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Top Strategies to Win that Technology Grant: Part 3

Mon, 2016-06-20 14:08

As mentioned in my last posts, conducting a needs assessment and/or producing quantitative and/or qualitative data about the communities you serve is key in having a successfully funded proposal.  Once you have an idea of the project that connects to your patrons, your research for RFPs or Request for Proposals begins.

Here are some RFP research items to keep in mind:

Open your opportunities for funding.  Our first choice may be to look at “technology grants” only, but thinking of other avenues to broaden your search may be helpful. As MacKellar mentions in her book Writing Successful Technology Grant Proposals, “Rule #15: Use grant resources that focus on the goal or purpose of your project or on your target population.  Do not limit your research to resources that include only grants for technology” (p.71).

Build a comprehensive list of keywords that describes your project in order to conduct strong searches.

Keep in mind throughout the whole process: grants are for people not about owning the latest devices or tools. Also, what may work for one library may not work for another; each library has its own unique vibe.  This is another reason why a needs assessment is essential.

Know how you will evaluate your project during and after project completion.

Sharpen your project management skills by working on a multi-step project such as grants.  It takes proper planning, and key players to get the project moving and afloat.  It is helpful to slice the project into pieces, foster patience, and develop comfort in working on multi-year projects.

It is helpful to have leadership that supports and aids in all phases of the grant project. Try to find support from administration or from community/department partnerships.  Find a mentor or someone seasoned in writing and overseeing grants in or outside of your organization.

Read the RFP carefully and contact funder with well-thought out questions if needed. It is important to have your questions and comments written down to lessen multiple emails or calls.  Asking the right questions informs you if the proposal is right for a particular RFP.

Build a strong team that are invested in the project and communities served. It is wonderful to share aspects of the project in order to avoid burnout.

Find sources for funding:

Categories: Library News

Reminder/Shameless Plug for LITA President’s Program in Orlando

Thu, 2016-06-16 11:53

by Thomas Dowling

LITA members–and anyone else–attending ALA Annual in Orlando, please join us for the LITA Awards and President’s Program on Sunday afternoon, 3pm to 4pm, in the Orange County Convention Center, room W109B.

Our featured speaker will be Dr. Safiya Noble, who will speak about how the landscape of information is rapidly shifting as new imperatives and demands push to the fore increasing investment in digital technologies, despite the consequences of increased surveillance and lack of privacy, which are changing our information engagements. Dr. Noble’s talk is co-sponsored by ALA’s Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services, and the Black Caucus of the American Library Association.

If you can fit it all in to your schedule, I invite you to binge watch our Sunday Afternoon With LITA event, starting with Top Tech Trends (1pm to 2pm, Convention Center, W109B), continuing with the President’s Program, and concluding with the LITA Happy Hour, 5:30pm, Sam & Bubbe’s Lobby Bar at the Rosen Centre Hotel.  In addition to good company and good cheer, Happy Hour is the start to our year-long 50th anniversary celebration!

Categories: Library News

Jobs in Information Technology: June 15, 2016

Wed, 2016-06-15 15:35

New vacancy listings are posted weekly on Wednesday at approximately 12 noon Central Time. They appear under New This Week and under the appropriate regional listing. Postings remain on the LITA Job Site for a minimum of four weeks.

New This Week

Midwestern University, Library Manager, Glendale, AZ

Visit the LITA Job Site for more available jobs and for information on submitting a job posting.

Categories: Library News

Transmission #6

Mon, 2016-06-13 13:20

Jacob Shelby, intrepid metadata librarian (formerly at Iowa State, now at NCSU) enters the thunderdome  joins us for a lively conversation about the importance of coding/tech literacy for librarians. Read his LITA Blog posts, and join the conversation on twitter @ALA_lita #litavlogs.

Begin Transmission will return June 27th.

Categories: Library News

Lets look at gender in Library IT

Fri, 2016-06-03 13:42

So. Let’s talk about library technology organizations and gender.

I attended LitaForum 2015 last year, and like many good attendees, I tweeted thoughts as I went. Far more popular in the Twitterverse than anything original I sent out was a simple summary of a slide in a presentation by Angi Faiks, “Girls in Tech: A gateway to diversifying the library workforce.”

The tweet in question was:

That this struck a chord is shocking, presumably, to no one.

The slide that prompted my tweet references a 2009 article by Melissa Lamont that (a) you should read, and (b) briefly presents (among other interesting data) numbers from the 2014-2015 ARL Annual Salary Survey (paywalled).

What is the problem symptom?

Given the popularity of the tweet, I thought I’d dig a little deeper and see what I could find out about Library IT and gender, with the expectation that it would be pretty disappointing.

Spoiler alert: it is.

Before you start thinking, “But…I work in a library, where it’s all mutual respect and a near-perfect meritocracy as far as the eye can see,” well, think again. The overall message I received during conversations on the edges of the conference was that women — especially young women — are often ignored, and their talents squandered, in the higher-tech side of the library world. And when you move away from anecdotes and start looking at the data, well, the numbers are striking and no less upsetting.

