Outreach, Engagement & Other Splendid Stuff

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I felt giddy when I read The New York Times headline, Surprise in $216 Billion Budget Plan: New York Is Awash in Money. Surely, now that we are swimming in money, libraries will be fully funded, with ample resources to dedicate to improving our infrastructure.

Friends, I was wrong.

Despite an $8.7 billion surplus in the state budget, Governor Kathy Hochul has proposed a $3.5 million cut to library aid in her FY2024 Executive Budget Proposal and reduced the State Library Construction Aid Program by $20 million. This draconian decision does not meet the $106.2 million in funding mandated by Education Law (which has not been adjusted for inflation for decades).

When unveiling her budget, Governor Hochul said, "We need to embrace this moment of possibility and use it to redefine New York's destiny."


What better place to invest than in organizations that have been darning the holes of the social safety net, providing workforce development, helping new arrivals become citizens, and addressing a wide variety of issues, including food insecurity, restorative justice, literacy for all ages, and bridging the digital divide? Libraries have been on the front lines of supporting their communities, connecting people to the resources and services they need to succeed, and providing spaces where people can be informed, entertained, and educated.

We'll have an opportunity to share our stories of impact and to let our representatives know that the New York Library Association (NYLA) is asking for $147.1 million to fund libraries and $69.4 million in the State Aid for Library Construction Program -- a paltry sum given the amount of surplus and decades of underinvesting in libraries -- during this year's Library Advocacy Day (although we'll be spreading our efforts over a week of virtual visits).

What can you do?

First, become a library advocate by enrolling in NYLA’s Online Advocacy Center.

  • You will receive email alerts when your action is needed to act on behalf of libraries.
  • You can email your elected officials in a couple of simple steps.

Second, contact Pamela at to find out when we're meeting with your representative. All our meetings will be virtual this year so that everyone can join. You can share a story about the great work you're doing in your community or show up to support others.

Third, recruit patrons to share stories about how the library has impacted their lives. They can write letters to the editor, email representatives, or join the virtual session.

Together, we can ensure that New York's libraries get reasonable funding!

Keeping Currency

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Do you have patrons who are Blind or Print Disabled? The Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) is partnering with the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled, Library of Congress (NLS) to distribute currency readers.

The U.S. Currency Reader Program provides currency readers, free of charge, to all eligible blind and visually impaired U.S. citizens and national residents. The device is small, compact, and runs on a triple-A battery, which is included. To use the currency reader, simply insert a U.S. bill into the reader and press the button. The device identifies the note’s denomination. Currency reader applications are available in English and Spanish.

For questions about an existing reader, call (202) 707-0048. For questions about acquiring a reader, the status of your application or reader, or the U.S. Currency Reader Program in general, please call (844) 815-9388 or email

Celebrating the Champlain Canal

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The Folklife Center at Crandall Public Library invites artists to enter a juried show, Through Inland Waters: Champlain Canal at 200. Artwork must represent or be inspired by the Champlain Canal (running from Waterford to Whitehall) and its Glens Falls Feeder. A reception will take place from 5 to 7 pm Thursday, April 6. The exhibit will run through April 28 in the 2nd-floor Friends Gallery.

All artists are welcome to submit, regardless of their experience or medium. Entries must be ready to hang and no larger than 36 inches x 36 inches x 10 inches deep. No freestanding sculpture is allowed.

Each artist is limited to two submissions. Participants must complete an application form at drop-off by Wednesday, March 29, at the Folklife Center at the Crandall Public Library.

Artists/artisans must agree to have their work photographed and included in the online exhibition gallery on the Crandall Public Library website.

Jurors for this exhibition are Jon Segan, mixed-media artist; Todd DeGarmo, folklorist; Kevin Rogan, photographer.

The Folklife Center will direct interested buyers to the artists.

For more information, contact Tisha Dolton at or 518-792-6508 x292.

Trustee Training

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Calling all library trustees! Take your leadership to the next level with the Trustee Handbook Book Club 2023 sessions.

  • The Board-Director Relationship (Tuesday, April 18, 2023 | 5:00-6:30pm) REGISTER

  • Financial Planning & Budgeting (Tuesday, June 20, 2023 | 5:00-6:30pm) REGISTER

  • Strategic Planning (Tuesday, August 15, 2023 | 5:00-6:30pm) REGISTER

  • Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, Access & Justice (Tuesday, October 17, 2023 | 5:00-6:30pm) REGISTER

  • Financing & Managing Construction Projects (Tuesday, December 19, 2023 | 5:00-6:30pm) REGISTER

Those who attend a live session will receive a certificate of attendance, and everyone who registers for a session will have access to the recordings.

