Outreach, Engagement & Other Splendid Stuff

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Today is the winter solstice, the longest night of the year. Once it passes, each evening will remain brighter for several minutes. Those glimmers of extended light shine on a path forward as we continue to navigate an increasingly complex landscape filled with peril, joy, and inspiration.

The past couple of years have been opportunities for a tremendous amount of learning. We've had to become familiar with epidemiology as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact every aspect of our lives. We're boning up on laws around freedom of information as our collections and libraries come under attack. We've learned to connect through new platforms as meetings, professional development, and conferences continue online (and sometimes, in-person). And we've had a chance to practice every tip we've learned in resilience and wellness webinars in the past two years as we push ourselves to continue to provide exceptional services to our communities.

The obstacles we've faced have allowed us to stretch new muscles and think creatively about accomplishing all we imagine. At SALS, we've got lots of fun stuff in the works for the New Year that will support member libraries in their ongoing work with their communities, so stay tuned.

Thanks for being fabulous, and for making us proud of the incredible work you do every day. Happy Holidays & have a wonderful New Year!

Advocacy Alert

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Governor Hochul has a bill on her desk to support the #ebooksforall effort. Please help make ebooks affordable for libraries in New York by sending a quick note.

The Great Give Back

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Many SALS libraries took part in this year's Great Give Back. As part of this celebration of community life, the Easton Library collaborated with the Greenwich Free Library and donated over 150 items (sox, hats, scarves, and mittens) to emergency shelters (Open Door Mission and Wait House) to benefit teens and adults in Warren and Washington counties.

The Galway Public Library promoted the entire month of October as a time for giving to support its three-pronged approach to community support. A group of teens came to the library to make cards for patients at the Saratoga Hospital. With the help of other patrons, forty-three cards were delivered. In return, the library received a picture from a smiling patient who was delighted by the effort.

Patrons could also leave donations for the Galway Food Pantry and the County Animal Shelter. In return for their generosity, the library was willing to reduce any accumulated fines -- but only one patron took advantage of the offer.

Way to go to the Easton & Galway libraries, and the rest of our member libraries who took part in the effort.

Listen & Learn

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We're pleased to announce that SALS has received a grant from the American Library Association's Libraries Transforming Communities: Focus on Small and Rural Libraries for a series of virtual workshops to create a culture of authentic and equitable community engagement.

The four workshops will cover understanding who we are and the identities we hold, creating an inclusive culture, becoming anti-racist, and the role of public libraries in deliberative democracy. By the end of the series, participants will be comfortable convening, hosting, and leading inclusive conversations in our communities.

This opportunity is open to all of SALS member libraries but is limited to twenty participants.

Participants will be required to do the following:

  • Secure the approval of Board/Director

  • Complete the ALA's Facilitation Training

  • Attend all sessions from 10 am-Noon on the following Fridays:

    • Friday, January 21

    • Friday, February 18

    • Friday, March 4

    • Friday, March 18

  • Host at least one conversation in your community before May 30, 2022

If you would like to be a part of this professional development opportunity, sign up here: People who apply will be notified of acceptance into the workshop series by January 15, 2022.

Library Famous

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Our Farm-2-Library program is featured on the Programming Librarian blog! We know you're doing tons of cool stuff at your libraries -- consider submitting your work to be featured!

Frozen Tomes

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On the shores of Lake Baikal in Baikalsk, Siberia, warmly dressed visitors may visit the first ice library, where quotes are etched in giant blocks of ice.

Library Leadership

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The politicization of library elections is becoming more common as trustees run for office along political lines. In Iowa, one school board trustee wants to know the name of every student who has checked out an LGBTQ title. Multiple titles are being challenged in Virginia. Governor Abbot wrote a letter to the Texas Association of School Boards asking them to remove any "pornographic content" from school library collections. He did not specify what he meant by that term, but a state representative supplied a list of titles addressing gender identity, sexuality, race, and sexual health. The attack on free speech has centered on school libraries but is now making the leap to public libraries.

What does that mean for the future of library leadership? Trustees run on platforms to slash library funding, exercise control over collection development, and challenge programming. Library advocates recommend having strong policies, ethical statements, and recruitment plans in place. And if you haven't yet joined the Freedom to Read Foundation, today's the perfect day to do so.

Grant to Support People Living with Dementia

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Applications are now being accepted for the Stephen T. Riedner Grant for Life Enhancing Library Programs for People Living with Dementia. Two $2,500 grants will be awarded in 2022. You do not need to be a member of ALA or RUSA to apply.

Grant submissions could include, but are not limited to:

  • Inclusion – welcoming this population into the library/community
  • Staff dementia awareness training
  • Person-centered focus – address their unique needs as individuals with their interests, abilities, and history.
  • Literacy activities that promote the use of books and reading as at least one component of programming (which of course can include art, music, exercise, nature, etc. as well)
  • Academic research into reading and dementia
  • Developing partnerships with local organizations that also serve those living with dementia

Grant applications are due Feb. 11, 2022.

Penguin Random House Grants for Small & Rural Libraries

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The Association of Rural and Small Libraries is partnering with Penguin Random House on a new grant opportunity for small and rural libraries nationwide.

Apply for a Grant

Download a Sample Application

Not all applications will be selected for funding. If selected, grants will be awarded for up to $2,500.

This is a rolling grant application, with batches of applications going under review every 8 weeks beginning December 17, 2021. Applications will be submitted until all available grant funds are distributed.

