Computers in Libraries 2016 – Day One

Today was the first day of the Computers in Libraries 2016 conference. I went to several sessions today, but wanted to focus on a couple of my favorites from today.

The first one I wanted to talk about was called, “Linux Laptops in the Library: An Affordable, Flexible, Easy, and Secure PAC Solution”. This talk was done by Alex Lent from Millis Public Library. Basically as a cost saving measure they had purchased several $300 Toshiba Satellite laptops that they loaded with Linux Ubuntu, as opposed to using Microsoft Windows. I have often wanted to use Linux in this kind of fashion, but there are several hurdles to the open source solution. Such as locking them down, in Alex’s example they used the Guest Session to ensure any changes were wiped from the laptop. This is a cost savings measure compared to using Deep Freeze on Windows computers. But the issue with this method has always been being able to configure the Guest profile, but Alex had figured that out using terminal commands to copy another profile into Guest. It was an interesting talk, but I am not sure about using them as public computer replacements just yet, but I am hopeful to use Alex’s methods to setup them up as catalog computers.

Another session I went to was called Digital Signage InfoBlitz. This session was done by several speakers were used different methods to create digital signage in their libraries. I have accomplished something like this using a screen saver trick on catalog computers. Their methods used different tools, such as Screenly (https://www.screenlyapp.com/tour). Basically they were running web pages in full kiosk mode for signage. Another method, which used the webpage method, ran Chrome in kiosk mode, but required some JavaScript in order for the elements of the page to load properly. So while doable, I am not sure how scalable this would be within our libraries.

I am looking forward to see what sessions tomorrow will bring. I have looked at the schedule, but haven’t settled yet on which sessions I want to attend. So far it has been a great conference and I look forward to more.