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Connecting Texas Libraries Statewide


Newsletter No. 161
August 2016


Bringing You the Latest in Texas Libraries

We are very excited to announce the date of next fiscal year's Showcase! Keep watching for more information and links to register! Let me know if you have any questions!

August 2016

In This Issue:

From the Executive Director
Microsoft Donation Program and STARLAB Portable Planetarium Update
YouthShare: News You Can Use
Shopper's Corner
What's Happening Around the State
CTLS Calendar
CTLS Board and Staff Directory

From the Executive Director

by Laurie Mahaffey


New Fiscal Year Starts Soon!

Can it be Back-to-School time already? Here we are starting August, and September is close behind! That means the start of the new fiscal year for CTLS. In spite of many of our libraries working with a county or city fiscal year of October through September, we have stayed with the state’s fiscal year (September through August) because that’s how the grants we receive from the state library run.

We are so pleased that the two grants for which we applied back in March have been “recommended for funding” to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission. The grants are continuations of the ones we are currently doing: the ‘Bots and Books grant and the 3-D Printer Labs grant in West Texas. If approved at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission meeting on August 2, the ‘Bots and Books grant will start its third year, while the 3-D Printer Labs grant enters its second year. Katelyn Patterson, the CTLS Youth Services Consultant, will continue working with the ‘Bots and Books grant, while CTLS’ Assistant Executive Director, Paul Waak, takes the 3-D Printer Labs grant to South Texas. We look forward to another successful year of both these grants!

If the state library has funding for competitive grants again next year, we will be applying for something new. Our recent survey showed that our members want more on technology. If you have an idea for a technology-related grant, please let one of our staff know. We want to respond to your needs and wants.

Speaking of looking ahead, the annual CTLS Fall Membership Meeting will move to October this year. We received feedback from many of you that the end of September was a difficult time for a meeting because of local end-of-fiscal-year concerns and deadlines. The meeting will be on Friday, October 14 at the new Wilson County Library in Floresville. Watch for the sign-up on the CTLS website!

John Stevens 1940-2016

CTLS has lost a good friend and a competent library director with the passing of John Stevens, director of the library in Fairfield for the past 8 years. John came to the library world after a successful career in hospital administration. He worked at hospitals in Wortham, New Boston, Coleman, Buffalo, and Palestine. I am certain he touched many lives, as he did at the Fairfield Library. John had a great sense of humor; I could count on him to make a clever remark that brought sunshine to the day. John was active in the Boy Scouts and in church music. He leaves his wonderful wife Jan and several children and grandchildren, and a host of friends.

Microsoft Donation Program and STARLAB Portable Planetarium Update

by Paul Waak


Microsoft Donation Program

Every public library needs office software for its public computers and Microsoft is often in demand. Sadly, the regular shelf price is prohibitive.The Microsoft Software Donation Program is administered by Microsoft but TechSoup helps direct people to it. Through it, Microsoft makes the web-only version of its Office Suite available to public libraries for free. There is a limit on the number of licenses available but most libraries are under the 50 public computer limit. The desktop version is also available for an annual subscription of $24 per computer. The fine print does limit the donated software to public use computers.

STARLAB Portable Planetarium

The STARLAB portable planetarium is on loan from Universities Space Research Association ( through August 26. Hutto, Llano, and Harker Heights used it in July for a total of 26 presentations to 266 youth and 138 adults. It will visit Laredo, Robstown, and Bryan in August.

Here is an interesting observation from Ann Rossberg in Llano.

"On Sunday, we had our Sundaes on Sunday [a fundraiser by the Friends group] and three shortened presentations in the Starlab [did not do the Moon part]. This was largely adults. I explained that I had geared it toward children and they were very interested. They wanted to know what else we did and I explained about the Moon activity. It was requested that there be an adult session, but I had already advertised my programs. If I were to get the Starlab again, I would definitely plan something just for the adults."


YouthShare: News You Can Use

by Katelyn Patterson


Libraries Helping a Healing Nation

Tragedy struck again right here in Dallas since last month when I talked about the occurrence in an Orlando night club. The Dallas Public Library was committed to supporting their community in the days that followed and even helped to preserve the tributes left as a memorial to the fallen officers during a rain storm.

Libraries and supporting organizations all over are playing their part to help communities trying to understand our current national climate. Recently Storytime Underground, a collective of Youth Services Librarians, made public comments about the importance that the library reflect these events and movements to help our communities cope and understand. The Oakland Public Library has a wonderful page of resources called Listen, Learn, Participate: A #BlackLivesMatter Resources Series. Earlier this year, WebJunction provided a 2 part post on Racial Equity in the Library: Part 1: Where to Start and Part 2: Diverse Collections, Programming, and Resources.

And of course, book displays and booklists are being created for the same reasons. I particularly want to point to the We Need Diverse Books Summer Reading Series. In addition to the wonderful graphic design, each post simply and briefly states the title's similar themes (friendship, relationship with grandparents, searching for family, etc.).

Similarly, as we get closer to November, patrons may want to know where to get the best information on the candidates and the election. Library Journal recently reviewed several Free Resources for an Informed Electorate that you may find useful.

August is Read a Romance Month

Did you know that August is Read a Romance month? At the recent Romance Writers of America conference in San Diego, a presentation was made showing just what a huge impact the Romance genre has on the publishing industry. Do you see romance flying off the shelves at your library? Here is an excuse to introduce the genre to others who haven't dipped their toe into it.

