Monday, April 16, 2018

Library Technology Conference: Maker Presentations

Dakota County Library had two presentations about their makerspace, iLab, and maker programs: Virtual Reality in Practice and Tech in the Suburbs.

Virtual reality is hot in the news and in popular culture.

Uses for VR:

  • Aversion therapy
  • Treatment of PTSD
  • Creation of an intense group connection
  • Evoking a feeling of empathy- putting oneself in someone else's shoes
  • Combating memory loss
  • Virtual tours for people with disabilities - e.g. people with autism who are disoriented by new places
  • Immersive games
  • Virtual visits to other countries for genealogy or history

Dakota County decided not to go with immersive experience viewers such as the Vive or the Oculus Rift because of issues with expense and instant obsolescence. Instead, they went with Viewmaster- cheap, sturdy, easy to clean, can be used in a class with a bunch of kids. A smartphone or similar device is required. Dakota County asks patrons to bring their own, then has two iPod Touches for people without their own device.

Tips for virtual reality programs:

  • Do a short "body awareness" exercise before class to minimize disorientation.
  • Monitor patrons so they don’t bump into something .
  • Provide a disclaimer that VR is disorientating and to take a break if they experience discomfort.
  • Not every app will be compatible with every device.
  • Check the calibration settings for your device.

Currently, Dakota County only has a very basic "Exploring VR" class and sometimes has VR games when offering gaming programs. This summer, it will be more integrated into youth STEAM programs. Uses for virtual reality aren’t there for long programs yet. For Saint Paul Public Library, asking patrons to bring their own devices could be problematic, especially with youth.

VR resources:

Dakota County now has circulating 2Go! Kits for fitness, nature and maker activities, including 2 VR kits (smartphone not included). Kits are not request-able or renewable. Total cost was $2000 for 28 kits (2 copies of 14 kits). Tubs were purchased from Global industrial. Some items in the kits, such as a spindle for weaving and a lucet for braiding, were made using the 3D printer.

Maker programs at Dakota County Library:

  • Homeschool science series
  • Movie making for youth- kids work in pairs on in a small group to create a movie with iMovie, Legos, and a green screen.
  • Makey-Makey and Snap Circuits.
  • Coding - Scratch is free, Hour of Code has free activities.
  • Robotics- Local high school robotics team volunteers
  • Fashion battle - had a contestant from Project Runway mentor youth designers - asked for clothing donation from staff for kids to transform
  • T-shirt quilt - patrons brought their own t-shirts
  • DIY throw pillow
  • Lucet braiding
  • Bicycle maintenance
  • Preserving digital memories - got 40 people to come
  • NASA moon rocks - Have to pay for shipping, special storage, certification, and security guard if you publicize that moon rocks will be available.
  • Hedgehog made from a book.

Sources for makerspace donations/grants:

  • Local craft/hobbyist groups might be willing to donate equipment
  • Craft stores might give away an old sewing machine when they get the new ones
  • Local tech companies
  • Chamber of Commerce
  • Big box stores have education grants
  • Local utility companies
  • DEMCO has a grant search

The presentation for Virtual Reality in Practice is here.

In other maker news, St. Louis Public Library shared what they learned about collaboration from their makerspace, Creative Experience. Beth Staats from Minitex shared some notes.

Macalester College also has a makerspace, the Idea Lab. that is very art- and textile-oriented, but also has two 3D printers and a large-format inkjet printer. Here are some pictures.

--Andrea @GLCL

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Library Technology Conference: MNSpin @Hennepin County Library

MNSpin is a place to listen to local music. Anyone can stream, but they can only download if they have a card registered in Hennepin County Library (this includes anyone with reciprocal borrowing in Minnesota). It was funded completely by the Friends of Hennepin County Library. There have been 14,000 streams from 12/2017 - 2/2018 and all 54 artists have been accessed. Only 10 libraries in the nation have similar resources.

This project took a lot of work, so they limit submissions to one cycle/year- otherwise too much for staff.

