Outreach, Engagement & Other Splendid Stuff

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Election Day -- Tuesday, November 3 -- is right around the corner. Public libraries can support their communities by spreading the word, and ensuring everyone who is eligible gets to the polls to cast their votes. The American Library Association is partnering with National Voter Registration Day on September 22 to help people register to vote. If you've missed the date, don't worry -- there's still time to remind people how to vote by mail, where their polling stations are, using an absentee ballot, and that this year, New York has early voting. And if you have the time, consider becoming a poll worker.

For democracy to work, everyone has to play their part by voting. Let's do our best to help democracy flourish!

Green Machine

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Saratoga Springs Public Library received the Transportation Award for helping the Saratoga Springs community deal with parking and traffic challenges and modeling green alternatives to driving by encouraging staff to bike or walk to work when possible and participating in the Bike to Work Day Challenge each year.

Library director Ike Pulver, in accepting this award, thanked the library team as well as partners like Bikeatoga, Sustainable Saratoga and the City of Saratoga Springs, with which the library had worked to promote transportation options in order to reduce the number of cars in the center of the city, help calm traffic, encourage walking and champion environmentally responsible modes of transportation.

“What this has to do with librarianship,” Pulver said, “is that we do it because we believe that the notion of operating in a way that is environmentally friendly, socially just and economically sound is really foundational to our mission of sustaining and enhancing the quality of life in our community by providing access to resources and experiences to help all of our residents satisfy their curiosity about the world and participate fully in civil society - and that is reflective of our desire to foster a healthy democracy, to be responsible stewards of the resources that are in our care, and to be of service to each other and to everyone in our community.”

Sharing is Caring

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Thanks to the excellent work of Jack Scott, students at the Shenendehowa Central School District are able to use Overdrive with their library school cards. By providing access to Overdrive through the SORA app, students now have access to thousands of titles. If your library is interested in partnering with your local school district, get in touch with Jack.

Digital Equity Series

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The NYS Library and the NYS Education Department, in partnership with the METRO Library Council and the Northern New York Library Network, will sponsor a series of webinars on Digital Equity.

Digital equity means that every New Yorker has access to affordable broadband, adequate devices, necessary software, digital literacy skills, and a community of support. Unfortunately, persistent digital divides exist in communities across the State, affecting more than 25% of New York's students and making it difficult, if not impossible, for them to participate in the online learning programs that have become essential during the COVID-19 pandemic. Intended for educators, librarians, and other stakeholders with an interest in digital equity, this webinar series attempts to establish a shared understanding of the challenges to digital equity so we can begin to develop a shared vision of how we can work together to achieve digital equity in New York.

The next session on Thursday, September 24, will focus on the Digital Bridge K-12 Initiative, with Grace Ting and Ellen Goldich introducing the Home Access Needs Assessment Playbook. Please see the State Library's Digital Equity Webinar Series page for more information and to register for the webinars in the series.

Combating Racism in Libraries

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The Public Library Section and Ethnic Services Round Table of NYLA have joined forces to create a series of webinars, "Combating Racism in Libraries: Creating Spaces to Educate and Inform Our Communities." The goal of the series is for libraries and library staff to learn, share, and discuss the historical and present-day barriers communities are facing regarding racism against the Black community. There is no fee to participate in this series.

Everybody Counts: Final Push for Census

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The verdict is in. New York is falling behind other states when it comes to getting a complete count for the census. The majority of the state has fewer people counted than in the 2010 census, which results in losing political representation and less funding for critical services. Now that the federal government has changed the deadline to respond, we need to mobilize to ensure your communities are counted.

If you have questions about the 2020 Census or need help promoting it, let us know!

Wanted: Library Director

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The Town of Johnsburg Library (TOJL) is seeking an energetic person to fill the role as library director.

The Town of Johnsburg Library was established in 1996 and is a vital and valued institution in our community. In addition to serving as a place to exchanged books and other materials, the library holds preschool story hour, nature, craft and music programs, sponsors lectures and hosts summer reading programs. The TOJL is open Wednesday 11-5, Thursday 11-7, Friday 11-5 and Saturday 10-2.

