Outreach, Engagement & Other Splendid Stuff

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While the LGBTQIA+ community has made tremendous strides, and can now get married, raise families, join the military and do many other things people in heterosexual relationships have taken for granted, the struggle is not over.

We're seeing an attack on these fundamental rights manifest in book challenges. The recent assault on the freedom to read has disproportionately focused on books by authors of color, those shining a light on our country's troubled history of race relations, or books with LGBTQIA+ content. This includes a recent effort by Catholic Vote in its "Hide the Pride" campaign, an astroturfing campaign designed to reduce access to library materials.

While we celebrate the right for people to love who and how we want, we continue to advocate for freedom of speech and the importance of diverse voices.

Dropping Knowledge

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Our own Kathy Naftaly, director of the Crandall Public Library, wrote a guest essay for The Post Star about book banning, reading freely, and the role of public libraries.

We Can Do This

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The American Library Association (ALA) is partnering with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ We Can Do This campaign to share trusted information about COVID-19 vaccines with parents and families with children. The partnership will focus on information for parents and guardians of children younger than 12 years old. COVID-19 vaccines for children ages 5–11 were recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in November 2021. Currently, vaccination rates for that age group are significantly lower than older age groups. The We Can Do This campaign provides a range of expert-verified outreach tools and sharable resources that libraries can use to inform their communities, including resources about COVID-19 vaccinations for children ages 5 and older. Information about how to get a free COVID-19 vaccine is available at

Where Intellectual Freedom and Social Justice Meet

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The Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF) invites all library workers, educators, authors, journalists, publishers, social justice workers and First Amendment advocates to attend and participate in its free virtual symposium on July 12 and 13, 2022. The symposium will take place from 12:00 Noon to 4:00 PM on both days.

The agenda for day one will focus on exploring the core values of Intellectual Freedom and Social Justice and how to find the balance between them. Keynote speakers and panelists will address essential topics such as library policies, intellectual freedom and community values, alternatives to neutrality, and challenges facing the library community. Participants will have opportunities to ask questions of the panelists and engage in both small-group and large-group discussions.

Day two will focus on empowering participants to take action. Panelists will draw on their knowledge and experience to offer strategies for community change, building consensus, developing strong policies, and building coalitions and public outreach. Participants will be invited to participate in breakout groups to plan specific strategies to shift narratives and communicate the ways in which social justice and intellectual freedom support one another.

A special edition of the Journal of Intellectual Freedom & Privacy, Social Justice and Intellectual Freedom: Working within a Divided Nation will collect papers addressing the intersection of intellectual freedom and social justice, the challenges arising from their interaction, and ways to forge a deeper understanding of how they support and enhance one another. The call for papers is now open and provides deadlines for submitting papers and commentary.

Online registration is open for the symposium via this link. Those interested in attending can also inquire about registration by sending an email to

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A Place of Refuge

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How do we rebuild and restore our common humanity after senseless killings, like the recent shooting at the Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas? For Martha Carreon, the children’s librarian at El Progreso Memorial Library in Uvalde, it meant holding story time as usual, providing a sense of normalc for her young patrons.

Play Time!

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As part of the LEGO brand’s 90th birthday celebrations, the LEGO Foundation is inviting families, communities, and development organizations to bring more play to their days—and share that playfulness on social media using #BuildAWorldOfPlay. To help everyone get started, LEGO has created activity guides and campaign toolkits to help you spread the word in your library. The toolkit is available in Bengali, Danish, English, Kinyarwanda, Portuguese, Spanish, and Swahili. It includes locally adaptable how-to activity ideas, a catalog of plug-and-play activities, downloadable media and communication assets for amplification and use on social channels, opportunities for customization, and more. Visit the Learn Through Play website for more information.

First, They Came for the Books

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As we enter the second year of record book banning and challenging efforts, we can see that the challenge to the right to read freely is just the first volley against the freedom of information. Throughout the country, elected officials and others are challenging the existence of libraries, attempting to decide who serves on the board, what material is shared, and how buildings are used.
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The American Library Association (ALA), in collaboration with the Ukrainian Library Association (ULA), has announced the ALA Ukraine Library Relief Fund to gather donations for the Ukrainian library community as they face the challenges of war.

