On October 6, 2011, I presented at the Nebraska Library Association annual conference. I shared free online resources to use at the library. Approximately 50 people attended the 50-minute presentation.
Find the list of resources I discussed here.
Find It on the Web handout
Find the PowerPoint presentation here.
Find It on the Web presentation
My library branch is a heavy user of Google Docs. All of our weekly and daily schedules, among other things, are shared there. This is helpful because I can check my schedule from anywhere that has Internet access and changes appear immediately. This also means supervisors can make changes to the schedule from home. Schedules are color coded to signify the supervisor on duty, closers, meetings, and schedule abnormalities. The only downfall to this system is if the Internet is down, we can’t access our schedules. I think using Google Docs for scheduling is a brilliant idea.
I have seen wikis used in the library environment in a few different ways. At my previous job, we were part of an organization for young adult librarians; the organization had a wiki of book lists and program ideas to which everyone could contribute. The reference department at my previous job had a departmental wiki used to keep track of projects and changes. I created a wiki for my current workplace with book lists. I noticed that most of our reader’s advisory questions came from kids and teens. The youth services librarian is well read in that section, but other staff members are not. I made book lists on a variety of topics, such as mysteries, Diary of a Wimpy Kid read-alikes, and teen supernatural fiction. Any staff member can add to the lists or create new ones. Anyone can view the wiki located at http://eiseleylibrary.pbworks.com
As someone who uses 4 or 5 different computers per day, I think Dropbox would be highly useful. Between work and home, I create documents and need somewhere to save them. I carry my flash drive in my purse, but it isn’t always handy to retrieve it. I have not used Dropbox, but I plan to download it to my home computer.
Online tools for saving and sharing documents are very handy and something I will continue to use in my personal and professional lives.
Google has so many great free tools! I am kind of old-fashioned when it comes to calendars. Every year, I buy a small planner that I carry with me to work. Because I have two part-time jobs and an irregular schedule, it is helpful to keep track of where I’m supposed to be when. I don’t always have the planner with me, though. This is where Google Calendar could come in handy. If I’m near a computer with Internet access, I could check my calendar that way.
I decided to do a trial run. I already have (and love) a Google account. I created a Google Calendar and, within minutes, copied what was written in my planner. I added my Google Calendar to my iGoogle homepage and voila! I now have my schedule in two convenient places. I’m not going to give up my planner, but I’ll keep up with Google Calendar for a couple of months and see if it works for me.
I could see how Google Calendar and its sharing feature could come in handy for libraries. As a staff member, I wish our library would use it. Our website is difficult to navigate, especially in a hurry. If we had a Google Calendar on the homepage, both staff and patrons could see right away what was going on that day. I see potential for an increase in program attendance and less phone calls.