A lot of stakeholders meant a lot of communication needed to happen:
  • Community
  • Friends of the library
  • Musicians
  • Staff
  • Vendors -Madison, Wisconsin-based Rabble created the site.
The County attorney, library director and county administrator had to sign off on things -took more time than expected.

Steps for MNSpin prior to selection:
  • Named site - asked staff for input.
  • Created logo- applied for a trademark in MN.
  • Evaluated database products.
  • Communicated with staff about the project.
  • Reached out for ambassadors to publicize MNSpin - took months to create a relationship with ambassadors.
  • Identified public and staff curators- looking for intense genre interest and broad-based knowledge. 
  • Trained curators on database interface.

HCL reached out to organizations such as record stores, professional musician groups, music schools, instrument stores, and radio stations for ambassadors to publicize the project:

MNSpin selection criteria:

  • Have to live mostly in Minnesota.
  • Employees not eligible.
  • No artists under 15- age 15-17 parents need to sign.
  • Artist is responsible for securing rights to samples, covers, etc.
  • Diverse content that reflects the community, including possibly offensive content
  • Nothing older than 5 years -release date is required.

HCL will keep music for a minimum of 2 years. The artist still has copyright- can sign with a label.

MNSpin selection process:
  • Asked patrons to submit music by a particular date.
  • Asked ambassadors to promote via their networks.
  • Used staff to bring down to a manageable level before sending to community curators. 347 submissions is a lot to listen to. Staff rated on a scale of 1-5, then sent best to curators.
  • Used Excel to calculate aggregate scores. Curation took about a month and a half.
  • Asked curators for feedback on what worked and what didn't.

What they learned:
  • Get names, then get more names - start dropping them early and often.
  • Be persistent - people get busy 
  • You gotta have food!

Future plans:
  • Change rating system to 1-3, because no one wanted to give albums 1s or 5s
  • Add to library catalog - currently a separate site.
  • Add patron rating system.
  • Train curators just before they get into the database so it’s fresh for them

Looking at the site, my feeling is that their current selection process is biased towards middle-of-the-road genres due to the culling process and lack of curators in certain areas. This will probably be rectified as they add more curators and patrons weigh in. 

Also, they use the same broad subject headings as their CDs, so "Pop" would cover metal, punk, funk, ska, reggae, R & B, electronica, etc. More granular genres would be better when the musicians are not well-known. 

Presentation is here.

--Andrea @GLCL

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Library Technology Conference 2018: Highlights

These are the things I that stood out to me the most at the conference:

According to librarians at Purdue University, students have stated that "Twitter is for old people" so they don't use Twitter anymore. Facebook was reported as the most popular and commonly used social media platform. Purdue believes that teens initially left Facebook when parents or older adults started using Facebook; however, they discovered that those who left when they were teens, eventually started using Facebook again in college. Librarians at Purdue also mentioned that SnapChat is another great way to connect with students. Apparently, students are getting their news through SnapChat now. I thought this was kind of weird that they mentioned using SnapChat because it has become less favorable and less popular recently. Based from my observation and knowledge in recent social media trends, people are using SnapChat less, and are moving towards Instagram stories. Another topic we discussed was how to deal with inappropriate comments that are posted on library social media accounts. Purdue highly recommended deleting those posts; however, we need to have established a policy on commenting first. They gave an interesting example on how a library dealt with an inappropriate comment that was posted on their social media account. That particular library immediately deleted the comment, but it caused a huge problem because the person who posted that inappropriate comment sued the library and won! It was probably related to freedom of speech. The judge ordered the library to take a break from social media. Before they returned to social media again, and protect themselves from going through another similar incident, they decided to write up a policy on commenting for the public to be aware of.

