Outreach, Engagement & Other Splendid Stuff

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Happy National Library Week!

This year's theme, "Welcome to Your Library," highlights the profession's nimble response to the pandemic, and our ability to continue to provide services beyond the walls of our buildings. As people struggled to stay connected, worked and learned from home, and used the Internet as a pied-a-terre, libraries stepped into the fray, sharing WiFi hotspots, keeping the WiFi on at our buildings 24/7, and hosting remote tech instruction classes. The pandemic confirmed that the most important asset any library has is the people who work to create community and share resources every day.

Thanks to all of our amazing library workers. You've generously shared your light, expertise, creativity, and talent, reminding us that even in the darkest of times, we hold the spark of promise for a bright future.

Ready, Set, Plan!

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The Division of Library Development has updated the minimum standards public libraries must meet to retain their charters. Public libraries have until December 2021 to have community-based strategic plans in place. To help our member libraries meet that requirement, SALS will be hosting a five-part Engaged Planning series.

The series will guide member libraries through each of the stages of strategic planning. We’ll begin with an overview of the planning process, discuss landscape reviews, facilitate community conversations, and create meaningful plans that resonate with your community. Each workshop will be several weeks apart, so participating libraries will have a chance to complete homework in between, resulting in a completed plan.

The first two workshops in the series have taken place. If you'd like a link to the recording, email Erica. The following workshops will be virtual. Please save the following dates/times:

  • 10 am – 11:30 am Tuesday, April 20
  • 10 am – 11:30 am Tuesday, May 25
  • 10 am – 11:30 am Tuesday, June 22

If you’re interested in taking part, please sign up here:

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Citizen Public Health Training where you will learn from top experts from Cornell on preventing and responding to public health emergencies. This innovative course will help New Yorkers support themselves, their families, and their communities. You will become a leader of health and preparedness in your community.

We are calling on New Yorkers in every neighborhood and community in the state to become trained Public Health Leaders. As a New York State Public Health Leader, you will better understand the coronavirus and other public health issues facing our communities and will gain the tools to understand the facts and be a trusted source of information and support in your community.

New York's greatest asset is its people. Together, we can defeat COVID; prepare for the public health emergencies of the future; and build a more resilient, healthy, and loving New York.

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Library Freedom Project is seeking applicants for its new Crash Courses program. The courses are free, two-month online training programs for library workers who want to learn practical ways to defend themselves privacy in their libraries.

There are two Crash Courses open for applications now:

Systems and Policies (will run May-June 2021): This course focuses on privacy in library infrastructure. Topics include: creating good privacy and data governance policies, conducting privacy audits, working with library IT, understanding vendor agreements from a privacy perspective, and more. It'll cover some technical stuff, but it's intended for library workers without a formal technical background or role.

Programs and training (will run September-October 2021): In this course, participants learn how to teach privacy to patrons, fellow staff, and other stakeholders. It covers some of the broader privacy landscape globally -- things like consumer technologies, police surveillance, artificial intelligence -- and discusses how the loss of privacy affects our communities. Learn how to run effective and interesting privacy programs for various audiences.

To learn more, visit Questions about the program can be directed to

I Like Big Boats

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Garrett Dash Nelson, a curator at the Boston Public Library’s Leventhal Map & Education Center, made 2021 the best year ever by creating the Ever Given Ever Ywhere app, allowing users to place hulking vessels wherever they like. Enjoy!

Changing the Subject

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As our nation grapples with a racial justice reckoning, libraries are taking a look at how information is classified, and how decisions about how we organize and share material can uphold systemic racism. Catalogers have been advocating for changes in subject headings, with varying success. Most recently, at the behest of librarians at the University of Oklahoma, the Library of Congress implemented a change to the subject heading from "Tulsa Race Riot" to "Tulsa Race Massacre," to accurately reflect history.

Meanwhile, in Boston, Harvard University is no longer using the term "illegal alien" as a subject heading, choosing to use "noncitizen" or "undocumented immigrant" instead.

