Just for Kids streaming video collection through September 28, 2023.

Infobase’s Just for Kids streaming video collection for the public library market offers a thoroughly kid-safe, advertisement-free media platform where children can freely explore and enjoy! Just for Kids has educational videos children want to watch–Weston Woods, Sesame Street, The Electric Company, The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss, The Berenstain Bears, Franklin, and more. Access to songs, games, and other interactives that are sure to entertain, educate, and inspire.

The collection is ideal for librarians hosting a video storytelling hour, activities for early learners as well as after-school or ESL programs. Great resources for homeschoolers that they can access anywhere, anytime.

Unlimited, simultaneous access means ALL patrons can enjoy this entertaining and educational resource.

For more product information, see: https://infobase.com/products/just-for-kids-streaming-collection/

Trial Dates: August 28, 2023 through September 28, 2023

Trial Registration URL: https://freetrial.infobase.com/?promocode=WEBSITE&products=228

When completing the registration form, be sure to select “Public Library” from the “Market Type” menu. This will ensure that the expanded “Select Products to Demo” section of the registration form includes “Access Video On Demand: Just for Kids” under the Streaming Video heading. The “Access Video On Demand: Just for Kids” product should be automatically selected, but if it’s not you can select it by checking the box to its left.

If you have questions about this trial, please contact Susan Knisely.

Note: If you are a Nebraska librarian and you’d like to receive future database trial announcements directly in your email inbox, please make sure you are signed up for the Nebraska Library Commission’s TRIAL mailing list.

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Weiss Financial Ratings Database Trial (through 9/15/23)

Weiss Ratings and Grey House Publishing are offering Nebraska public libraries trial access to Weiss Financial Ratings Online through September 15, 2023!

Weiss Financial Ratings specializes in providing high quality advisory information that can help individuals select and monitor financial services companies and financial investments, such as: Life & Annuity Insurers; Property & Casualty Insurers; Health Insurers; Banks & Credit Unions; Stocks; Exchange-Traded Funds; Stock Mutual Funds; and Bond & Money Market Mutual Funds.

This online service also includes:

  • Financial Literacy Basics guides on: How to Manage Debt; How to Make and Stick to a Budget; Buying a Car & Understanding Auto Insurance; Renting an Apartment & Understanding Renters’ Insurance; Calculating the Cost of College & Understanding Student Loans; How to Start a 401(k); Understanding Health Insurance Plans; and What to Know About Checking Accounts.
  • Consumer Guides on: Homeowners Insurance; Automobile Insurance; Variable Annuities; Term Life Insurance; Health Savings Accounts; Long-Term Care Insurance; Medicare Supplement Insurance; Medicare Prescription Drug Coverage; and Elder Care Choices.
  • Financial Literacy: Planning for the Future guides on: Living Together, Getting Married & Starting a Family; Buying a Home; Saving for Your Child’s Education; Retirement Planning Strategies; Insurance Strategies & Estate Planning to Protect Your Family; Making the Right Health Care Coverage Choices; Starting a Career & Career Advancement; Protect Yourself from Identity Theft & Other Scams.
  • Financial Literacy: How to Become an Investor guides on: What is Investing; Brokerage Firms; Financial Advisors; What Type of Investor Are You?; All About Investment Fees; Tax Consequences; and Alternative Investment.

Trial URL: https://greyhouse.weissratings.com/

Trial Access information was distributed via an August 7, 2023 message to the Trial mailing list. Nebraska librarians who didn’t receive this information or would like to have it sent to them again may contact Susan Knisely.

Note: If you are a Nebraska librarian and you’d like to receive future database trial announcements directly in your email inbox, please make sure you are signed up for the Nebraska Library Commission’s TRIAL mailing list.

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NCompass Live: E-rate 101: Just the Basics for 2024

What is E-rate? How can my library benefit from E-rate? How do I apply for E-rate? Bring all of your E-rate questions to ‘E-rate 101: Just the Basics for 2024’, next week’s NCompass Live webinar, on Wednesday, August 2 at 10am CT.

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

This session will be a general overview of the E-rate program. Full in-depth E-rate workshops will be held later in the year. It will be useful to libraries who have never applied for E-rate, libraries who are new to E-rate, and current E-rate libraries who just want a short refresher on what E-rate is all about.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The dates and rules in this session will be specific to E-rate Funding Year 2024.

