You hear a lot about nonprofits here at TechSoup. But TechSoup also has many resources for libraries. Some resources are for libraries specifically, others are relevant to both libraries and nonprofits. This article will provide an overview of the TechSoup technology product donations and learning resources that can help your library effectively maintain and sustain its technology.
High-Quality Discounted Technology Products for Libraries
TechSoup distributes donated and discounted software and hardware products to eligible nonprofit organizations and libraries. You can save 80 – 96 percent on brand-new software donated by top companies like Microsoft and Intuit. Refurbished hardware, including laptop and desktop computers, monitors, printers, and servers are available as well. All products are available either for a small administrative fee or at discounted prices.
Each of TechSoup's donated and discounted product programs has specific eligibility guidelines, but public libraries that are listed in the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) database or have 501(c)(3) nonprofit status are eligible for many of these programs. Review the full list of TechSoup library technology donations or take the Program Eligibility Quiz to see which software and hardware donations your library may be eligible for. The Eligibility Requirements and Donor Partner Restrictions page provides further details on each program's requirements and restrictions.
For product donations, organizations must join TechSoup, register their library (note that each branch must register separately), and submit qualification documents. For more information, visit our How to Use TechSoup page.
Learning Resources for Libraries
All of these resources are free to any organization, including libraries, regardless of mission type or nonprofit status.
TechSoup for Libraries is where you'll find a wealth of resources that were created specifically with libraries in mind. They include:
- The TechSoup for Libraries blog provides updates on library technology, training resources, and topics like public access technology and addressing the digital divide.
- Our Library Spotlights offer a monthly profile on the experiences and innovations of a particular librarian. Get inspired by reading about all the cool things your peers have been doing.
- Free Library Technology Webinars are available from TechSoup and other organizations. These free online seminars let you learn anywhere you have a computer and Internet access. Many of the webinars are also archived, so you can view them anytime, anywhere, at your convenience.
- The Library Cookbooks are free downloadable guides that are packed with tips and techniques on maintaining public computers. Each Cookbook has valuable and practical information collected from hundreds of public libraries throughout the U.S. and Canada. From troubleshooting to setting up wireless networks, all these great ideas are captured and published to share solutions from the field. Learn from the experiences of others!
TechSoup also provides many resources that are geared toward both libraries and nonprofits:
- TechSoup's Articles and How-Tos include hundreds of detailed articles on technology topics, written for a library and nonprofit audience. Topics range from upgrading to the latest version of Windows to website design basics to tips for protecting your computers from viruses. These articles are written with an "accidental techie" in mind, meaning someone who is interested in technology but is not a full-time IT professional. So the articles are instructional, but they're not overwhelmingly technical.
- The TechSoup blog is also written for a nonprofit and library audience, and it's a great source for technology news, information, and resources.
Join the Conversation in the TechSoup Forums
The TechSoup Forums are a great place to ask (and answer) technology questions. There are more than 20 forums, on topics like Accessible Technology and Public Computing, Virus Vaccination and Computer Security, and Emerging Technologies. Each forum is moderated by a friendly volunteer host and TechSoup staff, and your questions are always welcome. You can also search the forums to see if a topic you're interested in has already been addressed.
Many of the forum participants are from nonprofit organizations, but libraries and nonprofits face many of the same technology challenges (like having limited time, budgets, and resources to support and maintain their technology). We also believe nonprofits and libraries share a common focus: They both want to make their communities better places. So we think libraries and nonprofits can learn a lot from each other.
Not only can libraries and nonprofits partner in ways that benefit each other and their communities, they can also share knowledge, best practices, and expertise. The TechSoup forums can help you learn about technology and share your expertise and experiences with nonprofits and other libraries.
Keep Up with the Latest TechSoup News
Want more TechSoup? We also offer a variety of email announcements and newsletters you can register to receive. Register here to get the latest TechSoup news delivered right to your inbox, including:
- TechSoup for Libraries Newsletter, a monthly publication that covers library technology news and learning resources.
- By the Cup, a weekly alert on new TechSoup technology articles, forum discussions, resources, and events (plus a delicious soup recipe).
- The bi-weekly New Product Donation Alert highlights new technology product donations available to libraries and nonprofits through TechSoup.
You can also follow TechSoup for libraries on Twitter (@techsoup4libs) for library technology news and updates.
Image: Library computers, Shutterstock