Bookmarks for August 13, 2012

Today I found the following resources and bookmarked them on Delicious.

    Scroll through WordPress themes from many different sites all in one place.
  • TinyGrab
    Take a screenshot and share it with your clients or friends
  • TextMate
    TextMate brings Apple’s approach to operating systems into the world of text editors. By bridging UNIX underpinnings and GUI, TextMate cherry-picks the best of both worlds to the benefit of expert scripters and novice users alike.
  • Glassboard
    Glassboard is a private group sharing app. For iPhone, Android, and now on the web.

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WordPress Plugins I’ve Used

This week I taught a workshop in FL for PLAN on WordPress. I was asked what Plugins I use/recommend so I thought I should share a list. I went through all of my sites and grabbed the link from the plugins page that said ‘Visit Plugin Site,’ but I recommend searching the WordPress Plugins database for these and installing them from there.

Depending on the type of site I use all of the following on my WordPress sites:

7 Essential Elements to an Awesome Library Website

First up this morning was David Lee King sharing library website tips with us. I’m not working in this field so much anymore (web design) but I still wanted to see what cool tips David had for us all so here I am.

David started by blaming Ned Potter, author of The Library Marketing Toolkit ( for this presentation because Ned asked him for some tips for elements every website should have. It started David thinking and he went where we all go – hours, directions, etc. But that’s not we should all be thinking.

#1 Customers want something to read, watch and listen to when they visit the library

At least that’s what it’s like in our buildings, but not so much on our websites. An example is a blog post on your website that talks about a neat art exhibit at the library – writing/reading about it is not the real goal. We all have a link to our catalog, using the catalog is not the goal of the patrons – the goal is to read!

So some examples of giving patrons something to “do” on your library website is to include steaming videos, provide downloadable ebooks, and download free (or subscription) music.

Ebooks for example are perfect for your ‘digital branch’ or website. It’s not easy to download ebooks once in your physical building. They’re meant to be downloaded on mobile devices.

Another way to interact with patrons is to use social media and ask questions and promote discussion – an example from Topeka Shawnee was that they asked patrons what books kept them up late at night. You could also sign up for sites like GoodReads and LibraryThing and then embed a group’s activity right on your library website.

You could also do videos of book discussions or interviews and once again people can watch them on your website.

The Goal? These are all things that people can ‘do.’

#2 Customers have questions and ask at the library

We all answer questions in person when patrons come up to us. How about our digital branch? Do we make it friendly and easy to use?

Add an ‘Ask Now’ or ‘Ask a Librarian’ button that is big and colorful and easy to find. David pointed out a cool tool for this (and an open source one at that!) called Spark. You can use this to communicate with your patrons. For text messaging you can use Google Voice. These two tools are both free to use (but Spark does take some time to set up).

Another way for patrons to contact you is to allow for emailing questions

Arapahoe Library has a nice ask us page where they list all the ways to contact them including Twitter, Facebook, Email, Texting, etc.

The Goal? Answering questions!

#3 Customers need to know the normal stuff too

Patrons need to know things like your address and phone number. Don’t make your patrons dig for this!!

A footer is a common place for people to look for this info. Include hours, phone numbers, address, contact us link, etc. Also include on every page of the website a way to ask a librarian, get a library card, contact the library. These are the normal things people come to the library site to find.

When it comes to directions to your library site, make sure you get in your car and try out the directions you’re providing! David has worked in two libraries where this info on the website was actually wrong.

Make it easy to find frequently asked questions like circulation policies, fine policies, etc. And don’t make these PDFs filled with Library Jargon.

The Goal? Tell people the normal stuff!

#4 Library’s need actual staff

David asked how many of us hire volunteers to design our library buildings? People who just kind of think they know how to catalog to catalog your books? Why do that for your website?

Websites = Actual Work

Hire someone to do your website! Don’t just ask the most tech savvy person in your library and hope that it turns out right. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need an IT person, there are many content management systems such as WordPress and free themes you can get. This allows the staff to focus on the important stuff – updating the content!

Website = Real Staff

Include a staff directory on your website! Many libraries don’t include contact info for specific people at the library. It makes it really difficult to contact someone specific. At Topeka Shawnee they not only have a directory, but a photo of the staff member. So many libraries are about hiding the staff when it comes to the website. This is not good customer service!

Every blog author at David’s library also have an author bio page. There is a picture and short bio for each of them. They also include links to social networks for the blog authors which is a nice way to connect with the librarian in the digital world.

Shockingly at David’s library they want people to contact them!

The Goal? Staff the website

#5 Have Goals!

A lot of us strategic plans in our libraries, sometimes also a technology plan and other goals. Our websites need to be in these kinds of plans as well! There should be overlap between the library’s plan and the website plans. So if you have a collection development policy include things in there like writing blog posts about the new titles.

Keep statistics to see what tools are successful.

#6 Reach beyond your webbish boundaries

Go where people gather! Find out where you patrons are and then make sure you’re there. If a new one pops up – like Pinterest – do a pilot project. Ask patrons if they’re there and if they want the library to be there too. Topeka Library is on Pinterest now because their patrons asked them to be and they told their patrons to test it. They’re keeping stats and watching patrons usage to decide if it’s worth staying on there.

You can also turn these online gatherings in to in person gatherings like Tweetups or the PodCamp Topeka.

This is a way to meet your digital branch patrons.

The Goal? Be where people are.

#7 Be mobile friendly

A way to do this is use Boopsie to create a library mobile app.