Presenter: Christa Porter, Nebraska’s State E-rate Coordinator for Public Libraries, Nebraska Library Commission.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • August 9 – Deploying Soft Skills in the Library Setting
  • August 30 – Pretty Sweet Tech

To register for an NCompass Live show, or to listen to recordings of past shows, 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 GoTo Webinar online meeting service. Before you attend a session, please see the NLC Online Sessions webpage for detailed information about GoTo Webinar, including system requirements, firewall permissions, and equipment requirements for computer speakers and microphones.

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NCompass Live: Pretty Sweet Tech: Internet Filtering For E-Rate CIPA Compliance And Cybersecurity

Learn about ‘Internet Filtering For E-Rate CIPA Compliance And Cybersecurity’ on next week’s Pretty Sweet Tech NCompass Live webinar on Wednesday, July 26, at 10am CT.

Special monthly episodes of NCompass Live! Join the NLC’s Technology Innovation Librarian, Amanda Sweet, as she guides us through the world of library-related Pretty Sweet Tech.

To take advantage of the E-rate funding to pay for your library’s Internet service, you are required to have CIPA (Children’s Internet Protection Act) compliant filtering in place. Filtering can also provide strong cybersecurity protection for library staff and customers. Guest Presenter Andrew “Sherm” Sherman, with the Nebraska Library Commission Computer Services team, will discuss how this filtering can be implemented, the cyber security benefits, and the various solutions that meet CIPA guidelines.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • August 9 – Deploying Soft Skills in the Library Setting
  • August 30 – Pretty Sweet Tech

To register for an NCompass Live show, or to listen to recordings of past shows, 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 GoTo Webinar online meeting service. Before you attend a session, please see the NLC Online Sessions webpage for detailed information about GoTo Webinar, including system requirements, firewall permissions, and equipment requirements for computer speakers and microphones.

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

Internet Librarian Connect 2023 Conference (Oct. 16-19)

Internet Librarian Connect 2023 logo

The Nebraska Library Commission is pleased to offer a discount to all librarians in Nebraska who sign up for a Virtual Pass to attend the Internet Librarian Connect 2023 Conference. The conference is going virtual this year, so join your peers online to learn, share, and celebrate the future of libraries!

The Virtual Pass discounted rate is $199 (regularly $299). The Virtual Pass includes access to all keynotes and main conference sessions, networking, and the virtual exhibit hall. It also includes access to archived session recordings for viewing through December 31, 2023. (Does not include access to workshops unless purchased separately.)

This year the conference is being held virtually, from October 16-19, 2023. Detailed information about the conference can be found on the virtual event website now!

View the Event Agenda for session dates, times, and descriptions.

To receive the discount:

  1. Go to the Internet Librarian Connect 2023 registration link: https://site.pheedloop.com/event/ILC23/register#category
  2. If you are registering a single person, click on the Single Registration option.
  3. If you are registering more than one person, click on the Team Registration option.
  4. Complete the registration form, entering and applying the appropriate discount code (see below) when prompted at checkout. Your discounted pricing should appear at this point.
    • The Single Registration discount code is: NLC23-SINGLE
    • The Team Registration discount code is: NLC23-TEAM

Please note that sharing virtual access is not allowed. Each registration allows access for one person only.

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DNS filtering solution for Nebraska’s public libraries

The Nebraska Library Commission (NLC) is pleased to announce it is now offering a DNS filtering solution to Nebraska’s public libraries. This solution will provide the Internet filtering technology required for E-Rate CIPA compliance. Even if your library is not utilizing E-Rate, this versatile solution can also provide cybersecurity protection for your library’s computers and customers. The NLC will cover the expense of this service and assist with its implementation.

On July 26th at 10:00am (CDT), Andrew “Sherm” Sherman, will be doing an NCompass Live! Presentation on DNS filtering. You can register for this presentation at:

http://nlc.nebraska.gov/scripts/calendar/eventshow.asp?ProgID=22997

For questions about this solution and implementing it at your library, please contact:


Andrew “Sherm” Sherman
Library Technology Support Specialist
Nebraska Library Commission
andrew.sherman@nebraska.gov
402-471-4559
800-307-2665

Posted in Broadband Buzz, Pretty Sweet Tech, Technology | Leave a comment

NCompass Live: Pretty Sweet Tech: Secure Computers For Public Use

Learn how to keep your library computers secure for public use on next week’s NCompass Live webinar on Wednesday, June 28, at 10am CT.

Special monthly episodes of NCompass Live! Join the NLC’s Technology Innovation Librarian, Amanda Sweet, as she guides us through the world of library-related Pretty Sweet Tech.

