April 17th, 2013 by Michael Sauers

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November 9th, 2012 by Michael Sauers

Do you have a program or service in your small library that other librarians might like to hear about? Have you implemented a new (or old) technology, hosted an event, partnered with others in your community, or just done something really cool? The Big Talk From Small Libraries online conference can give you the opportunity to share what you’ve done and learn what your colleagues in other small libraries are doing. 

Big Talk From Small Libraries got such a great response last year that we’re doing it again. This free one-day online conference is aimed at librarians from small libraries; the smaller the better.

For Big Talk From Small Libraries 2013, we’re looking for seven 50-minute presentations and five 10-minute “lightning round” presentations.

Big Talk From Small Libraries 2013 will be held on Thursday, February 28, 2013 between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. (CT) via the GoToWebinar online meeting service. Speakers will be able to present their programs from their own desktops. The schedule will accommodate speakers’ time-zones.

If you are interested in presenting, please submit your proposal via the online form at http://nlcblogs.nebraska.gov/bigtalk/call-for-speakers/ by Friday, January 11, 2013. Speakers from libraries serving fewer than 10,000 people will be preferred, but presentations from libraries with larger service populations will be considered.

More details about this conference can be found @ http://nlcblogs.nebraska.gov/bigtalk

This conference is organized and hosted by the Nebraska Library Commission (http://nlc.nebraska.gov/) and is co-sponsored by the Association for Rural & Small Libraries (http://arsl.info/).

Questions?  Contact:

Michael Sauers
Technology Innovation Librarian
Nebraska Library Commission

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March 1st, 2012 by Michael Sauers

Thanks to memolane I was just reminded that I started at the Nebraska Library Commission exactly five years ago today; March 1, 2007. On the left: back then. On the right: today.

5yearsago1 today1

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August 11th, 2011 by Michael Sauers

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June 2nd, 2011 by Michael Sauers

The ongoing Nebraska Learns 2.0 program (http://nelearns.blogspot.com ) is now 2 years old! Yup, our very first Thing was in May 2009. Every month since then, we’ve offered you a new resource to learn about. But this isn’t the Nebraska Library Commission’s first foray into a 23 Things program. We debuted our first Nebraska Learns 2.0 program in October 2008. That original program ran for 16 weeks, through the end of January 2009 – http://l2ne.blogspot.com/2008/09/home.html

Why are we giving you this 23 Things in Nebraska history lesson?

Many library staff have participated in both our original, 16 week program and in our ongoing program. But, we’ve heard from some of you that you’d like to do another 16 week learning program. Well, you’re in luck! We’ve discovered a new 23 Things program that we think would be very useful, engaging, and fun. It’s called 23 Things for Professional Development – http://cpd23.blogspot.com/

From its own website, “CPD23 is a free online programme open to information professionals at all stages of their career, in all types of roles, and anywhere across the world. Inspired by the 23 Things programmes for social media, this new programme will consist of a mixture of social media ‘Things’ and ‘Things’ to do with professional development. The programme starts on 20 June and will run until early October 2011.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? We thought so, too. So, we have decided to change things up here at Nebraska Learns 2.0. For the next 5 months, we’re going back to our roots. Instead of 5 new Things from June through October, Nebraska Learns 2.0 is going to follow along with 23 Things for Professional Development

You will have the opportunity to learn 23 new Things to help you with your professional development. And we at Nebraska Learns 2.0 will be here to assist you in participating in this new, 16 week 23 Things program

But wait…there’s more! Nebraska library staff who complete all 23 Things for Professional Development by October 14 will earn 15 CE Credits

You will find all of the details about this new learning opportunity on the Nebraska Learns 2.0 website at http://nelearns.blogspot.com/2011/06/new-23-thingsfor-your-professional.html

We invite all Nebraska librarians, library staff, library friends, library board members and school media specialists to join us on this new international learning adventure. Please share this announcement with your colleagues, your director, your staff…with anyone who you think might be interested in working on their professional development.

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July 19th, 2010 by Michael Sauers

CommitteeFirst, yes, I missed yesterday. Considering I got more than half way through the month before missing a post I’m not too upset by it. So, on to today’s post…

Emily over at Shelf Check (yes, she did end up reposting the original Shelf Check #420) has written a great post titled “What would you do if you didn’t need the approval of 15 committees?” Take a moment and read it. There’s a lot to think about here.

I don’t want to get too much into detail about how things work at the Nebraska Library Commission but lately I’ve felt like that too many of my ideas have needed to get the input and/or approval of too many people. A few times this month I’ve wanted to just look people in the eye and say “you know, I do know what I’m talking about.” (I’ve done it indirectly but that’s me just wanting to avoid conflict.)