  • At the beginning of 2016, Bobbi Newman published a great examination of the LITA Top Tech Trends panelists by sex. Roughly 2/3 of seats between 2003 and 2016 were men. 3/4 of repeat panelists were men.

  • The Lamont article mentioned before — and please, go read it — does some great original research enumerating what is likely a leading indicator: percentage of women authoring papers in library technology journals vs. more generic library journals (with the latter used as a control). First authorship in the higher tech journals goes to women about 34% of the time (JASIS&T is a low outlier with only 28%), while 65% of articles in the control journals have female first authors, mirroring pretty closely the percentage of women librarians in ARL libraries overall.

What are the data?

The numbers in my tweet suffer a bit from an apples-and-oranges comparison, with the ALA gender/race information coming from (wait for it…) the ALA, while the Library IT Heads numbers come from the 2014-2015 ARL statistics (Table 18).

Much (most?) of the IT work in libraries is, of course, done by “off-label” librarians — those hired to do a specific non-IT job, who are then pressed into service to do some programming or sysadmin or whatnot. However, we don’t have numbers for those, so I’m going to up the focus on the US ARL statistics for self-identified library IT departments, partially because I work in an ARL library, and partially because large academic libraries often have an internal, labeled IT department which makes counting easy.

Obviously, I’ve made a decision to give up generality in order to be able to make stronger assertions (e.g., LITA membership breakdown, were it available, might be more appropriate). I’d be very interested in looking at other data (or other slices of these data) if people have any available.

Categorizing Library IT positions

The ARL stats have a number of position categories, four of which obviously relate to Library IT and on which I’m going to focus here.

The leadership position I’ll treat as it’s own thing.

  • Department Head, Library Technology

The other three non-head IT positions I’ll treat as a group, giving this collection the whimsical name Library IT, non-head.

  • Library IT, Library Systems
  • Library IT, Web Developer
  • Library IT, Programmer

There are obviously other jobs that might or might not fit into library IT, depending on how a particular institution is structured. For example, at Michigan we have people who do markup for TEI documents and digitization specialists, neither set of which would obviously fall into one of the above categories. All those folks are part of Library IT on the organization chart at Michigan (and might not be at other places).

Let’s start with the non-head librarians and then look at department heads.

Library IT, non-head positions

61% of all US ARL Librarians are women, but only 29% of US ARL Librarians working in Library IT are women.

Overall, women outnumber men in ARL libraries by a substantial margin. The ARL report notes that, “the largest percentage of men employed in ARL libraries was 38.2% in 1980–81; since then men have consistently represented about 35% of the professional staff in ARL libraries,” (p. 15). That number is closer to 40% when looking at ARL institutions just within the US, as stated above.

So, we’ll call it 40% male librarians overall. How about in library IT?

In Library IT, men outnumber women by 526 to 212, giving us the 29% quoted above. That means there are about two and a half times as many men as women in library IT.

IT in general has been a male-dominated profession for a few decades now. A fairly recent article reports 2013 numbers that show women holding about 26% of jobs in computing, with many Big Name Tech Companies (Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) doing significantly worse.

We also don’t know about non-librarians working in library IT (I would be considered one). Given the overall IT statistics, it’s hard to believe that including non-librarians would move the needle toward having more women employees.

So on the one hand, we’re probably doing a very-slightly-less-awful job of bringing in women than the IT world in general. On the other, well, it’s only very slightly less awful, and this in a profession that is majority-female.

Library IT Heads

63% of Department Heads for department other than IT in US ARL libraries are women. About 30% of Library IT Heads are women.

Given the numbers we’re about to look at, it’s worthwhile to note that the majority doesn’t always hold the power, a message driven home by this tweet from Amy Buckland:

The library writ large, then, is female-majority, but not necessary female-dominated. Library IT, of course, is neither female-dominated or female-majority.

First, a broader look. Leadership positions in the wider, non-library IT world in general go overwhelmingly to men. Women hold positions at the CIO level in only about 17% of the Fortune 500. So, the baseline is terrible.

The ARL Stats for 2014-15 (table 30) show 91 US libraries that have a head of Library IT, 27 (30%) of whom are women. That’s about the same as the rank & file IT workers, but far different than the nearly two-thirds of other department heads that are women.

Many people presume this is indicative of what has been called the pipeline problem, the idea that it’s hard to hire women leaders because there aren’t many women coming up, and the lack of women in leadership roles make it harder to recruit women at the lower levels. This is a truth, but certainly not a complete truth.

Sex and salary in Library IT

The good news, such as it is, is that there is (basically) salary parity between men and women at both the IT rank & file and IT head positions.

The bad news is that this is one place where Library IT does better than the library on average. Across the whole library, men make an average of 5% more than women, an inequality that is true at every level of experience (ACRL table 38).

What does it mean?

The numbers give us what, of course, not why. For that explanation, many people initially grab onto the pipeline problem.

