Thursday, May 31, 2007

Microsoft Surface Computer

This video will show you a new computer prototype being released by Microsoft in the next year. It is straight out of the movies. Specifically, if you ever saw Tom Cruise use his computer in Minority Report then you have seen this computer before.

I wonder how libraries can use these???

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Loan Star Libraries Program receives an additional $1 Million a Year

Great news! The legislature passed a budget that included an increase of $2 million for the Loan Star Libraries Program over the next two years. This news means libraries will get more in direct aid from the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC). Here is an excerpt from the latest Texas Library Association's Texline.

Direct Aid for Public Libraries ($2 million over the biennium)The state has appropriated an additional $1 million per year for the Loan Star Libraries grant.

Here is an analysis from Texline of the overall TSLAC budget.

Overall TSLAC Budget- The state did reinstate most of the 10% cut (requested of all agencies last fall), although some administrative funds were not restored in various areas in the budget. The state increase of $1 million for Loan Star Libraries per year represents almost a 38% increase in the program funding level of 2007. (As a point of comparison, the proposed federal increase for grants to libraries, through the Library Services and Technology funding, represents approximately a 4% increase over last fiscal year.)

For the latest in Texline issues, check here. Note: The latest issue is not up yet, but hopefully it will be soon.

I am very pleased with the results. I frankly did not expect us to get anything this session. I commend all of those who who contacted their state representatives about library issues. The results of this legislative session has restored my faith in the process and I can only hope it gets better from this point forward. Take a deep breath and relax. You deserve a break before we start again in 2009.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Governor Signs Bill to Continue the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Governor Perry signed a SB913 on Saturday to continue the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. Included in the bill, there was some language to allow Systems to raise funds outside of the System grant. This is great news for NTRLS as we can raise funds in the following ways:

(a) The commission may

authorize a major resource system or regional library system to

receive money in addition to the system operation grant, including

money from:

(1) gifts or grants from the federal government, local

or regional governments, private sources, or other sources;

(2) contracts for services;

(3) cost-sharing arrangements; or

(4) other fees.

The NTRLS staff has already started to think of ways to raise additional funds without taking away from the core projects of consulting and continuing education. I will begin to write grants in September for projects. If you have any ideas in this area, please let me know.

To read the bill, go here.

Friday, May 25, 2007

2007 NTRLS Award Ceremony

Originally uploaded by ntrls2006

The North Texas Regional Library System celebrated its 2007 Awards Ceremony at our May 24, 2007 System Assembly Meeting in Wichita Falls. Allison Long of the Haltom City Public Library won the Library Employee Award. She is pictured here with friends and family who attended the event. For a complete listing of award winners, please go here.

The event was covered by two local news channels so our award winners gained a lot of recognition for their efforts in assisting libraries. Congrats to all of them!!!

To see additional photos, check out our Flickr account.

Update: Here is one of the news reports on the event.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Web 2.0 Explained

I have shown this video several times at workshops with great success. Even if you know about Web 2.0, you might want to check out this video. It is very entertaining. BTW, the video is stored on YouTube which can be addictive.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Two New NTRLS Board Members

At the March System Assembly meeting, the membership voted to modify the bylaws to include two at-large members on the NTRLS Board of Directors. This modification increases the number of NTRLS Board members from 7 individuals to 9 individuals. Due to the close proximity of the spring System Assembly meetings, there was not enough time to organize a nomination committee, which is required to submit names to the System office thirty days before the election of the at-large members at a System Assembly meeting. In situations like this, it falls to the Chair of the NTRLS Board of Directors to assign individuals to serve in a temporary capacity until the beginning of the next elected term(September 2008).

With this mind, I am proud to announce the appointment of Cecil Carter and Meg Barrow to the NTRLS Board of Directors. You can find contact information on our Board of Directors page at

Our next board election will take place at the Spring 2008 System Assembly meeting.

Reader's Version of Netflix is the reader's version of For a monthly fee starting at $8.50, you can "test-drive" paperbacks, then send them back in a prepaid envelope. An internet lending library that delivers?
Source: The Week Magazine

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

LibraryThing for Librarians

For those who know me, know that I speak very highly of This site is a social networking site for book lovers. It allows individuals to catalog their personal collections and connect up with others based on what is in their library collection. Here is the latest news about how you can integrate the social networking components of LibraryThing into your OPAC.

We're happy to announce that the Danbury Library in Danbury, Connecticut has become the first library in the world to put LibraryThing for Libraries on its live catalog. The Danbury Library—already breaking ground with an active blog and a MySpace page—continues to innovate and experiment. And we finally have something to show people!

