Friday, July 18, 2008

TexShare Service Outage 7/18-7/20/08

from TexShare Database Coordinator Russlene Waukechon at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission:

Sent: Friday, July 18, 2008 9:32 AM

Please be aware that *all* web servers at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission will be down on Friday, July 18 at 5 pm until Sunday, July 20, at 5 pm.

The domain and all TexShare Database menu pages hosted there -- including all custom gateway menu pages -- will be unavailable.

The domain and the TexShare Database portal for public libraries hosted there will also be unavailable.

This outage also includes The Library of Texas ( and all TRAIL services.

Access to the TexShare Databases for libraries that maintain and host their own TexShare menu pages will not be affected. 512.463.7402 fax 512.936.2306

Web 2.1 - Site of the Week - Dimdim

Site Name: Dimdim

After two weeks off, the site of the week is back with a neat new Web 2.0 site called Dimdim. I'll let the site explain what they do.

"Dimdim is a free web conferencing service where you can share your desktop, show slides, collaborate, chat, talk and broadcast via webcam with absolutely no download required for attendees."

If you ever have used WebEx or some other web meeting tool, you know how expensive they can be. Dimdim offers this capability at no price. Be careful though, you get what you pay for. I started a meeting and invited two people to join me. The chat feature worked very well, however, the sharing of the desktop was bit clunky for the host and did not allow the other meeting participants to take control of the host desktop. The whiteboard was very well done except for the text box seemed to crash on me quite often. We also uploaded a pdf document to share, but it took some time for it to upload and once it was visible, it was difficult for the host to manipulate. I also find my computer freezing up at times.

Overall, I would give this site a B. Nice to have some tools available to utilize, but it needs some refinement to be able to use it to the degree that you can the fee-based services.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Free Webinar Helps with Public Computer / Public Printer Issues

Chris Jowaisas, Administrator of Library System Grants & TANG for the Library Development Division of the Texas State Library & Archives Commission, pointed this out to us:

Are you tired of spending time figuring out how to maintain or support your public computers?

Do you wish you could ask someone how they manage public computers at their library? (For example, how do they manage printing? Reservations? Questions from laptop users? And more...)

Are you interested in sharing how your library gets things done?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you're in luck! The MaintainIT Project is here to help!

At the MaintainIT Project (, we interview hundreds of librarians about how they maintain, support, and sustain their public computers. We then publish all of their experiences, successes, and challenges in free guides called Cookbooks, so librarians can learn from the experiences of others who've done it before them.

The best part? Everything the MaintainIT Project does is free, and everything is on We also produce free webinars, and we'd like to invite you to a free webinar on how you can use MaintainIT resources to make a difference in your library. Please come!

DATE: July 29th, 2008
TIME: 1:00 PM Central Time Zone

Kam McEvoy, Electronic Resources Specialist for the Central Texas Library System, Inc., will be facilitating this webinar for libraries in your state.

Please spread the word!

To register for this free webinar, click here: <>

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

ALA in Anaheim - Great Time!

I was fortunate in that I was able to attend the ALA conference in Anaheim this year. I have been to TLA and PLA and even the Internet Librarian conferences, but this was my first ALA. And lucky me, it was in southern California.

The main appeal to me was of course, getting to meet and talk with librarians from all over - I met 7 men from China that had gone to school together in China and hadn't seen one another in 15 years. I met a very interesting librarian from South Carolina who shared with me the struggles she deals with daily - budgets, overcrowding, older materials, but she still has a passion for her job. The sessions are great - good ideas, new perspectives and all, but the invigorating part of the conference, is hearing the passion about what we do - day in and day out.

In order for this posting to not be too long - I will highlight some of the sessions I attended.

PACs in the Library 2.0 World - It was interesting to see how libraries are using different 2.0 tools in their catalogs. Amy Cantu, Ann Arbor District Library shared that all staff blog - not required but strongly encouraged. They can remain anonymous if they wish - and it is open to controversial comments. Staff are encouraged to make it relevant, fun and simple. They haven’t had problems with spam or inappropriate comments. Staff were very concerned about cursing/etc. in comments but it’s not been a problem at all.

Not Evolutionary - Revolutionary was a program discussing the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County's project to become "America's Best Public Library by 2010." The library departments and tasks were divided among the steering committees and then each committee studied the area and suggested improvements - short and long term. They were each encouraged to look for "low hanging fruit" - those things you can change more quickly. It was admitted that staff were a bit fearful and dubious at first, but as they became part of the process - most are excited about the changes and opportunities. This project is huge - every aspect of the library is under scrunity and change - based on staff comments, public comments and adminstrative insight. I wish every library had a chance to undergo this type of self evaluation and forward thinking movement. Check out the webiste at PLCMC!

Public Programs in a Shoebox: What If You Don't Have a Community Room? Since we have so many smaller, or more rural libraries with limited meeting space, this title really caught my attention. Many ideas were not new - but it was good to be reminded...such as partner with your parks department, restaurants, daycares, even chuches to use their spaces. It was suggested to set up centers throughout your library to separate the crowds (hopefully) that will attend your programs. Also, an idea I hadn't personally thought of - do a progressive program (like a progressive dinner). Start the program at one location and move around town to different sites - this would require more planning and transportation - possibly - but would be fun for the participants.

I attended parts of several other sessions - I am the worst at going to 20 - 30 minutes of different sessions - seems to fit my personality well. Also, I spent quite of bit of time in the vendor areas and saw some great products and furniture - oh if only all libraries were well funded!

Finally, I was proud to pick up an Award for Best in Show for the Bedford Public Library. Way to go Bedford!!