“Oh, woe is us white guys trying to do the right thing,” we lament. “We want to hire women and minorities, but none ever apply. There’s a pipeline problem.”

So let’s revisit our friend the pipeline problem. The problem is not just that the pipeline is small. The pipeline leaks.

Rachel Thomas’s article, “If you think women in tech is just a pipeline problem, you haven’t been paying attention” notes right up front that:

According to the Harvard Business Review, 41% of women working in tech eventually end up leaving the field (compared to just 17% of men)

Women leave IT at a much higher rate than other positions. IT can be, in ways large and small, antagonistic to women. Odds are your organization is. For those of you who think otherwise, I challenge you to find a shortish young woman where you work and ask her if she ever feels ignored or undervalued precisely because she’s a shortish young woman. Ask her if she always gets attributed for her ideas. Ask her if her initiatives are given the same consideration as her male colleagues.

What can we do?

Admit that there’s a problem. And then talk about it.

That’s easy to say and crazy-hard to do. The more privilege one has — and I’m a white, well-educated, middle-aged male, so I’ve got privilege up the wazoo — the easier it is to dismiss bias as small, irrelevant, or “elsewhere.”

As to how to get a conversation started, my colleague Meghan Musolff enrolled me to help her with an ingenious plan:

  • Send out an invitation to talk about a diversity-related reading

  • Show up

Our first monthly meeting of what we’re calling the “Tech Diversity Reading Group” ended up drawing about 2/3 of the department (including the boss, who bought pizza) and revolved around the Rachel Thomas pipeline article from above. And yes, the conversation was dominated by men, and yes, there were some nods to, “But this isn’t Silicon Valley so it doesn’t apply to us” or “That doesn’t happen around here, does it?” and, yes, many of the women didn’t feel comfortable speaking out.

We got a lot of feedback, in both directions, but none of it was of the “this isn’t a problem” variety. It wasn’t perfect (or maybe even “good”), but we were there, giving it a shot.

And you can, too.

Categories: Library News

Jobs in Information Technology: June 1, 2016

Wed, 2016-06-01 14:35

New vacancy listings are posted weekly on Wednesday at approximately 12 noon Central Time. They appear under New This Week and under the appropriate regional listing. Postings remain on the LITA Job Site for a minimum of four weeks.

New This Week

Queensborough Community College (CUNY), Assistant Professor (Librarian) – Head of Reference Library, Bayside, NY

California State University, Dominguez Hills, Liaison-Systems Librarian, Carson, CA

Visit the LITA Job Site for more available jobs and for information on submitting a job posting.

Categories: Library News

Managing iPads – The Configurator

Wed, 2016-06-01 11:00

We’ve talked in the past about having iPads in the library and how to buy multiple copies of an app at the same time. This is long delayed post about the tool we use at my library to manage the devices.

At Waukesha Public Library we use Apple’s Configurator 2. This is a great solution if you have up to forty or fifty devices to manage. Beyond that it gets unwieldy (although I’ll talk about a way you could use the Configurator for more devices). We have two dozen or so iPads we manage this way so it works perfectly for us.

You can see in the photo above all our iPads connected to the Configurator. It even gives you an idea of what the desktop of the iPad is; you can even upload your own image to be loaded on each device if you want to brand them for your library. When you connect the iPads you get a great status overview. You get the OS version, what specific device it is, its capacity, and whether it has software updates among other things.

Across the top are several choices of how to interact with the iPads: you can prepare, update, back up, or tag. Prepare is used when the iPad is first configured for use in the Configurator. This gives you the option of supervising the devices so that you can control how they get updated and what networks they have access to. If you’re going to circulate iPads you don’t want to supervise them because it will set limits on how the public can use them. If you’re using iPads only in the library—as we are—then you should supervise them so that you can guarantee that they work in your network. We mostly use update which gives supervised iPads the option of doing an OS update, an app update, or both an OS and app update (depending on what the devices need).

OS updates go very quickly. Usually it takes about a half hour to update 22 iPads. You might need to interact with each device after an OS update—to set a passcode (you can reset a device’s passcode through the Configurator which is great when someone changes it or forgets what they set it as), enable location services, etc.—so just budget that into the time you need to get the devices ready for us.

App updates have been a different beast for us. We were on a monthly update which is perhaps not often enough. We found that if we updated all the apps on a single device or if we updated a single app on all devices that the process went quickly. If we tried to updates all apps on all devices it tended to get hung up and time out. We’re doing updates more frequently now so we’re not running into that problem any longer.

The best thing you can do with the Configurator is create profiles. There are a lot of settings to which the Configurator gives you access. This includes blocking in-app purchases, setting the WiFi network, enabling content filters, setting up AirPlay or AirPrint, and more. Basically anything you can control under an iPad’s settings outside of downloaded apps you can set using the Configurator and put into a profile.

This way if there are forty iPads for children’s programming, twenty iPads for teens, and thirty iPads the public checks out, each one could have its own profile and its own settings. In this way you can manage a lot more than forty or fifty devices. You would manage each profile as an individual group.