In one of the other classes offered at this conference, they talked about the programs that they have made available for their patrons. At the George Latimer Central Library, we have a really nice  Canon DSLR camera that is rarely used by patrons. I thought that "light painting with a camera" activity was a great idea for Lab After Dark program but also to promote use of the DSLR camera. Another one was Spoonflower, which is a website where people can customize and design their own fabric, wallpaper, or gift wrap paper. This would be really good for people who enjoy sewing, or even small business owners. Speaking of sewing, I thought it was really cool how their library was able to bring in a former Project Runway competitor who also happened to be a Minnesotan. It would be nice to have someone with that kind of experience to come in but even for a well-funded suburb library, it got too expensive for them to continue.

--Duzong @GLCL

Monday, April 09, 2018

Library Technology Conference: Digital Preservation Day at the Library

Sara Ring and Lizzie Baus, Minitex

Minitex has a new program, Scan for Keeps- free loan to any organization in MN of digitization kits if you promise to have a program. 

Kits contain:
  • Scanner
  • Laptop-to capture metadata
  • Lightbox and camera - to capture 3D objects
  • Flash drives
  • Rulers
  • Pencils
  • Photoshop software for image editing
  • Paper forms -check-in, metadata, consent/release
 Pelican case for mobile digitization station.


Epson Perfection V850 scanner and laptop.

Preservation Week is 4/22 - 4/28 -plan well in advance before you decide to host a program. 

Ask yourself-what’s your goal?

  • Community engagement- Genealogy groups are a core audience. 
  • Collaborating with historical societies to get to know them 
  • Public education-teaching about preservation.
  • Programming related to preservation- could combine with talk on local history
  • Materials collection.

Tips for hosting a Digital Preservation Day at your library:

  • Promote in local newspaper
  • You will have to help patrons understand the importance of metadata-the won’t always be around to explain that it was Grandma at the old summer home in 1952.-who,what, where,when - a date range is OK. Ask patrons about stories related to the photo to trigger memories.
  • Have a metadata spreadsheet.
  • Teach them about storage - light, heat, moisture can damage
  • Check in station-form with short description of materials & contact info.
  • Wear gloves for delicate items. 
  • Staff should do the actual scanning. There is a cheat sheet for scanning in kit.
  • If they want to do further editing, e.g. improve the picture, leave it up to patrons.
  • Give out a brochure on digital preservation and what to do with the items after they go home.
  • Tell patrons to think about a naming scheme than makes sense for digital copies- Avoid spaces or special characters other than hyphens or underscores.
  • Minitex recommends saving images as TIFF files, because they retain a lot of information. Save images for patrons as JPEG as well, so they can share on social media.
  • Advise patrons to back up their treasures with multiple copies -3-2-1 rule -computer, CD/external hard drive, cloud storage.
  • Limit the amount of items each patron can scan.

A few words on pixels and image formats:

Pixels are building blocks of digital images -like an atom. How many blocks of pixels determines density of image-the bigger you can blow it up before it distorts. Bit depth = how many colors you are able to assign to each pixel. Minitex recommends saving images is 24-bit RGB TIFF - a large file, but retains a lot of information. RAW is a very huge unprocessed file that retains all information. JPEG is very lossy- you lose a lot of information.  

Minitex has best practices that include pixel density, size, and file formats for images and audio. 

Equipment list, staffing, forms and suggestions for collaborations are available here.

Reserve a kit via email:

Presentation is here.

--Andrea @GLCL

Opioid Crisis in Public Libraries

Libraries throughout the country find themselves reacting to the consequences of the opioid abuse epidemic. There have been overdose deaths in Hennepin County, so it is important that we prepare for what may come.

I was trained in administering Naloxone (AKA Narcan) and it is very easy - easier than an AED! If you don’t have Naloxone you should do rescue breathing but NOT chest compressions while waiting for EMTs. Sometimes you can’t tell if someone has overdosed or having a heart attack. We are not medical professionals so don’t feel you have to make that call. Always call 911. But if you see clear evidence or witnesses know the person is using opioids, this is helpful information. The Free Library of Philadelphia did inadvertently administer Naloxone to a heart attack victim last year. Good Samaritan laws protected them. It is generally recognized that there are no serious side effects of naloxone.

