The Ultimate, Mega, Essential Website Design Guide – 115 Tools and Resources


Whether you’re building your first website or re-designing an existing one for your organization, this all-in-one guide will get you started with tools and resources for creating today’s modern websites.

    Website Tools – Content Management Systems

    There are many tools available to today’s website designers ranging from simple html to robust content management systems. These CMS systems all have the ability to create, store, and display large quantities of information as well as syndicate content throughout the your website and beyond.

    Articles & Resources

  1. Top 12 Free Content Management Systems
  2. Top 10 Most Usable Content Management Systems
  3. Examples of Libraries Using Content Management Systems


  5. Drupal – This popular application is an open source content management platform powering millions of websites and applications. It’s built, used, and supported by an active and diverse community of people around the world.
  6. WordPress – This free open-source content management system and blogging platform has become one of the most used software products for designing websites with over 60 million installations.  Both the iLibrarian blog and my professional website are powered by WordPress.
  7. Joomla – This is also a free and very popular open source content management system with over 35 million dowloads to date.
  8. Expression Engine – This Content Delivery Platform,has been around for over a decade and this popular content management system powers sites such as Disney, Apple, and Adobe.  It’s built on an open source PHP framework.

    Information Design & Navigation

    Web users spend an average of 8–10 seconds and three clicks on your Web site looking for what they need before they get frustrated and click away. Whether you are developing a new Web site or redesigning an existing one, it is imperative to determine an intuitive and usable navigational structure and taxonomy for your user community.  These articles and tools will help you do just that.

    Articles & Resources

  10. Guide to Website Navigation Design Patterns
  11. Do You Make These 7 Website Navigation Design Mistakes
  12. 50+ Gorgeous Navigation Menus
  13. 21 Examples of Excellent Navigation Menus in Web Design

    Tools – Boilerplates

  15. HTML5 Boilerplate – A boilerplate template for HTML5 apps or sites.  Comes with optimized Google Analytics snippet; placeholder touch-device icons; and docs covering dozens of extra tips and tricks as well as jQuery and Modernizr libraries.
  16. 960 Grid – The 960 Grid System is an effort to streamline web development workflow by providing commonly used dimensions, based on a width of 960 pixels. There are two variants: 12 and 16 columns, which can be used separately or in tandem.
  17. Bootstrap – A sleek, intuitive, and powerful front-end framework for faster and easier web development. Includes responsive CSS as well.
  18. Less Framework 4 – A CSS grid system for designing adaptive web­sites. It contains 4 layouts and 3 sets of typography presets, all based on a single grid.
  19. Foundation – The most advanced responsive front-end framework in the world – and it’s free!

    Graphic Design

    Graphic designers need to think about things like color theory and usage, optimal image placement, layout design and much more.  These articles and tools on graphic design theory will help you get a handle on how you can best design an aesthetically pleasing website.

    Articles & Resources

  21. 50 Totally Free Lessons in Graphic Design Theory
  22. Graphic Design Theory: 50 Resources and Articles
  23. 20 Vital Techniques & Best Practices For Effective Web Design


  25. Adobe Photoshop – One of the most popular graphics editing software programs on the market, Adobe Photoshop enables you to do just about anything with images and has a vast array of tools for creating graphics.
  26. Gimp – (GNU Image Manipulation Program) – This is a free open source alternative to Adobe Photoshop.  Similar to Photoshop, it has tools for image editing and creating original graphics.
  27. Adobe Kuler – upload, create, and edit color schemes
  28. Pixel Dropr – create sets of icons, illustrations, photos, buttons etc. that you can drag and drop into any photoshop image.
  29. PLTTS – easily create and find color palettes based on hex #’s
  30. Pictaculous – Upload an image and it will produce a color palette instantly.
  31. Dribble – Get graphic design inspiration and search by color.


    CSS or Cascading Style Sheets is a language that’s used to describe the presentation of a Web page.  It includes elements such as fonts, layout, and colors and allows designers to specify very granular rules about formatting and presentation for each.  Here are some resources to get you started creating your own CSS style sheets.

    Articles & Resources

  33. 30 CSS Best Practices for Beginners – Net Tuts
  34. CSS Tutorial –
  35. A List Apart – Articles specifically on CSS.
  36. CSS-Tricks – Forums, articles, videos, and tutorials on CSS


  38. CSS Beautifier – Type or paste in unformatted CSS and have it beautified automatically so that it’s consistent and easy to read.
  39. Reset CSS
  40. CSS3 Click Chart – This is a fantastic reference tool for CSS3 attributes with code examples, descriptions, links, tutorials, polyfills, tools, and browser support info for all new CSS3 features.
  41. Patternizer – An easy to use online tool which enables you to generate CSS3 stripes in an online interface, allowing you to customize the space in between each stripe and then provides the code.
  42. Sprite Box – A WYSIWYG tool to help Web designers quickly and easily create CSS classes and ID’s from a single sprite image.
  43. Primer – Paste in your HTML and Primer will pull out all of your classes and id’s and placing them into a starter stylesheet
  44. Mincss – Clears the junk out of your CSS by comparing each and every selector in the CSS to find out which ones aren’t being used.
  45. CSSCSS – CSSCSS will parse any CSS files you give it and let you know which rulesets have duplicated declarations.

