Outreach, Engagement & Other Splendid Stuff

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First, the big news: The American Library Association has a new executive director, Tracie Hall. She brings an incredible depth of experience, including directing ALA's Office for Diversity. We're excited to have her vision, innovation, and expertise at the helm.

In not so happy news, Governor Cuomo has cut $5M in general aid to libraries and $20M in Public Library Construction Aid. This year's Advocacy Day is Tuesday, February 25. Due to scheduling conflicts, SALS staff will be at the Public Library Association Conference in Nashville during Advocacy Day. Russ Wise, the SALS Board of Trustees Vice President, will be leading the advocacy charge on our behalf. To prepare, the Northern NY Library Network is holding a webinar next Thursday, January 30, covering the basics of legislative visits in New York State. There is no cost, but registration is required.

The presenter will be Jery Huntley, who worked as Chuck Schumer's legislative director in the New York State Assembly beginning in 1978 and continued on his staff through his campaign for Congress, then became his legislative assistant for special projects in Washington, DC.

Ms. Huntley was also a teacher and school library media specialist in New York State. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in education (1971) and a Master of Library Science (1972) from SUNY Albany.

If you can't make the webinar, Library Advocacy Day is full of people ready to help you learn on the job. There is no training or experience required to join the effort in Albany on February 25.

This week, Sara and I are headed to the American Library Association Midwinter Conference to serve on the ALA Council. If there are issues that are important to you, please let us know!

Spread the Word!

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We know that our libraries do fantastic work, but it's always gratifying to be recognized outside of the library world. A huge thanks to Ike Pulver of the Saratoga Springs Public Library, Alex Gutelius from the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Library, and Karen Bradley from the Schenectady County Public Library for making us proud!

Libraries Save Lives

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The Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library will be hosting an Opioid Overdose Rescue Training Session specifically designed for and open to local librarians at 10 am Wednesday, January 22.

All are welcome to attend this free seminar, presented and sponsored by the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Emergency Corps. Registration is requested.

Ain't No Party Like An Annual Report Party

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Are you ready to reflect on how hard you rocked last year? Bring 2019's statistics to the Southern Adirondack Library System's Annual Report Party from 10 am to 1 pm on Thursday, January 30, and complete your annual report to the state. SALS staff will be on hand to explain the annual report, and to answer any questions you may have. Everyone is invited to stay for lunch. Please register so we can make sure everyone gets fed.

Shop for SALS

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SALS has been chosen as a beneficiary of the Hannaford Helps program. For every reusable bag purchased from the Hannaford at 95 Weibel Avenue, Saratoga Springs NY during the month of February, SALS will receive $1. Shop til you drop, save the planet, and support SALS!

Adult Program Swap

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Are you creating fabulous programs for Senior Citizens? Come share your great ideas with other adult program professionals during the next Adult Program Swap, at 9:30 am Thursday, February 13, at the Mechanicville District Public Library. Register here to learn with colleagues.

Everybody Counts

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The Census Bureau has published a half-page flyer (PDF) that libraries can distribute to raise awareness of the 2020 Census. The flyer highlights the role that libraries will play in providing access to the online response option and notes that Census data helps determine the allocation of funding for libraries. The flyer and other free downloadable outreach materials, including materials in languages other than English, are available from the 2020 Census website.

Learn about key issues in just a few minutes with ALA’s 2-page Census tip sheets. Share them with a colleague who needs to know!

Department of Nope

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Department of Nope, Part II

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The National Archives blurred images from the historic 2017 Women's March that were critical of the current administration. The photos were part of an exhibit, Rightfully Hers, about Women's Suffrage. Librarians and others concerned with civil liberties were not pleased, and eventually, the National Archives apologized (on Twitter, natch).

Rock Library

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The Long Read

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Disheartened by the current political climate, writer Heather Fogarty decided to spend a year reading her way through the states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C.