If you want to be able to push out updates to devices wirelessly, you can consider Apple’s Mobile Device Management. You can host your MDM services locally—which requires a server—or host them in the cloud. For us it made sense to use the Configurator and update devices by connecting to them since they are kept in a single cart. Our local school district, as I’ve mentioned before, provides an iPad to all students K-12 so they use JAMF’s Casper Suite (a customized solution) to manage their approximately 15,000 devices.


Categories: Library News

Transmission #5

Tue, 2016-05-31 16:11

In this action-packed fifth installment, Begin Transmission is joined by the inimitable Leanne Mobley. She’s a LITA blogger, Scholarly Technologies Librarian at Indiana University, and a makerspace proponent.

Stay tuned for another Transmission, Monday, June 13th!

Categories: Library News

Travel Apps!

Mon, 2016-05-30 13:00

With ALA’s annual conference in Orlando just around the corner, travel is in the plans for many librarians and staff. Fortunately, as I live in Florida, I don’t have that far to go. But if you do, then you’re going to need some good apps.

I travel frequently and have a few of my favorite apps that I use for travel, and I’d like to share them with you:

Airline App of Choice

I personally only use two airlines so I can only speak to their particular apps, but seriously, if you have a smartphone and you aren’t using it to hold tickets or boarding passes, you’re missing out. You can also use your app to check flight times and delays, book future travel, or just to play around (one of my airline’s apps lets you send virtual postcards).


Even if it’s just a weekend trip, this app is great at letting you know what you should bring depending on the weather and your activities. You can adjust the lists according to your preferences as well. Though this is the free version, there is a paid version where you can save your packing lists to Evernote. (Android)


I only use Foursquare when I travel. It got put through its paces in Boston when I needed to find a place to eat near my location or was looking for a historic site I hadn’t been to. It also helped in giving me tips about the place: what to order, when to avoid the place, how the staff was. On top of that, it links with your Map App of Choice (Google Maps FTW!) to give you directions and contact information. It’s not Yelp, but I feel it’s more genuine. (Android)


Take it from someone who lived in Orlando: driving in that city is not fun. This is why you want Waze: it can show you directions as well as let you input traffic accidents you happen across as you drive (well, maybe after you drive). It even helps out with finding cheap gas. (Android)

Photo-Editing App of Choice

You’re no doubt going to be taking a lot of photos on your trip, so why not spice them up with some creative edits and share them? There are a plethora of photo apps out there to choose from, the most ubiquitous being Instagram (Android), but I love Hipstamatic (paid, iOS only) because you can randomize your filters and get a totally unexpected result every shot. Other apps that are fun are Pixlr (Android) (there’s a desktop version, too!) and Photoshop Express (Android)
What are some travel apps that you cannot live without? Post them in the comments or tweet them my way @LibrarianStevie!

Categories: Library News

Jobs in Information Technology: May 25, 2016

Wed, 2016-05-25 14:36

New vacancy listings are posted weekly on Wednesday at approximately 12 noon Central Time. They appear under New This Week and under the appropriate regional listing. Postings remain on the LITA Job Site for a minimum of four weeks.

New This Week

Pacific States University(PSU), Librarian, Los Angeles, CA

Visit the LITA Job Site for more available jobs and for information on submitting a job posting.

Categories: Library News

Mindful Tech, a 2 part webinar series with David Levy

Tue, 2016-05-24 11:09

Mindful Tech: Establishing a Healthier and More Effective Relationship with Our Digital Devices and Apps
Tuesdays, June 7 and 14, 2016, 1:00 – 2:30 pm Central Time
David Levy, Information School, University of Washington

Register Now for this 2 part webinar

“There is a long history of people worrying and complaining about new technologies and also putting them up on a pedestal as the answer. When the telegraph and telephone came along you had people arguing both sides—that’s not new. And you had people worrying about the explosion of books after the rise of the printing press.

What is different is for the last 100-plus years the industrialization of Western society has been devoted to a more, faster, better philosophy that has accelerated our entire economic system and squeezed out anything that is not essential.

As a society, I think we’re beginning to recognize this imbalance, and we’re in a position to ask questions like “How do we live a more balanced life in the fast world? How do we achieve adequate forms of slow practice?”

David Levy – See more at:

Don’t miss the opportunity to participate in this well known program by David Levy, based on his recent widely reviewed and well regarded book “Mindful Tech”. The popular interactive program will include exercises and participation now re-packaged into a 2 part webinar format. Both parts will be fully recorded for participants to return to, or to work with varying schedules.

Register Now for the 2 part Mindful Tech webinar series

This two part, 90 minutes each, webinars series will introduce participants to some of the central insights of the work Levy has been doing over the past decade and more. By learning to pay attention to their immediate experience (what’s going on in their minds and bodies) while they’re online, people are able to see more clearly what’s working well for them and what isn’t, and based on these observations to develop personal guidelines that allow them to operate more effectively and healthfully. Levy will demonstrate this work by giving participants exercises they can do, both during the online program and between the sessions.


