Are you going to build a community digital project, like a new online app or map for your city or region?
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A Digital Librarian Learning Cohort is a group of librarians from across the country working on their own individual technology projects while simultaneously attending regularly-scheduled webinars that help build common digital skills. Each week, librarians attend a group webinar to learn basic skills, as well as participate in a private 1-hour technology mentoring session with a developer or designer familiar with their project.
The Galecia Group has offered website and application development services to libraries and consortia for nearly a decade.
Our custom application development team has built everything from simple apps for internal teams up to digital humanities projects viewed by thousands of visitors.
We also support and host the open source summer reading program, Bookpoints, which we co-developed with our library partners.
You can create simple online maps using free tools like Google's My Maps, but for serious collections of local landmarks, or historical/cultural resources, you'll need something more powerful, such as the custom platform that we built for Chicago Ancestors. I recently came across the open source platform "Arches," popularized by a digital history project in Los Angeles, that provides powerful geodata management capabilities perfect for digital humanities projects.
As someone who has worked on community technology projects for nearly twenty years, it was always conventional wisdom that we had to reach people offline to bring them online. In other words, we couldn't solely do outreach via the Internet when we were targeting people that were, often by definition, completely offline. As librarians in an increasingly digital world approaching 2020, it can be frustrating to see low uptake of digital services or low participation rates in online programs, like summer reading. When studies show that Americans of all ages and economic groups go online in increasing numbers, why is the online use rate of our digital services not skyrocketing?
As a librarian, you naturally want to ensure that your library is accessible to patrons of all ages and abilities? We build ramps and elevators for people who use wheelchairs, scooters, and other mobility assistants to make sure they have access to every resource in our library.
Are you taking the same care to make sure that all of your patrons can access the resources on your website?
BookPoints is a free, open source online application that libraries can use to build custom summer reading websites. The software was originally developed with the California Library Association (CLA) and Library of Virginia with support from IMLS via LSTA grants. As of 2018, The Galecia Group continues to partner with the Library of Virginia and several other libraries who continue to use the software. The Galecia Group continues to develop the software and provides hosting and support for libraries interested in getting help using the free, open source software.
Ever been to a "hackathon" -- a gathering of technologists committed to working on a short-term project, usually a couple of days? Imagine two dozen programmers, designers, and specialists locked in a room for 2 days with laptops, snacks, and caffeine, all focused on prototyping an innovative app for a good cause. Learning, sharing, and pure geekery ensue!
The Galecia Group was hired by the California Library Association (CLA) to support implementation of the Great Reading Adventure (GRA) summer reading program software in Summer 2015. CLA had received a grant that would allow them to offer the program to approximately 25 California libraries to use for free but they needed help with the technical aspects of doing so. After that first year of supporting libraries on the GRA softrware,we advised CLA to rebuild the software on a non-Windows platform (Linux, Apache, PHP, Drupal). Using the GRA software as a model, we recreated the program (with some exceptions) in time to offer it to the libraries to use again the next summer. We named the new software Bookpoints. Most of the libraries stayed with the pilot project of Bookpoints and worked with us throughout the development and testing. They used the software successfully and have been excellent development partners. Throughout this time we have been working with the Library of Virginia who also used GRA and then moved with us to Bookpoints,providing critical development funding for our development efforts.They also hosted another group of libraries on their own VA server.
After summer 2017, we worked closely with the libraries that had used the software to identify the high priority features that they wanted us to focus upon. We also brought in additional development resources from BitSource and DevCollaborative to supplement our Galecia team led by Jim Craner. The 2017 version is being released in April, 2017 and libraries will be going live on their customized versions starting in May, 2017.
As soon as the 2017 season of summer reading is launched we will begin working on the 2018 version. We will continue to partner with the Library of Virginia, however, California libraries libraries have lost their grant funding and CLA will no longer be involved in the project. The Galecia Group will continue to work with Virginia and our development partners, and hopefully most of our California libraries to host and support them in 2018 but the service will be fee-based. We will also be seeking additional support to keep the development going.