[Libs-Or] digital display

Liz Paulus LizP at wccls.org
Fri Mar 6 11:40:25 PST 2015

Dear OLA folks –

Running a digital signage program has many moving parts; the hardware seems to be only part of the equation that will work for one’s library. In 2013, I wrote a draft proposal for our library. We have not implemented digital signage yet, but my research included this 2010 article:

CRL News:
Donald A. Barclay, Thomas Bustos, and Teal Smith
Signs of success: Digital signage in the library
Coll. res. libr. news June 2010 71:299-333

More notes from 2013:

UCMerced, an academic library in California, set up a default PowerPoint template with slides sized for the display (1280 x 768) for submission by anyone on campus. (Bold effort, and a great use of digital displays in a student-centric space.) Read their submission guidelines here: http://studentsfirst.ucmerced.edu/resources/digitalsignage

More locally, I checked with WCCLS libraries where installed digital signage in 2013. At the time, one city library had this to say about the configuration: “They display a PowerPoint presentation in a loop on a NEC MultiSynch 46” display  with a build in NEC Atom 1.6 GHz PC. The computer is running in a workgroup mode and the staff connects to it…, they copy the presentation, and then reboot the computer. PC is set up to auto logon and to run the presentation. Initially, the staff was using Bluetooth keyboard with touchpad but they frequently had connectivity issues. The advantage of NEC solution is that the computer installs in the slot on the display and all you need is CAT5 and power connection.”

Another library was using a hosted service (http://potomac.nu/?Gallery:Kiosk&print) but was contemplating moving to a different service (http://www.sitekiosk.com), both of which require internet and network access for the display, as well as monthly fees.

Newer televisions frequently allow plugging in of USB to run photo slideshows using the remote. In that kind of scenario, you’d need: 1) access to the USB for staff only (monitor can’t be near the ceiling, nor easily accessible by patrons), 2) have the TV remote available, and 3) manage the slides (images) in a consistent format to view correctly on the screen. Slide show software varies from TV brand to brand (or the software they are running) so it depends a lot on whether the slide show implementation fits the library’s needs.

When my library gets back to working on digital signage, I’ll be asking the same questions as everyone else. I hope my notes from a couple years back are helpful in moving the question at your library.


Liz Paulus
Electronic Resources Librarian
Cedar Mill Community Library
lizp at wccls.org

From: Libs-Or [mailto:libs-or-bounces at listsmart.osl.state.or.us] On Behalf Of Diedre Conkling
Sent: Tuesday, March 03, 2015 1:04 PM
To: libs-or
Subject: Re: [Libs-Or] digital display

The PUBLIB archive use to be fairly easy to search but it is more difficult now and I didn't really find the right terms to use.  I know that this subject has been discussed there several times.  I did find some of a 2008 discussion but I think that with the current TV's an SD card or a thumb drive can be used directly in the TV without the computer connection.  I am posting part of the 2008 discussion that I found because parts of it still might be useful:

Date: Fri, 08 Feb 2008 18:00:41 -0600

To: "Terry Wirick" <twirick at erielibrary.org<mailto:twirick at erielibrary.org>>, "PUBLIB" <publib at webjunction.org<mailto:publib at webjunction.org>>

From: "Michael Golrick" <Michaelg at eauclaire.lib.wi.us<mailto:Michaelg at eauclaire.lib.wi.us>>

Subject: Re: [Publib] Library informational displays

Content-Type: text/plain; charset=US-ASCII


The L E Phillips Memorial Public Library has a large flat screen TV behind =

the reference desk plus several other smaller sets around the building. =

What we do is loop a Power Point presentation which promotes upcoming =

library programs as well as our current Capital Campaign. Our PR staff =

manages the content. Our web site includes some of the same information =

(provided by the same staff) as part of the banner at the top of the page. =

(See the link in my sig file.)

Email me privately if you need more and I will connect you with the staff =

who actually do the work.


Date: Wed, 1 Oct 2008 15:33:08 -0400

To: "publib at webjunction.org<mailto:publib at webjunction.org>" <publib at webjunction.org<mailto:publib at webjunction.org>>

From: Lisa Charbonnet <lisa at westbank.lib.tx.us<mailto:lisa at westbank.lib.tx.us>>

Subject: [Publib] Electronic Displays in the Foyer

Content-Type: multipart/alternative;

Hi all,

I've been asking lots of questions of the great collective at publib lately=

 and I just thought I'd give some answers back!

We've been looking for a flexible electronic display format to make announc=

ements in our foyer. We wanted great graphic capability to capture patrons'=

 eyes with lots of photographs as well as the flexibility to change it at l=

east daily. I sent out a call to publib and we investigated several vendors=

. A couple of the vendors offered lovely displays- 37" monitors mounted on =

sturdy stands that could  be programmed with content from a flash drive. Th=

e price? Almost $5,000 and way beyond our budget.

So, we got inventive. New flat screen TVs have come way down in price. We f=

ound a sleek 32" model for $600 and mounted it on the inside foyer wall.  I=

t took special heavy brackets- you can usually pay to have the store you bo=

ught it from install it or you can get brackets from most any hardware stor=

e- and we mounted it high enough to be out of reach of little fingers. We p=

ulled the cord through the wall, conveniently next to a desk, and hooked it=

 up to both a plug and an old computer of ours. The computer does not have =

to be new or particularly powerful, it will only run one thing, the TV disp=


What about the display? We composed a simple Powerpoint to show upcoming pr=

ograms, news, and items of interest. We played with the timing, (for us 3 s=

econds a slide is just about right), the color and background (we loaded th=

e Master with a soft blue and our logo), and the graphics (photos are great=

, a 300 dpi resolution seems to work fine). Every now and then we insert so=

mething to jazz the eye further. Maybe a subliminal word? Read? We just lea=

ve it up, looping continually, all day long.

How to change it? With a real computer on the other end of the TV, we loade=

d VNC (Virtual Network Computing- open source under the GNU general public =

license) to connect that computer to our library's shared internal drive. W=

ith VNC and a password, we can control the display computer from any other =

connected computer, even from main to branch and back, and we can change th=

e display from minute to minute if we like.

Our display has been up and running for two weeks now and all is well. Mayb=

e we can cut down on some of the paper brochures. Maybe we should load the =

occasional You Tube video (though maybe the repetitive sound would drive th=

e Circulation folks crazy). Maybe we could have contests. Lots of fun thoug=




We use an old PC with a looping Powerpoint presentation. It displays on

a 24" widescreen flat panel mounted behind the circ desk. Easy as pie,

gives the patrons something to look at while they wait in line

(including a lovely screen that asks them to have their card ready).


Linda Cannon

Collection Development Librarian

Joplin Public Library

On Tue, Mar 3, 2015 at 11:11 AM, Ted Smith <t.smith at newportlibrary.org<mailto:t.smith at newportlibrary.org>> wrote:
I heard there was a thread on the list about digital displays for lobbies.  I’m very interested in purchasing a system and would love to hear from those of you who have done so.  How easy is it to implement and update.  Any major IT requirements – I have power and data outlets at the location in mind.  I’d like to have the ability to update from any staff pc so I suppose the software would have to be on a server accessible to selected staff?  These are all questions as well as needs.  What say you?

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Diedre Conkling
Lincoln County Library District
P.O. Box 2027
Newport, OR 97365
Phone & Fax: 541-265-3066
Work email: diedre at lincolncolibrarydist.org<mailto:diedre at lincolncolibrarydist.org>
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“If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude.”―Maya Angelou
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