However, we’re starting an internal staff blog here at the commission and is was my idea. I’ve been running this concept a little different from the beginning. Before proposing it I did get lots of input. Just not input from everyone. I did propose it to a committee but one that doesn’t meet all that often and in my opinion doesn’t seem to overanalyze things; they just decide if something needs to be done or not and then schedules an event to cover it. Then, last week the director came into my office and said “Let’s go ahead. Do whatever you need to do.” Music to my ears.

My hopes is that the new blog will be up and running by the end of the month. I’m also trying to convince people not to even think about it before it’s running. What I don’t want to happen is long discussion of what should or should not be posted to the blog, or how things should be tagged/categorized, or what template should be used. Why, because it can all be changed in seconds should we decide something’s not working. 

Ultimately, I hope that this project will be an organic process. I’ll plant the seed and see what grows. It might be a success, it might not. But what I can guarantee is that it won’t die by committee before it even gets started.

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July 16th, 2010 by Michael Sauers

audiopodcasticonThing #38 in the Nebraska Learns 2.0 program is about marketing. We’re asked to talk about some 2.0 tech that we are or could be using to market our library. Well, I’m the producer of the NCompass Podcast and yesterday I posted the 62nd episode and decided to see just how much content we’ve published and I was amazed. (Technically it’s the 88th episode but we launched in January 2009 and started over with the episode numbers.)

ncompassLiveMedIn total our podcast feed (RSS / iTunes) has 4.92GB of available data totaling 3.4 days of content. About 25 hours of that content is just from this year alone! How do we produce so much content?

imageStep one, record everything! We’ve got a cordless mic and we connect it to many of our presenters. We also have a weekly online show names NCompass Live and that’s automatically recorded by the GoToWebinar software. (That’s pretty much a guaranteed hour worth of content right there.) The GoToWebinar content is actually a video file which I convert to a .wav audio file using our video editing software. Presentation recorded directly to audio are recorded with the free Audacity software.

Levelator-2.0-screenNext I run the raw audio file through Levelator to even out the audio and make sure all the voices are generally the same volume. I then pull the audio into Audacity and do some very basic editing, usually just trimming the beginning and end of the file of extraneous material.

Audacity-logo-r_50pctI then add opening and closing music and the opening and closing narration recorded at my desk by yours truly. The result then gets exported to an .mp3 file by Audacity. I then make sure the metadata is correct on the mp3 file and dump it to our Web server. 

listgardenlogo48I write a blog post linking to all the relevant information and downloadable files along with an embedded player for those that don’t want to download the file before playing it. Lastly I use ListGarden to add that episode to the RSS file also stored on our server for those that subscribe to the Podcast directly. (iTunes usually automatically picks up the new episode within the day.)

Overall, excluding the actual recording of the content in the first place, producing an episode take me about 20-30 minutes a week. Sometimes I get behind but I’m doing my best to keep up with all the content we’re generating. 

So, that’s just one way the Nebraska Library Commission is using 2.0 technologies to market what we do: the NCompass Podcast.

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April 1st, 2010 by Michael Sauers

Thing #35Nebraska Learns 2.0 is the Nebraska Library Commission’s ongoing online learning program. The goal of our program is to encourage participants to experiment with and learn about the new and emerging technologies that are reshaping the way people, society and libraries access information and communicate with each other. Nebraska Learns 2.0 is a self-discovery program which encourages participants to take control of their own learning and to utilize their lifelong learning skills through exploration and PLAY. 

Each month, The Nebraska Library Commission offers you an opportunity to learn a new Thing (or lesson). You have all month to complete that Thing and receive one CE credit. You may choose which Things to do based on personal interest and time availability. If the Thing of the month doesn’t interest you or if you are particularly busy that month, you can skip it. 

The Thing for April is: Track Your Software Usage with Wakoopa 

Ever wonder how much you use a particular program? Does it seem like you spend all day on Word or Outlook? Or maybe you’ve got iTunes running in the background at all times. Not only is there a way to track all of the software you run, you can also track certain online applications such as Google Reader, GMail, and Hootsuite. 

If you are new to Nebraska Learns 2.0, your first assignment is to sign up to participate at http://nelearns.blogspot.com/2009/03/participate.html. This program is open to ALL Nebraska librarians, library staff, library friends, library board members and school media specialists. We hope you’ll join your library colleagues in the fun as you learn about new and exciting technologies! 