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Inclusive Internships @ PLA

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The Public Library Association (PLA) is now accepting applications from public libraries interested in participating in PLA's Inclusive Internship Initiative (III) this year. In alignment with PLA’s strategic goal related to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice, III was piloted in 2017 as a pathway program to increase diversity in public librarianship. The initiative has been a tremendous success, and PLA is proud to offer III once again with the support of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (grant RE-00-17-0129-17).

Through III, PLA will sponsor paid, mentored internships at public libraries for 50 high school juniors and seniors during the summer of 2020. With individual guidance from a mentor, each intern will engage with multiple facets of library life, from administration to programming to user services, while also completing a connected-learning project on behalf of their host library.

In addition to identifying an appropriate intern, participating libraries must complete the following items:

  • Assign a staff person to serve as a mentor;
  • Develop a connected learning project in conjunction with the intern;
  • Provide the intern at least five hours per week of one-on-one mentoring and coaching;
  • Attend a June kick-off event in Washington, D.C. and a September wrap-up event in Chicago, Ill.;
  • Share their successes, challenges, opportunities across the III cohort, within the library, and to community stakeholders; and
  • Comply with applicable nondiscrimination laws, including but not limited to those in the Assurances and Certifications, throughout the grant award and the intern application and selection process.

The 2020 application for host libraries can be found here. All public libraries, regardless of PLA membership of applicants, are eligible. Small, rural, and tribal libraries are strongly encouraged to apply. Applications must be received by 5 p.m. Central Time on Monday, Feb. 3, 2020.

For more information, please see the program guidelines and answers to frequently asked questions (FAQ). If your questions isn't addressed in the FAQ, please contact PLA at

Libraries Transforming Communities: Rural Library Focus

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Libraries Transforming Communities: Facilitation Skills for Small and Rural Libraries is a new learning series from the American Library Association (ALA) designed to help library workers develop facilitation skills to engage with their communities.

Specially designed to meet the needs of small and rural libraries, the series will consist of:

  • In-person training at the 2020 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago with follow-up coaching support; space is limited. Registration and travel stipends will be granted through a competitive, peer-reviewed application process
  • A five-part asynchronous online course
  • Follow-up coaching support

Applications are now being accepted for travel stipends to attend the in-person training at the 2020 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago. ALA will distribute up to 25 travel stipends to library workers in small and rural communities to cover travel costs. Applications are due Monday, January 20, 2020. Applicants will be notified by Friday, January 31, 2020.

Before starting, read the travel stipend FAQ and carefully review the requirements in each category for the travel stipend before applying.

Questions? Contact ALA's Public Programs Office at

Libraries Transforming Communities: Facilitation Skills for Small and Rural Libraries was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services grant RE-17-19-0041-19.

Lead the Way

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Applications for the American Library Association (ALA) Leadership Institute, a 4-day immersive leadership development program for future library leaders led by past ALA President Maureen Sullivan and Library and Leadership Consultant Kathryn Deiss, are now available. The institute includes a structured learning track and the opportunity for individual development.

Application Information:

  • Application is now OPEN. Click here to apply.
  • Applicants may nominate themselves or be nominated by their employer.
  • Deadline: Monday, March 9, 2020.
  • Applicants will be notified by May 2020.

Selection Criteria:

The selection committee reviews applications to select a participant mix based on type of library (public, academic, school, special, etc.), organizational responsibility, geography, gender, and race/ethnicity. This selective process is based on demonstrated leadership potential, professional achievement and community or campus involvement. Particular attention will be given to applicants’ personal statements as well as those of their references.

In addition, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Have at least 5 years of library work experience
  • Have a letter of support from his/her employer
  • Be ready to assume a higher administrative or managerial role
  • Be an ALA member at time of application
  • Be able to attend the Institute in the Chicago area

Selected participants are mid-career librarians ready to assume a higher administrative or managerial role, with some history of community or campus involvement.