Beat Boy Summer

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Travel, But Make It Lit

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As the pace of vaccinations picks up, a librarian's thoughts turn to eventually moving about the planet once again. A good place to start? The hottest literary destinations.

Do Better

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Sponsored by the Social Responsibilities Group of NYLA's Developing Leaders Program, the Social Responsibility & Libraries series of panel discussions will explore how libraries of all types and sizes relate to the different facets of the ALA's core value: "Social Responsibility.”

Each session takes place on Mondays, from April 12 through May 10.

April 12 @ 11:00 am | Addressing Digital Equity: Theory & Practice

April 19 @ 3:00 pm | Building a Socially Responsible Collection

April 26 @ 11:00 am | Empowering Your Community

May 3 @ 2:00 pm | Diverse Views and Discussions in Library Programs

May 10 @ 11:00 am | Directors Decide: Public Statements After George Floyd’s Death

Register for a single session or the full series. All webinars are free. Each workshop is worth one CE credit.

Plan Ahead: The Randall Enos Conference Scholarship

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Are you a community volunteer or library staff member who is currently and actively involved in a local Friends of the Library group? Would you like to attend the New York Library Association annual conference?

If so, consider applying for the Friends of the Library Section's Randall Enos Conference Scholarship, which covers up to $750 in expenses, including registration, travel, and accommodation.

The applicants must be members in good standing of NYLA and FLS. The deadline for submission of the application is 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 1, 2021.

Learn All the Things!

Responding to the COVID-19 Infodemic: An NNLM Virtual Symposium

Thursday, April 8th, 12pm

This is an online event.

The COVID-19 pandemic highlights the disparities of underserved, minority, and underrepresented communities. This includes ensuring equal understanding of accurate health information, education in hard-hit communities, and valuing inclusion in clinical research to overcome COVID-19.

The NNLM Virtual Symposium is an opportunity to address misinformation and mistrust, raise awareness about the pandemic and efforts to combat it. Symposium attendees can expect to come away from this experience with a better understanding of COVID-19 as well as strategies and programs that can be used to engage with communities. We are excited to feature the following keynote speakers:

  • Vinay Gupta, MD, MPA, Affiliate Assistant Professor, Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, Seattle, WA
  • Gregg Orton, National Director, The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA), Washington, DC
  • Elizabeth Wilhelm, Health Communications Specialist, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Global Immunization Division, Atlanta, GA
  • Chris Pernell, MD, MPH, FACPM, Chief Strategic Integration and Health Equity Officer, University Hospital, New York, NY

Planning for Recovery

Monday, April 12th, 2pm

This is an online event.

Despite the best plans about what to do in the moment you experience a fire or flood or extended power outage, these random events still occur. And then what?

The focus of this webinar is about helping libraries plan for recovery after a catastrophic event. This session is structured as a panel discussion with three library directors who have experienced disasters at their libraries. They will briefly explain what happened and then describe how they and their staff transitioned from the immediate response to rebuilding. They will share lessons on what they wished they had known or done before the disaster, what they learned during the rebuilding, and any steps they took to review what happened that inform new plans or policies.

This event is free and open to all library workers.
All participants will receive a certificate for CE Credit.
The webinar will be recorded.

Transgender Health: Focus on Mental Health & Resiliency

Monday, April 12th, 2pm

This is an online event.

The Network of the National Library of Medicine Pacific Southwest at the UCLA Biomedical Library and Southeastern Atlantic Region at the University of Maryland-Baltimore are excited to announce the final webinar in the NNLM Transgender Health series. With approximately 1 million adults in the U.S. identifying as Transgender/Gender Non-Binary (TGNB), less than one percent of physicians fall within this number, and the number continually decreases when surveying medical students, with a mere 0.7 percent identifying as TGNB (Dimant et al.)(link is external)

Join us to learn about the health disparities for Transgender and Gender Non-Binary (TGNB) individuals in receiving quality mental healthcare.