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February 25th, 2009 by Michael Sauers

For those that don’t know MPOW got audited recently and the state auditor determined that our spending of state funds regarding gaming was inappropriate. The report and our response can be found on the NLC’s blog. Those interested in the local reaction can check out this article and the 60+ comments on the Lincoln Journal Star Web site. (It’s also made the TV news in both Lincoln and Omaha, along with an AP article that’s been reprinted in at least two other states.)

I’ve got my opinions and feelings about how this went down and the results but for now I need to keep them pretty much in-house. However, I did get permission from one Nebraska librarian to reprint his letter to the newspaper and to the state auditor. I am reprinting in here in case the paper doesn’t decide to print it. (The only editing I did was to add the link to Amazon regarding the book he speaks of and to remove his phone number and e-mail address.)

John W. Seyfarth
Information Systems Manager
Sump Memorial Library
4612 Sutley Circle
Papillion, NE 68133

Feb 25, 2009

Mike Foley, State Auditor
P. O. Box 98917
State Capitol, Suite 2303
Lincoln, NE 68509

An open letter to the Nebraska State Auditor, Mr. Mike Foley

Dear Mr. Foley, 

I am a librarian at the Sump Memorial Library in Papillion.  I read the Journal Star article about your recent audit of the Nebraska Library Commission, the audit itself, and the response by the Commission.  It appears to me that perhaps you and your auditors don’t have a good grasp of what the current missions of libraries are.  The most important is that we are the community center for lifelong learning, and we are not just books, magazines, or the Internet any more.  Gaming and social networking are legitimate activities that contribute to lifelong learning.  Perhaps you should read one of the most authoritative works on the subject, “Don’t Bother Me Mom—I’m Learning!” by Marc Prensky.  I have ordered a copy to be delivered to your office on my dime.  I hope you read it, and discover that the manipulatives that are used in gaming are not just “toys” as you hinted in your audit.  As you stated, one of the objectives is to attract youths into libraries, and perhaps introduce them to gaming, and the other elements that libraries provide toward facilitation of lifelong learning.  There is lots of learning that takes place with both gaming and social networking.  Much of it is related to the enhancement of personal communication skills.  And in my opinion, we really need better communications between the citizens of our country.  So, if you haven’t tried it, I encourage you to attend one of the gaming tournaments that will undoubtedly occur at one of the Lincoln City Libraries.  The commission’s role in all this is to help libraries in facilitating these activities, and the Internet vehicles are low cost methods to get this information out to Nebraska Libraries.

Furthermore, one of the issues in your report has to do with the fact that the commission paid sales tax on their two on-line purchases.  On line vendors generally don’t accept our Nebraska Tax Exempt form, and furthermore, the 5½% of the 7% sales tax that was paid in these orders goes directly back into state coffers.  Of the $29.26 that was paid on the state credit card all but $6.27 went back to the state, since it was state tax.  I have included a check for $6.27 in Mr. Foley’s copy of this letter written out to the Department of Revenue to cover the city tax that was missed out on by the State of Nebraska.

It appears to me that there are many bigger “fish to fry” by your state auditors that the gaming purchases by the Nebraska Library Commission.  As I am also a member of a local Nebraska Foster Care Review Board, I see the results of many very important unaudited issues every month.  If the Audit Agency is hurting for topics to audit, just take a look as the State Foster Care Review Board 25th Anniversary Annual Report, and there is rich material to audit here, such as why almost 46% of the children in foster care have had to put up with at least four or more different case workers to manage their cases during their custody as state wards, or over 40% of children in foster care have been there over two years. 

John W. Seyfarth

Director, Nebraska Library Commission
Executive Director, State Foster Care Review Board
President, Nebraska Library Association

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November 12th, 2008 by Michael Sauers

There are still plenty of seats available in Library Camp Nebraska one week from today. Sign up now! It’s totally free and totally fun!

Potential topics to be discussed currently include: 

  • The Social Web in the library
  • Cheap and free tech tools
  • Copyright & Creative Commons
  • Public programs
  • High Tech / High Touch: are they mutually exlusive?
  • Get your free Web presence (for libraries that don’t have one already)
  • Privacy in a Social Web world
  • Wildly impractical, expensive ideas for your library
  • Alternative searching techniques (or, what’s new & cool in the world of searching??)
  • Ideas for library marketing on the cheap
  • Ideas for new granting agencies/funding sources and/or grant success stories
  • Demythologizing the "information wants to be free" (while information may want to be free, it aint cheap to provide it…)
  • Community Outreach
  • Mentoring
  • Instruction
  • Expanding the role of the library on campus (PR/marketing/collaboration)
  • Exploring the future of library workers: What’s the greatest need in Nebraska?…support for Master’s level v. pre-professional training?

Full details @ http://librarycampnebraska.pbwiki.com/

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