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Posts Tagged ‘free’

Why do libraries spend thousands of dollars a year on Microsoft Windows licenses for pc’s that are only used for access to the internet? 

I’m no expert by any means, so it’s possible that they think it’s worth it so they won’t need a separate server for those computers, but in reality they probably already have a dedicated server for them anyway…  Or maybe they think patrons can’t adapt to a different operating system – more likely they don’t want to themselves!  Most patrons wouldn’t even notice the difference, and those who did would quickly adapt.

These computers often do absolutely nothing except provide access to the internet.  So why not use Linux?  And while we’re at it throw some open source software on there like Gimp and Open Office?  All free, all useful to patrons – how can this not be the right thing to do?

Just a thought on how we can save everyone a little money. 

And now I shall prepare for some relaxing in the good-smelling open air of Wisconsin with a wacky web developer and Skippy the camping cat.

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Library Journal published a short article last year about small libraries using Netflix to supply movies to patrons.  It’s a short article and doesn’t say much, but the interest and ideas it sparks make up a hundred fold for the small amount of screenspace it needs to be read – at least for me. 

At the time I thought this was a great, economical way for libraries to provide more of what patrons want without running out of space and budget.  I even remember rumors and ideas circulating in the library world a year or so before the article in Library Journal was published.  I think the first place I came across the idea was at Jenny Levine’s blog – see The Shifted Librarian: The Exeter Public Library Does Netflix .   

Here I am two years later still wondering how Netflix is working in libraries.  Is it still working?  Have the executives at Netflix shut everyone down?  Did all the ‘naughty’ libraries get a copy of “There Will Be Blood” as recommended in that NEWSWEEK article?  I really wanted to know. 

So, I decided to just go ahead and ask. 

I chose to check in on the Cook Memorial Library way up in Tamworth, NH from that article in Library Journal.  Library director Jay Rancourt had this to say about Netflix’s successful and continued use in her library:

Yes, we are still using Netflix. We are circulating two at a time now. Very popular service. Even more so in this lousy economy. There are (red) cards on the circ desk to be filled out by the patrons with their request. We queue the patron requests up on the Netflix website, and loan only one unit per person at a time. Then the patrons must queue up again.  It’s a two-day rental to keep the queue moving. I think it’s well worth the $13.99 per month it costs…

I did the math and I’d say she’s getting a great deal.  Economically, it’s like buying one new DVD a month, but having access to around 30.  Smart, smart, smart.  Why not take advantage of an easy and inexpensive way to provide users with what they want?  Way to go Jay!

It looks like no one has seen any kind of ‘reminder’ from Netflix the corporate entity banning libraries from using this service.  I’m sure they realize how many new subscribers they will gain from the pool of people who have access to their service through libraries.  Impatience is commonplace in America, eventually everyone wants their own subscription.  Netflix should consider paying libraries to offer the service!

Public libraries aren’t the only ones taking advantage, academic libraries are getting in on the deal, too.  University of Washington libraries offer Netflix service for UW  instructors.  That’s especially helpful for film classes I’ll bet. 

Any other great pairings of libraries and Netflix that I have yet to unearth?  Share please!

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I love telling stories and hearing stories. Who doesn’t? I went to the National Storytelling Festival for the first time last year and loved it! I heard the most amazing storytellers, and learned so much from them. It got me geared up and ready for my own scary stories night at the library for Halloween, which turned out to be a huge success and a blast.

However, as the saying goes ‘practice makes perfect’, and while I don’t think any storyteller can ever be perfect – (the imperfections are part of what makes each storyteller unique and wonderful) – a little practice and observation is good for everyone.

So, if you’re a storyteller or just enjoy hearing stories you should check out this free monthly open-mic night at Dominican University in partnership with Illinois Storytelling Inc. I certainly plan to take part, even if I just feel like sitting back and listening in… I might, at the very least, learn a great new story to share.

 

This following info is from the Illinois Storytelling Inc. calendar online:

 

April 4 – River Forest Open Mic Storytelling

DOMINICAN UNIVERSITY is now sponsoring a ONCE A MONTH open mic event for storytelling. Open Mic Night will be the first Saturday of the month, so mark your calendar and bring your stories. Bring your friends who want to learn how to tell stories. Bring your neighbors who want to hear stories. Eight minutes each.

7:00pm in the Rebecca Crown Room – it’s in the Springer
Suites on the lower level of the Rebecca Crown Library at Dominican University in River Forest.

Park in the west parking lot and go down the ramp; Springer Suites is direcly to the right as you enter.

There is a cafe just outside the room with coffee drinks and sandwiches.

7900 West Division Street
River Forest, IL 60305

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For more information: jdelnegro@dom.edu or megan@meganwells.com

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