Monday, March 30, 2015

With the many tasks that librarians are required to accomplish, it is very easy to become overwhelmed.  On my desk right now, I have six pieces of paper with notes about things I need to remember or complete.  Our students face the same challenges.  You may use planners or set reminders on our phones to help remind us of what we need to accomplish.  This month's tech tip is another tool to help organize your many endeavors. is a free online to-do-list.  It is easy to set-up and use.  You simply enter your email, create a password, and click "sign up".  You are now ready to begin.  From here you can create categories that will allow you to organize tasks into different sections or you can simply start adding tasks to your list.

You can separate your items into "top" tasks which put them at the top of the list or you can remove them from the top and put them in a secondary list if they aren't as pressing as other items.

Once you have completed the task, simply click the box in front of the task and it will remove it from your to-do-list and put it on the "completed" list that you can open and see your progress.  You can remove items from the completed list if need by deselecting the box in front of the task and it will be moved back to your to-do-list.

A great way to ensure you see your list is to set Startino as your home page or your "start-up" page if you use Chrome.  This will guarantee that you see you list everyday.

Students might find this helpful when organizing assignment for class.  They can create a category for each class and add their assignments to the list.

I hope you find this a useful tool and share it with others.  Please let us know what you think in the comments.

We hope to see you at TLA's annual conference in Austin.  The DELRT Business Meeting is Thursday, April 16 at 7:45am.


Friday, February 6, 2015

Code Academy

Khan Academy is one of our most viewed blog posts.  To compliment that, we are going to take a look at Code Academy.
This is a great place for you or your patrons to learn basic coding skills.

The tutorials are broken into 3 sections: Web Developer Skills, Language Skills, and APIs.  Each section is broken up by skill and you can choose what skills you want to learn.

Web Developer Skills include making a website, making an interactive website, and making a Rails App.  I'll be honest, I don't know what that last one is but you can learn to do that!

The Language Skills you can learn are HTML & CSS, JaveScript, jQuery, PHP, Python, and Ruby.  I've been working on the HTML & CSS and the Python languages and I'm feeling very comfortable with them.

Finally, there is the API section.  There are 21 different APIs that you can learn to use to make your own applications.

The tutorials are very hands-on.  They provide you with a paragraph or two of information and then have you try it before advancing to the next step.  There are also hints if you get stuck.

Each tutorial is independent of the other.  Once you choose a tutorial, it provides you with information such as technical skill level needed and about how long it will take you to complete it.  Each tutorial is broken apart into lessons.  You receive a recap and encouragement as you finish each lesson.

You create an account before you begin so you can stop at any point and your progress will be saved, even if you haven't completed the entire lesson.

With all the technology today, it is becoming imperative that we know at least a little code to be able to keep up with the world.  Even if you just want to tweak your library's website, you need to know a little HTML or CSS.  Code Academy is a great way to get a few basic skills so that you can hold your own in the technical realm.

Be sure to comment below to let us know what you think and Happy Coding!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


Happy New Year!!

We hope everyone had a great holiday season.  Hopefully you had some down time to relax.  I know that we are back to work even though the students aren't back yet.  This is a great time to reorganize, streamline, and set new goals for the new year/semester. 

I normally post tools that can help you with your students and/or the function of the library but today I'm going to share a website that your students might find useful and it can give you some insight into what they are dealing with and what they are trying to accomplish. gives tips and tricks for almost anything.  There are articles and videos ranging anywhere from How to Pack for Freshman Week to How to Improve Your Crappy Car to How to be Successful with Online Classes

One of my favorite things on this site is an infographic about searching better with Google. I think I heard some grumbling but hear me out.

 I know that we want our students to only use the library when completing assignments but, to be realistic, that's not going to happen.  And what happens with our seniors at the end of every semester? They graduate and no long have access to all the awesomeness that is THE LIBRARY...what then?

We have to prepare our students for the inevitability of Google searching.  They already know what it is and they are comfortable navigating though it but we need to show them how to be efficient searchers. 

This infographic gives great tips about searching Google better but that can help students understand our databases a little better too.  Even though a search engine operates differently than a database, knowing that you can tell the system what you want will make our lives as librarians easier because it builds a foundation of knowledge about defining perimeters to get better results.  It even gives a plug about using the campus library!!

Like I said, HackCollege is full of all kinds of information for students and even includes "Study Breaks" which might give you a chuckle or two.  Even if you aren't a fan of searching in Google, give this infographic a look and if you choose not to share it with your students maybe it can help you in your personal searches.

Please leave us some comments below about the site, the narrative, or the inforgraphic.  We would love to hear your thoughts.