Requirements and expectations of the position are:

  • Preferred candidates should have a 4-year degree but other candidates are encouraged to apply.
  • Work a 32-hour week.
  • Supervise library personnel and volunteers
  • Direct library operation by the continuing selection, purchase, and weeding out of the library materials.
  • Comprehensive knowledge of budgets, experience in fundraising, excellent written and
  • communication skills and a love of reading
  • Knowledgeable in digital literacy and forward-thinking to plan creative and educational programs
  • Attend monthly Town of Johnsburg Library Board of Trustee meetings, Southern Adirondack
  • Library System (SALS) monthly meetings, and the Friends of the Town of Johnsburg Library meetings when scheduled.
  • Work with the Board of Trustees to recommend additional library services, preliminary budgets, and library reports
  • Develop community partnerships.
  • Establish the Library’s virtual role in the Town of Johnsburg to meet the needs of the community in the current environment.

Interested candidates should send a cover letter, resume and references no later than

October 10, 2020. The Town of Johnsburg is an equal opportunity employer. Salary and benefits will be discussed during the interview. Please forward your documents to the Town of Johnsburg Library, 219 Main Street, North Creek 12853.

Libraries As .... Daycare Centers?

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As the pandemic continues and school openings are delayed, many people find themselves torn between staying home with their children and being able to provide for their families. In Loudon County, Virginia, the Board of Supervisors chose to convert libraries into temporary daycare centers, putting an end to library services at those locations. Not everyone is excited about this decision.

The Loneliest Pandemic

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The COVID-19 pandemic has brought numerous challenges, including how people can use public spaces -- including libraries. What happens when it's no longer safe for people to linger in common spaces? What do we lose? Who gets left behind?

In Other Words

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The ability to translate works from one language to another is an art form. For those who love Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan novels, they may not realize they are also enjoying the talents of Ann Golstein as well.

New Cover, Who Dis?

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To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the publication of George Orwell's dystopian parable, Animal Farm, its cover is getting a redesign.

Food For Thought

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The Ohio Literacy Bank was created to ensure that everyone had access to written material. Books and magazines are distributed through food banks; when people come to pick up groceries, they get reading material as well.

Get Even Smarter

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Unprecedented times call for unprecedented approaches to collaboration and connection.

Organized by the libraries in Alberta, Canada, the Stronger Together Virtual Conference explores the ways connection helps libraries become resilient and better able to serve our communities, even in times of uncertainty. This free conference has two full days of 47 speakers covering a wide range of topics.

Library Journal Summit

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Library Journal's summit, What’s Next? Libraries Adapt to the New Abnormal, is taking place on October 6.

With the COVID-19 pandemic upending strategic plans across the country, libraries have had to be nimble, flexible, and collaborative on a scale and time frame like never before. Fortunately, all three of those proficiencies are in the library wheelhouse.

In this free, day-long, virtual event, LJ will convene leaders at every level to share their learnings from the first phase of the crisis, how they’re preparing for the multiple possibilities of the medium term—and beyond—and positioning themselves to come out of the recovery strong.

Library Shark Tank

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Is your library a player in economic development? Do you have an idea on how your library could contribute to job creation, entrepreneurship, and nonprofits -- but you could use a little funding to get started?

@ the Table is the inaugural pitch competition of the Entrepreneurship & Libraries Conference (ELC). Libraries will be invited to pitch ideas or initiatives to stakeholders in economic development. The focus of the pitches is how a library can support local economic development, job creation, workforce development, entrepreneurs, nonprofits, small businesses, or innovation in general.

Submissions should be specific about the target population, the problem addressed, resources available or needed, and the service provided or value added. Submitters should pretend their audience is local community partners, not fellow librarians.

Five finalists will have up to five minutes to pitch their idea or initiative live and online to a panel of economic development professionals and the ELC 2020 attendees. The first place library will receive $2,000. $500 will be awarded to both the second place winner and the audience choice winner. EBSCO is the generous sponsor of this competition.

Jennifer Hensel at Launch Greensboro will be providing pre-recorded best practices for all contestants, as well as one-on-one consultations with the five finalists before the live pitching takes place.

The competition will take place live online at 3 pm EST Thursday, November 12. Registration for the ELC will be free.

Apply by: Friday, September 25, 2020 at 5pm Eastern.

Share the Love

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The I Love My Librarian Award invites library users like you to recognize the accomplishments of exceptional public, school, college, community college, or university librarians. Each year, 10 librarians are selected to receive a $5,000 cash award in recognition of their outstanding public service.

Each nominee must be a librarian with a master’s degree from a program accredited by the American Library Association in library and information studies or a master’s degree with a specialty in school library media from an educational unit accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation. Nominees must be currently working in the United States in a public library, a library at an accredited two- or four-year college or university, or a library at an accredited K-12 school, or have been working at one of these institutions as of March 1, 2020.

Wondering how to make your nomination stand out? Check out these tips for making the best possible case for your librarian.