This series is brought to you thanks to a partnership facilitated through the Public Library System Directors Organization of New York State (PULISDO), the New York State Library, and the Library Trustees Association Section of the New York Library Association.

Wanted: Literacy Tutors

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The Tri-County Literacy Center is recruiting volunteer literacy tutors for Warren, Washington and Saratoga Counties.

Tri-County Literacy Center will be holding tutor training classes in-person from 6 to 8 pm starting Tuesdays, Mar. 21 through Apr. 25 (no class April 11).

To register, call SUNY Adirondack's Continuing Education Office at 518-743-2238 or email For questions or to learn more regarding our on-demand training, please call/text 518-793-7414 or email

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Entrepreneurship & Libraries Pitch Competition

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Do you have an idea on how your library could contribute to local job creation, entrepreneurship, and nonprofits — but need funding to get started?

Submit a pitch to the third annual pitch competition of the Entrepreneurship & Libraries Conference (ELC)! Public, school, special, and academic libraries from the United States and Canada are encouraged to apply. The focus of the competition is how a library can support local economic development, job hunters, workforce development, entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and/or small businesses. For 2023, the ELC is particularly interested in pitches that focus on local equity issues or marginalized populations and communities.

ALA’s Libraries Build Business and EBSCO are teaming up to co-sponsor the 2023 ELC Pitch Competition. Submissions are now open through March 24. Submit your pitch and compete for $10,000 in prizes! The five winners will receive free peer mentoring to help develop their program.

Key dates:
Feb 15: Submissions open
Feb 16: “Pitch perfect” workshop (3-4:15pm Eastern via Zoom)
March 24: Submissions deadline
April 3: “Top five” libraries notified & connected with ELC pitch consultant Jenn Hensel for free consulting
May 4: Pitch competition (3-5pm Eastern via Zoom, open to all)

Check out the Pitch Workshop recording for strategies and inspiration in building your perfect pitch. Please let one of the co-chairs know if you have any questions about the workshop or about entering the competition:

Angel Truesdale (UNC Charlotte):
Megan Janicki (American Library Association):
Steve Cramer (UNC Greensboro):

Connected Learning for Small & Rural Libraries

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Registration is now open for ConnectedLibFEST, the first ever connected learning event specifically focused on small and rural libraries.

This virtual experience takes place from 1 to 5 pm on Wednesday and Thursday, March 15 and 16. Each day brings together library staff, researchers, and community members to learn from and with each other about bringing Connected Learning to small and rural library settings. Small and rural libraries are already using the principles of connected learning in their work. They do this by building relationships with youth, community members, and stakeholders; fostering interests of teens through library services; and creating opportunities for academic and life success.

Registration is free.

Radical Librarians Institute

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The Radical Librarians Institute (RLI) aims to support library professionals by developing a systematized certificate-granting training institute to support the widespread programmatic, pedagogical, and complex requirements of justice work, and to push for systemic change. The RLI is both a summer intensive program and a nearly year-long program that supports the implementation of a community project at each participant’s home institution. The program ends in a certificate offered by CalRBS.

The program features an in-person workshop July 31–August 4, 2023, when selected participants will congregate on the UCLA campus in Westwood, California, to embark on an intensive training program, supported by RLI faculty, CalRBS staff, and faculty of the UCLA Department of Information Studies, and followed by support throughout the year as students implement programs designed in the institute.

Participation is fully funded for invited participants (this includes tuition, domestic airfare to/from Los Angeles, lodging in the award-winning UCLA dormitories, and many meals!). In addition, each of the participant’s institutions will be awarded $10,000 to offset the operational costs of proposed programs. The RLI can accept 25 participants.

Deadline for first round review for RLI: March 3, 2023. Successful applicants will be invited for a second-round review.

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Support for Small, Rural Libraries

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The American Library Association (ALA) ill offer more than $7 million in grants to small and rural libraries to increase the accessibility of facilities, services and programs to better serve people with disabilities.

Library workers may apply online for grant funding from November 1, 2022, to February 28, 2023, at

Selected libraries will receive $10,000 or $20,000 to support costs related to their community engagement project; virtual training to assist project directors in developing their community engagement, facilitation, and disability service skills; a suite of online resources developed to support local programs; and technical and project support from the ALA Public Programs Office throughout the grant term.