Library Extension

My new favorite Chrome Extension is called Library Extension. By installing this to the Chrome browser, anytime you browse for books online at websites like GoodReads, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon, Library Extension will let you know if the book or ebook is available at your local library. Borrow and Place a Hold buttons will even take patrons directly to that title in your catalog. They support many libraries (I looked up a few CTLS members) and if you don't see your library, contact them to let them know! Right now it only works with Chrome but will soon be available for Firefox, too. This is a great way to drive traffic to your site and catalog and could be a great extension of service.

School Library Journal TeenLive Conference

On August 10th, School Library Journal is offering their 5th annual TeenLive Conference, formerly called SummerTeen, which is a free, completely virtual conference discussing teen materials and programming. Keynote speakers are Meg Medina, author of Burn Baby Burn, and Maggie Stiefvater, author of The Raven Cycle. Register to "attend" the event here or follow #SLJTeenLive on Twitter.


$hopper’s Corner

by Sammie Simpson, CTLS Commercial Partnership Program Manager


Vendor Spotlight: CoolNerd Media

Mark Unthank from CoolNerd Media stopped by Shopper’s Corner to give us a little more detail about these CoolNerd Kiosks that are all the buzz this summer.

CoolNerd Media is a New York State Corporation founded in 2008. Our core business is electronic kiosk programming. Since 2009 we’ve combined kiosks with digital signage. We operate signage in public venues including train stations, concert venues/theaters and public libraries.

In 2014 we exhibited at SXSW to display our digital content vending machine, often referred to as “a Redbox kiosk for smartphones”. During that exhibition, 16 libraries visited us to discuss a solution for their multiple digital content vendor pain-points. The libraries needed the vendors for digital content, but having multiple vendors and each one with its own app caused confusion and fatigue for their patrons. The libraries stated that many patrons under-utilized the content vendors available to them because of the silo-ed apps and the need to open each app to browse for total library availability. CoolNerd Kiosk was tweaked over the next year to interface with popular content vendors OverDrive, 3MCloud, and OneClickDigital to aggregate and facilitate browsing and borrowing for libraries. After the first successful deployment we decided to prioritize libraries, setting a goal of selling 200 library kiosks by December 2016. Aggregation of a library’s combination of digital content vendors through our kiosk interface is going well. It is easy to navigate, as kiosks are ubiquitous in our society. Patrons comfortable with ATMs will become comfortable with CNKs. We’re adding additional functionality including linking to a library’s website and ILS within our kiosk interface. This enables passport applications to be run from the kiosk, Museum Pass Management, late fees assessment and self-checkout to be added to our functionality.

We are based in NYC. We currently have kiosks in Colorado, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Washington, DC. As of July 25, 2016, we have pending orders in Texas and Louisiana. We service nationwide. The majority of our maintenance and servicing of our kiosks is conducted via remote login from our computers to a kiosk’s computer. If a physical visit is needed to address a kiosk problem, we work with technicians across the country and will send one to the relevant library. These technicians are taught and guided by our office during the physical visit.

CoolNerd Kiosks increase digital engagement by library patrons. CNKs balance usage between multiple digital content vendors by displaying options from each vendor to library patrons. CNKs help libraries increase value for their budgets by displaying all vendors to patrons. CNKs are a tool for librarians. Patrons can be directed to a CNK for the curated functionality, enabling librarians to spend more time on more nuanced and sophisticated duties. CoolNerd Kiosks are and will grow to be used as satellite electronic library branches. CNKs support outreach to a library’s community when placed in community centers and travel hubs like train stations, bus stations, airports and malls. In five years we’ll have 5,000 kiosks in public libraries and will be a publishing source for libraries in addition to a facilitator of content aggregation and self-checkout.

We offer:

Indoor and outdoor electronic kiosks with touch screen monitors with a size range of 17” to 42” screens; Programmed to facilitate browsing and engaging of digital content viewed in apps by digital publishers; Programmed touch screens to copy PDF, MP3 and MP4 into smartdevices (USB Stick/iPhone/Android/Windows/BlackBerry); Programmed touch screens to run still images, video, rss, SMS, beacons; Programmed to scan barcodes/RFID, use credit card, wayfind, print.

Indoor and outdoor wall mounted flat screen monitors with a size range of 24” to 80” screens that can be programmed to run still images, video, rss, beacons, etc.

Wow, thanks to Mark for the information on these popular CNKs. Visit the CTLS Vendor Discount page to learn more.

Prior to purchasing for your library, checkout the Commercial Partnership Program Vendor Page to ensure you are getting discounts as a CTLS member.

What's Happening Around the State


News and Events


Library Links

CTLS Calendar


5: Library Districts Meeting, Lake Travis
19th: CTLS Board Meeting, Taylor


1: Beginning of Fiscal Year 2017
5: Labor Day- CTLS Office Closed
15: Power Up at Your Library Day


7: TLA District 3 Fall Meeting, Austin Community College Eastview Campus
14: Fall Membership Meeting, Wilson County Library, Floresville, TX


4: Central Texas Performer Showcase, Georgetown Public Library


CTLS Board of Directors

Larry Ringer        


Gretchen Pruett

Vice Chair

Alice Nixon


Karen Ellis


Eileen Altmiller
Larry Koeninger
Jean Phipps
Kelly Skovbjerg
Nicki Stohr


Laurie Mahaffey

Executive Director

CTLS Staff Directory

Laurie Mahaffey

Executive Director              

Paul Waak

Assistant Executive Director               

Katelyn Patterson

Youth Services, Website, Social Media, Newsletter

Samantha Simpson

Vendor Program Manager