Archive for February, 2016


No Money Down: Open Source Software for Your Users

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:08 am by nmrtsecretary

By Aisha Conner-Gaten


In 2015, library budgets fell in many cities and even nationally, with a $2 million dollar shortfall for the Library Services and Technology Act from 2014. Very often, these budget changes are the result of political battles happening far from the library’s door. Budgetary impasse causes libraries to decrease programming and reevaluate technology needs, sometimes going so far as to close computer labs and limit tech support for users. While saving a few dollars on software may not seem like much in a time of such uncertainty, having less expensive and free options for both your peers and your users can increase morale and enable you to do your job well with very little money.

Free can mean many different things today, particularly in an age of streaming services coupled with confusing copyright laws. For the purposes of use in the library, you may encounter two specific types of software and tools: freeware and open source.

Freeware, also called proprietary software, is developed by some creator to users usually for low or no cost. However, the software cannot be redistributed or modified by users without the creator’s permission including original source code. Users must agree to some licence terms that state they will not abuse this software and will make no changes without the permission of creators. Examples of freeware include Handbrake, video conversion software, and the Firefox browser. While you can often customize software with extensions and add-ons, the initial service remains unchanged according to the creator’s intent.

Open source software is also low cost or free, but shares its source code with users that can be viewed, modified, and shared with others. While they must agree to some license terms upon use, open source software accepts changes made by users and may incorporate those changes in their final programs and applications. Examples of open source software include the Linux operating system and LibreOffice document suite.

NOTE: Technically there is also a third category, called Free software that carries traits of both freeware and open source software; completely free to use with users able to modify and share as they see fit. Some open source software also falls under this category.

Considering most librarians will not need to modify the code of a program to use it in the library, we will discuss freeware, open source software, and free software by their uses. Most of these resources can be employed in media editing (pocket videos and tutorials), document editing (for resumes and homework), and instructional design (infographics and word clouds).

Media Editing

  • Edit and record audio files with ease
  • Available for Mac and Windows OS
  • Exports to mp3, wav, flac, and more!

VLC Player:

  • Plays all sorts of media files (mp4, mp2, mkv, webm, wmv, etc.)
  • Available for Mac and Windows OS
  • Can do some media conversion but limited success


  •  high resolution image editing (think Photoshop)
  •  Available for Linux, Windows OS, and Mac OSX

iPiccy: and Lunapic:

  • Online photo editor


  • General image editing in browser
  • Save as png or jpg to Computer, Dropbox, OneDrive

Document Editing
Open Office Suite :

  • Lagging in development so great alternative is Libre Office (see below)
  • Think of it as Microsoft Office Suite for $0!
  • Available for Mac and Windows OS
  • Import, edit, and export formats like doc, docx, ppt, xlsx, csv, and more!


  • Office Suite for $0
  • Compatible with Microsoft Suite including Publisher!
  • Cross-platform compatibility (features don’t change with OS)
  • Imports videos, graphics and ebook formats


  • Accounting software for personal and small business use
  • Available on Linux, Windows OS, and Mac OSX
  • Evernote:
    Task manager, content collections, and notes
  • Requires sign up with email with free account
  • Available for Windows OS, Mac OSX and mobile devices

Instructional Design

  • Tool to make infographics (maybe about your organization!) with no experience required
  • Requires free account signup
  • Exports to png and jpg formats

Wordle: and Tagxedo:

  • Make a word cloud for adverts, presentations, etc.
  • Save as png or export for printing


  • Presentation slide templates, stock photos, metrics, and collaboration
  • Requires free account sign up


  •  Create multimedia stories in browser
  • Share to social media, embed, or download

Text2Mind Map:

  • Mind mapping tool for browsers (organize your thoughts)
  • Save in the cloud or download as pdf or jpg


  • Screenshot and screen recording with audio
  • Free account sign up
  •  5 minute video length limit
  • Export to or save locally


  • Screenshot and basic editing
  • Free account sign up
  • Export by link, email,, and cloud storage


  • Runs on Windows with Java enabled browser or via download recorder
  • 15 minute video length limit
  •  Export locally

  • Host collections, exhibits, digital objects online
  • Free account sign up
  • Free account has 500MB storage, 1 site, 14 plugins, and 5 themes.
  • If you host your own materials, use open source

Citation Management

  • Search materials, import bibliographic info, and export full bibliography in APA, MLA, Chicago, or Turabian format

Citation Machine:

  • Generate citations (100s of styles)


  • research material collection tool (take notes, create bibliography)
  • Available for Windows OS, Mac OSX, Linux
  • Collaborate with groups

Not sure what software you need? Take a look at these guides to get started:

Works Cited

Deppen, Colin. “Tested by Budget Battle and Funding Cuts, Pa. Libraries Buckle.” Penn Live. PA Media Group, 28 Dec. 2015. Web. 16 Feb. 2016. <>.

Dillon, Mike, and Christina DiCaro. “Governor Cuts Library Programs In Budget – California Library Association.” California Library Association. California Library Association, 9 Jan. 2015. Web. 16 Feb. 2016. <>.

“FREEWARE GUIDE – Your Guide to the Best Free Software and Freeware Sites!” FREEWARE GUIDE – Your Guide to the Best Free Software and Freeware Sites! Freeware Guide Network. Web. 16 Feb. 2016. <>.

Sheketoff, Emily. “Federal Library Funding Cut in Proposed Budget.” District Dispatch. ALA District Dispatch, 2014. Web. 16 Feb. 2016. <>.

“What Is Free Software? – GNU Project – Free Software Foundation.” GNU Operating System. Free Software Foundation. Web. 16 Feb. 2016. <>.

“What Is Open Source?” Web. 16 Feb. 2016.


ALA NMRT Student Chapter of the Year Award

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:26 pm by nmrtsecretary

In the spirit of ALA’s NMRT, the Student Chapter of the Year Award is presented in recognition of a chapter’s outstanding contributions to the American Library Association, their school, and the profession. The purpose of the award is to increase student involvement in ALA through student chapters, and to recognize future leaders in the profession. The Student Chapter winner will receive $1,000 to help defray travel expenses to ALA Annual; the winning chapter and the runner up will each receive a certificate. Both will be recognized at the NMRT Student Reception at the 2016 ALA Annual Conference in Orlando, FL. The seven categories of Student Chapter of the Year Award criteria include:

Membership Engagement
Financial Health
Awards and Honors
Student Chapter Advisor Statement
All ALA Student Chapters in good standing are eligible to receive the ALA Student Chapter of the Year Award. There is no limit on the number of times a student chapter may win the award. Any ALA Student Chapter advisor, Student Chapter officer or member, or ALA member may nominate a Student Chapter, and self-nominations are encouraged.

Please e-mail the completed form and any supporting documents in either Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF format to the committee chair, Kelly Robinson ( Deadline for submitting completed nomination forms is March 2, 2016, 11:59pm EST. All nominations will be acknowledged upon receipt.

More information, including the nomination form, may be found here: