Outreach, Engagement & Other Splendid Stuff

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Happy New Year!

The prospect of a new year plus a new decade may lead to grandiose dreams. And why shouldn't we dream big and shoot for the moon? Let 2020 be the year where we overcome accessibility challenges, come up with a solution to provide easy, affordable access to ebooks, and figure out how to navigate the corporate complexities and privacy concerns as library vendors are gobbled up by private equity firms. There's a lot to be excited about -- our region is one of the best job markets in the US, Millennials love libraries, and thanks to the 21st Century Engagement & Communication Skills series of workshops in 2019, we have a lot of new skills to help us move forward confidently in the New Year. We have an opportunity to communicate our value to our communities by demonstrating our commitment to privacy, tackle wicked problems, and help them navigate the next decade.

I look forward to being dazzled by all of the fantastic things you'll do in the coming decade.

New Library, Who Dis?

The Greenwich Free Library recently completed renovations to its basement level, creating a large community room, a new, improved local history room, and space for smaller meetings, complete with storage cabinets and a sink. If you're passing by, drop in and check it out!

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 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.

Ain't No Party Like An Annual Report Party

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Are you ready to reflect on how hard you rocked last year? Bring 2019's statistics to the Southern Adirondack Library System's Annual Report Party from 10 am to 1 pm on Thursday, January 30, and complete your annual report to the state. SALS staff will be on hand to explain the annual report, and to answer any questions you may have. Everyone is invited to stay for lunch. Please register so we can make sure everyone gets fed.

Time to Swear

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January 1 is just around the corner! Many library trustee terms begin on January 1. This is an important reminder that New York State Public Officer's Law §10 requires all public library trustees (unless association library trustees) to take and file an oath of office within 30 days of beginning their term of office. Public library trustees are public officers and the oath of office is required to officially undertake and perform the duties of a public library trustee.

If a public library trustee does not properly complete and file an oath of office, the trustee’s position may be deemed vacant (Public Officer's Law §30(1)(h).

For more information about how and why the oath of office is administered, and where to properly file an oath of office, please see the Oaths of Office FAQ on the New York State Library website.

Share the Wealth

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It's no secret that the SALS member libraries are some of the best in the business -- so why not share what you know with your colleagues across the state? There's still time to submit a program proposal to the New York Library Association for its 2020 conference, to be held in Saratoga Springs. If you need help putting together a presentation, get in touch with Erica.

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.

Lead the Way

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Applications for the American Library Association (ALA) Leadership Institute, a 4-day immersive leadership development program for future library leaders led by past ALA President Maureen Sullivan and Library and Leadership Consultant Kathryn Deiss, are now available. The institute includes a structured learning track and the opportunity for individual development.

Application Information:

  • Application is now OPEN. Click here to apply.
  • Applicants may nominate themselves or be nominated by their employer.
  • Deadline: Monday, March 9, 2020.
  • Applicants will be notified by May 2020.

Selection Criteria:

The selection committee reviews applications to select a participant mix based on type of library (public, academic, school, special, etc.), organizational responsibility, geography, gender, and race/ethnicity. This selective process is based on demonstrated leadership potential, professional achievement and community or campus involvement. Particular attention will be given to applicants’ personal statements as well as those of their references.

In addition, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Have at least 5 years of library work experience
  • Have a letter of support from his/her employer
  • Be ready to assume a higher administrative or managerial role
  • Be an ALA member at time of application
  • Be able to attend the Institute in the Chicago area

Selected participants are mid-career librarians ready to assume a higher administrative or managerial role, with some history of community or campus involvement.

Meeting Logistics

  • Date: August 2-6, 2020
  • Location: Hilton Oak Brook/Chicago Conference Center and Resort in Oak Brook, Illinois
  • Registration Cost: $1,650 (includes training, materials, lodging, meals, and a one-year membership to the Library Leadership & Management Association (LLAMA))

Suspicious Characters

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What would your favorite book characters look like if drawn by police sketch artists?

Dentophobes of the World, Unite!

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Jane Austen hated going to the dentist almost as much as I do. Almost.

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.

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.

Game On!

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The Games and Gaming Round Table of the American Library Association is proud to unveil a new annual grant program to enable libraries to develop gaming programs or collections for their public. Through the new Game On! Grants $500.00 will be available to be awarded either as one grant of $500 or two of $250 each to assist a library or libraries in developing gaming programs or collections for their communities.

ALA members in good standing currently employed at a public, school, academic or special library in the United States or Canada are eligible to apply. Libraries will need to illustrate a plan for a sustainable gaming program created with the funds as well as financial need and institutional support for the proposed program. The Game On! Grant online application is open now (ALA member login required to access).

The application period will take place from January 1 to March 1 of each year, and the grant winner will be announced at GameRT’s “ALA Play” event at the annual ALA conference, which will take place this year in Chicago from June 25-30, 2020. Learn more about the Game On! Grants or apply online

Win All the Things!

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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.

Learn All the Things!

Responding to All: Managing Relationships with Key Constituencies

Tuesday, Jan. 14th, 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, 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

Leadership and Management Event Series: Defusing Conflict in the Library

Thursday, Jan. 23rd, 2pm

This is an online event.

Libraries can be stressful environments. They are places where people of different ages, abilities, personalities, and backgrounds come together. Add to a busy environment with lots of demands, and conflicts can spark. What are research-based and practical strategies for calming conflict with patrons and colleagues?

Attendees of this webinar will learn:

-Strategies for dealing with conflict with colleagues

-Strategies for dealing with conflict with patrons

-Verbal Judo basics

-What happens to our brains and bodies in conflict

-Scripts and conversation suggestions for dealing with conflict

Engaging Families with Nature-Based Library Programming

Tuesday, Jan. 28th, 2pm

This is an online event.

Learn about ways to engage children and their families in nature-based library programs as we discuss programs and partnerships that get library patrons outside of traditional library-based programs and into the community. Discover how programs like snowshoeing owl prowls and frog watches connect families with nature and how these programs are collaborations with outside organizations. Also learn how to get your library patrons to enjoy the great outdoors with lending items like bird watching backpacks, family outdoor game lending libraries and more.

Learning Objectives:

  • Discover how nature-based programming can enhance your library programming
  • Learn about the value of collaborations with outside organizations to provide programs for your patrons
  • Find out about ways to broaden your collection with nature-based lending library items


Jen Ogrodowski: Head of Youth Services - Saratoga Springs (NY) Public Library
Laura Clark: Youth Services Librarian - Saratoga Springs (NY) Public Library
Carol Anne Geary: Youth/Teen Services Librarian - Saratoga Springs (NY) Public Library

Civil Legal Justice: The Crucial Role of Libraries

Tuesday, Feb. 11th, 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

New Library, Who Dis?