Meeting Logistics

  • Date: August 2-6, 2020
  • Location: Hilton Oak Brook/Chicago Conference Center and Resort in Oak Brook, Illinois
  • Registration Cost: $1,650 (includes training, materials, lodging, meals, and a one-year membership to the Library Leadership & Management Association (LLAMA))

Fund All The Things!!

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The Capital District Library Council invites applications for 2020 Regional Collections grants through January 31, 2020. All CDLC member institutions, including individual public and school libraries, are eligible to apply.

CDLC members may apply for a grant for a retrospective conversion or metadata project, a digital collection grant to contribute content to New York Heritage, or a digital newspaper grant to contribute content to NYS Historic Newspapers.

Projects considered for funding should improve access to collections and content or raise the visibility of regional collections.

Priority will be given to projects that:

  • Highlight undiscovered collections in our region
  • Align with CDLC's strategic goals (see our Plan of Service)
  • Have matching funds
  • Are collaborative efforts between two or more CDLC members
  • Are composed of a complete digital collection
  • Are submitted by first-time applicants
  • Are composed of long and complete runs of newspapers that are on microfilm

Other types of proposals may be considered.

Grant applicants will be required to submit a final report describing how funds were expended and the number of records converted or enhanced or the number of items digitized. Libraries must describe their project in a CDLC publication or present at a CDLC event.

Please note that unless an extension is requested and approved, all projects must be completed by June 30, 2021, or award money will be forfeited.

Submissions must be received by January 31, 2020, to be considered.

Game On!

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The Games and Gaming Round Table of the American Library Association is proud to unveil a new annual grant program to enable libraries to develop gaming programs or collections for their public. Through the new Game On! Grants $500.00 will be available to be awarded either as one grant of $500 or two of $250 each to assist a library or libraries in developing gaming programs or collections for their communities.

ALA members in good standing currently employed at a public, school, academic or special library in the United States or Canada are eligible to apply. Libraries will need to illustrate a plan for a sustainable gaming program created with the funds as well as financial need and institutional support for the proposed program. The Game On! Grant online application is open now (ALA member login required to access).

The application period will take place from January 1 to March 1 of each year, and the grant winner will be announced at GameRT’s “ALA Play” event at the annual ALA conference, which will take place this year in Chicago from June 25-30, 2020. Learn more about the Game On! Grants or apply online

Win All the Things!

Applications are now open for The Penguin Random House Library Award for Innovation. The annual award recognizes U.S. libraries and librarians who create lasting innovative community service programs that successfully inspire and connect with new readers. The award consists of a $10,000 cash prize.

The award, established in 2019, is open to public, school, and academic libraries. The $10,000 cash prize given to a library is sponsored by the Penguin Random House Foundation. In addition, four runner-up awards consisting of $1,000 in Penguin Random House books will be awarded to eligible libraries.

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The Library of Congress Literacy Awards Program honors nonprofit organizations that have made outstanding contributions to increasing literacy in the United States or abroad. The awards also encourage the continuing development of innovative methods for promoting literacy and the wide dissemination of the most effective practices. They are intended to draw public attention to the importance of literacy, and the need to promote literacy and encourage reading.

The David M. Rubenstein Prize ($150,000) is awarded for an outstanding and measurable contribution to increasing literacy levels to an organization based either inside or outside the United States that has demonstrated exceptional and sustained depth in its commitment to the advancement of literacy. The organization will meet the highest standards of excellence in its operations and services.

The American Prize ($50,000) is awarded for a significant and measurable contribution to increasing literacy levels in the United States or the national awareness of the importance of literacy to an organization that is based in the United States.

The International Prize ($50,000) is awarded for a significant and measurable contribution to increasing literacy levels in a country other than the United States to an organization that is based either inside or outside the United States.

Best Practice Honorees ($5,000): Each year up to 15 organizations that apply in the three major prize categories are recognized for their successful implementation of a specific literacy promotion practice.

