Outreach, Engagement & Other Splendid Stuff

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Setting a resolution for the New Year indicates our optimism in our potential and the belief that we can be even more fabulous than we already are. As public librarians, we also have the opportunity to help our communities realize their aspirations and commit to making the changes they want to see. Here at SALS, we've been putting together our list of resolutions, which include:

  • Taking ownership of our health & bodies: We created an audacious goal with the Library Moon Walk -- traveling from the earth to the moon, without the help of any rocket-based technology. We still have 206,000 miles to go, and we're going to need help to get there -- share the challenge with your patrons, friends, and neighbors, and let's shoot for the stars, and get to the moon!
  • Honoring multiple voices in our narratives by creating community-based plans of service: We recognize our expertise as information professionals and understand the need to work with our communities when strategizing about how to serve them. Spoiler alert: It will also be required by the revised minimum standards established by the Division of Library Development. If you don't already have one in place, get in touch so we can help you make it happen.
  • Ensuring equitable, inclusive access to services: Census 2020 is around the corner, and public libraries will play a significant role in securing accurate information about our communities.

We've got a big year ahead of us, but know you're up to the challenge. If you need help or want to talk through an idea, get in touch -- we're here to help!

Happy Anniversary!

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The Crandall Public Library celebrated the 10th anniversary of its addition in December. Congratulations to Kathy Naftaly and the whole Crandall crew!

Where the Wild Things Are

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The Pember Library & Museum is featured as one of the unique museums and historic places in Washington County.


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Several years ago, the Stony Creek Free Library purchased the church next door to provide additional space -- which is now being unveiled as the Artirondacks, a studio and workshop space for arts-related programming. It also provides space to store books for and host the library's book sale. The space will officially open in the spring.

Great Escape

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Want to bring an Escape Room to your library but not sure where to get started? Ready to run away even though it's only the second week of the new year? Whatever your reason, head to the Scribner Library at Skidmore College at 1 p.m. this Friday, January 11, for two Escape Room challenges.

In the first challenge, teams will try to solve "Save Scribbler," an academic program created by Skidmore librarians to help teach students how to use library resources. Afterward, help Harry Potter find his lost Hogwarts Express Train Ticket in an escape room designed by Leah LaFera of Schenectady County Public Library.

After the event, the fun continues with a social hour at a local Saratoga eatery! This event is free, but you must register to attend.

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The next Adult Program Swap will take place at 9:30 am on Thursday, January 17 at the Upper Hudson Library System. Bring your best adult program to share with others!
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Ain't no party like the Annual Report Party! Get ready to party down while compiling loads of vital statistics about your library during SALS's Annual Report Party from 9 am to 1 pm Wednesday, January 30, to have your questions asked, commiserate with your colleagues and party hard. Did we mention we'll provide lunch? The snow date is February 6. Register now to reserve your spot.

Digital Inclusion Summit

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The Finger Lakes Digital Inclusion Coalition is hosting a Digital Inclusion Summit from 11 am to 5 pm Monday, January 28, at the Cracker Factory in Geneva.

Through panel discussions and conversations, community members and local leaders will explore the digital inclusion landscape, learn about the injustices of limited internet access and what is already being down and can still be done to bridge the divide.

Refreshments & lunch are included in the $20 registration fee.

Register Now:

Check out Finger Lakes Digital Alliance to find out more information.

Ask a Lawyer

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In partnership with the Western New York Library Resources Council (WNYLRC), the Capital District Library Council (CDLC) has retained the services of an attorney to offer CDLC and its members timely input on intellectual property, digital rights management, vendor contracts, first amendment, civil rights, employment law, and other legal issues that can impact library operations.

To preserve confidentiality, questions sent to CDLC's "Ask the Lawyer" service are sent directly to CDLC, WNYLRC, and our counsel for review and answers. Answers might come in the form of:

  • Public commentary shared with the member who inquired and become part of a Legal RAQ - "Recently Asked Questions" on the WNYLRC website;
  • A training session (in person or webinar);
  • A confidential memo shared only with the inquiring library and the CDLC and WNYLRC liaison.

Ask the Lawyer maintains Recently Asked Questions (RAQs), which are available here.

Show the Love

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In August 2017, Governor Cuomo signed A.1094 - A Galef / S.3021 - A Ritchie into law. Affectionately known as the “tax check-off bill”, this law amends NYS Tax Law to permit taxpayers to make contributions to the state “Love Your Library Fund” when completing their annual tax filings.

The “Love Your Library Fund” is used exclusively to support the NY Statewide Summer Reading Program. This law ensures the program receives the additional resources needed to continue to thrive.

It Was the Best of Times ...

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A quick look back over our shoulder at 2018, as we stride confidently forward.

Opportunities Abound: Grants, Awards & More

We’re recruiting libraries to apply for the second round of our Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces program. In the first round, we worked with 15 libraries to help them collaborate with their communities to transform a space in their library into a place where community members join together in hands-on active learning. The program was so successful that we’ve received an IMLS supplemental grant to do it again with another 15 libraries! The opportunity includes free online orientation to the “smart space” process, along with a small sub-grant.

We’re accepting applications now through January 18, 2019, from libraries that serve communities of 25,000 people or fewer. Here’s a link to the Participant Overview, which includes more information about the program, and a link to the application page. We would be grateful if you’d be willing to push this information out to your email lists to ensure that libraries who would benefit from this program can apply.

This is a competitive process and applications are due by 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time on Friday, January 18, 2019.

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The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and Arts Midwest have opened the application process for the September 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020 NEA Big Read program. This grant program annually supports approximately 75 dynamic community reading programs, each designed around a single NEA Big Read selection. Organizations selected to participate in NEA Big Read receive a grant, access to online training resources and opportunities, digital resources, and promotional materials designed to support widespread community involvement.

NEA Big Read applicants submit proposals to host a series of community events presented at a variety of locations over the course of one month or longer. Events use the same NEA Big Read book as a point of departure and encourage participants to engage both with the book and fellow community members. Each NEA Big Read program includes: a kick-off event, often attended by high-profile leaders and other local luminaries; major events inspired by the content and themes from the book (e.g., panel discussions and author readings); artistic events related to the book (e.g., art/writing contests, film screenings, and theatrical performances); and book discussions in diverse locations involving a wide range of audiences.

Deadline: Thursday, January 24, 2019.

Digitize It

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The Capital District Library Council invites applications for 2019 Regional Collections grants through January 31, 2019. All CDLC member institutions, including individual public and school libraries, are eligible to apply.

Formerly known as Retrospective Conversion, Metadata, and Digitization (RBDB) grants, 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. All projects must be completed by June 30, 2020, or award money will be forfeited.

Submissions must be received by the application deadline, January 31, 2019.

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ALA, in partnership with the FINRA Investor Education Foundation, invites public libraries to apply to be part of a national tour of the traveling exhibition Thinking Money for Kids.

Inspired by the success of the popular Thinking Money exhibit, Thinking Money for Kids is a new financial literacy experience for children ages 7 to 11, as well as their parents, caregivers, and educators. The interactive exhibit will help children understand what money is, its function in society, money choices, and money values, such as fairness, responsibility, and charitableness.

The exhibit will travel to 50 U.S. public libraries between 2019 and 2021. Applications will be accepted from Dec. 17, 2018, to Feb. 8, 2019.

Selected libraries will receive:

  • the 1,000-square-foot traveling exhibition for a six-week loan
  • a $1,000 programming allowance
  • Expenses paid for an orientation workshop at the 2019 ALA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.
  • programming resources and support

Participating libraries will be required to hold a minimum of four public programs related to the personal finance themes explored in the exhibition and fulfill other marketing and reporting requirements.

Big Opportunities for Small Libraries

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IMLS has announced a new discretionary grant program, Accelerating Promising Practices for Small Libraries (APP). This is a special initiative of the National Leadership Grants for Libraries Program, and the goal is to support projects that strengthen the ability of small and rural libraries and archives to serve their communities. IMLS invites applications that focus on the following topics:

Three categories of APP grants are available to applicants:

  • Transforming School Library Practice: School libraries support learning and the development of critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration skills. IMLS is interested in furthering how school library professionals can serve as integral instructional partners to classroom teachers. Grant projects could include programs and services that prepare students for success in college, career, and life, or foster early, digital, information, health, financial, media, civic, and other types of literacies.
  • Community Memory: Libraries and archives not only serve as stewards of our nation’s knowledge and collections, but also as trusted spaces for community engagement and dialogue. This project category centers on engaging local communities in the collection, documentation, and preservation of their local histories, experiences, and identities. Proposals could include events and programs to digitize materials related to community histories, such as photographs, artifacts, or texts, or oral history projects that involve community members in the documentation and preservation of local histories.
  • Digital Inclusion: Libraries have an important role in promoting digital inclusion and increasing access to information, ideas, and networks. This category focuses on projects that support the role libraries play in promoting digital literacy, providing internet access, and enabling community engagement through civic data and civic technology. Grant proposals could include programs supporting broadband access and wireless networks to address the homework gap, increase small business development and entrepreneurship, or plan for emergency preparedness.

Cohort Learning and Evaluation
Grantees in this initiative will participate in communities of practice based on their project category. Three third-party mentor organizations will lead these cohorts, providing expert guidance and facilitating communication between grantees.

The deadline to submit an application is February 25, 2019.

Best Small Library in America

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Library Journal‘s annual award for the Best Small Library in America, made possible by sustaining sponsor Baker & Taylor, was founded in 2005 to encourage and showcase the exemplary work of these libraries. It honors the U.S. public library that most profoundly demonstrates outstanding service to populations of 25,000 or less (see below for eligibility requirements).

The winning library will receive a $5,000 cash award, and two finalist libraries will be awarded $1,000 each—thanks to Baker & Taylor. All three will be featured in the September 2019 issue of Library Journal and online.

The winner will also be highlighted at the 2019 Association for Rural & Small Libraries (ARSL) Conference, and, thanks to support from ARSL, will receive a scholarship to attend and the opportunity to speak there.

Judges will evaluate nominations based on key factors, including:

  • Innovation in developing services and programs that can be replicated by other libraries, including outreach to underserved populations
  • Success in educating patrons in computer use and other new technologies, expanding the reach of library services via technology, and measuring the outcomes of technology usage
  • Creativity in addressing literacy (or multiple literacies, such as digital literacy, information literacy, etc.) across patrons of all ages, including programs focused on early literacy and school readiness (please evidence of impact/outcomes where available)
  • Demonstrated community support
  • Sustained cooperation and partnership with other libraries, schools, other agencies, and businesses.
  • Increase in library use, particularly by new users
  • Evidence of library’s role as community center

Keeping the factors above in mind, please tell us how, in the last two years, you have raised the profile of the library in your community, reached out to new users and remote users, impacted literacy in the community, and used technology to support and grow patron access to materials and information. Please highlight innovative approaches to traditional problems, including seemingly small fixes that work. And, please highlight specific innovations that can be readily adopted by other libraries of all sizes.

Nominators are encouraged to reach out for guidance while developing nominations: Contact Meredith Schwartz at


Anyone can nominate a library—the library administration itself, patrons, members of the community, library peers, etc.

  1. There is no entry fee, but each entry must include the following information:
    Name, address, phone number, and email of nominee and the name of the contact person, as well as contact information for the submitter if different from the nominee.
  2. A written explanation of up to two pages (or a list of bulleted narrative points) that clearly enumerates how the library’s accomplishments fit the criteria for the award listed above. (Note: Entries that describe programs and their effects on the community will be especially helpful to the judges in rendering a decision. Supporting materials, such as brochures, testimonials, press clippings, etc., may be included and are helpful, but they are less important than the written narrative.)
  3. Photo(s) of library, staff, and patrons, if possible.
  4. Letters of reference from two library peers. (A library peer is someone who is knowledgeable about libraries in general and knows the nominated library well, but who is not employed by or affiliated with the library in any capacity. Examples include librarians at neighboring libraries or colleagues at the state association or the state library.)
  5. Statistical data. On a separate page please supply the following information:
    • Population served
    • Total annual budget (if you are part of another body of government, note if you pay utility bills, IT, etc.)
    • Per capita budget
    • Circulation (break out e-use if collecting this data)
    • Materials budget (including electronic databases)
    • Physical visits (door count)
    • Virtual visits
    • Number of public access computers per population served
    • Number of days and hours of service per week
    • Number of staff
    • Percentage of staff who are professional librarians.

Most libraries collect this data, but if you do not have all of these statistics, then submit those the library does have. Also, please detail whether the nominated library is a member of a consortium/county-wide service district—what services are provided by it (technology support, training, databases, etc.), what role does the library play in it?



