Outreach, Engagement & Other Splendid Stuff

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First, the good news. Funding for the Institute of Museum and Library Services has increased for the first time in a dozen years. Thanks to everyone who wrote, called or visited their representatives. Advocacy matters!

Meanwhile, the struggle for parity in the digital realm continues, as the American Library Association continues to fight for #ebooksforall. Why? Beginning November 1, 2019, Macmillan Publishers allows libraries—no matter the size of their city or town—to purchase only one copy of each new eBook title for the first eight weeks after a book’s release. ALA and librarians everywhere are pushing back and sparking a discussion about the role of public libraries in the publishing industry. Want to learn more? Start here, and get involved in the fight!

And finally, have a fabulous end of the decade, and a Happy New Year! 2020 is just around the corner. I can't wait to see what happens next!

Welcome, Crystal!

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Long Lake Public Library Board is delighted to welcome a new Library Director, Crystal Niedzwiadek, to the community. Crystal has been working in public libraries since 2004, including Baltimore County Public Library, Aurora Public Library & Boulder Public Library in Colorado. She is an alum of Drexel University’s Library & Information Science program. Although Crystal started her career as a generalist, she now specializes in serving youth through innovative library services to include early childhood literacy programming and by engaging teens with technology in media labs and maker spaces. She enjoys collaborating with community members and local schools to develop interesting library programs and a relevant library collection. She hopes to maintain the library as a warm and welcoming space for people to gather and enjoy, and has plans to curate the collection, improve the website and start new programming. Curl up with a book this winter from the Long Lake Public Library!

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.

Are You Up to the Challenge?

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In its 2020 budget, the SALS Board of Trustees has earmarked funds to once again renew its three challenge grants: Construction, Continuing Education, and Library Services Seed.

Follow the links below to find information for each of the grant programs, a budget form, as well as the Walkabout guide for the Construction program.

Applications are due December 27, 2019, using an online form.

Everybody Counts

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The Empire State Library Network is organizing a Digital Census Preparation Training for public librarians. These sessions are for anyone who intends to work with communities towards a complete count during Census 2020. If your library is considering providing internet access or digital tools and services, we will help you create safe digital and non-digital pathways to participation for your patrons or community.

A session will be held from 9:30 am to 4 pm Thursday, January 16, at the Capital District Library Council offices in Albany.

Modules in this session include public-facing FAQs, reference interview materials, physical space security, holistic IT, secure participation kiosks, and more.

Registration is free and made possible by funds granted by the Charles H. Revson Foundation.

Libraries Transforming Communities: Rural Library Opportunity

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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.

Fight For Your Right ... To Privacy

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Applications are open now for Library Freedom Institute, a one-of-a-kind privacy-focused four-month program for librarians. LFI teaches librarians the necessary to thrive as Privacy Advocates; from educating community members to influencing public policy. At the close of the course, participants become part of the Library Freedom Project community and continuing doing privacy work with an incredible group of peers.

LFI is free of cost, a five-hour commitment per week (including 1-2 hours in real-time), and mostly online with one in-person weekend component.


The application deadline is February 10, 2020. The next cohort begins in March 2020.

All the Best

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It's the most wonderful time of the year, when every publication puts out their best books of the year picks. Here are some chosen by writers. But wait, there's more. So much more.

Why We Can't Have Nice Things

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Who knew giving away free books could lead to so much trouble?

Learn @ Your Leisure

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Behind the scenes, in workshops all around the world, powerful wizards are fashioning new realities, tinkering with how we interact with content and our visual environment, and offering new opportunities to enhance our day-to-day lives. These creators are set to unleash their worlds in a big way, literally making them materialize all around us. The writing’s on the (virtual) wall: The future is about to get up in your face. Our communities need libraries to hold their hands and help them take the first, bold step into this new world.

Join Liz Philippi and Henry Stokes as they take you through the latest tech trends in Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) with a focus on libraries in "The Future in Your Face: Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality in Libraries.

Out of Office Messages

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If you can't get in touch with me, don't worry. I'll be back soon-ish.

Going Viral

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Social media -- a wild frontier where anything can happen. To find out how to best navigate this perpetually shifting terrain, check out this instructional video from the North Dakota State Library.

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.

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.

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.

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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.

Awards!! Win All the Things!

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The PLA awards online application is now open!

PLA awards and grants highlight the best in public library service and honor those bringing innovation, creativity, and dedication to public libraries. In addition to the awards, grants, and honoraria, the winners and their libraries will be honored at the PLA Member Breakfast the 2020 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago. Applications close Friday, December 6, 2019, at 11:59 PM Central Time.

Nominate yourself or a colleague for any of the following awards and grants:

  • Allie Beth Martin Award, honoring a public librarian who has demonstrated extraordinary range and depth of knowledge about books or other library materials and has the distinguished ability to share that knowledge. Sponsored by Baker & Taylor.
  • Baker & Taylor Entertainment Audio Music/Video Product Award, promoting the development of a circulating audio music/video collection in a public library.
  • Charlie Robinson Award, honoring a public library director who, over a period of seven years, has been a risk taker, an innovator and/or a change agent in a public library. Sponsored by Baker & Taylor.
  • EBSCO Excellence in Rural Library Service Award, honoring a public library serving a population of 10,000 or less with an upper per capita income limit of not more than the 75th quartile of the national average that demonstrates excellence of service to its community.
  • Gordon M. Conable Award, honoring a public library staff member, library trustee or public library that has demonstrated a commitment to intellectual freedom and the Library Bill of Rights.
  • John Iliff Award, honoring a library worker, librarian or library that has used technology as a tool to improve services.
  • New Leaders Travel Grant, enhancing the professional development of new public librarians by making possible their attendance at major professional development activities.
  • PLA Library Innovation Award, recognizing a public library's innovative and creative service program to the community.
  • Romance Writers of America Library Grant, providing a public library the opportunity to build or expand its romance fiction collection and/or host romance fiction programming.
  • The Singer Group Helping Communities Come Together Award, recognizing a public library's ability to identify community needs specifically in times of crisis and division, and respond in creative and exemplary ways to critical challenges.

Webinars and CE!!! Learn All the Things!

Responding to All: Managing Relationships with Key Constituencies

Tuesday, Jan. 14th 2020 at 3pm

This is an online event.

Do you know an amazing library director who stumbled into trouble unexpectedly? Are you one? Every library director seeks to be responsible and successful, but sometimes things go wrong. Understanding concepts for responsible leadership and strategies for fostering key relationships will boost your effectiveness and impact as a director, whether you are new to the position or have been around the block a few times. You will identify key relationships that need to be managed well⁠—your governing authority, your staff, your community, your profession, and last but not least, yourself. Embracing these relationships and working out a checklist of behaviors and communications for each audience will lead to more balance in your work. You’ll leave this webinar inspired by big ideas and motivated by practical steps that will refine your practice as a successful library leader.

Presented by: Jamie LaRue, writer, speaker, teacher, consultant, and former library director; and Sharon Morris, Ph.D., MLIS, Director, Library Development, Colorado State Library

Hooray for Dissent! Moving Beyond a Culture of Conformity

Wednesday, Jan. 22nd 2020 at 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

Civil Legal Justice: The Crucial Role of Libraries

Tuesday, Feb. 11th 2020 at 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