    Social Media Integration

    Social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter are used by millions of people worldwide which is why it’s essential to strive to incorporate those sites’ functionality into your own.  Here are some articles and tools to help you best leverage the power of social media sites within your own website.

    Articles & Resources

  47. 3 Ways to Integrate Social Media into Your Website – Web Ascender
  48. How to easily integrate Social Media into your website – 1st Web Designer
  49. 9 Tips for Integrating Social Media on Your Website -  Social Media Examiner


  51. Add This – Easily create “Share This” and “Follow” buttons for over 300+ social media services (Facebook, Twitter and more)
  52. ShareThis -  Quickly create “Share” buttons for your website with this easy-to-use tool.
  53. Facebook Comments Box – The Comments box is a social plugin that enables people to comment on your site. Features include moderation tools and distribution.
  54. Facebook Like Button – The Like button is a simple plugin that lets people quickly share content on Facebook.
  55. Gigya Activity Feed – The Activity Feed plugin allows users to see the latest actions on a site, according to who performed the actions.

    Coding Tools

    There are a lot of excellent tools and resources available to assist website designers in creating and editing their sites as well as adding new functionality.  Here are a few to get you going:

    Articles & Resources

  57. Best Free HTML Editors    Gizmo’s Freeware
  58. HTML TOOLBOX: 30+ HTML Tools and Tutorials – Mashable
  59. SuperheroJs – A collection of the best articles, videos and presentations on the topic of creating, testing and maintaining a large JavaScript code base.

    Tools – jQuery & JavaScript

  61. JQuery Mention Input – This plugin will give your website the ability to mention out to friends by tagging them with @.
  62. Chardin.js – Add overlay instructions to your apps with this jQuery plugin.
  63. JSFiddle – This web-based editor allows you to create JavaScript, HTML, and CSS and see the results in real-time.
  64. FitText.js – A jQuery plugin for inflating web type and also making font-sizes flexible and responsive.
  65. JSLint – Created by Douglas Crockford, JSLint checks JavaScript code against best coding conventions for quality assurance.

    Tools -HTML Editors

  67. Adobe Dreamweaver – This is my preferred HTML editor.  It has a streamlined user interface, connected tools, and new visual CSS editing tools that let you code efficiently and intuitively.
  68. Adobe Brackets – Brackets is an open-source editor for web design and development built on top of web technologies such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript.
  69. CodePen – An HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code editor right in your browser with instant previews of the code you see and write.

    Tools -Misc

  71. Site Validator – This service lets you validate HTML5 and CSS3 on your whole site with a single click.

    Responsive Website Design

    Responsive Web Design (RWD) is, in a nutshell, all about designing your website so that it can be optimally viewed on a wide range of devices such as tablets, smartphones, laptops, etc. The idea is to design and maintain one website that can be viewed on all.  Here are tools and resources to help you do just that:

    Articles & Resources

  73. 85 Top Responsive Web Design Tools
  74. 16 Top Tools for Responsive Web Design
  75. 50 Useful Responsive Web Design Tools For Designers


  77. Responsive Nav – A tiny JavaScript plugin which helps you to create a toggled navigation for small screens.
  78. Gridset – Enables Web designers to design and build responsive grid-based layouts and offers a selection of presets.
  79. Respond.js – A javascript snippet of code which allows media queries to be compatible with older versions of browsers that lack support for them.
  80. Responsive Tables – A simple JS/CSS combo that will let your tables adapt to small device screens “without everything going to hell”.
  81. Adaptive Images – Detect your visitor’s screen size then automatically creates, caches and delivers device-appropriate re-scaled versions of your HTML images.


    Usability tests, card sorts, focus groups, and more are all used by website designers in an effort to create user-driven designs and deliver an engaging user experience to their visitors. Learn how to use these inexpensive techniques to understand how your users think about your Web site and its content.

    Articles & Resources

  83. Best books on usability and web interface design
  84. UX Magazine
  85. Usability 101: Introduction to Usability -Jakob Nielsen
  86. Smashing Magazine – UX Category
  87. Card Sorting from A–Z – iLibrarian Series
  88. 18 Usability Resources for Librarians – iLibrarian

    Tools- Wireframing & Mockups

  90. Microsoft Visio Professional – This is my favorite wire-framing tool, Visio is a powerful diagramming platform with a rich set of built-in stencils that lets you create wireframes, maps, and many other types of charts and diagrams.
  91. Mockingbird – an online tool that makes it easy for you to create, link together, preview, and share mockups of your website or application.
  92. Mockup Builder – A prototyping application that helps you design software or websites by making it easy to create mockups of the finished project.
  93. Balsamiq Mockups – Online wireframing tool with 75 built-in user interface components and 187 icons.
  94. Moqups – a nifty HTML5 App used to create wireframes, mockups or UI concepts, and prototypes.
  95. Mockflow is a super-easy wireframing tool that enables you to design and collaborate on user interface concepts for your software and websites.

