This week is National Library Week in the United States. Yesterday I visited one of our local public libraries and borrowed a book. Visiting libraries has always been a religious experience for me. I grew up next to the Arcade Free Library. I spent much of my youth there. It was in that library and others that my imagination was piqued. I remember a book whose title I have long since forgotten where a little boy carved a dugout canoe complete with an indigenous person paddling it. He placed it in a creek and miraculously it made its way all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. That story inspired me to try the same. I don’t know if my primitive dugout ever made it to the gulf but I gave it a try.
After retiring from public education nearly eight years ago I started volunteering in our local library. That led to a stint on the board of trustees. Later I became a trustee of the Chautauqua-Cattaraugus Library System. In the past nearly eight years I have been spending a lot of time in libraries again. I’m enjoying that association with public libraries that began so many years ago. I don’t know how much you read but I’m grateful that my life has been spent in public libraries reading and learning.
I encourage you to visit your local public library this week and borrow a book.
Yesterday I collaborated with long time friend and fellow Linux enthusiast Phil Shapiro. Recently we had been exploring open source solutions for video conferencing. There are two platforms with which we had some experience and those are BigBlueButton and Jitsi. They’re both great platforms but for slightly different audiences. I have used Jitsi recently to collaborate with local librarians and to meet with friends. BigBlueButton is a platform that really is designed to support online education. It has a tools like a whiteboard that Jitsi doesn’t have. Although you can share your screen on Jitsi and you can record to the cloud if you would like.
Yesterday we planned to collaborate on BigBlueButton but had technical difficulties and switched to Jitsi. Phil used screen capture software and published our conversation on YouTube. It was a good experience. Today I decided to invest in a portable video background so our next effort will look a bit more professional and I need to be a little less wooden.
Phil and I met about ten years ago on Twitter over a common love of Linux and open source software. In the video we discuss our experiences with the Linux Terminal Server project and the advantages of using Koha supported by ByWater Solutions in public libraries. I hope you enjoy the video and our conversation.