Submission Window / Award Notification Deadline

  • December 20, 2021 - February 11, 2022 /April 4, 2022
  • February 14, 2022 - April 8, 2022 /May 27, 2022
  • April 11, 2022 - June 3, 2022 /July 29. 2022

Project reports must be submitted by February 1, 2023.

The program will award grants to libraries that demonstrate a true need. Grants are not limited to literacy and may be used for everything from library programming and books to resources like hotspots that help community members access important information. In-kind donations will also be considered.

Have questions? Please contact the ARSL Office at (206) 453-3579 or

Learn All the Things!

Digital Navigators (Parts 1 and 2)

Tuesday, Jan. 11th 2022 at 11am-11pm

This is an online event.

Upon completion of this two-part webinar, participants will gain in-depth knowledge of the Digital Navigator model and its associated tools, its impact, and how this field-tested program can be added to a library’s existing portfolio of services.

Part 1: Tuesday, January 11, 2022, 11-12:30 PM Eastern

Register for Digital Navigators Part 1

Part 2: Thursday, January 27, 2022, 11-12:30 PM Eastern

Register for Digital Navigators Part 2

Program Planning Made Easy

Wednesday, Jan. 12th 2022 at 2:30pm

This is an online event.

Modern library programming involves incorporating popular trends, research on language and reading acquisitions, as well as developmental milestones, and of course fun! Pulling that off with ease requires solid planning and organization.

In this interactive webinar, Jill Burket Ragase will give you a variety of tools that you will be able to use to:

  • Strategically plan your programming calendar
  • Use planning time efficiently for maximum results
  • Methods to collect titles and activities for future use
  • Methods to transform the sea of titles, themes, and random ideas into a cohesive plan
  • Incorporate flexibility in your plans to meet evolving conditions
  • Tips and tricks for organizing program and storytime themes, programming supplies, and materials,
  • Set up shared documents to decrease workload across staff

Program planning doesn’t have to be time-consuming. We’ll discuss strategies for organizing your ideas, work, and materials in a way that maximizes your planning time investment.

Jill Burket Ragase is the founder and co-host of the podcast Book It, a member of the American Bookseller Association’s Education Task Force, and a James Patterson bookseller of the year. She earned her MLS from the University of Kentucky and has worked as both a youth services and collection development librarian.

Register for this webinar here:

Trauma-Informed Librarianship: Building Communities of Care

Thursday, Jan. 13th 2022 at 2pm

This is an online event.

Trauma-informed librarianship (TIL) is a vital practice that invites us to be intentional and deliberate about creating cultural shifts in how we approach our work to move towards healing, for our patrons, for each other, and for ourselves. This webinar will introduce participants to what trauma is and how it impacts both individuals and communities; the principles and goals of trauma-informed librarianship; how we can apply this lens to library services in actionable ways to better support survivors in our libraries, whether they are patrons or colleagues; and how we can take care of ourselves too, through 10 concrete self-care strategies.

Guest Speaker Karina Hagelin (they/them) is a chronically ill and disabled queer femme librarian who is passionate about working with library workers and librarians who are committed to creating cultures that center healing through radical empathy, collective care, and social justice work. Blending their lived experiences and expertise on trauma-informed librarianship, they lead diverse groups of librarians and library workers through engaging, interactive, and informative webinars + workshops. Karina is currently based in Ithaca, New York, where they most recently worked as an Outreach and Instruction Librarian at Cornell University. You can find out more about their work on their website,

This webinar is the first in a series on Trauma-Informed Librarianship. You can find upcoming webinars on this topic under our Spotlight Speaker Series.

Code of Conduct

NNLM is dedicated to providing a welcoming and supportive environment for all people, regardless of background or identity. As such, we expect respectful interactions with instructors and learners.
Read the full Code of Conduct here.

Register Here

Mental Health & Wellness 101 with the Mental Health Association in New York State

Tuesday, Feb. 8th 2022 at 3pm

This is an online event.

Mental Health and Wellness 101 helps participants to understand mental health in a holistic context and utilize basic mental health awareness in order to self-care and help others.

Mental Health and Wellness 101 participants will:

  • Increase basic knowledge of mental health to help reduce stigma.
  • Understand Mental Health as a continuum of wellness that defines us every day — it is illness, recovery, and all of the space in between.
  • Promote wellness, treatment seeking behavior, recovery, and self-care.
  • Identify and understand various signs & symptoms of mental illness.

Why is this important?

Consider this: the median time between the onset of mental illness (when symptoms first appear) and when an individual gets appropriate treatment is 10 years. During that time, a person is likely experiencing periods of increased symptomology and periods of wellness. Mental Health and recovery are dependent on an individual’s ability to recognize and manage where he/she is each day on the continuum between wellness and illness and take care accordingly, an important piece to quality of life.

This webinar is being presented by the Mental Health Association in New York State.

Data Collection and Analysis

Tuesday, April 5th 2022 at 11am

This is an online event.

Building strong and lasting digital inclusion and digital navigator programs require programmatic data collection, analysis, and management. Participants in this webinar will gain skills in finding and accessing data collection sources.

Register for Data Collection and Analysis

Asset Mapping

Tuesday, April 26th 2022 at 11am

This is an online event.

Participants in this webinar will learn how to gather local asset information and visualize social characteristics of the digital divide on local, regional, and state levels using publicly available data and analysis tools.

Register for Asset Mapping