David Levy

David M. Levy is a professor at the Information School of the University of Washington. For more than a decade, he has been exploring, via research and teaching, how we can establish a more balanced relationship with our digital devices and apps. He has given many lectures and workshops on this topic, and in January 2016 published a book on the subject, “Mindful Tech: How to Bring Balance to Our Digital Lives” (Yale). Levy is also the author of “Scrolling Forward: Making Sense of Documents in the Digital Age” (rev. ed. 2016).

Additional information is available on his website at:

Then register for the webinar and get Full details

Can’t make the dates but still want to join in? Registered participants will have access to both parts of the recorded webinars.


  • LITA Member: $68
  • Non-Member: $155
  • Group: $300

Registration Information

Register Online page arranged by session date (login required)
Mail or fax form to ALA Registration
Call 1-800-545-2433 and press 5

Questions or Comments?

For all other questions or comments related to the preconference, contact LITA at (312) 280-4269 or Mark Beatty,

Categories: Library News

LITA announces the Top Tech Trends panel at ALA Annual 2016

Mon, 2016-05-23 15:34

Kicking off LITA’s celebration year of it’s 50th year the Top Technology Trends Committee announces the panel for the highly popular session at  2016 ALA Annual in Orlando, FL.

Top Tech Trends
starts Sunday June 26, 2016, 1:00 pm – 2:30 pm, in the
Orange County Convention Center, Room W109B
and kicks off Sunday Afternoon with LITA.

This program features the ongoing roundtable discussion about trends and advances in library technology by a panel of LITA technology experts. The panelists will describe changes and advances in technology that they see having an impact on the library world, and suggest what libraries might do to take advantage of these trends. This year’s panelists line up is:

  • Maurice Coleman, Session Moderator, Technical Trainer, Harford County Public Library, @baldgeekinmd
  • Blake Carver, Systems Administrator, LYRASIS, @blakesterz
  • Lauren Comito, Job and Business Academy Manager, Queens Library, @librariancraftr
  • Laura Costello, Head of Research & Emerging Technologies, Stony Brook University, @lacreads
  • Carolyn Coulter, Director, PrairieCat Library Consortium, Reaching Across Illinois Library System (RAILS), @ccoulter
  • Nick Grove, Digital Services Librarian, Meridian Library District – unBound, @nickgrove15

Check out the Top Tech Trends web site for more information and panelist biographies.

Safiya Noble

Followed by the LITA Awards Presentation & LITA President’s Program with Dr. Safiya Noble
presenting: Toward an Ethic of Social Justice in Information
at 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm, in the same location

Dr. Noble is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Information Studies in the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies at UCLA. She conducts research in socio-cultural informatics; including feminist, historical and political-economic perspectives on computing platforms and software in the public interest. Her research is at the intersection of culture and technology in the design and use of applications on the Internet.

Concluding with the LITA Happy Hour
from 5:30 pm – 8:00 pm
that location to be determined

This year marks a special LITA Happy Hour as we kick off the celebration of LITA’s 50th anniversary. Make sure you join the LITA Membership Development Committee and LITA members from around the country for networking, good cheer, and great fun! Expect lively conversation and excellent drinks; cash bar. Help us cheer for 50 years of library technology.


Categories: Library News

Getting your color on: maybe there’s some truth to the trend

Mon, 2016-05-23 10:00

Coloring was never my thing, even as a young child, the amount of decision required in coloring was actually stressful to me. Hence my skepticism of this zen adult coloring trend. How could something so stressful for me be considered a thing of “zen”. I purchased a book and selected coloring tools about a year ago, coloring bits and pieces here and there but not really getting it. Until now.

While reading an article about the psychology behind adult coloring, I found this quote to be exceptionally interesting:

The action involves both logic, by which we color forms, and creativity, when mixing and matching colors. This incorporates the areas of the cerebral cortex involved in vision and fine motor skills [coordination necessary to make small, precise movements]. The relaxation that it provides lowers the activity of the amygdala, a basic part of our brain involved in controlling emotion that is affected by stress. -Gloria Martinez Ayala [quoted in Coloring Isn’t Just For Kids. It Can Actually Help Adults Combat Stress]

A page, colored by Whitni Watkins, from Color Me Stress Free by Lacy Mucklow and Angela Porter

As I was coloring this particular piece [pictured to the left] I started seeing the connection the micro process of coloring has to the macro process of managing a library and/or team building. Each coloring piece has individual parts that contribute to forming the outline of full work of art. But it goes deeper than that.

For exampled, how you color and organize the individual parts can determine how beautiful or harmonious the picture can be. You have so many different color options to choose from, to incorporate into your picture, some will work better than others. For example, did you know in color theory, orange and blue is a perfect color combination? According to color theory, harmonious color combinations use any two colors opposite each other on the color wheel.” [7]  But that the combination of orange, blue and yellow is not very harmonious?