Context: In Minnesota there were 2074 nonfatal overdoses and 395 fatal overdoses in 2016. 2 deaths at Franklin Library in Minneapolis in January 2018.

Nationwide there has been a 30% overdose increase in 14 months from 2016-17

I attended the Public Library Association conference in Philadelphia, PA, which has been very heavily hit, especially at one of their branch libraries.

Here are my notes from the former librarian Chera Kowalski at the McPherson Square branch, and Joe Benford, Deputy Director of Customer Engagement:

McPherson Square branch in the Kensington neighborhood in Philadelphia has been the epicenter with 1200 deaths last year. They tried taking ID for bathroom use, then time limits. They still saw needles in the bathrooms. Overdoses started to occur outside and inside the branch. In 2016 they had an overdose and emergency services were taking too long to respond, but they got Prevention Point to come to the library faster and reverse the overdose. After a bout of negative media attention, Narcan was approved. Librarians volunteered to be armed with the medication and saved 7 lives last year. They saw more overdoses in warmer weather. Security’s assistance was vital. When the city started sending police there was a decrease in overdoses in the park, but the overdoses moved to other parts in the neighborhood.

They offer training to any staff member who wants it as well as trauma and therapy for staff affected.

The library sits on a task force that has cleaned up an encampment with 100,000 used syringes. They had 1200 overdose deaths last year.

The Richland Public Library system in Columbia, SC is starting to see an increase in overdoses - 50 last year. They are starting support groups - NA and AA at their libraries. They are trying to keep ahead of the PR issues associated with the epidemic.

How to talk to the media about this? Stay ready so you don’t have to get ready. Always tell the truth so you don’t get caught in a lie. Be honest, concise, be open. Know who to talk to and who not to talk to. Don’t say “no comment” instead say “I don’t know the answer and I’ll get back to you.” Or say “The safety and health of our patrons is our first concern.”

Denver Public Library - 200 overdoses last year which for them was not an increase. Seeing heroin mixed with amphetamine. They say that heroin in the west is powder, liquid on East Coast. Had 14 Narcan reversals last week.

Social worker perspective: What harm reduction strategies work for this crisis? Provide syringe access (instead of calling it needle exchange). Can you get people to switch substances they are abusing? When people feel safe, they tend to use fewer substances. What can libraries do? Be a safe place with nonjudgmental access to resources and information. Stigma and shame do not work.

Listen to Johann Hari’s TED talk - Everything you know about addiction is wrong. In his TED talk he states that the opposite of addiction is connection.

Middletown Ohio
200,000 patrons in their service area. 3 of the 10 worst cities for overdoses are in Ohio. (Read “The Opioid DiariesTime magazine issue). In 2017 Middletown spent 2.3 million on opioids; police spent 1.92 million which was a 50% increase.

966 overdoses
45,000 people in the city
The city councilperson was frustrated with the problem and became overwhelmed, was accused of saying “let addicts die”. There was negative news coverage. A Yahoo news reporter went so far as to feign dehydration and then asked EMS professionals for inside information while reporting on response times as related to delays caused by overdose calls.

They are now starting to see a decline in overdoses. After people are released from the hospital for overdose addicts are taken to rehab and given a social worker - this is the “heroin response team.” The teams use library meeting rooms for office hours.

Sharps containers - most of the libraries have them or are getting them. You can use a detergent bottle as an improvised device.

Check your safe and local laws regarding Narcan. Most libraries using nasal spray. Nasal spray will not hurt someone. Fentanyl misinformation is out there

Indiana county coroner is partnering with high school students to provide training.
Medical examiners, child protection, as well as local health nonprofits can help.


In Minnesota law enforcement officers have more restrictions than in other states, and more than civilians:
in order to obtain, possess and administer Naloxone, law enforcement (peace) officers and emergency medical responders need to be authorized to do so by a physician, APRN or PA. A standing order or protocol needs to be in place and the peace officer or EMR needs to have had training. Most likely the MD, PA or APRN will obtain the Naloxone and provide to the peace officer or EMR.