In cities and towns throughout Ukraine, dozens of libraries have been severely damaged or destroyed. Librarians have kept libraries open for as long as possible and are improvising to bring services to people. Kreminna City Library offered services a couple of hours a week as street fighting raged. And in Kharkiv, a library was organized in the metropolitan transit system where families were taking shelter.

In addition to the destruction and damage of libraries in the war zones, there are significant challenges serving people displaced by the fighting. Libraries do not have enough computers for displaced people to use to communicate with relatives or for job seeking, online learning and more.

Funds raised will help purchase computers, software, and other resources. Donations will also help support immediate repair needs such as glazing windows and repairing roofs damaged by bombing to keep libraries open. ULA will provide small amounts of support for librarians and library workers who are in harm’s way, wounded, or displaced and need of financial assistance. ALA will send donations to ULA once a month.

ALA also encourages librarians to work with Friends groups, students and others if interested in creating community fundraising efforts.

“The Ukrainian Library Association expresses our sincere gratitude to the American Library Association, and American library community for the unity and support of Ukraine and Ukrainian librarians,” said ULA President Oksana Brui. “We highly appreciate your efforts to raise funds for rebuilding and reconstruction of Ukrainian libraries and supporting library services during and after the Russian aggression.”

Donations to the ALA Ukraine Library Relief Fund can be made directly via credit card or by check made out to the American Library Association with a notation that it is for Ukraine.

Send to:
American Library Association
225 N. Michigan Avenue
Suite 1300
Chicago, IL 60601

For further information, email

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The Trustee Handbook Book Club is back, from 5-6:30 pm the following evenings:

June 14 | Topic: PR & Advocacy

Registration link:

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Community Impact Prize

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The Jerry Kline Community Impact Prize, developed in partnership between the Gerald M. Kline Family Foundation and Library Journal, was created in 2019 to recognize the public library as a vital community asset. When libraries, civic entities, organizations, and the people they serve become close partners, their communities thrive.

One winning library will receive $250,000 in unfettered grant monies from the Gerald M. Kline Family Foundation. The winning library will also be profiled in the November issue of Library Journal and online. Honorable mentions may also be named.

The winning library will be identified based on the degree of its impact on the community in the following key areas:

  • Engagement with local government to support the service area's defined goals
  • Engagement with the community to develop library services
  • Community recognition
  • Inclusion to meet the needs of underserved populations as well as promoting social cohesion and connection across differences
  • Leadership development to perpetuate the library's organizational strength and dynamism
  • Environmental sustainability and leadership in sustainable thinking
  • Inventiveness as exemplified by one of the library's services which is particularly original, both strategically and tactically

Application Requirements

  • Nominations will be submitted via an online form.
  • Nominations must include the following:
    • Nominator (nominations submitted by civic officials or other significant individuals external to the library are welcome)
    • Library data: population in service area, physical area served, per capita budget, number of patrons served, number of FTE, hours of volunteer service contributed to the library each year, types of existing funding sources with their relative percentages within total funding, and days and hours open per week.
    • Multiple author submissions are permitted. For submissions with multiple authors, include the names and affiliations of all of the group members.
    • An overview summary of no more than 1,000 words pertaining to the goals and criteria listed above.
    • Detailed answers to focused answers on each of the criteria driven questions above (in the online submission form).
    • Three letters of support from community partners and/or civic leaders, with at least one from an elected official.
    • Optional: Supporting materials such as photographs/images of the library and surrounding community; press coverage, brief videos (not exceed three minutes), etc. These materials are NOT REQUIRED and may or may not be reviewed in the evaluation process.

All U.S. Public Libraries are eligible for the prize.

The deadline for consideration for the 2022 Community Impact Prize is July 8, 2022. (Submissions close at 11:59 p.m. EDT.)

Please submit nominations via the form found here.

Support for Small, Rural Libraries

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The American Library Association (ALA) announced that its Libraries Transforming Communities project will 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.

Beginning in November 2022, ALA will accept applications for grants distributed over the next three years ranging from $10,000 to $20,000. Participating libraries will first conduct community input-gathering sessions to assure that their work aligns with local needs. Libraries will be required to identify the primary audience they are hoping to reach (e.g., homebound seniors, children with autism, Deaf community members) and facilitate a community conversation with the impacted populations in order to guide improvement of the library’s services. Grantees will then use the funds to create services or improve their facilities based on the needs identified by their audience.