The opportunity is open to libraries serving small and rural communities in the U.S. and U.S. territories. To be eligible, a library must be located in an area that’s more than, or equal to, five miles from an urbanized area and with a population of 25,000 or less, in keeping with Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) definitions of small and rural libraries.

Additional information regarding Libraries Transforming Communities: Accessible Small and Rural Communities, Grant Advisor RFP requirements and how to apply for grants is available at

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Art Resources Transfer's Library Program provides free books on art and culture to public libraries, schools, and incarcerated readers nationwide.

The book catalog offers 300+ titles published by leading museums, galleries, and independent presses nationwide. Books are free and shipped free of charge. To get started, sign up through the website here.

Connect & Reconnect With Your Community

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The Libraries Transform Communities Engagement Grant is an annual grant to recognize, promote, and support innovative and meaningful community engagement efforts in libraries. Community engagement is the process of working collaboratively with community members to address issues for the betterment of the community.

For the 2022-2023 cycle, libraries are invited to submit applications for a community engagement project that focuses on connection and reconnection with your community. Your project can be a collaboration with an audience that has not frequented your library in the past or an audience that has not used the library recently (e.g., because of the pandemic). Libraries should work collaboratively with community members and at least one partner organization to develop a project that addresses a local issue and builds upon community assets. Please note that, while projects should be community-driven, they must be spearheaded by the library.

Applications for the 2022-2023 cycle will open on December 1, 2022.

Talk Story Grant

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Talk Story: Sharing Stories, Sharing Culture is a family literacy initiative that connects Asian, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and American Indian communities across generations. The Talk Story grant celebrates and explores Asian, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and American Indian stories through books, oral traditions, and cultural arts to provide interactive and enriching experiences for all ages. This grant provides financial support to libraries and community organizations who are motivated to promote intergenerational literacy through programming, services, and collections. Talk Story programs may be conducted in-person or virtually.

Talk Story is in its fourteenth year of partnership between the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA) and the American Indian Library Association (AILA).

Libraries, archives, museums, and community organizations that promote intergenerational literacy across Asian, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and/or American Indian families and communities are eligible to apply. We encourage collaboration with related community organizations on a Talk Story program, although the applying organization must be a library, archive, or museum. With the exception of cross-border tribal organizations, all organizations must be based in the United States or U.S. territories. Organizations who have previously been awarded two Talk Story grants are ineligible for additional awards.

Two grant winners for each organization (APALA and AILA), a total of four winners, will receive $500 each to fund a program that meets the criteria of the grant.

All complete submissions will be considered, which includes a statement of financial or economic need, narrative describing how the grant addresses community needs and promotes the Talk Story mission, an explanation of how your program empowers AANHPI and/or AIAN communities, and a proposed budget.

You may apply for either an APALA grant OR an AILA grant. You may not apply to both organizations.

Applications must be received by Wednesday, March 15, 2023 11:59pm AoE.
Awards will be announced by Monday, May 1, 2023.

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ALA will distribute implementation grants to 100 libraries to host Great Story Club programming on two themes: “Deeper Than Our Skins: The Present Is a Conversation with the Past” and “Finding Your Voice: Speaking Truth to Power.” These themes, created by scholars Maria Sachiko Cecire and Susana M. Morris, will feature books that explore questions of race, equity, identity and history.

For each theme, ALA will award up to 50 grants to eligible institutions. Up to 50 libraries will be selected to receive a "Deeper Than Our Skins" grant, and up to 50 libraries will be selected to receive a "Finding Your Voice" grant.

Applications will be accepted from all types of libraries (public, school, academic, and special) in the United States and its territories that meet one of the following criteria:

  • The applicant library is located within an organization that reaches underserved, under-resourced and/or at-risk teens (e.g., alternative high school, juvenile detention facility, tribal library).


  • The applicant library is working with a partner organization that reaches underserved, under-resourced, and/or at-risk teens. Possible partner organizations include but are not limited to juvenile justice facilities, drug/alcohol rehabilitation centers, nonprofits serving teen parents, alternative high schools, agencies serving teenaged foster children and shelters serving young adults and families experiencing homelessness.

Selected libraries will receive 11 paperback copies of theme-related books to use in the reading and discussion groups as well as a $500 programming stipend, online training, an array of program resources and support throughout the grant term.

Participating libraries will work with small groups of approximately 10 teens; provide up to four theme-related books for each participant to keep as their own and convene opportunities for exploration and discussion of relevant humanities content among peers. Book discussions will be led by an experienced programming librarian, often in cooperation with staff from a partner organization or department, such as teachers and counselors.

