Monday, July 25, 2011

Bridging the divide

Jessamyn C. West has written a wonderful book titled Without a Net: Librarians Bridging the Digital Divide. I'm not even half way through it yet, and I've already gleaned more ideas than I can use in a year. One thing I know for sure, I'm going to have to find a way to cram more classes into the schedule than just the one per week, plus the Monday morning drop-in, that I do now. There may be only one or two people in each class--we're a small community and, in my experience with them, no one person has quite the same computer needs as another person. I'm also hamstrung by the lack of a real computer lab. We have laptops, but it's proven to be very difficult to keep them in a uniform state between users. I wish I could just have half a dozen laptops that were never used for anything except classes. I may have to make such an investment with my own nickel. Certainly the prices have come down to the point where an idea like that isn't totally off the wall.

In addition to all the wonderful ideas in the book, Jessamyn has even shared many of her teaching materials. I love librarians! Buy the book. You won't regret it.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Fun with photos

Do you know someone who scrapbooks? (Is that the right verb?) Would you like to distribute family photos that are a little out of the ordinary? Take a look at Picnik.

To get started, just upload a photo and start playing with it. And if you already have a Flickr account, you can pull photos right from your Flickr sets. Here's a simple collage I made with some photos from a walking tour of Boston.

And here's a fancy collage I made using a photo from a trip to Greece.

I don't know who Daniel and Sophia are, but that's a text field that you can edit, and there are lots more fancy frames for making Mother's and Father's Day cards, holiday cards, vacation postcards, etc. Print them at home on your own color printer, or send them directly from Flickr to Snapfish and have them print cards, calendars, mugs, and more.

If you don't already have a Flickr account, it's like most web-based applications--there's a free version and a premium version. Likewise for Picnik. These were made with the free version of Picnik, but with the premium version you get a lot more choices of layouts for the simple collage, and lots more frames and layout options for the fancy collages.