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Tag Archives: technology
Quick Tip #2: Create a page that points directly to another website
When you add a new page to your site (by going to Pages -> Add New), WordPress assumes that you’re creating a new standalone page to add to your site. But you can also create an empty “placeholder” page that will send visitors out to another website—say, your Facebook page or the website for your town or county. To do this, simply scroll down to the bottom of the screen and, in the Page Links To section, choose A Custom URL. Once you have your new “page” created, you can easily add it to your site’s menu!
Learn more about Nebraska Libraries on the Web in our previous Blog posts or contact Craig Lefteroff, or by phone at (402) 471-3106. For more information on the service or to view our current sites, please visit http://libraries.ne.gov/projectblog/.
Imagine that a new resident has just arrived in your town. She’s eager to read the new Ruth Ware novel, but isn’t familiar with your library, so she hits the Internet to search for you. What does she find? What would you like for her to find?
Nebraska Libraries on the Web is a free service open to any public library in Nebraska. We use the WordPress platform to create robust and user-friendly library websites. Our sites are controlled by “themes” that modify the display of your site, meaning that your content will be presented in an appealing fashion automatically. You don’t have to worry about coding, just add text and images that tell the world about your library. For those who wish to alter aspects of their site’s theme, controls are available that allow you to tweak your font, colors, and more. You can even change your entire theme with one click to give your site a brand new appearance.
Because WordPress is so widely used, it’s not surprising that it works well with the biggest names on the Internet. Your site will arrive ready to connect to Facebook, Pinterest, and more. Any content that you add to your website can be automatically posted to your social networks, too. If you use Google Calendar, you can incorporate that directly into your new site, or use add-on tools called plugins to create a new calendar that displays your library’s events. Plugins also allow you to create surveys, contact forms, and forums, and host them all on your site. There’s probably a plugin for anything that you’d like to do with your site and Commission staff are available to assist you in tracking down the right tools. We also take care of software updates and security concerns, so you never have to worry about maintenance.
If this sounds like an approach that might work for your library, please contact Craig Lefteroff, or by phone at (402) 471-3106. For more information on the service or to view our current sites, please visit http://libraries.ne.gov/projectblog/.
Holly began working at the Library Commission in 2010 in a temporary grant position and proved invaluable so we hired her as a permanent employee. Holly is one of the very few Commission employees who is a non-Nebraska native. She was born in Bad Hersfeld, Germany and adopted by an American family living in Paris, France while her father was serving as an aide-de-camp to the General in charge of NATO. She became a naturalized citizen at the age of 3. As the daughter of a career Air Force officer in the intelligence field, Holly lived in Annandale, Virginia; Oahu, Hawaii, and Ramstein, Germany. She graduated from High School in Hawaii and as her parents had Iowa nativity (which allowed in-state tuition for dependent children), she attended the University of Iowa where she received degrees in both Computer Science and Political Science. Her first job was as Systems Analyst at UNL. She met her husband Wayne at the Zoo Bar in Lincoln although unbeknownst to both of them, his father had worked for her father in Vietnam and both swam competitively at some of the same competitions in Hawaii. Together Wayne and Holly have three children: Weston age 26; Dylan age 24; and Cara age 22; and live on an acreage north of Lincoln. Wayne is a professor of Biosystems Engineering at UNL. He told their children they could major in anything as long as it was engineering because they’d always be able to find a job with that degree.
What makes Holly the right person for this job is that she has a love for technology and a passion for teaching how computers can be useful. Holly has been to many of your libraries to help unpack boxes and install computers and adaptive technology. During this time, many of you have become friends and Holly has learned about your libraries and your communities. She’s heard stories of how these computers have made a difference to your library customers as she continues to be a source of help with these services. Holly is in awe of librarians and their tenacity in serving the needs of their community. As Holly thinks about retirement in San Antonio, she would like to teach water aerobics to her neighbors in her 55+ Community. We’re grateful Holly is part of our library community
Virtual reality has been a hot topic for a long while, but only recently has the technology reached levels of price and accessibility that have made it worth considering for non-gigantic libraries. The phrase “virtual reality” brings to mind clunky glasses strapped to the face and, make no mistake, fully wearable hardware is still a huge part of the virtual reality landscape. Microsoft’s upcoming HoloLens and Oculus Rift’s new headset are good examples of fully-prefabricated VR devices that you affix to your head. They’re also good examples of pretty expensive technology, outside the budget of libraries which are not already committed to large-scale VR projects. But there are affordable alternatives for those who are interested in trying out VR without breaking the bank.
It doesn’t get much more economical than Google’s Cardboard project. Google offers downloadable instructions which will allow you to make your own VR viewer using magnets, Velcro, and cardboard from an old cereal or pizza box. If you’re not inclined to DIY, you can also purchase pre-assembled cardboard or plastic viewers from a vendor. Once you’ve built or bought your Cardboard set, you’ll insert a fairly new and large smartphone into the viewer.
Other manufacturers offer similar budget-friendly tech. Oculus is offering a $99 headset which works with 2015 Samsung phones. Even View-Master has revamped their product into a $30 virtual reality device. Don’t worry, they still use reels. There are plenty of other companies which provide low-cost VR viewers. Potential buyers should remember, however, that many of these devices work in tandem with smartphones, so be sure to budget for both the $30 Google Cardboard set and the $600 cell phone.
So what can you do with this technology? As you might expect, games are a natural fit for virtual reality. The popular game Minecraft is coming for the Oculus Rift and Google’s Play Store has an entire section devoted to VR-friendly apps for Cardboard. But the possibilities extend beyond gaming. The recent Democratic debate on CNN featured a virtual reality broadcast that was apparently rather quirky. And some hotel chains are experimenting with VR devices that allow viewers to travel to far-flung locations. Imagine a program on weather that would allow patrons to step into a hurricane through a VR viewer. Or a program on Italian cooking that ends with a VR tour of Milan. With costs dropping, it’s becoming affordable to experiment, so you might consider finding a place for virtual reality at your library.
A recent Mashable blog post discusses uses of the iPad but also recommends less-expensive alternatives (e.g. Pinterest, WordPress, Flickr) to perform some of the same activities. The post discusses impact of tech use in the classroom, but the discussion could easily be translated to the school, public, or any type of library.
What sorts of reference work have you done to help customers become more tech savvy?