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Free Software: How Do I Choose? NCLA 2013

This guide supplements the session presentation by Jessica O'Brien given at the North Carolina Library Association conference on Oct. 18, 2013. Jessica may be contacted at

Free Software Suggestions

Volunteer Spot: Logging volunteer hours
OurVolts: Time tracking for volunteers

Monosnap: Screencapturing for Mac; download and install; annotate with lines, symbols, shapes, and more

Socrative: Student response system

Gimp: Robust photo editing program

MailChimp: Promotional newsletters (suggested by Jean Vollrath;
iContact: Promotional newsletters (suggested by Jean Vollrath;

Audacity: Open-source software for editing and recording audio files; lots of how-to tutorials, exports in MP3 and WAV

Omeka: Open-source software for content management; easy to create online exhibits; lots of templates; customizable to match the look of your website Online meeting and screensharing (suggested by Jennie Davis;

Prezi: alternative to Power Point (suggested by Jennie Davis;

EmailMeForm: allows for 3 customizable forms with 100 responses per month

Uses for Smore:

  • promote an event from your Friends of the Library 
  • create flyers to promote a usability test

Uses for Photo editors:

  • create programming on photo editing for tweens
  • blur out kids' faces for promotions or website
  • photo editing for colleagues to highlight programming

Uses for Polls:

  • discover patron wants or needs

Uses for Screencasting:

  • use for flipping the classroom; introducing the catalog before a class so there's more time for hands-on in class (suggested by Jennie Davis;
  • use for catalog tutorials
  • user for tutorials on mobile tools

Uses for Sign-up Programs:

  • book club sign-ups
  • track your library volunteer hours