TechSoup is the San Francisco based nonprofit that supports charities, public libraries, churches and foundations with technology support and resources. The organization has had a special interest in libraries since 2006 when it launched TechSoup for Libraries.
Since then, the organization has advocated for the cause of libraries by bringing IT product donations, library tech information and technology training to the field. Over 40,000 library professionals receive the monthly TechSoup for Libraries newsletter, and a majority of U.S. public libraries are now members of TechSoup.
TechSoup is justifiably most famous for IT product donations and discounts for public and nonprofit libraries, as well as Friends of the Library or Library Foundations with 501(c)3 nonprofit status. The TechSoup Product Donation Program as saved libraries an estimated $160 million in IT costs to date.
To get product donations and discounts, libraries simply register with TechSoup (at no cost), then check to see what donations your library is eligible for, and then request them. There are now over 400 product donations and discounts available from over 90 product donors partners including Microsoft, Symantec, Dell, Lenovo, etc. Most product donations have admin fees that cover shipping, customer service, and operating expenses that keep the organization going. Currently, TechSoup is working hard on expanding discounted hardware offers for members. Here is our latest roundup of hardware offers.
The Microsoft Donation Program on TechSoup has had some significant changes recently. Microsoft products are a perpetual favorite for public libraries. The good news is that even though the number of donated products has been reduced, the product donations most popular with libraries are still available. These include the latest versions of Windows 10, Windows Server, Exchange Server and Office Standard and Office for Mac. See the details of the recent changes in the TechSoup for Libraries article, Microsoft Changes for Public Libraries.
The TechSoup for Libraries Newsletter
The free TechSoup for Libraries monthly newsletter is one of the major online publications in the country that covers all things library tech. To get the newsletter, Click the newsletter link on the TechSoup for Libraries home page. The publication covers library tech news, product donation updates, grant opportunities, and stories from the field by librarians so we can all learn from each other.
The newsletter also features technology forecasts by top library technologists, for instance from the LITA Top Technology Trends Committee. Find their latest forecast here. The most popular topics among readers currently are very practical plain-language how-to articles on a diverse range of IT tools and skills. Readers also like new information in the area of marketing, including social media, digital, traditional. Subscribers also welcome information on how to shape or reshape perceptions of what libraries do.
TechSoup offers free weekly webinars on all kinds of topics. These usually are hour-long events. Members mostly like the ones that introduce new product donations and especially the ones that show how to use them. Find a calendar of these here.
TechSoup also has a growing catalog of Online Courses that are mostly free. These are in-depth trainings on topics like tech planning, digital security, graphic design, and more specific topics like using Google Analytics. The courses can be taken at your own pace
Getting Your Tech Ideas and Experiences on TechSoup for Libraries
At The TechSoup for Libraries, we very much welcome your participation. If you are interested in getting your library tech ideas and experiences out to 40,000 librarians, contact Jim Lynch with your story ideas at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Author
Jim Lynch is the editor and chief bottle washer at TechSoup for Libraries