SC LIBRIS 2010: Let’s Skype! Using Skype in Library Programming

Presenter: Meredith Daniel, Piedmont Technical College

10:44 – Overview & demo today.  Yay!  Presenter does Reference, instruction, collection development, acquisition & programming. (Whew!)  They have no budget, so Skype can provide no cost speakers.  Yay!

What is Skype? – a VoIP provider.  Peer to peer networking system lets you make “phone calls” between PCs.  You need a webcam & a projector. Can be hard to have a view of the audience for the speaker.  But it lets you make video calls & that’s what they use.  Can be hard to set up, so logistics are meh.  Using it over the phone involves a fee. But who cares! The PC thing works well.

10:50 – Unlike social media, it’s more accessible for people not way into high tech things.  Must d/l software, set up acct, add each other as a contact (can send an invite.) Install mic & speakers if need be & webcam.  There are tools in skype to test so your mic & camera works & volume is OK.  (Check levels before each call)  Click contact name to “call” then the video option to use the camera.  There are tutorials on the skype site of course.  She finds it easy & not much need for cust svc, which like all 2.0 is meh.

The video is kinda cute!

Benefits: saves $, expands programming opportunities which leads to patron satisfaction & interest. Yay!

Program ideas: book clubs can talk between locations & also you can maybe have the author participate.  People can even do this from home if they want.

10:55: Some problems: voice & vid quality can be troublesome.  There is sometimes problem with synching  audio & video, but that’s usually worse if you have less powerful PC.  Does have an IM feature which can help troubleshoot & let person know “Hey! Having a problem…hang on.”

Q: Do you schedule it during low network use time?  Well, they can’t because they have to do it around lunch time when FB use peaks.  Also, at their school, there’s not much problem with students trying to install & use it.  She thinks it’s not as interesting to that age group.

11:00 – They did one book, one college program last year.  Did a Eudora Welty book.  They interviewed a speaker who worked on restoring Eudora’s garden.  On to the demo!

11:05 – And there is Susan, our skype partner today!  She says she’s not Jane Jetson, but we’re now at that level of tech!  What a great tool. 🙂  She uses it to collaborate on the book she is co-authoring & they use Skype to pan everything.  Even five years ago, this couldn’t have been possible.  You can continue to multitask so they can look at docs, etc. at the same time.  When they did her program, they had a little slide show that would replace her pic from time to time.

11:10 – She is now describing info about Eudora’s breakfast room…where she would sit & look out the window.  When she began the garden restoration, Eudora would look out this window & see what she was doing.  Redid house as 1980’s style.  The garden is restored to 1920’s-40s when it was at it’s peak.  A small garden.  Eudora said, “Don’t make this something it wasn’t”  That was liberating.  It can have weeds.  🙂  It’s a national historic landmark.

11:15 book UP of Miss  will publish & will have many previously unpublished works, like letters the Eudora wrote to her agent with garden references.  [Wow! Share this with M at work. 🙂 – A].  They will talk about other gardens as well.  Eudora’s pics of the garden, even some taken from the roof.  Wow!  Working Title: Between the Hand and the Earth.  “Between the hand & the earth, that’s the instinct of the gardener.” – Eudora Welty.

[Wow, that was impressive as a mini program! – A]

11:20 – Examples: Panel Discussion with a scholar calling in on Skype.  Book club had author chat.  [To do this where I work, we will need to be able to find funds somewhere to buy equipment to get audio out of a PC…a pair or webcams, perhaps, and a PC mic.  All their speakers have done it at no cost b.c there is not travel time & cost.


  • One attendee did a skype interview to get his current job.  A good experience for him.  Could replace the telephone interviews.
  • You can add more than 1 person skyping in, but there is a limit.  Some schools with international students could have a use for a single skype terminal.  Or a single skype study room.
  • There is a skype with children’s author network.  There is a small speaker fee, but heck, no travel money = still way cheaper!
  • Could be used for BI at another campus

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