Because the Great Stories Club seeks to engage libraries in different areas of the country, serving high-need and diverse groups of teen readers, ALA invites interested librarians to get in touch if there is a specific need for flexibility with the program model or requirements.

Visit the project guidelines and apply online by March 15, 2023.

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Copyright and Fair Use for Libraries

Thursday, Feb. 23rd, 12pm

This is an online event.

Why does copyright and fair use matter for libraries and librarians?

This event features lawyers and librarians who will share historic and legal frameworks for copyright, provide helpful information about our rights to fair use, and give an understanding for how these concepts have (and have not) evolved within our rapidly evolving technological environment.

60-ish minutes of presentations will be followed by a 30-minute forum. Please come through to listen, find community, and participate in this necessary conversation.

This event is a co-production between METRO Library Council and Library Futures. Learn more about Library Futures at

The Black Librarian in America: Reflections, Resistance, and Reawakenings – A Panel Presentation and Discussion in Honor of Black History Month

Thursday, Feb. 23rd, 3pm

This is an online event.

In honor of Black History Month, the editors of The Black Librarian in America: Reflections, Resistance, and Reawakening (2022) will explore issues related to Black librarians' intersectional identities and experiences. Join Shauntee Burns-Simpson, Nichelle M. Hayes, Ana Ndumu, and Shaundra Walker, and contributor keondra bills freemyn, for this enlightening session with moderator Joni Floyd.

027 to 612.662: Libraries and Menstrual Literacy

Tuesday, March 7th, 4pm

This is an online event.

What makes libraries the perfect place for period advocacy? Brooklyn Public Library’s Rakisha Kearns-White will share how she became a period advocate and why she decided the public library was the perfect place for her advocacy. She'll discuss the different positive outcomes of starting this initiative and the many ways menstrual literacy can look in a library. Library workers in public, school, and academic libraries will learn how they can be centers for menstrual literacy and help challenge period poverty. Attendees can also expect to:

  • Understand what menstrual literacy is, and how it differs from from sex and reproduction education
  • Learn how to bring stakeholders on board
  • Know how to locate funding to support menstrual initiatives

The Emerging Forces of Justice, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: Trends and Strategic Approaches

Thursday, March 9th, 1pm

This is an online event.

As libraries and cultural organizations develop initiatives that center diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice, what trends and forces within our broader society are expected to impact and shape our approach? How do we position ourselves strategically to offer services to our increasingly diverse communities? What are the implications if our organizations are not equipped to support the communities we should be serving?

Herbert Alexander, Chief Diversity Officer at Cayuga Health System, will explore trends and strategic approaches to JDEI with us, including three forces that must be taken into consideration--and their implications.


Learn about and discuss:

  • three impactful forces shaping our libraries and cultural institutions and their implications
  • barriers to equity and inclusivity
  • ideas for closing the gaps between social responsibility and sustainability

Ownership, Licensing, and Library Materials

Thursday, March 16th, 12pm

This is an online event.

The right of first sale allows libraries (among everyone else) to provide access to materials they’ve purchased. In the digital era, however, libraries usually license content rather than own it, often at great expense to libraries and at times to consternation on the part of the public.

This event features academics and practitioners who will share context for how and why this came to be, provide factual information as to the impact on libraries and their readers, and detail a more equitable and just approach for how we might balance the interests of copyright with the public interest in providing access to high-quality knowledge.

Register here.

Using Excel to Manage Your Projects and Budgets

Friday, March 24th, 4pm

This is an online event.

Are you ready to Excel? Microsoft Excel, that is! Many tasks are well suited to Excel, including managing budgets, tracking project deliverables, and creating forms. Join us to learn more about how Excel can be used in your work, and get curious about exploring the range of features that this software offers. Because budget management includes coordinating with people and data, we’ll also look at the range of inputs that are involved in tracking budgets. Who do you need to work with to track expenses? What kind of reporting will you need to be able to support, and what types of checks and balances can you put in place to create an accountable process?

Participants will learn to:

- Track a project budget
- Use Excel features to analyze data
- Explore free Excel templates
- Consider how to approach budget changes and stakeholders

About our presenter:
Kendra Morgan is a Senior Program Manager with WebJunction, providing continuing education services to state and public libraries. She is particularly interested in the role libraries play in supporting healthy communities, including through opioid-related programming and services and the COVID-19 pandemic, and has successfully applied for and managed a number of grant-funded programs that address those issues.