    Tools – Usability Testing

  97. Websort – Card sorting application
  98. OptimalSort – Card sorting application
  99. Feedback Army – Set up usability tests in as little as 2 minutes for $20.
  100. – Set up a usability test and submit it for review from a user base of over 1 million participants.
  101. Silverback 2.0 – Guerrilla usability testing software for designers and developers.


    SEO or search engine optimization is all about improving or “optimizing” your ranking in search engine results in an effort to increase traffic to your website.  Techniques for accomplishing this vary according to individual search engine.  Here are some helpful resources to improve your website’s rank.

    Articles & Resources

  103. What Is SEO / Search Engine Optimization? – SearchEngineLand
  104. Search Engine Optimization Guide – Google
  105. The Beginner’s Guide to SEO – Moz
  106. Advanced Guide to SEO – QuickSprout/ Neil Patel
  107. SEO Book’s Search Engine Optimization Tools Directory


  109. Google Rich Snippets – Customize and preview the way your website will display in Google search results.  Rich snippets offer  markup help to enhance your search results listings.
  110. GetListed – Claim your local U.S. business listings on Google+ Local, Bing Local, Yelp, and other prominent local search engines.
  111. Google Website Optimizer – Website testing and optimization tool that allows you to increase the value of your existing websites and traffic without spending a cent -  now a part of Google Analytics.
  112. Meta Tag Generator – Instantly create meta tags that can be pasted into your site by entering the page title and description with this quick tool.
  113. Spider Test Tool – This is a search engine indexing simulator tool that shows the source code of a page, all outbound links on the page, and common words and phrases found in the page copy.
  114. Google AdWords Keyword Tool – This is a great way to get keyword ideas and find the best text for your audience. Identify what words or phrases will drive the most traffic to your site.


    Designing an accessible website includes accomodating visually impaired visitors, visitors that utilize voice reading devices, and visitors that turn off images.  Here are some excellent resources to help you design an accessible website.

    Articles & Resources

  116. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0
  117. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) Overview – Web Accessibility Initiative
  118. Section 508 Standards
  119. State Accessibility Laws, Policies, Standards and Other Resources (U.S.)
  120. Improve Your Website’s Accessibility With the W3C’s ‘Guide to Using ARIA’ – Webmonkey


  122. Browser Emulator – See what your site looks like on many ancient browsers.
  123. 38 Mobile Browser Emulators
  124. IE Tester – Browser Compatibility Check for Internet Explorer Versions from 5.5 to 10
  125. Colorblind Web Page Filter -  See what your website looks like for the colorblind.
  126. Wave Accessibility Evaluation Tool
  127. HiSoftware CynthiaSays™ Portal – A joint education and outreach project of HiSoftware, ICDRI, and the Internet Society Disability and Special Needs Chapter. Cynthia Says educates users in the concepts behind website accessibility.
  128. Accessibility Evaluation Toolbar for Firefox- Supports web developers in testing web resources for accessibility features.
  129. Fangs Screen Reader Emulator 1.0.8 for Firefox – Fangs renders a text version of a web page similar to how a screen reader would read it. The ambition is to help developers understand how an assistive device would present a website and thereby increase chances of finding accessibility issues early.


    Analytics tools are an invaluable way to show the ROI of marketing campaigns, popularity and usability of website content, value of blog posts, social media influence, and much more.

    Articles & Resources

  131. Web analytics -  Wikipedia
  132. Web Analytics Tools – SEOBook
  133. Web Analytics Category – Mashable
  134. 4 Analytics Tools Librarians Should Know About -  iLibrarian
  135. Google Analytics for Libraries by Joe Morgan – 50 page book on using GAnalytics in Libraries.


  137. Google Analytics – Free tool that lets you access robust reports indicating the total number of visitors to your website, their demographic, browser, and engagement information.
  138. SiteMeter – Similar to Google Analytics, this free tool provides a quick snapshot of traffic to your website.
  139. Open Web Analytics – An open source web analytics software that you can use to track and analyze how people use your websites and applications.