“(c) Nothing in this section prohibits the possession and administration of Naloxone pursuant to section 604A.04.
Subd. 2.
Authority to possess and administer opiate antagonists; release from liability.
(a) A person who is not a health care professional may possess or administer an opiate antagonist that is prescribed, dispensed, or distributed by a licensed health care professional pursuant to subdivision 3.
(b) A person who is not a health care professional who acts in good faith in administering an opiate antagonist to another person whom the person believes in good faith to be suffering a drug overdose is immune from criminal prosecution for the act and is not liable for any civil damages for acts or omissions resulting from the act.”


--Amanda @GLCL

Tuesday, April 03, 2018

The Free Library of Philadelphia

The Free Library of Philadelphia has 52 branches and is organized into geographical clusters.

According to Joe Benford, Deputy Director of Customer Engagement, the managing director is the main point of contact rather than Mayor.

The major issue of the Free Library of Philadelphia is the heroin/opioid crisis

Mcpherson Square branch in Kensington neighborhood in Philadelphia has been the epicenter with 1200 deaths last year. They tried taking ID for bathroom use, then time limits. They still saw needles in the bathrooms. Overdoses started to occur outside and inside the branch. In 2016 they had an overdose and emergency services was taking too long to respond, but they got Prevention Point to come to the library faster and reverse the overdose. After that they asked for Narcan training - it took a year to get that approved. Then they saw more overdoses in warmer weather. Security’s assistance was vital. When the city started sending police there was a decrease in overdoses in the park, but the overdoses moved to other parts in the neighborhood.

They offer training to any staff member who wants it as well as trauma and therapy for staff affected.

The library sits on a task force that has cleaned up an encampment with 100,000 used syringes. 

Free Library of Philadelphia has an office of strategic initiatives and a program called Hatching Innovation which gives our monetary awards for new ways of doing things.

Business Resource and Innovation Center

The BRIC is currently undergoing a huge expansion - construction has started and it is expected to open in Fall 2018. For now the space continues to be in the Business, Health and Science department.
Current BRIC

The new area will have a laptop bar and more flexible space. It will also be connected to the teen area and may include joint programming for teens and adults.

They had a small enclosed area where work-study students do head shots for patrons’ LinkedIn profiles. They edit them lightly and e-mail to patrons within a week.
Video pitch and head shots are sent to patrons via Google Drive.

Got a grant from US Bancorp for video and photography equipment, backgrounds, and lighting.

They don’t offer maker activities at the main library, but do at other sites. There are 4 large local makerspaces that most of their clientele use through a program called “Maker Jawn” 
US dialect
  1. (chiefly in eastern Pennsylvania) used to refer to a thing, place, person, or event that one need not or cannot give a specific name to.
  2. "these jawns are very inexpensive"

The free library partners with them instead of providing direct services. But they are moving into more traditional types of making, especially food products with their Culinary Literacy Center, which is next to some nice and modern meeting rooms.

They also partner with the Corzo Center in Philadelphia, which is sort of like Springboard but now is moving from serving artists to students. They share clients.

They have had success partnering with Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses.

Home-grown classes: Business plan toolkit based on business model canvas.

They mostly use Twitter and Facebook, also joining other people’s Meetups, such as Nonprofit Nerds.

Their most successful marketing tool are the newsletters they create using Constant  Contact:
7000 people 60% open rate
3 separate newsletters for these audiences:
  • Workplace
  • Business
  • Nonprofit
1:1 appts for marketing, competitive analysis, and nonprofit research are very popular.
Host library job fairs in grand entrance.
Had a very popular nonprofit job fair.

The library has 40-50 public computers but getting into research computers for departments.