Our lack of knowledge is a significant hindrance for creating greatness, knowing your options while coloring is incredibly important. Your color selection will determine what experience one has when viewing the picture. Bland, chaotic or pleasing, each part working together, contributing to the bigger picture. “Observing the effects colors have on each other is the starting point for understanding the relativity of color. The relationship of values, saturations and the warmth or coolness of respective hues can cause noticeable differences in our perception of color.” [6]  Color combinations, that may seem unfitting to you, may actually compliment each other.  

Note that some colors will be used more frequently and have a greater presence in the final product due to the qualities that color holds but remember that even the parts that only have a small presence are crucial to bringing the picture together in the end. 

“Be sure to include those who are usually left out of such acknowledgments, such as the receptionist who handled the flood of calls after a successful public relations effort or the information- technology people who installed the complex software you used.”[2]

There may be other times where you don’t use a certain color as much as it should have and could have been used. The picture ends up fully colored and completed but not nearly as beautiful (harmonious) as it could have been. When in the coloring process, ask yourself often “‘What else do we need to consider here?’ you allow perspectives not yet considered to be put on the table and evaluated.” [2] Constant evaluation of your process will lead to a better final piece.

While coloring I also noticed that I color individual portions in a similar manner. I color triangles and squares by outlining and shading inwards. I color circular shapes in a circular motion and shading outwards. While coloring, we find our way to be the most efficient but contained (within the lines) while simultaneously coordinating well with the other parts. Important to note, that the way you found to be efficient in one area  may not work in another area and you need to adapt and be flexible and willing to try other ways. Imagine coloring a circle the way you color a square or a triangle. You can take as many shortcuts as you want to get the job done faster but you may regret them in the end. Cut carefully. 

Remember while coloring: Be flexible. Be adaptable. Be imperturbable.

You can color how ever you see fit. You can choose which colors you want, the project will get done. You can be sure there will be moments of chaos, there will be moments that lack innovation. Experiment, try new things and the more you color the better you’ll get. However, coloring isn’t for everyone, at that’s okay. 

Now, go back and read again, this time substitute the word color for manage.

Maybe there is something to be said about this trend of the adult coloring book. 

1. Coloring Isn’t Just For Kids. It Can Actually Help Adults Combat Stress
2. Twelve Ways to Build an Effective Team
3. COLOURlovers: History Of The Color Wheel
4. Smashing Magazine: Color Theory for Designers, Part 1: The Meaning of Color:
5. Some Color History
6. Color Matters: Basic Color Theory
7. lifehacker: Learn the Basics of Color Theory to Know What Looks Good
8. lifehacker: Color Psychology Chart
9. Why Flexible and Adaptive Leadership is Essential

Categories: Library News

Jobs in Information Technology: May 18, 2016

Wed, 2016-05-18 14:47

New vacancy listings are posted weekly on Wednesday at approximately 12 noon Central Time. They appear under New This Week and under the appropriate regional listing. Postings remain on the LITA Job Site for a minimum of four weeks.

New This Week

University of Rhode Island, Associate Professor, Librarian (Data Services), Kingston, RI

Reaching Across Illinois Library System, Cataloging and Database Supervisor-PrairieCat, Coal Valley, IL

e-Management, Senior Librarian, Silver Spring, MD

Visit the LITA Job Site for more available jobs and for information on submitting a job posting.

Categories: Library News

The Frivolity of Making

Wed, 2016-05-18 08:00

Makerspaces have been widely embraced in public libraries and K-12 schools, but do they belong in higher education? Are makerspaces a frivolous pursuit?

When I worked at a public library there was very little doubt about the importance of making and it felt like the entire community was ready for a makerspace. Fortunately, many of my current colleagues at Indiana University are equally as curious and enthusiastic about the maker movement, but I can’t help but notice a certain reluctance in academia towards making, playing, and having fun. From the moment I interviewed for my current position I’ve been questioned about my interest in makerspaces and more specifically, my playful nature. I’m not afraid to admit that I like to have fun, and as librarians there’s no reason why our jobs shouldn’t be fun (at least most of the time). My mom is a nurse and there are plenty of legitimate reasons why her job isn’t fun a lot of the time. But it’s not just about me or even librarians. In higher education we constantly question if it’s okay to have fun.

Things like 3D printing and digital fabrication are an easy sell in higher ed, but littleBits and LEGOs prove slightly more challenging. I recently demonstrated the MaKey MaKey, Google Cardboard, and Sphero robotic ball for 40 of my colleagues at our library’s annual “In-House Institute.” My session was called “Intro to Makerspaces” and consisted of a quick rundown of the what and why of the maker movement, followed by play time. I was surprised to see how receptive everyone was and how quickly they got out of their seats and started playing. As the excitement in the room grew, I noticed one of my colleagues sitting with a puzzled look on his face. “But, why?” he said. As in, “why are you asking me to play with toys?” A completely reasonable question to ask, especially if you’ve been working in higher ed for 40+ years.