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30 Twitter Accounts to Follow for Technology News and Insights

Whether you’re a technologist, educator, or librarian, if you want to keep up with the latest in cutting-edge technology news, here are 30 Twitter accounts that will keep you in-the-know:


  1. David Pogue – @pogue – NY Times tech columnist.
  2. Tim O’Reilly – @timoreilly – Founder and CEO of O’Reilly Media.
  3. Pete Cashmore – @petecashmore – CEO and Founder of
  4. Kevin Rose – @kevinrose – CEO of Milk / Founder of Digg.
  5. Michael Arrington – @arrington – Founder of Techcrunch / investor.
  6. Guy Kawasaki – @GuyKawasaki – Venture Capitalist/cofounder of Alltop
  7. Charlene Li – @charleneli – Founder, Altimeter Group. Author, Open Leadership. Co-author, Groundswell. Forrester analyst.
  8. Walt Mossburg – @waltmossberg – Wall Street Journal tech columnist.
  9. Chad Hurley - @chad_hurley – Co-founder, YouTube / Delicious CEO.
  10. Erick Schonfeld – @erickschonfeld – Editor of Techcrunch.
  11. Eric Schmidt - @ericschmidt – Executive Chairman and ex-CEO, Google.
  12. Dennis Crowley – @dens – CEO and co-founder, FourSquare.
  13. Chris Anderson – @chr1sa – Editor of Wired magazine.
  14. Steven Levy - @stevenlevy – Wired senior writer.
  15. Peter Rojas – @peterrojas – Founded Gizmodo and Engadget.
  16. Biz Stone – @biz – Co-founder, Twitter.
  17. Evan Williams - @ev – Co-founder, Twitter.
  18. Jeremiah Owyang – @jowyang – Industry Analyst, Partner at Altimeter Group.
  19. Danah Boyd – @zephoria – social media scholar, youth researcher & advocate | Microsoft Research, NYU Media Culture & Communication, Harvard Berkman Center
  20. Om Malik – @om – Founder of GigaOM. Venture Partner at True Ventures.


  22. Techcrunch - @techcrunch – Breaking Technology News And Opinions From TechCrunch
  23. Wired - @wired – Wired’s official Twitter feed.
  24. Engadget - @engadget – Official Twitter account of Engadget
  25. Guardian Tech – @guardiantech – News and comment from the Guardian’s technology team
  26. The Next Web – @thenextweb
  27. NY Times Bits Blog – @nytimesbits
  28. ReadWrite – @RWW – The latest news, analysis and conversation in all things web, tech and social media from the team.
  29. SocialMediaExaminer – @smexaminer – Updates from Social Media Examiner.
  30. Kotaku – @Kotaku – The Gamer’s Guide
  31. CNET News – @CNETNews – Follow CNET News for all the latest tech news.

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Presenting on eBooks at AALL Seattle!

I will be discussing the current landscape of eBooks in law libraries at the AALL Annual 2013 conference on Tuesday, July 16th at 10:15 am.

How to Implement/Access an E-Book Collection in a Law Library

Date: Tuesday, July 16

Time: 10:15am – 11:45am

Location: 618-620

Description: Apple has sold more than 40 million iPads, and Amazon now sells more Kindle titles than print books. E-books have reached the tipping point. Libraries are watching the demand for e-book borrowing steadily rise and are responding by rolling out new e-book initiatives. Learn how to compare and evaluate e-book platforms, the ins and outs of pricing models-including demand-driven acquisitions, functionality unique to this format, and vendor types, as well as the questions you should ask about technical requirements. Become knowledgeable about the key challenges and benefits of launching an e-book initiative in your law library, as well as alternatives to purchasing e-books.

Takeaway 1: Participants will understand the various e-book vendor types, sales and pricing models- including demand-driven acquisitions, and functionality of major e-book packages.

Takeaway 2: Participants will be able to create an informed list of questions about content, functionality, and technical requirements of e-book packages to submit to vendors.

Takeaway 3: Participants will also become knowledgeable about alternatives to purchasing e-books.

Who should attend: Reference and acquisitions librarians; library administrators

A Librarian’s Guide to Space Tourism – 32 Resources


There has been a lot in the news this year about the burgeoning space tourism industry.  Much of what used to be purely science fiction has now become a reality and today everyday citizens can take a trip to outer space…for a price.

And that price has come down substantially since Dennis Tito, the world’s first space tourist coughed up $20 million for an eight-day trip to the International Space Station aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft in 2001. Today, a Virgin Galactic ticket for a seat on board SpaceShipTwo will set you back $250,000 for a suborbital flight.  So far nearly 600 people have put down deposits.  Alternatively, XCor is offering suborbital flights aboard the Lynx for $95,000 per flight, including medical screening and G-Force training.  And if you’re looking for something more long-lasting, you might apply to become one of the first inhabitants of the Red Planet within a permanent human settlement on Mars planned for 2023.

The first thing I thought about when I started reading about all of this was…do they need librarians?!


