We've entered the Week of the Deep Freeze here, with day time temperatures barely getting above zero. Reports say this type of extended sub-arctic freeze hasn't happened for 40 years - it brings back memories of my Alaskan days! So, it's time to get in to hibernation mode and take advantage of the opportunities the internet offers. Lots of online learning sessions are noted on my calendar now.
Yesterday I learned about the Impact Survey from TechSoup, available to public libraries as a way to gather data from users. This will be a great tool for Montana's libraries, allowing them to learn how their patrons are using library computers and databases. This information can then be used to demonstrate the library's value in the community, an important consideration when budgeting and funding discussions come up. Library standards specify feedback should be gathered every 2 years - often a difficult task for libraries to manage. The survey will make it much easier. It's as simple as inserting some simple code into a website, and will result in valuable data that can be used for comparisons with other similar libraries. I'd like to be able to help all libraries take advantage of this.
Today there are a few more learning opportunities, one specifically on rural libraries and how they can be promoting innovation in their communities. Not every library can manage to create a maker space but there are probably other ways to be creative - I'm curious to find out what options might be out there! The state library has a grant we are looking at using for life-long learning and community outreach programs, and I'm hoping some ideas from today's session will be useful in supporting that.
Another idea for the grant is to develop a traveling "story-gathering" toolbox so libraries could record local community experts and stories, like the LibraryYOU program. I would love to learn more about video recording and editing, and be able to train others to do the same. This sounds like it could be so much fun!
This could also be a good time to play with the various gadgets in the Petting Zoo, just to make sure I'm familiar with all the available features in case someone asks. They are just sitting here, and an unused gadget is a sad thing!