By the end of this webinar, participants will be able to:

  • Distinguish sex, gender identity, roles & sexual orientation
  • Define 3 mental health stressors for TGNB youth and minorities
  • Cite 3 health information resources to support TGNB healthcare

Mental Health First Aid and Trauma-Informed Approaches for Libraries

Tuesday, April 13th, 3pm

This is an online event.

The mental health impact of the pandemic is taking a toll on our communities, often compounding the physical and emotional effects of trauma experienced by many, including library patrons and staff. With increased understanding of mental health and trauma-informed care, library staff can be better prepared to provide unbiased service to those struggling to find help, information, and support. Join this webinar to learn how libraries can be better prepared to respond using the principles of trauma-informed care, and how Mental Health First Aid can equip staff with the knowledge and confidence to communicate with compassion, even in difficult situations. Learn ways to apply a trauma-informed approach to library services, internal and external policies, and practices, and how to build connections with other community providers.

Telehealth in Rural Public Libraries

Wednesday, April 14th, 11am

This is an online event.

Learn how a rural library partnered with the University of North Texas Health Science Center to launch a pilot telehealth program. In rural communities, libraries often have the fastest internet connection in town together with digital literacy to assist users. Rural Americans face health inequities that result in worse health care outcomes than their peers in more populated areas. The presentation will include a discussion of logistics, and the role of health and digital literacy in telehealth.

Next Chapter: Partnering with Local Jails to Decrease Recidivism

Wednesday, April 14th, 2pm

This is an online event.

Members of the Correctional Workforce have long agreed that educational programs have a significant impact on recidivism rates. However, educational rehabilitation is concentrated at the State Prison level. Local jails must rely on local funding to provide rehabilitation and educational resources to their inmates, and most rural areas cannot afford to fund resources of this type.

The Cherokee Regional Library believes that this is too late into the lives of these inmates. Educational resources are needed at the local jail level when incarceration periods are short and there is a higher chance for these individuals to remake their lives and prevent a lifetime of incarceration and separation from families.

Join Assistant Director Chelsea Kovalevskiy as she describes the Next Chapter Program—a partnership between the Dade County branch of the Cherokee Regional Library and the Dade County Jail. This digital literacy and life skills program uses the Niche Academy platform to track inmate participation and completion data. Learn how your library can utilize this program, or create your own, to make a life-changing impact on one of the most vulnerable populations within your community.

This project was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services LG-28-19-0238.

If you're interested but not able to attend the live webinar, go ahead and register. We'll send a recording to all registrants after the fact.

Fundraising Beyond the Book Sale

Thursday, April 22nd, 4pm

This is an online event.

Looking for some best practices for fundraising that can be implemented within pandemic safety guidelines? When you cannot gather crowds at large-scale book sales, are there other creative projects and tactics your Friends and foundation can undertake? Rebecca Fuss of the Friends & Foundation of the Rochester Public Library will discuss annual appeals, donor relations, peer-to-peer fundraising, and other community-wide donation efforts that provide a good return on the investment of your time. Jenny Goodemote and Kathy Shay of Wood Library in Canandaigua will share the details of their “knock-out” fundraiser, Pursapalooza, a sale of purses, jewelry, artwork, and more. This in-person annual event morphed into an online store of designer handbags in November 2020. Until large-scale book sales can resume once more, strengthening connections with long-time supporters and adapting the library’s profitable fundraisers is the name of the (socially distant) game!

After the webinar, attendees will be able to:

  • Adapt previous fundraising techniques to fit today’s environment.
  • Communicate with your Friends group or Board of Trustees about the future of library fundraising.
  • Identify best practices for connecting with your community and communicating your needs to them.
  • Begin planning your own library fundraiser using one or more suggestions from our presenters.
  • Evaluate online platforms for virtual, in-person, and hybrid fundraising events.
  • Expand your ability to reframe and organize library fundraisers.