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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The Association of Rural and Small Libraries is partnering with Penguin Random House on a new grant opportunity for small and rural libraries nationwide.

Apply for a Grant

Download a Sample Application

Not all applications will be selected for funding. If selected, grants will be awarded for up to $2,500.

This is a rolling grant application, with batches of applications going under review every 8 weeks beginning December 17, 2021. Applications will be submitted until all available grant funds are distributed.

Submission Window / Award Notification Deadline

  • April 11, 2022 - June 3, 2022 /July 29. 2022

Project reports must be submitted by February 1, 2023.

The program will award grants to libraries that demonstrate a true need. Grants are not limited to literacy and may be used for everything from library programming and books to resources like hotspots that help community members access important information. In-kind donations will also be considered.

Have questions? Please contact the ARSL Office at (206) 453-3579 or

Stories of Exile

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The Yiddish Book Center has announced "Stories of Exile" Reading Groups for Public Libraries, a reading and discussion program that will engage teens and adults in thinking about experiences of displacement, migration, and diaspora.

Participating libraries will organize a reading group for adults, teens ages 16 to 19, or a combined group to discuss three books of Yiddish literature in translation, as well as one book related to a community served by their library. Learn more and apply by August 19, 2022.

Using Yiddish literature as a portal, "Stories of Exile" will feature works in translation that explore narratives grappling with questions of homelands, journeys, identity, and belonging. Reading groups will compare these works-written in Yiddish in the early and mid-20th century-to works by contemporary writers from across the globe.

Selections from the reading list include Survivors: The Complete Short Stories of Chava Rosenfarb; On the Landing: Stories by Yenta Mash; and The Glatstein Chronicles by Jacob Glatstein.

Public libraries selected to participate in "Stories of Exile" will receive:

  • 15 copies of each of the three books on the Yiddish Book Center reading list, as well as copies for the discussion facilitator and the library's collection.
  • 15 copies of one additional book, selected by the library, related to the experiences of the community served by the library.
  • Travel, accommodation, and meal expenses paid for participation in a workshop at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, MA, to orient library staff on engaging reading groups and discussion of Yiddish literature in translation.
  • Online access to downloadable discussion guides and programming resources for future use.
  • Advice and assistance in identifying potential guest speakers, as well as training and support for engaging guest speakers at public events.

To learn more and apply, visit the Yiddish Book Center website.

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Best Practices to Create Welcoming and Inclusive Environments

Wednesday, June 22nd, 9am

This is an online event.

Please join us for this virtual workshop about the unique needs of the aging LGBTQ+ community. We will discuss the concepts of sexual orientation and gender, the barriers that older adults experience, and the language and terms used by the LGBTQ+ community.

A New Frontier - Setting Your Library Up for Remote Work Success

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2pm

This is an online event.

For many professions, working remotely is standard practice. For librarians, it is often seen as a wild and forbidden frontier. While we know that librarians are able to step outside the traditional library space, and into the comfort of an at-home office, or a sandy somewhere else, there needs to be productive - and sometimes difficult - conversations that lay the foundation for success.

Join author and librarian Molly Virello as she discusses how librarians can lay the framework for successful remote work in a library setting. The focus of this webinar will be about the conversations library staff, managers, and other library leadership should have (or at least keep in mind) in order to create library-specific remote work policies, including laying out expectations, term limits, and criteria in order to facilitate working outside of traditional library spaces. These conversations can bring remote work that much closer for librarians, ranging in time from a few hours to a few months.

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.

Ready, Set, Policy! Using the 2022 "Collection Management" Guide

Tuesday, July 19th, 10am

This is an online event.

Based on requests from public libraries across the state, ESLN and PULISDO partnered on the creation of an annotated "2022 Public Library Collection Management Policy Template & Guide." Join us for this 1-hour session on using this resource to update or adopt policies to be ready for materials challenges...and more.

We invite you to submit a question for the presenter - there will be a place to do that during the registration process. The deadline to submit questions is July 12

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

This session is sponsored by the Empire State Library Network and PULISDO. If you have any questions, contact Caitlin Kenney (