If you’re just getting caught up on the latest in space tourism, here are 32 resources to get you started:


  1. How Space Tourism Works – HowStuffWorks
  2. Space tourism industry seeks new heights – Daily Breeze
  3. How Space Tourism Could Help Save Planet Earth –
  4. Virgin Galactic Pulls Off First Successful Rocket-Powered Flight – Gawker
  5. Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo Makes First Powered Test Flight – Huffington Post
  6. Justin Bieber Is Going to Space – Mashable
  7. Private Spaceships for Space Tourists to Launch Big Test Flights –
  8. Millionaire Space Tourist Reportedly Planning Mars Trip – Mashable
  9. The Engadget Interview: Sir Richard Branson on Virgin Galactic and space tourism for the everyman – Engadget
  10. Space tourism industry faces safety concerns – CBC News
  11. Private Moon Travel Startup Launches Crowdfunding Campaign – Mashable
  12. Space industry gears up crew training – AOPA
  13. Axe Body Spray Will Send 22 People to Space – Mashable
  14. Way, Way, Way Over the Rainbow: Space Travel -  Huffington Post
  15. Space Tourism Society
  16. Space Tourism News


  18. The Evolution of Space Tourism
  19. Space Toursim Pinterest Board

    Space Tourism Pioneers

  21. Virgin Galactic
  22. XCOR Aerospace
  23. TSC – The Spaceship Company
  24. Space Adventures
  25. Spaceport America

    The Colonization of Mars


  27. Mars One
  28. Private Mars colony won’t seek life on Red Planet – Fox News
  29. Life on Mars to become a reality in 2023, Dutch firm claims – The Guardian
  30. 78,000 Apply for Private Mars Colony Project In 2 Weeks –
  31. The Call of Mars (by Buzz Aldrin) – The New York Times
  32. Buzz Aldrin calls for US colony on Mars – France 24
  33. Mars is no place for children – yet – Science
  34. Colonization of Mars – Wikipedia
  35. The Mars Foundation




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10 Treehouse, Dollhouse, and other Truly Unique Libraries – Part II

This is a continuation of my post from earlier this week titled 10 Treehouse, Dollhouse, and other Truly Unique Libraries – Part I





6) Royal Grammar School Chained Library

This unique library in Guildford, England was built in the early 1500’s and is one of the few original chained libraries where books were bound to their shelves allowing for added security for valuable books.  The library is now the Headmaster’s study but still contains books dating back to the 1400s including two early editions of Sir Isaac Newton’s Principia. More coverage here.




7) BiebBus – A Recycled Shipping Container Children’s Library

This expanding mobile library made from an old shipping container travels from school to school in the Netherlands providing 7,000 books and a reading room which holds 35-40 children.   The brainchild of architect Jord den Hollander, the vehicle was specifically designed to navigate narrow streets and not take up much parking space.  More coverage here.





8) Open Air Library

This is an outdoor library in Madgeburg, Germany was made out of beer crates and materials from an old warehouse.  Created by KARO Architecten in 2005 on the site of the previous district library, this was started as a temporary art project which local residents took over.  The library now offers over 20,000 books.  More coverage here and here.





9) Picture Book Library

A library designed for pre-schoolers, the Picture Book Library in Iwaki City, Fukushima Prefecture in Japan makes every book cover visible to patrons.  The beautifully designed library holds 1,300 picture books and is open to the public.  The library received 6,000 visitors in its first 10 months.  More coverage here.


Hernando Guanlao, librarian, Manila



10) Reading Club 2000

This is an informal library in Manila, Philippines which was started by Hernando Guanlao 12 years ago by placing books outside his home for others to borrow.  The collection is now up to 2,000 – 3,000 and Guanlao provides a book bike service to deliver books to the poorest communities in Manila.  More coverage here.


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10 Treehouse, Dollhouse, and other Truly Unique Libraries – Part I

I’ve been very interested in the use of library space lately as well as the design of libraries be they traditional, mobile, pop-up or other types and in my research I’ve come across some truly unique and interesting libraries.  Here are five with five more coming up later this week.





1) Ecological Children’s Activity and Education Center

The Soneva Kiri resort in Koh Kood, an island in the Gulf of Thailand, has built a Children Activity and Learning Centre with a library space.  Shaped like a giant manta ray, this unique library structure is built into a rocky slope near the sea and provides an Auditorium/Cinema for films, lectures and plays, a library with books on permaculture and local traditions, an Art room, a Music room and Fashion room.  More coverage here.



Fougasse story for Queen Mary's dolls' house

2) Queen Mary’s Dollhouse Library

Queen Mary’s Dollhouse is the largest and most famous dollhouse in the world.  It has working elevators and toilets as well as a 171-volume library containing some short works which were authored specifically for the dollhouse.  The miniature tomes have been bound in leather by the well-known bookbinders Sangorski & Sutcliffe.  More coverage here and here.





3) Weapons of Mass Instruction Mobile Library

This mobile library shaped like a tank contains approximately 900 books and wanders the streets of Buenos Aires “attacking its people with knowledge”. The brainchild of artist Raul Lemesoff, the vehicle is actually made out of a 1979 Ford Falcon which Lemesoff regularly restocks to provide people with free books.  More coverage here.





4) |CON|Temporary Library Installation

In October of 2012, the Center for Contemporary Art located in an ancient abandoned Turkish Bath in Plovdiv, Bulgaria had a temporary library designed in the largest and main room.  The library held books of contemporary art in and was shaped like a spiral ladder climbing toward the top of the dome because “Art and books is what raise us up spiritually”.  More coverage here.





