Category Archives: LibraryBox

Marriott & other hotels petition to kill non-approved wifi devices

Wifi signal around here
Marriott hotels, along with the American Hotel & Lodging Association and Ryman Hospitality Properties have petitioned the FCC to allow them to kill non-approved wifi signals within their hotels and conference centers. This is of particular interest to me, not only because I’m a Tennessee resident and Ryman is a huge presence here in TN (they own the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, along with the Grand Ole Opry and the Ryman Auditorium). The main reason that this is of special interest to me is that their attempt to kill “rogue” wifi hotspots will also kill the ability to use a LibraryBox in the same manner.

If you would like to read their petition, the full text is available on the FCC’s website, along with the very long list of opposition comments. Major technology players are lining up to agree this is a terrible idea, from Google to Microsoft and even universities. For a really good summary of the filing and the issues behind it, take a look at Glenn Fleishman’s BoingBoing post.

This isn’t the first time that Marriott has tried something like this, but at least the last time they got smacked by the FCC.

Because of their continued attempts to limit persons abilities to use an unlicensed segment of public bandwidth (something that is clearly and unmistakably against the law of the US and, I would argue, firmly against the public good) I have filed an opposition filing on behalf of the LibraryBox Project. The text of my filing can be read here, and I will link to the appropriate FCC page as soon as it is approved. If you or your library, school, or other organization would like to file a comment in opposition to the attempted hijacking of a public good, you can go here and click “Submit a Filing in RM-11737“.

Photo by nicolasnova –

LibraryBox wins Excellence in Education at Chattanooga Startup Awards

CHA Startup Awards

Last night were the first annual Chattanooga Startup Awards, a part of Startup Week. About a week or so ago I got an email letting me know that LibraryBox was a finalist for an award, and could I please send them a logo and a song I’d like played if we won.

First: I got a theme song. That’s just cool.

Second: I assumed it was a formality that LibraryBox wouldn’t win. There are so many awesome companies and people doing stuff in Chattanooga that I was certain I’d go to the awards, talk to a few other nominees, and have a beer. The last thing I thought would happen was that LibraryBox would actually win one.

Color me surprised:


LibraryBox won this:

Excellence in Education Award
This award may to go a person, teacher, parent, mentor or organization that has proven a commitment to educating and empowering the next generation of entrepreneurs.

I’m still befuddled at this given that among my competition were companies like Learning Blade, who are doing really interesting things with web-based learning.

I’m thrilled and humbled at winning any award for LibraryBox, and want to thank everyone that’s ever been involved in the project. There’s a lot more coming from LibraryBox in the near future…keep watching!

LibraryBox UI Translations Needed

For the last 6 months, I’ve been working on improving the LibraryBox user experience as a part of the Knight Foundation Prototype Grant that the project received. There were a number of improvements that were a part of the initial grant proposal, one of which was localization/internationalization of the interface. If you look at the map of LibraryBox locations…

View LibraryBox Locations in a larger map

…you can see that it’s a very popular project all around the world. While English may be my mother tongue, we really needed to work to make the interface available in other languages. As a result, in the upcoming v2.1 release, the LibraryBox interface will automagically change to the language your browser is set to use. If your computer and browser language is set to French, when you connect and use a LibraryBox running v2.1, the interface will be in French. Unfortunately, French is the only translation we have thus far.

But that’s where YOU come in. Do you speak another language? If so, we could use even a very rough translation from you in order to make LibraryBox as accessible as possible for people around the world. We’re talking about 350 words or so, total, 54 lines of text to potentially help people around the world. Help us!



How to Help!

  1. Download the English or French translation file(s)
  2. Open up the LibraryBox Languages spreadsheet, add your language to the list, and claim it!
  3. Translate the text into the appropriate language! Just the right-hand phrases, please…use the English/French files as a guide as to how to do it.
  4. Save your new language file as a text file
  5. Send the file, along with how you’d like to be credited on the website, to griffey at
  6. Update the spreadsheet so that others know you’re done and that language is off the board.


That’s it! You’ve helped to make access to digital materials easier for people around the world.

No language is off base: if you can get us a translation in Klingon, we’ll take it. Because of course there’s an accepted ISO HTTP header code for Klingon (tlh). For the record there’s also one for Sindarin (sjn) and Quenya (qya). Get to it, geeks.

