Book Groups Dashboard

I’ve been discussing with my colleague how automation can improve her productivity. While I went through what we’d need to do to make something happen, I paused and realized that what they needed was a dashboard to manage everything they need to track. Since I had some time set aside for them already, I kicked the planned project down the road to give them extra time to work on it. Then I settled into hacking together a quick book groups dashboard.

Courtesy of Darien Library

The Process
I began by looking up free dashboard templates. After examining a few dozen, I decided that DashGum was the one for my needs (view demo). The main files I edited were the index.html, panels.html, and style.css. My colleagues told me what websites they accessed the most often. For their needs, these are book review websites. I use Sublime as my text editor. The main color scheme of bright green and blue are based upon the colors they like to represent themselves with.

The Layout
My first consideration is that I wanted to personalize this dashboard for each member of the team. So I added their photo, name, and their work area title. The top row in the example are the things this coworker needs to access the most. They are simple links. Each link opens in a new tab so they can keep their dashboard up in one tab (better for their use if not my recommendation). Below that are the book review sites they use the most. This design is not ideal because it’s eating up a lot of space, but it works for now. On the right is for my benefit: a way to keep them on target with submitting publicity items to me. In the sidebar are some less often used links which may be useful for their day to day work. The icons are just what Font Awesome icons the theme comes packaged with. I quickly selected those particular icons.

Personalization
The two dashboards I made are almost identical. However, one colleague is comfortable with using MailChimp while the other is not. So I removed links which open up MailChimp.

Weaknesses
Since this was a quick, hacked together project, it is not perfect. At the moment, the two pages are living on our shared network drive. This allows me to update the pages from afar, but I’m managing two separated index.html files since they’re custom to the needs of each person.

My colleagues also share a Google account between them which they are both logged into in Chrome. So on one person’s computer, I could set the home button to her dashboard. With one account, I could not set the home button to the other to her own dashboard. So I gritted my teeth and made it as a bookmark. She’s happy enough with it right now. Perhaps Chrome profiles could alleviate this issue?

Reception

I just used my new dashboard to look up a book I hadn’t heard about-it is fabulous!!! Thank you so much. So easy getting in and out of! So far I am fully enjoying all of its charms!

What’s Next
The layout is not responsive. I work on large monitors, but when I tested on a smaller monitor, the text in the review sites word-wrapped in an ugly way.

They do all their work in an Outlook calendar. It’d be great to provide a link to opening Outlook to that specific place in the software since they have to make several clicks to view it. My current understanding is that I can’t link to their calendar. I tested the waters to see if I could migrate them out of it, but one of them has a strong preference for the software.

It is too bad that Asana does not offer a way to embed task lists elsewhere (by design). Then instead of my manually updated Publicity Deadlines, I could just include my work list there so they could see where I am in working through this month’s book group work.

A Little Attention

I was surprised to see that Techsoup for Libraries mentioned the Global Map of 3D Printing Map. I’ve admired their work for years, so what an honor!

Can’t find the live link on their website, but here it is in Google’s search results.

It should be noted that LITA’s Maker Technologies Interest Group voted a couple years back to give the map to LITA. I’m unsure if the current website they’re working on is ready to highlight the map’s presence, so I’ve linked to its location on my website.

Logo for Midterms Event

My very talented colleague approached me about her redesign of our annual midterms programming. Usually, we stay open an extra hour for 3 days (and again for finals). This year, we’re going to have an after hours event on a Sunday. I was so inspired by the title, The Long Night Against Procrastination, that I wanted to make a custom logo.

Courtesy of Darien Library

I looked up Ikea lanterns to find my favorite version. Then I stabbed at Illustrator until I got the shape right. My colleague approved. The original text was just plain text at an angle. It didn’t fit my vision. So I spent about two days working at it to come up with the above design. It’s not perfect — I’m not confident with Illustrator yet — but it’s 85% of the way towards my vision.

Courtesy of Darien Library

I also rather like the email design that goes along with the logo.

So Many Prints

I’m going on vacation next week, so I’ve been slamming through hurdles as fast as I can. So far this month I’ve designed 11 bookmarks (10 which had multiple designs per side), 3 posters, 2 banners, 2 postcards, digital signs, email designs, editing web pages, scheduling social media, and editing images left and right. Then I swung out my rubber cement and glued down two posters.

The coolest thing by far was getting to take photos of the children’s librarians. Then our local fire chief took the camera from me and told me to go hop in the photo. I’m often left out of cool photos as the photographer of things, so this was an unexpected joy.

While this graphic design stuff was happening, I was also working hard on following up on all those emails. I had some cool ideas recently, but of course, this means I have to write it up. We had our annual stats review this week too. I spent 90 minutes compiling a picture of how our social media, emails, website, and Digital Media Lab has done. The week is just half over. I’ll have to continue to hustle as fast as I can over the next two days!

Children’s Library in the Forest

We’re celebrating Camp Darien this year. My colleague took this photo of the Children’s Department and it was then sent to me to clean up. After 3.5 hours of scrubbing (while on desk), I then dropped it into a forest background. The forest background took about 30 seconds. At that point, I could have gone on to try to make it merge better or found a better background. My colleagues are happy though, so I’ll let it go. :-)

Genealogy for Kids Program

Today my colleague Krishna and I hosted “Discover Your Family Story” program for children grades 3 to 6.

Participants will begin a family tree, learn how to conduct an oral history interview and learn about library resources that can help you discover your family story.

The materials took me four hours to put together. Do my research, design the program and the craft project (seen above), cut out 12 trunks and leaves and 200 nametags for the trees, and put together the handouts. The most interesting part were people texting their relatives to ask, “What were the names of your grandparents? I only knew them as Pop…”

Pi Day Blizzard Email

My hobby is making nice throwaway emails like this. The design is a default theme available from MailChimp. I realized later that I should have made the adult programs plural. There was a last minute change and I had to get the email out, so I missed it. There’s a lot going on in the text which I’m not 100% happy with it. Everyone likes clicking on Jen’s recommendation from Hoopla though so that’s a success.

Courtesy of Darien Library

People Read to the Bottom

Courtesy of Darien Library

One question I’ve had is wondering if anyone ever read to the bottom of our weekly events email. It’s somewhat hard to tell since clicks aren’t overwhelming positive. However, this week I finally got a definite response to our Did You Knows:

* 50: CSA Farm Share
* 19: HBO’s Big Little Lies booklist
* 24: Save the date for an event

That’s HUGE for us. I’d like to thank our director and the Head of Adult Programming for helping me select the items we’d feature in the DYKs. Each week I put in three items.