For starters, we know that learning by doing can be very effective, but that’s only part of it. Tinkering with littleBits does not make you an electrical engineer and it’s not supposed to. Tools like these are meant to expose you to the medium and to spark ideas. Cardboard is a great introduction to virtual reality, MaKey MaKey opens up the world of electronics, and Sphero is a much friendlier intro to programming than a blank terminal window. Many of these maker-type tools are marketed towards kids, but I’m convinced that adults are the ones who really need them. We need to be reminded of how to play, tinker, and fail; actions that many of us have become completely removed from.

Making is also a great opportunity for peer-to-peer learning across disciplines. The 2015 Library Edition of the NMC Horizon Report makes a solid argument for makerspaces in libraries: “University libraries are in the unique position to offer a central, discipline-neutral space where every member of the academic community can engage in creative activities.” I refuse to believe that our music students are the only ones who can play music or that our fine arts students are the only ones who can draw. The library offers a safe and neutral zone for students to branch out from their departments and try something new.

Interacting with new technologies is another key selling point for makerspaces, and the best makerspaces are a blend of high-tech and low-tech. Our very own MILL makerspace in the School of Education has 3D printers alongside popsicle sticks and pom-poms. It’s tough to be intimidated by the laser engraver once you’ve seen a carton full of googly eyes. This type of low-stakes environment is a great way to explore new technologies and there are few instances like this in the modern academic institution.

So are makerspaces frivolous? On the surface, yes, they can be. Sometimes playing is nothing more than a mental break, but sometimes it’s a gateway to something greater. I’d argue that we owe our students opportunities to do both.

There are tons of resources about makerspaces out there, but here’s just a few of my favorites if you’re eager to learn more…

Categories: Library News

Privacy Technology Tools for You and Your Patrons

Tue, 2016-05-17 12:55

Hear from the experts at the Library Freedom Project, Alison Macrina and Nima Fatemi, at 2 important LITA webinars coming soon, May 26 and 31, 2016.

Email is a postcard
Tor-ify Your Library

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn about protecting yourself and your patrons.  You can attend either one, or attend both at a discounted rate.

Register now for either webinar

Privacy tools are a hot topic in libraries, as librarians all over the country have begun using and teaching privacy-enhancing technologies, and considering the privacy and security implications of library websites, databases, and services. Attend these up to the minute LITA privacy concerns webinars.

Here’s the details for each of the two webinars:

Email is a postcard: how to make it more secure with free software and encryption.
Thursday May 26, 2016, 1:00 – 2:00 pm Central Time
Alison Macrina, and Nima Fatemi

Email is neither secure nor private, and the process of fixing its problems can be mystifying, even for technical folks. In this one hour webinar, Nima and Alison from Library Freedom Project will help shine some light on email issues and the tools you can use to make this communication more confidential. They will cover the issues with email, and teach about how to use GPG to encrypt emails and keep them safe.

Tor-ify Your Library: How to use this privacy-enhancing technology to keep your patrons’ data safe
Tuesday May 31, 2016, 1:00 – 2:00 pm Central Time
Alison Macrina, and Nima Fatemi

TOR onion

Heard about the Tor network but not sure how it applies to your library? Join Alison and Nima from the Library Freedom Project in this one hour webinar to learn about the Tor network, running the Tor browser and a Relay, and other basic services to help your patrons have enhanced browsing privacy in the library and beyond.


Alison Macrina, Director of the Library Freedom Project
Nima Fatemi, Chief Technologist of Library Freedom Project

Alison’s and Nima’s work for the Library Freedom Project and classes for patrons including tips on teaching patron privacy classes can be found at:


Register now for either webinar

The two webinars are being offered as either single sessions or as a series of two webinars.


  • LITA Member: $45
  • Non-Member: $105
  • Group: $196

To register for both webinars at a discounted rate use the “Webinar Series: Email Is a Postcard & Tor-ify Your Library” register link.

The discounted rates for both sessions:

  • LITA Member: $68
  • Non-Member: $155
  • Group: $300

Questions or Comments?

For all other questions or comments related to these webinars contact LITA at (312) 280-4269 or Mark Beatty,

Categories: Library News

LITA Forum Assessment Task Force Survey

Mon, 2016-05-16 10:28

Dear Colleagues,

The LITA Forum Assessment Task Force wants your opinions about the impact of LITA Forum and how it fits within the library technology conference landscape. We invite everyone who works in the overlapping space between libraries and technology, whether or not you belong to LITA or have attended the LITA Forum recently (or at all), to take a short survey:

We anticipate this survey will take approximately 10 minutes to complete. Participation is anonymous unless you provide your email address for potential follow-up questions. The survey closes on Friday, May 27th, 2016, so don’t delay!

We will summarize what we learn from this survey on the LITA Blog after July 1st. If you have any questions or are having problems completing the survey, please feel free to contact:

Jenny Taylor ( or Ken Varnum (

We thank you in advance for taking the time to provide us with this important information.