  • A public library serving a community with a population of 25,000 or less as of the most recent U.S. Census.
  • A branch or mobile outreach initiative that serves a distinct population of 25,000 or less, even if it is part of a larger town, county, or district library system. The prize monies must be used only for the benefit of the population under 25,000.


Learn All the Things!

Strong Advocacy, Stronger Fund Raising

Thursday, Jan. 10th, 1pm

This is an online event.

The New York State Library is hosting a live webinarStrong Advocacy, Stronger Fund Raising. This webinar will explore ways to turn your community supporters into donors, how to determine your best avenue of fundraising (Friends and/or Foundation) and build a development program for your first three years. We'll walk through how to build a program and determine the best options for your institution.

Library Advocacy and Marketing expert, Libby Post, will present the webinar. Libby is the President and Strategist-in-Chief of Communication Services.

Implicit Bias in the Library Workplace

Tuesday, Jan. 15th, 3pm

This is an online event.

How do library administrators and managers foster a healthy, inclusive work environment so all employees can succeed? Unfortunately, individuals with diverse backgrounds and uniqueness are being subjected to subtle and overt bias in the library workplace due to the divisive climate in which we live. We have each been a part of the process; on either end of the bias whether we know it or not.

In this webinar, presenter Dr. Michele A. L. Villagran will share examples of implicit bias within the library workplace and discuss best practices for addressing and minimizing implicit bias in recruitment, hiring and retention. Attendees will have access to a reference list of articles and videos on implicit bias including ones the presenter has authored and instructions for taking a free implicit bias test.

At the end of this one-hour webinar, participants will:

  • Increase awareness of situations involving biases.
  • Identify different types of implicit bias challenges.
  • Develop an understanding of how to approach implicit biases.
  • Describe strategies and solutions to foster an inclusive work environment that may be applied within library workplace.
  • Apply best practices within library workplace to reduce implicit bias in recruiting, hiring and retention.

This webinar will be of interest to: Library administration, managers, staff, and human resource professionals who want to learn more about implicit bias to foster a healthy, inclusive work environment for all.

Size Doesn't Matter: Transforming Big Ideas into Small Library Environments

Wednesday, Jan. 23rd, 2pm

This is an online event.

When it comes to providing services and programs, the size of your library doesn't matter.

If you’ve ever heard about a fantastic library idea from a super-big library and thought, “There’s no way I can make that idea work in my understaffed, underfunded small library,” think again! This presentation celebrates all things small and shares big ideas that work in small libraries.

Participants of this session will:

  • Re-examine the concept of “small” when it comes to thinking about your library
  • Learn ways to modify so-called “big library” ideas into smaller library environments
  • Gain practical ideas from other small libraries about services, programs and resources you can implement in your library

Maryann Mori has presented on a variety of topics at several national library conferences. She has also been published numerous times in professional journals and books, writing about such topics as teen services, library volunteers, job-related stress and programming. Formerly the teen specialist librarian for the Evansville Vanderburgh (Ind.) Public Library and director of Waukee (Iowa) Public Library, Mori is currently a library consultant for the State Library of Iowa. She completed her MSLIS from the University of Illinois in 2006.

Stand Up for Health: Health and Wellness Services for Your Community for Public Libraries

Monday, Feb. 4th, 7:45am

This is an online event.

This 4-week 12 CE online course (from February 4 - March 3, 2019) is designed to provide public library staff with the foundation (or a refresher) of health and wellness reference, programming, and outreach for their communities. New content is released each Monday. Each week will involve some reading, discussions with your classmates, and a short (2-pages or less!) assignment.

This class is intended to be completed as a cohort that involves discussion with your fellow students. There are no set hours to be online each week, but it is important that you complete the discussion and assignment for each week in a timely fashion. New content will be released each Monday.

  • Week 1: Introduction to Consumer Health for Public Libraries
  • Week 2: Health Reference in a public library environment
  • Week 3 Health Resources
  • Week 4 Health and Wellness Programming and Outreach for Public Libraries

Participants will earn 12 Continuing Education Credits.

This class provides all five competence and all 12 CE credits needed for the Consumer Health Information Specialization (CHIS) Level 1, a continuing education credit awarded by the Medical Library Association.

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