Computers for public use are a service unique to libraries. To provide the best possible protection for the customers that use them and maximize their availability, they need to be properly secured and maintained. Guest Presenter Andrew “Sherm” Sherman, with the Nebraska Library Commission Computer Services team, will take you through the process he has used to do this for the libraries he has provided IT support for.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • July 5 – One Book for Nebraska Kids & Teens 2023
  • July 12 – A Library Centennial Celebration in Photos and Memories
  • July 19 – Nebraska Open Meetings Act: 2023 Overview and Updates
  • July 26 – Pretty Sweet Tech: Internet Filtering For E-Rate CIPA Compliance And Cybersecurity

To register for an NCompass Live show, or to listen to recordings of past shows, 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 GoTo Webinar online meeting service. Before you attend a session, please see the NLC Online Sessions webpage for detailed information about GoTo Webinar, including system requirements, firewall permissions, and equipment requirements for computer speakers and microphones.

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

ARSL 2023 Early Bird Conference Registration is NOW OPEN! NLC CE Grants are reopening for a limited time!

Registration for both in-person and virtual attendance at the 2023 ARSL Conference is open!

And we are reopening the Nebraska Library Commission CE Grants to attend the 2023 ARSL Conference for a very limited time!

Staff and board members at accredited Nebraska public libraries or state-run institutional libraries are eligible. Apply for the NLC CE Grant by July 7 at http://nlc.nebraska.gov/Grants/CE/arslconferencegrant.aspx

The in-person 2023 ARSL Conference will be held at the Hyatt Regency, Wichita, Kansas, from September 20-23, 2023.

This year’s conference theme is “Unite & Ignite”! Our conference provides an opportunity to unite as a professional community and foster a sense of togetherness across a nation of small but mighty libraries. When we come together to share and learn we’ll light fires of innovation and change that can burn bright all year long.

Early Bird pricing for in-person attendance will be available through July 18.

For more information about the conference and to register, visit the 2023 Conference Homepage.

ARSL Member Rates

  • Base Conference Attendance
    Early Bird – $290
    Regular – $375
  • Preconference Workshops**
    3-Hour Workshops – $55
    4-Hour Workshops – $70
  • Virtual Attendance
    $55

Student, Advocate & Retiree Rates*

  • Base Conference Attendance
    Early Bird – $245
    Regular – $285
  • Preconference Workshops**
    3-Hour Workshops – $55
    4-Hour Workshops – $70
  • Virtual Attendance
    $30

Nonmember Rates

  • Base Conference Attendance
    Early Bird – $380
    Regular – $450
  • Preconference Workshops**
    3-Hour Workshops – $80
    4-Hour Workshops – $95
  • Virtual Attendance
    $80

*Must be an ARSL Advocate, Student, or Retiree member. **Preconference Workshop fees are charged in addition to Base Conference Registration and are available for in-person conference attendees only.

Posted in Education & Training, Information Resources, Library Management, Programming, Public Library Boards of Trustees, Public Relations, Technology, Youth Services | Tagged | Leave a comment

NCompass Live: Transforming Library Staff Learning Through Technology Skills Assessments

Learn about technology skills assessments that you can modify to fit your library’s needs on next week’s NCompass Live webinar, ‘Transforming Library Staff Learning Through Technology Skills Assessments’, on Wednesday, June 14, at 10am CT.

Technology skills assessments are tools used by supervisors and managers to gauge competency in key subject matter areas. These assessments can be powerful tools for identifying common skills gaps, allowing libraries to make objective decisions on how best to close those gaps. Even more concerning is that frequently these technology skills gaps are related to proficiencies in areas with large impact to your organization, such as cybersecurity and cloud computing, making these gaps detrimental if unaddressed. By utilizing technology skills assessments, libraries are able to take factual data into account when deciding how to best train their staff.

We conducted pre-training technology skills assessments for library staff in several libraries, identifying the common gaps of knowledge among staff members. We then provided free training, and followed up by conducting post-training technology skills assessments to ensure that staff increased their knowledge. Staff reported that they felt more comfortable helping patrons and students with their technology issues, and supervisors reported that they had more confidence in their staff’s ability to both use technology and assist patrons and students with their technology needs.

In this session, we will provide attendees with a sample technology skills assessment that you can modify to fit your needs. We will also provide a list of resources for free technology training. In addition, you’ll learn how to conduct the post-training technology skills assessment, and how to determine if more training is needed.