5) The Tree House Gallery Library

This temporary library was set-up in London’s Regent’s Park as part of the Royal Parks summer events programme in 2012.  The work was led by artists and designers Claudia Moseley and Steph Smith and based on the design of  architects Henry Adams and Oliver Oglivie of OO Architects.  More coverage here.



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10 Fun Ways to Feed Your Mind this Summer


1. Learn a new language

Summer is a great time to learn new things, why not study a new language?  There are plenty of free online tools to help you such as Duolingo that will guide you through learning Spanish, English, French, Italian, German, and Portuguese.  Once you’ve got some phrases down, check out a language learning meetup group in your area and test them out such as the French Language Meetup Group where local French language and culture lovers meet up for conversation and fun.  For more online resources for language learning check out 10 Good Sites & Apps for Learning a New Language.


2. Register for a MOOC – Massive Open Online Courses

Through free online courses offered by universities and educational programs you can study anything from the philosophy of the ancients to fashion and pop culture!  Check out this easy to use directory of over 10,000 free online classes here at the OEDb, or see a listing of 375 free MOOCs from great universities from Open Culture.


3. Watch Videos from Recent Conferences

Whatever your field there will be major conferences and events in which the latest and most cutting-edge developments and projects are discussed.  Much of these sessions can be found online either through YouTube or directly on the conference website.  Here are over 650 videos from the SXSW conference – the annual music, film, and interactive conference and festival held in Austin.  And here’s over 1,500 TED Talks, a global set of conferences presenting the most innovative ideas in the research and practice of technology, science, and culture.  


4. Create an Awesome Summer Reading List

The Goodreads application is chock-full of recommended reading lists including both Fiction and Non-Fiction book lists as well as lists for particular genres such as teen and horror, etc. You can also create our own.  You can also check out the Amazon Best Sellers as well as the ALA’s Recommended Reading page which includes links to ALA’s literature award winners and various notable reading lists for all ages.  But some of my favorite reading lists have been spotlighted in ALDirect such as 22 Pandemic Books to Read Before the H7N9 Virus Kills Us All , 20 Books for the End of the World, and Top 10 YA Books that Buffy fans will want to read .


5. Play an Educational Game

Remember Highlights?  The hidden picture game that was strangely addictive and could almost always be found at the dentist’s office?  Well, now it’s online and available as an iPad app along with many other brain-tingling educational games such as Math Ninja, Monster Physics, Civilization Revolution, and more.  Online eduational games are available for all age ranges from kids to adults.  To find some check out 30 of the Best Educational iPad Games, 50 Free Online Educational Games That Are More Fun Than You’d Think, and 50 Great Sites for Serious, Educational Games.


6. Learn how to play an instrument

With all of today’s online resources is easier than ever to take up a musical instrument and learn to play it for free, or nearly free.  There is a surplus of tutorial apps available for both iPhone and Android devices for nearly any instrument. For example if you wanted to learn the violin you could check out the Learn Violin app for iPhone, the Magic Fiddle iPad app, the Violin Lesson Tutor for Android, or FiddlerMan on your desktop.  There’s also a wealth of free YouTube videos offering instruction on the violin and other instruments.


7. Listen to Some Smart Podcasts

Feed your brain some educational podcasts from academics, researchers, and experts that you can listen to on the way to work, school, or at the gym.  Here’s a giant list of University & College Podcasts – Free Educational Podcasts to keep you busy.  And if that’s not enough check out 13 Smart Podcasts That Will Feed Your Hunger for Knowledge and Ideas and the The Top 5 Podcasts for Smart People.


8. Download Free Audiobooks

The leading provider of audiobooks is Audible which offers over 100,000 downloadable audiobooks, but there are also plenty of apps and websites which provide audiobooks for free. More than 3,000 public domain audiobooks and eBooks are available at Books Should Be Free.  There are also several mobile apps available with packages of audiobooks contained within such as the Free Audiobooks app for .99 cents which has nearly 5,000.  Here’s a great list from Open Culture: 525 Free Audio Books: Download Great Books for Free, and an article discussing the best websites for free audiobooks.


9. Install Educational Apps on Your Tablet

Thousands of educational apps such as the Khan Academy library of over 3000 free videos covering everything from arithmetic to physics, finance, and history and hundreds of skills to practice, Shakespeare in Bits, Star Walk, Monster Anatomy and more.  Check out Apple’s Education Apps section, 48 Free Education Apps Sorted By Grade Level, and the Next Web’s 12 of the best educational apps of 2012.


10. Read Free eBooks

There are so many ways to download free eBooks for your iPad, Android tablet or other mobile device, why ever pay for an eBook?  You can easily search for your local library on OverDrive to see if they are offering free e-Books via their subscription service.  You can also check out this post I wrote in November linking to 5 e-Book Collections with Over 100,000 Free e-Books.  And if that’s not enough, check out: 225 Free eBooks: Download Great Classics for Free and the 20 Best Websites To Download Free EBooks.


