Let’s Catch up! February NMRT Online Discussion: Technology Tools in Libraries

Catching up with online discussion that may have been missed!

By Jessica Kiebler

Hello readers, my name is Jessica Kiebler and I am writing as a member of the NMRT Online Discussion Forum Committee to provide you with an update from our February discussion, hosted on the NMRT-L listserv.

February’s discussion topic asked about the technology tools that librarians are using to improve the ways they reach patrons in a variety of ways from making eye-catching graphics or engaging with them on social media to keeping themselves organized. 

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The discussion questions encouraged sharing resources as well as personal experiences from both seasoned and newer library leaders about how they’re using technology.  

  1. What are your favorite technology tools that you use? 
  2. What are your favorite technology tools that improve your daily workflow? 
  3. Does your library check out technology to patrons or teach them how to use it? Are there any challenges/benefits that come with this?
  4. How do you try to balance concerns about privacy, user data and transparency when considering new tech tools? Is there technology that you use which can be used to improve privacy?

Organization Tools

Librarians in our online chat made suggestions about the organizational tools that they use at their libraries. 

Trello

One technology tool discussed was Trello, which allows users to create project boards for individual use or group projects. If you wear a lot of hats at your library and need to keep track of a variety of tasks, workflow tools such as Trello can provide a visual way to organize your work. Boards can be collaborative as well, providing groups or managers to work together on assigned tasks, create due dates and receive reminders when tasks are overdue. 

One great suggestion for using Trello was offered by a librarian in our chat to keep an archived column within Trello.  These projects and tasks are completed but can be looked at to compile employee reviews or annual reports! Trello boards can also be used to organize specific tasks in planning outreach events, instruction planning or collection development projects. 

Feedly

Feedly is an RSS reader that aggregates blog posts, website articles and other content into an easy to organize column. Readers can organize the content into groupings for easy reading. This tool can be valuable for librarians because it brings together many sources of information that can be organized, saved and shared. Each article has a toolbar which includes features to share the article via social networks or links, save to a board or email. 

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(Screenshot from an article in Feedly)

Evernote 

Another tool for collecting information and taking notes is Evernote. Librarians can create separate “notebooks” where they can collect and organize ideas and access it from anywhere with an Internet connection – including a phone app. Information can be typed into an empty note, like a Word processing document, and include images. If you download the Evernote browser extension, full page articles or snippets from webpages can be saved as individual notes. Evernote also has a search function to help find notes, a calendar function to remind you to check back on something saved and the ability to save things in multiple formats – HTML, PDF, or a screenshot. 

Librarians can use this tool to gather and organize inspiration for lesson plans, outreach events, conferences or any relevant topics. The versatility of the notes allows librarians to also use it to take notes at meetings and conferences and organize them alongside website screenshots and saved articles. 

Microsoft 365 Suite 

The Microsoft 365 Suite of tools is used at many companies, including libraries, and includes an app called Planner. Planner is similar to Trello in its  visual design that allows users to create themed boards, schedule tasks and share responsibility for the tasks with others. 

Do you have other technology tools that you use at your library? Share in the comments below!

Image Credits: View of Vintage Camera Photo by Karol D from Pexels

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