Presenters: Regina Burgess, Director of Professional Development, Panhandle Library Access Network, Inc. and Diana Silveira, Novare Library Services.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • June 21 – Nebraska Public Library Laws: Chapter 51 and Beyond
  • June 28 – Pretty Sweet Tech: Secure Computers For Public Use
  • July 5 – One Book for Nebraska Kids & Teens 2023
  • July 12 – A Library Centennial Celebration in Photos and Memories
  • July 19 – Nebraska Open Meetings Act: 2023 Overview and Updates
  • July 26 – Pretty Sweet Tech: Internet Filtering For E-Rate CIPA Compliance And Cybersecurity

To register for an NCompass Live show, or to listen to recordings of past shows, 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 GoTo Webinar online meeting service. Before you attend a session, please see the NLC Online Sessions webpage for detailed information about GoTo Webinar, including system requirements, firewall permissions, and equipment requirements for computer speakers and microphones.

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

NCompass Live: Pretty Sweet Tech: Bots for the Community!

Join us to hear how the FarmBot project, ‘Harvest at the Library’, was born on next week’s ‘Pretty Sweet Tech’ NCompass Live webinar, ‘Bots for the Community!’, on Wednesday, May 31, at 10am CT.

Special monthly episodes of NCompass Live! Join the NLC’s Technology Innovation Librarian, Amanda Sweet, as she guides us through the world of library-related Pretty Sweet Tech.

Hear how a FarmBot had an impact on the community and how the library launched videos to teach people how the bot works (in-person programs were not open yet at the library). Lou shares the excitement of harvesting the very first carrot from the FarmBot!

Guest Presenters: Dan Lou, Library Program Coordinator, Palo Alto City Library; Susan T. Cheng, Lead Mentor, Space Cookies FIRST Robotics Competition Team 1868, Adult Co-Leader, Space Cookies Girl Scout Troop 62868; and Navika S., Space Cookies FIRST Robotics Competition Team 1868, Space Cookies Girl Scout Troop 62868.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • June 7 – In Search of the Obscure – Using Library & Online Sources to Find Resources that are Out of the Ordinary
  • June 14 – Transforming Library Staff Learning Through Technology Skills Assessments
  • June 21 – Nebraska Public Library Laws: Chapter 51 and Beyond
  • June 28 – Pretty Sweet Tech: Secure Computers For Public Use
  • July 5 – One Book for Nebraska Kids & Teens 2023
  • July 12 – A Library Centennial Celebration in Photos and Memories
  • July 19 – Nebraska Open Meetings Act: 2023 Overview and Updates
  • July 26 – Pretty Sweet Tech: Internet Filtering For E-Rate CIPA Compliance And Cybersecurity

To register for an NCompass Live show, or to listen to recordings of past shows, 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 GoTo Webinar online meeting service. Before you attend a session, please see the NLC Online Sessions webpage for detailed information about GoTo Webinar, including system requirements, firewall permissions, and equipment requirements for computer speakers and microphones.

Posted in Education & Training, Pretty Sweet Tech, Programming, Technology, Youth Services | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Over $9 Million in E-rate Funding Awarded to Nebraska Schools and Public Libraries

As of May 25, USAC has released four Waves of Funding Commitment Decision Letters (FCDLs) for E-rate Funding Year 2023. These Waves include $9,119,082.78 in funding commitments for 410 Nebraska school and public library applicants.

Congratulations to all Nebraska schools and public libraries who have been funded!

A list of public libraries who have received E-rate funding is on the NLC E-rate webpage. The 2023 list will be updated as new funding waves are announced.

If you haven’t received your FCDL yet, don’t panic! There are many more weekly Waves to come as USAC processes more applications. This is just the start of Funding Year 2023, more approvals are coming.

When your FCDL is ready, it will be attached as a printable PDF to the email notifying you that your FCDL has been issued. It will also be available in the Notifications section of your EPC account, but you are no longer required to log into your EPC account to view it.

IMPORTANT: As soon as you receive your FCDL, you should immediately go on to the next step in the E-rate process, filing your Form 486. This form is submitted in your EPC account. Information and instructions on how to do that can be found on the USAC website.

If you have any questions or need any assistance with your public library’s E-rate forms, visit the NLC E-rate webpage or contact Christa Porter, State E-rate Coordinator for Public Libraries, 800-307-2665, 402-471-3107.

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Robot Warning: Kamigami Robots Discontinued

I’ve gotten a lot of requests for robot recommendations, many specifically about those cute Kamigami robots shaped like bugs and dinosaurs. While I do love the Kamigami robots in general, the manufacturer has discontinued the product. You can no longer download the app on Android, and it only works on older iOS devices that have not been updated recently. It is still available for download on iOS, but only works reliably on older phones.

Amazon lists all Kamigami robots as “discontinued by manufacturer”, but not all resellers post this same warning. I only found out the app is no longer supported by cross-referencing the comments across several Amazon listings. Kamigami was picked up by Mattel a few years ago, and it appears that Mattel is no longer keeping our favorite little bugs alive.

Long story short, buy Kamigami robots at your own risk. They are adorable, but all good things come to an end. I will miss those cute little bugs. If you already have one, program it for as long as you can. This post is going to get me a little misty-eyed! Another good gadget bit the dust…

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Get Coding Ideas: Scratch Conference 2023 (Virtual)

If you’re looking for more coding and STEM activity ideas, Scratch, the popular (free!) drag and drop block programming language and website, is hosting their Scratch Conference 2023 virtually on July 20, 2023. It’s only $15 to register, with a free option if you have absolutely zero budget for extras. The theme this year is “Sparking Creative Connections”. Here are some of the sessions I bookmarked for myself:

  • Including Diverse Learners w/ ScratchJr Tactile: Learn new ways to reach visually impaired students who want to engage with programming.
  • Collaborative Scratch Hackathons: Find out how to set up a hackaton to bring together coders of all ages in your community. Help people work together to solve cool problems.
  • Bring a Book to Life: Learn how to use code to bring books to life. Tell story through code in the library!
  • Exploring Creative Possibilities w/ Generative AI in Scratch: Explore how generative AI tools like ChatGPT can work with Scratch to expand opportunities for students to learn more effectively.

This is a great conference for school and public libraries, and educators of all types! Scratch is great for all ages.

Learn more & register for the Scratch Conference 2023
Thursday, July 20, 2023
9am- 4pm EST
All Virtual!!

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Apply for PLA Digital Literacy Workshop Incentives

For more grants like this one, check out the NLC’s Grant Opportunities for Nebraska Libraries.

With support from AT&T, the Public Library Association (PLA) is offering incentives for public libraries to teach digital literacy workshops for library patrons and community members. Applications are open now through June 2, 2023,
for the below incentives.

PLA Digital Literacy Workshop Incentive

Offers incentives of $6,000 to conduct workshops using DigitalLearn training materials designed to help patrons build skills and confidence using technology.

ACP Basics Workshop Incentive

Offers incentives of $1,500 to conduct the new Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) Basics workshop designed to help families and households learn about ACP and how to apply for the benefit.

About PLA’s Collaboration with AT&T

Community members come into public libraries every day, hoping to complete life tasks many of us take for granted, but sometimes lacking the basic computer skills needed to accomplish them. PLA offers digital literacy programs to help you help patrons reach their goals. A national PLA collaboration with AT&T has added both content and local partnership opportunities to encourage public libraries and other community partners to promote and teach digital skills together using the DigitalLearn platform!

With support from AT&T as part of AT&T Connected Learning and the company’s commitment to bridge the digital divide, PLA has been able to add and update more than a dozen online DigitalLearn courses, and develop 9 new complete training packages. Materials are available in both English and Spanish. All DigitalLearn materials are free to use.

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NCompass Live: Public Libraries & Wikipedia: Creative Collaborations

Learn about the Wikipedian in Residence program at the Kansas City Public Library on next week’s NCompass Live webinar, ‘Public Libraries & Wikipedia: Creative Collaborations’, on Wednesday, May 3 at 10am CT.

Kansas City Public Library hosted the first Wikipedian in Residence (WiR) at a public library in the country. Explore what a WiR is, how WiRs collaborate with community members and GLAM institutions (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums), and why collaborations between Wikipedia and public libraries are mutually beneficial and have an impact.

Kim Gile, Director of Branch Services & Engagement, will reflect on the residency at KCPL and give an update on the Library’s Wikipedia journey that started in 2018.

Upcoming NCompass Live shows:

  • May 10 – The 2023 Public Library Accreditation Process
  • May 17 – Read the Rainbow: Serving the LGBTQ+ Community in Your Library
  • May 24 – La Biblioteca Es Para Ti – Building Community Relationships in a Different Language
  • May 31 – Pretty Sweet Tech: Bots for the Community!
  • June 7 – In Search of the Obscure – Using Library & Online Sources to Find Resources that are Out of the Ordinary
  • June 14 – Transforming Library Staff Learning Through Technology Skills Assessments

To register for an NCompass Live show, or to listen to recordings of past shows, 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 GoTo Webinar online meeting service. Before you attend a session, please see the NLC Online Sessions webpage for detailed information about GoTo Webinar, including system requirements, firewall permissions, and equipment requirements for computer speakers and microphones.

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