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16 Free Live Webinars for Librarians in June

There are plenty of free learning opportunities for librarians online, and this post will list many, but this upcoming webinar titled “Why aren’t they reading quietly?! Messing around at the library” was particularly intriguing to me, and I caught up with one of the presenters to ask him a few questions!

Featured Webinar: Why aren’t they reading quietly?! Messing around at the library

Presented by the Colorado State Library
Wednesday, June 12
2:30-3:30 pm (Eastern)
Do you seek ideas on how to turn your library from a grocery store to a kitchen? Are you looking for ways to engage folks in your library? Come hang out, mess around and geek out with us. Get inspiration from others about letting creation and HOMAGO happen in your library.


Q.) Tell us about yourself in 140 characters or less
A.) Kieran Hixon is passionate about rural libraries. His focus has low cost tech solutions for small rural libraries. He is a proud member of ARSL.

Q.) What types of libraries/librarians is your webinar aimed at?
A.) The webinar is aimed to help all sorts and sizes of libraries.

Q.) What is HOMAGO and why should librarians know about it?
A.) HOMAGO is short for Hanging out, Messing around, Geeking out. It comes from the book Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media. by Mizuko Itō.

HoMaGo can help librarians engage teens and change the way teen programs are run and how the physical space of the library is set up. In this webinar we are considering not just teens but also adults. We will also be looking at creation spaces in libraries and thinking about ways to take a library from just a place to find information to a place where information can be transformed…. we are aiming high. We believe that the 21st century library is no longer a conduit to bring information to people, but also a way to bring our communities to the world.

Q.) What are some learning points that participants will learn from attending this webinar?
A.) We are hoping in this highly interactive session that folks get a sense of what is possible in the realms of physical space, policy and activities. We will be covering HoMaGo, expectations of a library, and physical space. Aaron Bock from Anythink Libraries will be joining Sharon Morris and me.

And here’s a monthly roundup of other great-looking online webinars and free educational opportunities for librarians in June.