The 2020 application period opens January 13, 2020, and closes midnight, March 6, 2020, EDT.

Download the 2020 application form and instructions:

Please contact prior to the submission deadline with any questions.

Email two letters of reference and the completed application form, including the five selection criteria statements and your essay, to by midnight, March 6, 2020, EDT.

The 2020 application process for the ALA/Information Today, Inc. Library of the Future Award is open.

This award honors an individual library, library consortium, a group of librarians, or support organization for innovative planning for, applications of, or development of patron training programs about information technology in a library setting.

Criteria for application should include the benefit to clients served; benefit to the technology information community; impact on library operations; public relations value; and the impact on the perception of the library or librarian in the work setting and to the specialized and/or general public.

The annual award consists of $1,200 and a 24k gold-framed citation of achievement.

Please complete the online application, along with attachments of supporting documentation, by February 1st, 2020:

For more information, please see: ALA/Information Today, Inc. Library of the Future Award.

Learn All the Things!

Hooray for Dissent! Moving Beyond a Culture of Conformity

Wednesday, Jan. 22nd, 3pm

This is an online event.

Dissent and conflict are critical components of progress and are catalysts that move individuals, institutions, and communities toward systemic change. Author Cass Sunstein writes, "Behavior that is sensible, prudent, and courteous is likely to lead individuals and societies to blunder." Librarianship, on the whole, is prone to such behavior, choosing conformity over conflict, and inertia over action. Authentic dissent in librarianship can be a catalyst to facilitate positive change against systemic oppression in libraries, and in society at large.

After viewing this webinar, participants will:

  • Understand the practical value of dissent to their organizations, communities, and profession
  • Assess the dissent-friendliness of their organizations
  • Practice reflective techniques to test the communal value of the dissent

Presented by: Margo Gustina, Special Projects Librarian, Rural Library Service and Social Wellbeing; and Eli Guinnee, State Librarian, New Mexico State Library, co-founders of

Leadership and Management Event Series: Defusing Conflict in the Library

Thursday, Jan. 23rd, 2pm

This is an online event.

Libraries can be stressful environments. They are places where people of different ages, abilities, personalities, and backgrounds come together. Add to a busy environment with lots of demands, and conflicts can spark. What are research-based and practical strategies for calming conflict with patrons and colleagues?

Attendees of this webinar will learn:

-Strategies for dealing with conflict with colleagues

-Strategies for dealing with conflict with patrons

-Verbal Judo basics

-What happens to our brains and bodies in conflict

-Scripts and conversation suggestions for dealing with conflict

Engaging Families with Nature-Based Library Programming

Tuesday, Jan. 28th, 2pm

This is an online event.

Learn about ways to engage children and their families in nature-based library programs as we discuss programs and partnerships that get library patrons outside of traditional library-based programs and into the community. Discover how programs like snowshoeing owl prowls and frog watches connect families with nature and how these programs are collaborations with outside organizations. Also learn how to get your library patrons to enjoy the great outdoors with lending items like bird watching backpacks, family outdoor game lending libraries and more.

Learning Objectives:

  • Discover how nature-based programming can enhance your library programming
  • Learn about the value of collaborations with outside organizations to provide programs for your patrons
  • Find out about ways to broaden your collection with nature-based lending library items


Jen Ogrodowski: Head of Youth Services - Saratoga Springs (NY) Public Library
Laura Clark: Youth Services Librarian - Saratoga Springs (NY) Public Library
Carol Anne Geary: Youth/Teen Services Librarian - Saratoga Springs (NY) Public Library

Responding Online to the 2020 Census: What Libraries Need to Know

Thursday, Jan. 30th, 2pm

This is an online event.

The webinar will introduce the new online response option for the 2020 Census, as well as the other options for responding to the 2020 Census. The presentation will offer tips and help library staff prepare for potential questions from patrons. Free registration is required. If you can’t attend the live webinar, register to receive a link to the recording a few days later.

