Friday inspiration

We’re moving new shelves into our library today, with lots of drilling and concrete dust and trundling book carts.  I’m hovering, hoping my collection shift plan will actually work the way I planned it to–i.e., all the books in all the right places, no huge gaps or crunches.  I have new and overwhelming respect for everyone who’s ever moved a library.

It’s also the Friday before the long weekend, so a little inspiration seems in order.  Here’s a terrific example of a higher-ed/library-type project making a difference in the real world:  Architecture for Humanity is proposing to build weaving cooperatives in Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and India.  The centers would help pull women (and families) out of poverty and provide a viable economic alternative to human trafficking.

The connection to higher ed and libraries?  The plan for the centers will be a Creative Commons Developing Nations License.  If you follow that link you’ll see that this license has since been retired.  To which I say, I hope it’s been replaced by a new one that will foster sharing of plans, policies, and solutions in developing nations.  It’s a great idea and clearly (see above) a lot of good can come from it.

New site to watch

Library Teaching Space is a new site about…well, teaching space in libraries.  According to its “About,” it launched from the 2008 LOEX Conference, but I admit I found it because of Joan Lippincott’s ACRL webcast on reinventing learning commons (which I participated in today.)

With a well-stocked photo gallery, space for sharing floor plans, discussion forums, and pictures and discussion of furniture, this could be a tremendously useful hub of user-created content IF people find out about it and use it.  I think they could do a little better with their marketing, right now (and if anyone working on the site wants me to offer suggestions, I’m happy to do so!)

In the meantime, I hope to contribute some of the work we’ve been doing here at the UO Portland, and I encourage everyone else who works on library learning spaces to do so, too.

Free web design tools!

A friend of mine is doing some volunteer web design for a charity organization, and she’s working without access to any of her usual web design tools (Dreamweaver, etc.) I’m sure many people have found themselves in similar situations, in libraries without strong technology budgets, or out on a limb, wanting to try something new and different without having to rely on the existing system. For her sake and for the sake of everyone doing web design on the cheap (or on the free), I offer a quick list of some tools that may make the work easier and more fun:

  • Quick Guide to Website Design:  iLibrarian’s list of tools for designing and building a website, including free templates, site creators, images, widgets…  Basically, one-stop shopping for free web design tools.
  • Free Resources for Web Workers:  WebWorkerDaily’s list of free web design and development tools.  Including tools, tutorials, and even (gasp!) recommended books.
  • CSS Zen Garden:  Of course, the biggie for layout and look.  Cascading style sheets to wrap your content in any look you can imagine, and some you probably can’t.
  • ColorBlender: One of my favorite inspiration resources for setting a site’s color scheme and overall look and feel.
  • ReadWriteWeb’s list of 10 free web analytic tools: Pretty much what it sounds like.  Sometimes you just want to know who’s reading.

I’d be very interested to know what your favorite free web design are.  The Firefox Web Developer toolbar?  Anything from Peachpit Press?  What can’t you live without?  (Extra points if it’s free and available online in Mexico!)

Kindles ahoy!

TechCrunch reports that Amazon has shipped 240,000 Kindles to date. That, according to their math, brings the gross Kindle income (devices plus associated digital reading materials) to more than $100 million.

To me, this is interesting because the Kindle is so ugly. It screams “prototype!” Which means that once another company, with a better design sense, gets hold of this new model of digital dissemination of reading material, e-reading is going to really, really take off. And once this becomes an affordable handheld, priced around a hundred bucks, with integrated web browsing, GSI, etc. etc.? Stand back.

Reading is changing, there’s no way around it.