--Amanda @GLCL

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Cow Tipping Press-MN Writes MN Reads and Author Reading Event

On 3/22 I met with two of our participants (others couldn't make it but I have shared handouts with them) and we talked about MN Writes and MN Reads and I did a demonstration of how one could compose or upload a book using this online platform. We also reviewed how one could have the book made into a variety of formats to be able to share to an online book catalog or submit to other forums. Last we looked at how to read other local self published authors and e-books from MN presses that are available on Indie Minnesota and Biblioboard.

Cow Tipping Press Author Reading Event

What a fabulous event! Our five authors all were able to make it and they brought family and friends and we had about 40 people over all plus great treats! Bryan from Cow Tipping Press and I made brief presentations thanking Dakota and Ramsey Counties for access to their ASD Innovations Grant funds, to TAP for helping us recruit our participants, to Saint Paul Public Library for hosting the event, to Cow Tipping Press for the great workshop, and to our participants for taking part and sharing their voices with us. 

Our participants each received two copies of their book and had the chance to get up and read some or all of their works that appeared in the book. 

Everyone did a great job! I read for Mike and then he talked about his works and his influences. All in all a great night and a wonderful chance to increase our understanding of diversity by hearing voices that aren't heard often enough.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Cow Tipping Press Day 5

Today was our 5th and last class! How time flies! Today was free write which meant participants could write in any genre that was comfortable and enjoyable for them and the word of the day was "market". We talked about the many meanings of the word market especially the meaning of selling or advertising something.

We then read "How to Market to Me" by River Clegg.  The group found it kind of amusing, although at times a little confusing. We talked about how humor like poetry can be subjective, that there isn't necessarily good or bad humor, but that some pieces appeal to some people and others to others.

The writing prompt was to write a "How to Guide" or a humorous piece. We brainstormed ideas for how-to guides:

1) How to get where I am now
2) How to present yourself
3) How to be an Amy (the name of our teacher)
4) How to be as cute as me
5) How to sell items in a market

Shelagh wrote about a funny creature called a spider cat, part spider, part cat. Mary wrote about how to write stories, how to find different ideas, and the different types of writing one can do. Nathan described one of his favorite tv shows, a humorous game show. Mike described his fiance and the highs and lows of being in a relationship.

We next read "Here We Aren't So Quickly" by Jonathan Safran Foer which is a piece in which the author moves quickly through a lifetime in a few pages, but doesn't talk about huge moments, but rather the little moments. The group felt this was a somewhat difficult piece to comprehend because it jumped around and talked about what people were/weren't, did and didn't do. We talked about how this kind of writing can be complicated and uncomfortable because it is not linear. We also talked about what did the author mean when he said the father was "drowning in his own body", did it mean pneumonia, did it mean drowning in his own emotions? Sometimes like poetry it can be hard to know what someone is trying to say. I found this article on what this piece meant to someone and their interpretation of what it means.

The writing prompt was to try to tell one's life story with little moments. We brainstormed what some little moments might be like when someone was little and couldn't pronounce their brother's name, or when someone's brother bought a cockatoo.

Shelagh wrote a beautiful piece about some of the little moments in her life. Mike wrote about his life from childhood to getting engaged. Nathan wrote a story of a graduation night and some moments during this event. Mary wrote about different types of cars and what makes them great.

Amy decided to switch from reading an excerpt from "A Wrinkle in Time" to reading and listening to the lyrics of the song "You Were Born" by Cloud Cult. The group really loved the calming, gentle music and lyrics. We discussed how "born to chase the light" might mean following your dreams and that it seemed to be about loving one another and caring for your family. Our writing prompt was a big one-Writing about why we were born, what our purpose was. Nathan wrote about love and the origin of life. Shelagh wrote that her purpose was to smile and bring joy, to come up with unique names for things, and be as caring as possible. Mike wrote that he was born to be a write, a husband, a good brother, a son, and a good adoptive dad.

Next week, anyone who wants to can come to Hayden Heights Library at the same time and meeting room and I'll talk about MN Writes/Reads. On 3/29 we'll have our Author Reading party, same time and place.