My New Love for all things Raspberry Pi

At the Texas Library Association Annual conference this year, I was lucky to get to spend some quality time with a good friend of mine, Aaron Graves. He’s part of the super-duo (Colleen Graves & Aaron Graves) who have written many books and presented on the maker-culture in libraries across the country. We spent a good amount of time attending the same sessions, and the best session that we attended was “Not Your Mom’s Raspberry Pi” presented by Matt Richarson. This session was the best session I saw at TLA. Period. And here is why…image3

Everyone who knows me knows that I love gadgets. I’m an early adopter of anything techy and useful. I have a Google Home, a Nest Thermostat, and a Roomba just to name a few. And when I was 12 I taught myself DOS. And when I inherited the Lamar Library I had let 3 Raspberry Pis sit in a closet and collect dust. I know, I know, it’s shameful, but I was simply intimidated. In December I had applied to be a part of Picademy in Austin, but they chose Aaron instead. Hopefully, I will get a chance to attend in the future. Hint. Hint.

But, I wanted to share my favorite take-a-way from Matt Richardson’s session. The display using Screenly and a Raspberry Pi. As soon as I saw it, I knew I would run home and make one for my library. Let’s face it we don’t have budgets for flat screen TVs, but we do have computer monitors to spare.

Here’s the tutorial I used and the steps I added (thanks to Aaron) that have made my circulation desk a gathering point.


Slides were made in Canva before being imported to Google Slides (Mashup Success)



Raspberry Pi sitting on Circulation Desk

I’m running Screenly, the open-source edition, on my Raspberry Pi. Their instructions are wonderfully accurate, but just in case no one has ever told you, the boot image can not be in a folder.

After going through all of the steps, it took be about an hour and a half (new to Python) I had the url address of my Screenly screen. I then went into Google Slides and created a slideshow with Canva presentation slides. After I published it to the web, I could see it on my monitor in about 2 minutes. I’ve been leaving the Raspberry Pi plugged in overnight and it seems fine.

Waa-lah. Pretty and cheap.

I’m planning on more Raspberry Pi projects next week. This week I’ll be setting up our new makerspace space with furniture provided by a PTA grant. Woot.