Seriously, thank you to anyone who decides to tackle a translation. I thank you, and the readers and students around the world thank you.

UPDATE: I was asked on Twitter if there was a deadline for translations, and while we will continue to take them as they come in, I would love to have as many as possible to be able to brag about at the upcoming Knight Foundation demo day. So let’s say first round deadline is Friday, September 12th. Get me any translation by then, and I’ll make sure it’s in the 2.1 beta build that I show off at Demo Day.

Directory Layout opinions needed

Ok, Internet. I have two options, both of which have their upside/downsides, and I need your feedback. I’m working on the new directory layout for LibraryBox, and need to break long names, especially those without spaces in them, because it does crazy things with the layout. Here’s an example of what the layout looks like without the hard-break behavior:

Photo Aug 27, 2 59 58 PM
Without Hard Break CSS


And here’s the same directory listing, WITH the hard-break CSS behavior in place:


Photo Aug 27, 3 00 20 PM
With hard break CSS

Better, right? Except then you get weird things like this:


Photo Aug 27, 2 59 50 PM
Text with spaces, no hard break CSS



Photo Aug 27, 2 59 18 PM
Text with spaces, with hard break CSS


Text that DOES have spaces, and would normally break across them, instead breaks at the arbitrary point where it hits the wall of the container.

So what’s your vote: With or Without the hard break CSS? The text in question will be all over the place, as it’s whatever filenames people use for the files they put on a LibraryBox…could literally be any text in the world. So I can’t predict…and it’s in CSS, so I don’t really have a way to detect spaces and do an if/then with it. Anyone have any ideas?

Honoring Orwell

I am continually amazed, every day, at the reach and spread of the LibraryBox Project. This tweet from today took my breath away:

It refers to the 1984 Symposium, a group of people who gather every year on the anniversary of Orwell’s death, to honor him and discuss the ideas contained within 1984 by picnicking at his gravesite. That there is a small piece of me there in the form of a box that helps to make information that much more open and free…I’m so very, very pleased by this.

LibraryBox Installfest @ ALA Annual 2014

Are you going to be at ALA Annual 2014 in Las Vegas? Would you like to build your own LibraryBox for yourself or your library, but aren’t sure how to make that happen? Well step right up, I’ve got your answer!

On Saturday, June 28th from 11:15am until 12 Noon in the Networking Uncommons in the Las Vegas Convention Center, I will be holding the fist ever LibraryBox Installfest! What does that mean? It means that you buy the hardware and bring it with you, and I will walk you through the install process, show you some tips and tricks for customizing, and generally answer any questions about the LibraryBox Project that you might have. I’ll be there helping anyone who shows up, so just drop by anytime during that 45 minutes.

What you DEFINITELY need to bring with you

The install process, from beginning to end, will take about 10-15 minutes. If you show up with the equipment listed, I will make sure that you leave with a working LibraryBox.

Join me in the Networking Uncommons for the first ever LibraryBox Installfest, and learn how to build your own LibraryBox. Or just swing by and ask questions. Or heck, just come say hello and grab a LibraryBox sticker.

See you in Vegas!

IMLS, Maker Faire, and Montana Academic Library Symposium

IMLS_Logo_2cStarting Wednesday, I’m heading out for a couple of really exciting events. The first is an IMLS Stakeholder meeting in San Francisco, CA on May 15th that is dedicated to a discussion of how library spaces are changing. From the press release:

The San Francisco meeting will focus on current trends, challenges and opportunities to consider for framing future investments in this area. The discussion will cover the following:

  • The Shift to Participatory Learning
  • Approaches to Technology and Space
  • Staffing and Mentorship Models
  • Connected Learning
  • Community Engagement: Partnerships and Programming
  • Measuring Success: Evaluation

I’m really excited to be a part of this discussion, and can’t wait to meet everyone involved. The event is going to be livestreamed, and they are looking for lots of community involvement, so please join in. The twitter hashtag is #imlsfocus and if you’d like to tweet me directly at @griffey, I’d be happy to ask questions on your behalf.

makerfaireThe incredibly awesome side-effect of being in San Francisco on Thursday and Friday of this week is that Saturday is Maker Faire Bay Area 2014, the largest Maker Faire in the world. This will be my first time being able to attend the grand-high-holy of maker faires, and I’m completely excited. I will of course have a few LibraryBoxen with me, and will be hanging out with Sparkfun showing it off when I can. Sparkfun is going to be located in the Intel booth, so come by and say hello, or just download some free books from the LibraryBox that will be stationed there.

