Get Your Library Organized with Apps and Tools

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moorefield-lang_heather-2Worried about that upcoming presentation? Want help with those everyday tasks in the library? In this excerpt from the archives, tech guru Heather Moorefield-Lang shares her expertise on finding the right tool to help you run your library more efficiently and impress your patrons and administrators with your knowledge and creativity.
Subscribers to SLC can read more helpful ideas like this by visiting School Library Connection.

Being in charge of others comes with its own set of challenges and responsibilities. Those who work for their library administrators hope that they will be empathetic, creative, and flexible, have vision and good communication, be able to work well and collaborate, and serve the community at large (Chow and Rich 2013). There are a host of online tools and apps that can aid library administrators (and their employees) in communication, organization, presentations, creativity, and with everyday client, patron, student, and faculty service.

Presentations
Every library administrator has to call meetings, and often it would be useful to have tools to aid with presentations.

Haiku Deck (www.haikudeck.com). Similar in style to PowerPoint, this app and online presentation tool won AASL’s 2014 Best Websites for Teaching and Learning and the TIMEs 50 Best Websites for 2014. Presentations can be made on an iPad or computer. Haiku Deck makes creating presentations incredibly easy with templates, colors, and a partnership with Getty Images for a vast collection of gorgeous Creative Commons pictures. Presentations can be shared online or downloaded for free for offline presenting in PDF or PowerPoint format. (Free and Pro Levels Available).

Editor’s note: Subscribers can get more presentation ideas by checking out Heather’s article “Presentation on the Go” available online.

Organization
Just about all of us struggle with organization in one area or another. Here are some sites and apps that might be useful.

Droptask (www.droptask.com). This online site and app works in two ways. It is a concept mapping and task management tool. Users can group their workload by categories into circles and then add to them as needed. It’s a visual way to view tasks as an individual or group. Collaboration is a strong component of this site. Tasks can be shared among employees and departments, and Droptask is great for presentations as well when sharing ideas for an upcoming project. (Free and Pro Levels Available)

Google Now (www.google.com/now). Google has something for just about everything when it comes to tasks, communication, and organization. Google Now is one of their newest products to help keep life in order. This app and online tool works as a personal assistant, employed in the background of your computer, phone, and device. Google Now will send small cards updating information about weather, sports, appointments, and much more. The user customizes the Google Now settings and then lets the program help organize life; at least that’s the idea. (Free)

Communication
Finding good ways to converse, listen, and overall communicate can be difficult. Below are sites and apps that could be of assistance.

Sendicate (www.sendicate.net). Looking to send a message with a bit of flair? Sendicate can help with that. This template-based email tool offers many options to users when it comes to sending emails, newsletters, and other forms of electronic communication. Using Sendicate is easy: Create your message, choose your template, and you are ready to go. Statistics are also available for delivery assurance and to see how often a message has been opened. (Free and Pro Levels Available)

Google Hangouts (https://hangouts.google.com/). Though this Chrome plug in has been around for a while, Google Hangouts has always been a useful app and online resource for meetings on the go. Hangouts work with just about every device, phone, or computer. If a meeting is needed while you are outside the office, this is a great way to go. Google Hangouts offer screen share options, they now partner with sites such as Preso TV for slide and document presentations, and there are chat, screen capture, and recording capabilities for later viewing. While it is not the only online meeting site, it is a pretty reliable one that is always looking to grow, partner, and improve. (Free)

A Couple Extra
Kaizena (https://kaizena.com). This gem of an online tool has been created for the purpose of giving feedback to students. In librarianship we can give feedback to students, peers, employees, or collaborators. This site offers users the option to give verbal feedback to the writers of a document by embedding the verbal comments into the written piece. Last summer Kaizena started offering the option of embedding verbal comments into presentations as well. If an employee has a paper, presentation, article, document, statement, or plan needing feedback, a meeting is not always necessary; just tell them what they need to know, in your own voice, using Kaizena. (Free)

PaperPort Notes (http://www.nuance.com/). This app works mainly in the area of note-taking, but don’t let the simplistic explanation fool you. PaperPort offers note-taking options via writing, but users can also engage the microphone and have it dictate notes using voice. This option is offered through Dragon Voice Recognition. Users of the app can upload pictures and designs, and can post notes and ideas as well as add audio within written notes, which makes it very similar to Kaizena for personal note-taking. (Free)

Having new resources to help with organization, communication, presentations, service, and even creativity can make things easier in the daily life of a library administrator. The items presented in this article can aid not only administrators but their employees as well. Finding good online sources, apps, and tools can sometimes be a struggle. The tools described in this article will be useful in many day to day administrative duties.

Works Cited:
Chow, Anthony S., and Melissa Rich. “The Ideal Qualities and Tasks of Library Leaders: Perspectives of Academic, Public, School, and Special Library Administrators.” Library Leadership & Management 27 1/2 (2013): 1-24. Web. 5 Aug. 2014.

heatherHeather Moorefield-Lang, EdD, is an assistant professor of library and information science at the University of South Carolina. She received her master’s degree in library science from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and her doctorate in education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her current research focuses on makerspaces and their subsequent technologies in libraries of all types and levels. To learn more about Heather and her work, visit her website www.techfifteen.com, email her at moorefield-lang@sc.edu, or follow her on Twitter @actinginthelib.

 

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