For more information, check here(Thingology)

Google can't pay to give away broadband...

Interesting article posted on Go West blog.

An interesting piece in the San Francisco Chronicle today details the problems Google (GOOG) and its partner Earthlink (ELNK) are having in getting its proposed free Wi-Fi service approved by San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors. Apparently the left-wing members of the board (yes, that’s left-wing of a left-leaning organization in a liberal city) don’t think Google and Earthlink are offering to pay enough for the privilege of providing free broadband to its citizens. The supes are probably being smart. Whatever Google is offering, it can probably afford to pay more. Watch for a raised bid.

Free Wi-Fi is experiencing growing pains, to say the least. When Google started poking around supporting these services, there were rumblings that Google wanted to operate a vast Internet access network. (The one and only Om Malik speculated as much here back in September, 2005.) Since then, well, not much has happened, at least not in San Francisco and at least not by Google. The company that Does No Evil operates a free service in its hometown of Mountain View, Calif. And that’s about it. Earthlink seems to be sputtering as well. Recent articles in BusinessWeek and The Oregonian details some of Earthlink’s travails.

Perhaps free Wi-Fi is best explained by a time-tested adage: You get what you pay for.

Filed under Free Wi-Fi, Earthlink, Google
Posted by Adam Lashinsky 12:27 pm 22 Comments Add a comment

Friday, May 11, 2007

New Possible Member Libraries in NTRLS

I always find it interesting how everything in my life comes in waves. I never do anything once. Once someone asks me a question, I soon have three other similiar questions. In the last month, this has been the case for new members in our System.

Last month, I spoke with Tina Williams from the Forest Hill Public Library and was excited to hear that she is shooting for an opening day sometime next year with System membership starting in FY09. Forest Hill has been attempting to build a library since I started in the System in 2002 so I was very happy to hear about this latest development.

This last Wednesday, I drove up to Saint Jo in Montague County where some very eager ladies were shooting for an opening date in the Spring of 2008 with System membership in FY09. An interesting sidenote, Saint Jo, Bowie and Nocona, our member libraries in Montague County, are going to attempt to share a catalog using Book Systems Atrium product. I am going to heading the effort to make this a reality.

Today, I spoke to Jerry Hunkapiller, Superintendient of the Millsap ISD, about his effort to open a joint public/school library in Millsap. If the bond issue passess tomorrow, they will build a new elementary school next year with the library opening in Fall 2008. System membership would come in FY10.

In these times where libraries are straining to stay viable to their communities, it is very pleasant to be involved in three projects where the library is so highly valued. Here is to hoping that it spreads...

North Texas Regional Library System - Request for Proposal for Library Technology NOW website

I sent out the following cover letter to several web development companies and library-related listservs. Please pass this to anyone who might be interested. Thank you.

The North Texas Regional Library System (NTRLS) seeks responses from proposers offering web development services to build a website for the Library Technology NOW website.

Library Technology NOW has served as a website portal that serves as the one-stop resource for libraries searching for feature/function comparison of library technology products. The project is now at a crossroads as its readership established different needs. From the results of a LTN Needs Assessment Survey, it was discovered that most people want assistance with their basic maintenance and troubleshooting issues. However, they do not have time to read about it. Instead, they want to be quickly shown how to do this. With this knowledge in mind, LTN is moving towards providing instructional videos online for library staff to utilize. The website will also have social networking aspects.

You will find a timeline within the RFP. Please address all questions to me before the end of the pre-inquiry period on May 21, 2007. Thank you for your consideration in this matter.

To access the RFP document, please go to

Friday, May 04, 2007

Wikipedia is popular

New from Pew
Originally uploaded by mstephens7.
36% of online American adults consult Wikipedia. We already knew that Wikipedia was popular with our patrons. Here is a Pew Study that confirms what we already knew.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Two New NTRLS Staff Members

I am proud to announce that the North Texas Regional Library System has filled its two part-time positions. Judy Daniluk started as our Web/IT Specialist on May 1st. She will be responsible for the NTRLS website and assist with IT in the System office. Dona Weisman will begin as our Continuing Education Consultant on May 15th. She will partner with Carolyn Davidson on the management and administration of our CE program. Please join me in welcoming them to the staff.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Friends of the Library

Hint: Don't forget to sign up your local businesses as Friends of the Library. Many libraries have a special business membership for $50 - $100. The business is then highlighted in the library newsletter or publicized somewhere in the library.