Webinar recordings now available on Census programming, hiring, funding ideas

If you or a colleague missed our recent webinars, the recordings are now available:

Librarian as Verb: Activate Your Rural Community

Wednesday, Feb. 5th, 3pm

This is an online event.

Making connections and being an active part of the community you serve is especially important in small and rural libraries. It makes your library more visible and also enhances the quality of life in the community. Learn how a rural library director transformed library services over one summer, by getting out and growing awareness in the community. With the help of two enthusiastic staff, one simple idea grew into so much more. We will explore different ways to engage your community, spark young readers, and build relationships with families. Hear tips, tools, and personal stories about how the library implemented outreach services and created ways to positively impact the entire community! Learn how to make "librarian" not only your job title, but what you actively do.

This webinar is hosted in collaboration with the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL).

Presented by: Lori Juhlin, Director of the Hawarden Public Library (IA), and Chair, ARSL Marketing & Communication Committee

Food for Thought: Creating Resilient Rural Communities

Thursday, Feb. 6th, 2pm

This is an online event.

Imagine grocery shopping at a Dollar Store. That’s the reality for the rural poor who live in food deserts with limited transportation. This lack of access to fresh food leads to an increase in obesity, diabetes, and other health concerns. The Southern Adirondack Library System (SALS) and the Comfort Food Community food pantry teamed up to address these and other challenges (adult literacy, food scarcity, food waste, food access, rural food deserts, and transportation) by launching the Fresh Food Collective Farm-2-Library initiative. We reduced food waste by gleaning produce from local farms, then distributed the produce through small, rural libraries where food scarcity, limited food pantry access, and transportation all limit access to fresh fruits and vegetables. In the first year, nearly 2,500 pounds of fresh produce were distributed, bringing new faces into the library, creating and deepening relationships with the community fostering renewed interest in library services from populations that were previously reluctant users.

Civil Legal Justice: The Crucial Role of Libraries

Tuesday, Feb. 11th, 3pm

This is an online event.

WebJunction is partnering with the nonprofit organization, Legal Services Corporation (LSC) to offer Improving Access to Civil Legal Justice through Public Libraries, a free national training initiative for public library staff to help strengthen access to civil legal justice.

The lofty U.S. ideal of "justice for all" fails the equity test because many people, especially our nation’s poorest individuals, fall into the "justice gap"—the divide between the civil legal needs of low-income people and the resources to meet those needs. Many of your community members who instinctively turn to the library for help with crises in their lives might be on the verge of falling into this gap. Though legal issues can be intimidating for library staff, public libraries are well-positioned to help reduce the justice gap. Join us to learn about the status of civil legal justice in our system and about the vital role you can play in connecting people with information and supporting them as they navigate the complexities of the legal system.

Law librarian Catherine McGuire will share insights into interacting with patrons who approach the library with civil legal needs. A live, multi-week online course will be offered in April.

Presented by: Catherine McGuire, Head of Reference and Outreach, Thurgood Marshall State Law Library, Maryland; and Betha Gutsche, WebJunction Programs Manager, OCLC

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Center Resources: Informing and benefitting your community

Wednesday, Feb. 12th, 3pm

This is an online event.

The United States has a long history of welcoming immigrants from all parts of the world. During the last decade, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) welcomed more than 7.4 million naturalized citizens into the fabric of our nation.

Join presenter Vilaysay “Sai” Chang, USCIS, to learn important information for lawful permanent residents and their families. Topics will include settling in the U.S. and petitioning for family members.

During this one-hour webinar, attendees will:

  • Be given an overview of how to petition relatives and how it can lead lawful permanent residency.
  • Have clear information on who can petition, the requirements, and general process.
  • Be given the opportunity to ask questions regarding any USCIS program or policy.

This webinar will be of interest to: Anyone who wants to help immigrants become U.S. citizens and promote the role of our libraries as a hub for civic engagement.

New Library, Who Dis?