Smart Spaces are Community Places

Tuesday, April 27th, 3pm

This is an online event.

Transforming physical spaces and library programs into active learning hubs is a powerful opportunity to strengthen the library’s connection to the community. Through WebJunction’s Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces project, a range of free resources and tools—built from the project’s four years of real-life successes—are now available for libraries of all sizes to transform their spaces. In this webinar, we’ll share examples of design thinking and collaboration with the community and the positive outcomes achieved, even through the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic. Gail Bruce, director of Laurel Public Library (DE), will describe the arc of discovering community needs and realizing multiple projects to meet those needs at her library. Participants will be introduced to the Toolkit to Create Smart Spaces community collaborations for active learning.

Our Story Bridge: Connecting the Past and the Present

Wednesday, April 28th, 1:30pm

This is an online event.

Interested in capturing and documenting the stories of your community? Join Jery Y. Huntley to learn about the following websites and resources and how your library can use them:

  • Adirondack Community: Capturing, Retaining, and Communicating the Stories of Who We Are (
  • OurStoryBridge: Connecting the Past and the Present (
  • Explore the Teacher’s Guide contained on both websites so that you have a resource to use in libraries and share with students and teachers.
  • Recognize how you can help communicate and improve these projects.

This presentation will introduce free resources to walk you through the process of planning, implementing, and sustaining your unique story project. It will demonstrate the Teacher’s Guide, used by schools and libraries to select stories from existing story projects for their school courses and library programs.

The webinar will be recorded and archived for future viewing.

Questions? Please contact Sharon Phillips, Project Director for Ready to Read at New York Libraries, at

Training New Supervisors for Success: Don’t Start from Scratch

Tuesday, May 4th, 3pm

This is an online event.

New supervisors need timely training as they step into their new role. Not only do they need to learn how to manage people effectively, they need to learn specific procedures particular to their library. Trainers know that it takes a lot of time, up to a year, to develop this kind of training. What if there were some existing training that one could build upon without starting from scratch? There is!

The Learning Round Table of ALA developed three self-guided Supervisor Success modules—Performance Management, Managing Conflict, and Encouraging Motivation in the Workplace (available on WebJunction). Join us as we explore how the Indianapolis Public Library Training and HR staff used this ready-made self-paced learning, added some library-specific context and group discussions, and created a successful new learning process for their managers. Presenters will share their lessons learned to help you implement this kind of supervisor training at your library.

Trauma-Informed Librarianship – What Is It and What Can It Look Like?

Wednesday, May 5th, 4pm

This is an online event.

Trauma-informed care has been used more extensively in psychotherapy and social work settings, however, it can also have a practical application in any setting, personal or professional. This is especially relevant for libraries where we work with patrons and, at times, in large organizations with many moving parts. In this talk, we will define trauma and how it affects the nervous system, discuss some approaches to trauma-informed care, and imagine ways it can be applied to your library setting.

HR 101: Ask the HR Expert webinar

Monday, May 17th, 2pm

This is an online event.

Join Holly Nowak, the HR professional behind the Ask the HR Expert service, for a discussion of some basic human resources information that managers, supervisors, and directors need to know.

Covering some of the most commonly misunderstood and/or misapplied HR foundational concepts, topics we'll cover include best practice in: Job Descriptions, Worker Classification, Documentation and Record Keeping, Leaves (including recent changes in NYS); and other important information. This session includes a 30 minute Q & A as well, so please be sure to submit your questions!

Learning objectives:
Participants will leave the session recognizing the core HR area red flags and gain an understanding of how to ensure they are on track with foundational HR items.

We invite you to submit a question for Holly - there will be a place to do that during the registration process. The deadline to submit questions is May 7th.

Free to ESLN Members. Registration is required. This webinar will be recorded.

This session is sponsored by the Empire State Library Network. If you have any questions, contact Laura Osterhout (