PLA Webinar: "Civic Tech for Public Libraries" // Jan. 16, 2020

Hi everyone - thanks for attending our webinar!  Slides are attached below.  Here are some links that I mentioned or demonstrated during today's session: 

Background Info, Inspiration, etc.

Anthony Marx, President of NYPL, speaking at Personal Democracy Forum 2015 about "The Public Library as the Civic Hub in the Digital Age"  (9-minute video).  Includes quotes like:

Going Beyond "Learn to Code" in the Library: Partnerships and Resources for Delivering Successful Advanced Technical Training

Abstract: As more libraries offer "learn to code" and digital skills training programs to patrons of all ages, there is a significant opportunity to offer more sophisticated services for advanced learners, even up to the level of professional workforce development. By partnering with local institutions or online programs, libraries can potentially offer in-house training to their community members who might not be otherwise well-suited for traditional in-person or online training programs.

Library Open Data Initiative

"Open data" is data published by a government entity for use by the public - it can include everything from budget and finance data to detailed scientific datasets of natural environments.  As trusted community providers of information and technology access, public libraries have a unique role to play in helping their communities publish, find, and use open data.  The Galecia Group is seeking libraries for our Library Open Data Initiative (LODI), a project that will foster increased awareness of the importance and availability of data to librarians, local governmen

"The Opportunity Project" - Free Toolkit and Examples For Community Digital Projects!

Are you going to build a community digital project, like a new online app or map for your city or region?  Make sure to check out the project toolkit from the US Census Bureau's "The Opportunity Project" for some great tips and resources!  The toolkit includes helpful explanations of the chief steps of planning, building, and supporting a digital product or service - and since it's provided by the Census Bureau, there are tons of links to data sources from federal, state, and local sources.

"Libraries Count!" - Why the 2020 Census Matters to Public Libraries

Something big is coming in 2020 - and we're not talking about the presidential election or the Olympics... it's the decennial US census!  And libraries have a critical role to play to ensure that their communities are represented in the census data, and the resulting program dollars that will flow.  Thankfully, the US Census Bureau and other organizations are working together to help everyone be counted fairly.

Civic Tech Project Ideas

Libraries of all sizes can participate in their local civic tech movement - here are some ideas to get you started!

Project: Learn About Open Data

Data is the foundation for any civic tech application -- and there is more available every day for people working on civic tech projects!  “Open data” refers to data released to the public by government agencies.  (Yes, this means that your library can even release its own open data sets about circulation, program attendance, most-read books, etc.!)  

Building a Civic Tech Presence at Your Library

This document outlines a sequential series of projects that a public library can complete to develop a civic technology presence in their local or regional community.  From educating patrons to working with government organizations, libraries can serve as anchors of local civic technology networks, providing a physical space, valuable resources, and the ability to bring community members together.

Facilitated Hackathon: Community Resource Map

Maps are an excellent way for people to visualize their local community and the resources within.  This hackathon has a focus on serving non-technical attendees.  In the morning, attendees will learn about collecting data -- online in the library and on a field trip in the local neighborhood.   The focus in the afternoon sessions is placing that data on an interactive map and using other digital tools to visualize it. 

The Galecia Group can:

Facilitated Hackathon: "Civic Tech"

Civic technology is tech -- websites, mobile apps, remote sensors, text message notification services, etc. -- that helps people interact with their government.  As accessible, well-respected, community-facing government institutions, public libraries are uniquely positioned to promote civic technology in their communities.  The Galecia Group can help your library plan and facilitate a successful “civic tech” hackathon for your community.