  1. Friday, June 7
    11:00am-12:00 pm (Eastern)
    Why Google? (OCLC)
    In this webinar, Dr. Lynn Silipigni Connaway will discuss results of multiple user behavior studies and recommendations for promoting user engagement with library services, sources, and systems.
  2. Wednesday, June 12
    11:00am-12:00 pm (Eastern)
    Tech Talk with Michael Sauers: Working with Wikipedia (Nebraska Library Commission)
    Next to Google, Wikipedia is the major source of information used by people today. But libraries also own much content that isn’t available on Wikipedia, so how should we make sure users don’t stop there? In this session, Aaron Tay, Senior Librarian & eServices Facilitator at National University of Singapore, will cover ideas on how to link resources from Wikipedia to library resources using various tools including John Mark Ockerbloom’s Forward to Libraries service. In the opposite direction, libraries can also move in and use Wikipedia entries to enhance findability of their collections.
  3. Wednesday, June 12
    11:00am-12:00 pm (Eastern)
    Uncovering Free and Low Cost Legal Resources (Wyoming State Law Library)
    There are an abundance of free legal research resources available. Some resources provide all of their content for free while others provide a mixture of free and fee-based information. We will review a variety of electronic resources including university and nonprofit organization sites, government sites, and more. As with any resource, we will discover that one legal resource is more valuable than another for particular types of research.
  4. Wednesday, June 12
    2:00-3:00 pm (Eastern)
    Support Patron Learning in Small Spaces with Small Budgets (WebJunction)
    In small communities, libraries can often be the only provider of free public access to technology and the internet. And as more people turn to their library to learn technology skills, even the tiniest of libraries are faced with the challenge of providing training to patrons with limited staff, resources, and space. Learn from small and rural libraries who are making training a reality for their patrons, using volunteers, leveraging partnerships and integrating learning into everyday interactions. Whether the technology training you do (or want to do) is one-to-one, on-the-fly or a more formal program, this session will include tips and suggestions for improving the effectiveness of the training you provide.
  5. Wednesday, June 12
    2:30-3:30 pm (Eastern)
    Data-Driven Libraries Part 2: Understanding Customers Through Segmentation Analytics (Library Journal)
    Customer segmentation studies and data analytics combines demographic data with lifestyle information to help public libraries better understand who their customers are and what services best meet the community’s need, whether school-aged children or empty-nester couples. This type of GIS-based market segmentation can also help inform strategies around such initiatives as a levy ballot and also eliminate inefficient marketing efforts.
  6. Wednesday, June 12
    2:30-3:30 pm (Eastern)
    Why aren’t they reading quietly?! Messing around at the library (Colorado State Library)
    Do you seek ideas on how to turn your library from a grocery store to a kitchen? Are you looking for ways to engage folks in your library? Come hang out, mess around and geek out with us. Get inspiration from others about letting creation and HOMAGO happen in your library.
  7. Wednesday, June 12
    3:00-4:00 pm (Eastern)
    Community Led Library Service Development (InfoPeople)
    Instead of adding projects or tasks to library staff in an effort to promote library services, the community-led approach establishes the library staff as trained listeners and brokers of awareness to provide service development for both marginalized and comfortable community sectors. The community-led approach helps the library to identify which traditional library roles are now redundant, and thus of little worth to the community, allowing both professional library staff and support staff to concentrate on those services that are meaningful to the public. Community-led service development allows both the community and its library staff to grow, become engaged in the civic sphere they share and find the best venues for individuals to pursue their aspirations for their primary needs of health and welfare, as well as life-long learning and the support of personal values.
  8. Thursday, June 13
    2:00-3:00 pm (Eastern)
    Web and IT Accessibility Policies in Higher Education (AT Coalition)
    How many higher education institutions in the United States have web or technology accessibility policies? What do these policies look like? Are they effective? What constitutes a good accessibility policy? Presenters in this session will be exploring these questions with results from their recent research project on this topic, and by sharing their own experiences with policy development and accessibility-related planning.
  9. Monday, June 17
    11:00am-12:00 pm (Eastern)
    Digital Content Creation and Collection Development (LYRASIS)
    Join us for a one hour free webinar that briefly introduces the critical components of digital content creation and collection development.
  10. Tuesday, June 18
    2:00-3:00 pm (Eastern)
    New Kids on the Block (Booklist)
    While there won’t be any serenading from the beloved boy band, this hour-long, free webinar is sure to be almost as swoon-worthy! Hear from Algonquin Young Readers, Blink/Zondervan, Soho Teen, and Sourcebooks Fire as they present middle grade and YA titles from their new imprints hip to all things tween and teen. Moderated by Booklist’s Books for Youth associate editor Annie Kelley.
  11. Tuesday, June 18
    2:00-3:00 pm (Eastern)
    Public Libraries: Become a Community Publishing Portal (PLA)
    Last year Los Gatos (Calif.) Library began a partnership with e-book self-publishing company Smashwords to offer a three-part series of e-book self-publishing seminars. This partnership has grown to include a co-branded publishing portal managed by Smashwords. Linked from the library website, the portal enables local authors to publish and distribute e-books at no cost and allows them to “Publish to the Library” if the library chooses to purchase their work. Find out how Los Gatos Library developed this partnership and how your library can easily do the same.
  12. Wednesday, June 19
    11:00am-12:00 pm (Eastern)
    eBooks – The Changing Landscape in South Dakota Schools (NCompass Live)
    25% of schools nationally have access to downloadable eBooks and audiobooks. What’s the scene at your school? Attend this session to hear more about your options and learn where to look to bring eBooks into your student’s lives. Content covered will include popular eBook models, platform choices and things to consider when looking at adding eBooks to your library’s options. Speakers: Joan Upell, School Library Coordinator and Julie Erickson, Electronic Resources Coordinator, South Dakota State Library.
  13. Wednesday, June 19
    2:00-3:00 pm (Eastern)
    RDA Essentials for Public Services (Carterette Series)
    After years of buzz, the Library of Congress implemented the new cataloging standard RDA (Resource Description and Access) on March 31, 2013. What is RDA and why should I care? RDA is part of the ongoing transformation of library data with an objective of responsiveness to user needs. Susan Wynne will discuss the major differences between AACR2 practices and RDA, focusing on how RDA affects user displays and navigation in local catalogs, WorldCat, and elsewhere.
  14. Thursday, June 20
    2:30-4:00 pm (Eastern)
    How to Deliver Great Library Customer Service (ALA Editions)
    Drawing on 20 years’ experience as a trainer and coach, Laurie Brown will show you how to create a welcoming, friendly experience for patrons, students, and other library users. Satisfied customers mean good vibes, and happy library users are part of a strong library. In addition to learning how to fulfill the expectations of the people who use your library, you will also get pointers on listening and communications skills to help your conversations with angry, chatty, or overly demanding patrons as gracefully as possible.
  15. Tuesday, June 25
    3:00-4:00 pm (Eastern)
    Data-Driven Libraries Part 3: Decoding Data to Plan for the Future (Library Journal)
    Data-driven decision making is creating large pools of data around which public libraries are trying to define everything from overarching strategies to granular collection development strategies. Although the analysis of this data is often left to third-parties, some libraries are taking the step of hiring their own data analysts to help administrators decide what the data means, why it matters, and how best to present it to other stakeholders.
  16. Thursday, June 27
    11:00am-12:00 pm (Eastern)
    MOOCs and More! (Wyoming State Library)
    What’s a MOOC? It’s a Massive Open Online Course — higher-level learning coming from top universities, all online, all free. Join Susan Mark to learn how to put your patrons in touch with MOOCs and other quality learning interests that suit their needs.

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