And to round out the awesome week, I’m going to be heading over to Bozeman, MT for the Montana Academic Library Symposium 2014: Makerspaces, DIY Culture, and the Emergence of the Smart Library Building, where I’ll be delivering a keynote about…Library Spaces! I’ll be talking about how the digital devices that are coming over the next 5-10 years will impact the use of our physical spaces, how we can react to that, and how we can bolster our efforts in appropriately marketing ourselves to stakeholders regarding these issues. I’m really excited to meet the fantastic librarians in Montana, and talk about the future of our spaces.

As always, if you’re going to be at any of these events and want to meet up, drop me an email at griffey at, or send me a message on twitter. I’d love to continue any of these conversations, or if you just want a LibraryBox demo, I’ll be happy to do that as well. Let me know!

LibraryBox v2.0 Release

librarybox logoOn July 28th, 2013 the LibraryBox Project got it’s first major public push, with the funding of the LibraryBox v2.0 Kickstarter Campaign. Today, 9 months later, I can finally announce that the v2.0 code is officially done, and is now available for download for installing as well as the source code being available on Github. There are a huge number of improvements, enhancements, and all around awesome things in the v2.0. I recommend you take a look at the About v2.0 page to see the highlights.

This means several things are now possible. First off, it means that the Kickstarter rewards for those that backed at the “get a LibraryBox” level are going to start shipping this week. I’ll be working my way through building and shipping those as quickly as possible. Those that have ordered Boxen directly, those are also going to be shipping ASAP, starting next week. My process will be to build and ship as I go, in the order placed. So those of you that jumped on earliest will start seeing shipping notices hit your inboxes over the weekend or very early next week.

This release is also the beginning of even more development for the LibraryBox Project. As announced just a few weeks ago, the Project has been chosen as a recipient of a Knight Foundation Prototype grant. This grant will fund the next round of development on LibraryBox, making it even better, more flexible, and more useful to more people around the world. More information about this next round of development, including goals and timelines, will be coming soon.

I hope you enjoy the code. Please build your ownupgrade your existing LibraryBox to the new code, or better yet, buy a pre-built LibraryBox and help support the project towards the v2.5 release.

LibraryBox receives a Knight Foundation Prototype Grant


It is with an overwhelming amount of excitement that I can finally announce that the LibraryBox Project has been awarded a Knight Foundation Prototype grant. These grants are designed to take a nascent project that has potential to further the Knight Foundation’s goals of engaged and connected communities and help get them prototyped and improved to the point where they are capable of moving into the next stage of their development.

Earlier this month, I attended a series of workshops based on the principles of Human-Centered Design that will inform the process of moving LibraryBox into the next stage of its development. The goals for this next development round will begin with increasing the functionality across more devices, and adding significantly to the internationalization support, although goal setting and needed functionality will be set primarily by the library and education community through a series of outreach efforts.

This is a huge benefit for libraries everywhere, as I hope it illustrates that libraries and librarians are doing important and worthwhile work as community connectors and innovators. More large grant agencies should be looking at what individual librarians are doing, and helping them make their communities better. I am very excited to be able to make the LibraryBox Project one that can help libraries and educators reach communities here in the United States and all around the world. If you’re interested in helping out, you can find out more and join the LibraryBox community at

LibraryBox v2.0 Release Candidate 2

Today marks the launch of the LibraryBox v2.0 Release Candidate 2! Now available on the LibraryBox build page, the newest release of the v2.0 of the LibraryBox codebase fixes a number of bugs that were identified in the RC1, including:

  • Chat not hiding when configuration set to “no”
  • Chat not re-enabling when configuration set to “yes”
  • Bug in changing system hostname

At this point, I’m still looking for bug reports, but I’m pretty confident that after a bit of testing, this will be the official v2.0 release of LibraryBox. If you do find any bugs, please file a bug report on the Github repository, and we will take a look.

If you are running RC1 and want to upgrade to RC2, you can do so by following the standard upgrade instructions.