Jenny Taylor
Co-Chair, LITA Forum Assessment Task Force

Ken Varnum
Co-Chair, LITA Forum Assessment Task Force

Categories: Library News

Transmission #4

Mon, 2016-05-16 10:14

In a fun-filled fourth episode, Begin Transmission sits down with John Klima, Assistant Director at the Waukesha Public Library and LITA Blogger. Learn about Klima’s commitment to public service and steampunk expertise.

Begin Transmission will return with our fifth episode on May 31st.

Categories: Library News

Top Strategies to Win that Technology Grant: Part 2

Fri, 2016-05-13 05:26

“Needs assessment help establish the customer as the center of the service and bring the librarian and the library staff back to what is at the core of a library service: What do the library customers need?” (Dudden, 2007, p. 90)

As mentioned in my last post, Mackellar and Gerding, authors of ALA grant funding monographs, stress the importance of conducting a needs assessment as the first step in approaching a grant proposal.  It may be painful at first, but once a thorough study has been made, the remaining grant proposal steps become easier. You become well-informed about the community you serve and identify current service gaps in your library.  Not until you know your community’s needs will you be able to justify funding. Through my readings, I discovered that this includes your non-users as well as your current users. Remember, funders want to make sure people are helped by your project and therefore a guaranteed success.

In a nutshell, a needs assessment is, “A systematic process determining discrepancies between optimal and actual performance of a service by reviewing the service needs of a customer and stakeholders and then selecting interventions that allow the service to meet those needs in the fastest, most cost-effective manner” (Dudden, 2007, p. 61).  According to Dudden, in her book Using Benchmarking, Needs Assessment, Quality Improvement, Outcome Measurement and Library Standards, there are 12 steps in conducting a needs assessment: (1) Define your purpose or question (2) Gather your team, (3) Identify stakeholders and internal and external factors, (4) Define the question (5) Determine resources available, (6) Develop a timeline (7) Define your customers (8) Gather data from identified sources, (9) Analyze the data, (10) Make a decision and a plan of action, (11) Report to administration and evaluate the needs assessment process, and (12) Repeat needs assessment in the future  to see if the gap is smaller.

As librarians, we like to research something comprehensively before we dive into a project. Researching what others have done within their needs assessment project is an awesome strategy to get acquainted with the process and garner ideas.  There are several approaches to gain information from a sample of your community via surveys, interviews, focus groups, observations, community forums/town meetings, suggestion boxes, and public records.  If you bring in a technology-related project, your observation method may become a usability or user experience investigation, for example.  I learned that it is important to use multi-forms of techniques together and then combine the results to formulate trustworthy data.  I personally think that surveys are overly used, but I can live with it if used as one of many approaches in a study.  Take for instance the case back in 2011 when Penn State wanted to build a knowledge commons (Lynn, 2011).  Their project question or mission was to conduct a ten-month needs assessment in order to find out what new programming initiatives need creation and how the physical knowledge commons space should be configured in support of these endeavors.  I was amazed to read that they used seven techniques to inform their decisions: conducted site visits to other library knowledge commons, reviewed the literature on this topic, conducted student and faculty focus groups, created an online survey focusing on the physical library space and resources, created a survey exclusively for incoming freshmen, evaluated knowledge common websites from other institutions, and evaluated work spaces (circulation desk, reference desk, office space, etc.).  After each phase of the needs assessment was completed, they were able to prioritize space needs and draft a final report of their findings to administration and to the architectural firm.  One thing mentioned in this case study article is that a needs assessment has secondary effects that are essential to the process – it markets the project immensely and also invokes support from all stakeholders.  I am convinced that completing this process will get you one step closer to definite funding.

 Useful Links:
The Needs Assessment: Forum Unified Education Technology Suite
National Center for Education Statistics

IT Needs Assessment & Strategic Planning Surveys
Sacramento State

Methods for Conducting and Educational Needs Assessment
Guidelines for Cooperative Extension System Professionals
by Paul F. Cawley, University of Idaho

Chapter 3: Assessing Community Needs and Resources
Community Tool Box, University of Kansas

Information Gathering Toolkit

Community Needs Assessment Survey Guide
Utah State University

Assessing Faculty’s Technology Needs
by Tena B. Crew
Educause Review

Using Needs Assessment as a Holistic Means for Improving Technology Infrastructure
by Joni E. Spurlin, edited by Diana G. Oblinger
Educause Learning Initiative

Useful Tools
American Factfinder
U.S. Department of Commerce

Google Map Maker

Dudden, R. F. (2007). Using benchmarking, needs assessment, quality improvement, outcome measurement, and library standards: A how-to-do-it manual. New York, NY: Neal-Schuman.

Lynn, V. (2011). A knowledge commons needs assessment. College & Research Libraries News, 72(8), 464-467.

MacKellar, P. H., & Gerding, S. K. (2010). Winning grants: A how-to-do-it manual for librarians with multimedia tutorials and grant development tools. New York, NY: Neal-Schuman.

Categories: Library News