You could create a mobile website using examples like this.

Make sure you brainstorm first though. Don’t just jump in to creating a mobile site. Think about how your patrons are going to want to quickly interact with the library website while on the go.

Also once you go live, ask for suggestions. What else do your patrons want to see on the mobile site or app? The whole point of providing this mobile site is for your patrons to use it!

The Goal? Be Mobile Friendly!


At the Disney Store there is a sign that says to visit the store online to get the full experience. Maybe we should do the same thing on our library websites. Use the website to provide the full library experience.

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Looking for Excellent Library Support Stories

I found this call for participation that I thought would be of interest to many of you. Please share your excellent training stories so that others can learn from what you’ve done.

We are looking for higher education libraries, particularly in the US, UK and in Scandinavia, which are delivering exceptionally good and/or innovative support services to research and teaching staff.

If you think your academic library is doing well in supporting research and teaching faculty, we want to hear from you! Your library could be featured as an example of good practice helping the academic library community

  • to promote and develop novels ways to strengthen its relations with academic departments;
  • to enhance the marketing and profiling of library services for this constituency;
  • to maximise its value to research and teaching staff; and
  • to demonstrate that value within and beyond the institution.

If you would like to be considered as one of our eight case studies, to be undertaken during January to March 2012, or would like more information, please contact us.

Update on Koha Trademark Dispute

I posted a bibliography of the news covering the dispute over the Koha trademark a couple days ago. Since there we have been kept up to date via various sources (including Jo herself). Here’s a few more articles that I’ve added to the bibliography and you can see the entire thing on Zotero here.

Anderson, PF. “Liblime Versus Koha: What Is The Libraryland Opposite of Open Source?” Emerging Technologies Librarian, November 23, 2011.
Kelcher, John. “US Software Company Trademarks Maori Word ‘Koha’ in NZ.” Scoop News, November 24, 2011.
M., B. “Koha means Gift, and it should remain as such!” Koha Kenya Community, November 24, 2011.
“Ministry allows koha grab.” Waaatea 603 AM, November 24, 2011.
“PTFS/LibLime granted provisional use of Koha trademark in New Zealand.” Library Technology Guides, November 23, 2011.
Ransom, Joann. “Update on NZ Koha trademark.” Library Matters, November 25, 2011.
“Small library gets global backers in trademark battle.” Morning Report. New Zealand: Radio New Zealand, November 24, 2011.
Varghese, Sam. “Koha dev sad, angry at American trademark grab.” iTWire, November 25, 2011.

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Koha Trademark Dispute

Yesterday I posted Jo’s plea for help and today I woke to find that the news had exploded!! I don’t think I found it all, but here’s the bibliography so far:

Bledsoe, Elliott. “American company is trying to yank a trade mark from an open source community.” elliott bledsoe web edition, November 22, 2011.
corbet. “Koha creators asking for help in trademark dispute.”, November 22, 2011.
Grumble, Alf. “‘Koha’ has been nabbed by an American outfit – but what role was played by Maori advisers in Wellington?” Alf Grumble, November 23, 2011.
Hartley, Matt. “Defending Software Freedom – Koha Library Software Community.” WebcamStudio For GNU/Linux, November 22, 2011.
“Horowhenua library astonished US firm can trademark ‘koha’.” Morning Report. New Zealand: Radio New Zealand, November 23, 2011.
“Horowhenua library battles corporate giant.” ONE News. Levin, New Zealand: TV One, November 23, 2011.
Huria, Lynell Tuffery. “How the KOHA trade mark dispute could’ve been avoided.” A J Park, November 23, 2011.
“Kiwi library in trademark fight with US corporation.”, November 23, 2011.
Parry, Michael J. “Koha trademark controversy.”, November 22, 2011.
———. “The Exemplar Of Stupid: Koha Vs Liblime Trademark.” Blog. The Room of Infinite Diligence, November 22, 2011.
Radio New Zealand. “Maori Trademark Advisory Committee has limited powers.” Radio New Zealand, November 23, 2011.
———. “US company defends overseas trademark of ‘Koha’.” Radio New Zealand, November 23, 2011.
Ransom, Jo. “Plea for help from Horowhenua Library Trust.” Koha Library Software Community, November 21, 2011.
“Rural Kiwi library takes US corporate to task.” 3 News. New Zealand, November 23, 2011.
Scoop Media. “Mulitnational Seeks To Hijack ‘Koha’ NZ Trademark.” Scoop News, November 23, 2011.
Stuff. “Library in fight with US corporation.”, November 23, 2011.
“The Koha trademark controversy.” Nine To Noon. New Zealand: Radio New Zealand, November 23, 2011.
Willis, Nathan. “Koha community squares off against commercial fork.”, May 10, 2010.

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Speeding up WordPress Dashboard

Time for me to look to all of you for some help. I run many WordPress sites (this one included). All of them have the W3 Total Cache plugin installed to try and improve performance a bit. On this site though, my dashboard can take up to a minute to load up no matter what I do. I’m looking for tips on optimizing WordPress dashboards so that maybe I can write posts a bit more efficiently in the future.

Things I have tried:

  • Deleting unused plugins
  • Deactivating plugins I don’t need
  • Using a premium theme (which may or may not be the problem)
  • And W3 Total Cache (which I already mentioned)

I’m thinking that the slowness may be from the Google Analytics Dashboard plugin I’m using, but I do have that installed on all of my sites and this is the only one with the super slow dashboard.

Feel free to give me some ideas.