Big Opportunity for Small & Rural Libraries

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The American Library Association (ALA) has announced plans to award nearly $2 million to small and rural libraries in 2020 and 2021 to help them address issues of concern in their communities.

Through Libraries Transforming Communities: Focus on Small and Rural Libraries, up to 650 U.S. libraries in small and rural communities will receive $3,000 to tackle issues ranging from media literacy to COVID-19 safety to unemployment. The initiative is part of ALA’s longtime commitment to preparing library workers for the expanding role of libraries.

“2020 has laid bare many of the issues that small and rural communities have long struggled with, from isolation due to a struggling Postal Service to inequalities in the broadband access that is vital for remote learning,” said ALA President Julius C. Jefferson, Jr. “With its core values of access, education, social responsibility and the public good, the library field is uniquely situated to lead local change in this time of crisis, and ALA is proud and excited to offer the funding for them to do so."

Library workers may apply online for grant funding from September 21 to December 2, 2020, at Up to 650 grants will be distributed over two funding rounds. Read the full project guidelines.

The opportunity is open to libraries serving small and/or rural communities in the U.S. and U.S. territories. The Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) defines small communities as those with a legal service area population of 25,000 or less and rural communities as those more than, or equal to, five miles from an urbanized area.

Selected libraries will develop their facilitation skills through online training, talk with community members (virtually or in-person) about local needs, and undertake a project that benefits their community. Grant funds may cover a range of expenses, from hotspot purchases to personal protective equipment to staff time to undertake community engagement work.

Community engagement is the process of working collaboratively with community members — be they library patrons, residents, faculty, students or partner organizations— to address issues for the betterment of the community.

In February, ALA released a set of free professional development materials to help workers in small and rural libraries prepare for and lead discussions and overcome common challenges that arise when people gather to speak in groups. Available materials include:

Grant recipients will also receive a copy of “Ask, Listen, Empower: Grounding Your Library Work in Community Engagement,” edited by Mary Davis Fournier and Sarah Ostman (ALA Editions, 2020).

Global Foundries Grants Open

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Global Foundries has announced its 2020 grant application opening. The Global Foundries-Town of Malta Foundation looks for projects that are creative, innovative, and inclusive in their scope and opportunities that will provide the maximum amount of benefit to the local Malta community.

If you're interested in applying, and want to talk through your ideas, get in touch with Erica.

Learn All the Things!

Engaging Millennials as Friends Volunteers.

Wednesday, Sep. 23rd, 2pm

This is an online event.

Reaching across generations to recruit younger volunteers to actively participate in the work of Friends organizations is challenging. But it is doable and vital to the continued success of volunteer support groups for libraries. Millennials are eager to join in and give their time and energy to causes they are passionate about. Come discuss ways Friends can coordinate, collaborate, and promote opportunities for young adults that are both social and make a difference in the community. Get suggestions on how to target and make connections with these potential volunteers who are motivated to make their community a better place by using their skills and expertise to meet the needs of 21st century library patrons.


Tess Wilson, Community Engagement Coordinator for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine – Middle Atlantic Region, and Madeline Jarvis, Adult and Information Services Manager at the Marion (Iowa) Public Library. Tess and Madeline authored a book, All Ages Welcome: Recruiting and Retaining Younger Generations for Library Boards, Friends Groups, and Foundations, a toolkit for libraries on engaging Millennials.

This professional development opportunity is open to all. Registration is open on NYLA’s website: > Career Resources > Continuing Education > NYLA e-Institute Webinars.

The webinar is $25 for NYLA personal or organizational members (who are not members of FLS) and $35 for those who are not members of NYLA. Group registrations are available ($75 member rate /$99 nonmember rate). A credit card is required for payment.

As a member benefit, the primary contact person and group volunteers of Friends Group organizational members who are listed on the “Friend Group Volunteers Registration Form” on file with the NYLA Finance & Administration Manager and personal FLS members may participate at no cost. The FLS/NYLA membership must be current at the time of registration, with the membership expiration date beyond the date of the webinar.

Libraries at the Intersection of Adult Education, Family Literacy, and Digital Equity

Wednesday, Sep. 23rd, 2pm

This is an online event.

In conjunction with Adult Education and Family Literacy Week (September 20-26), ALA's Committee on Literacy will host a free webinar on adult education. The goal of Adult Education and Family Literacy Week (or AEFL Week) is to leverage resources that support access to basic education programs for the 36 million U.S. adults with low literacy skills.

This webinar will explore the library's place and role at the intersection of adult education, family literacy, and digital equity in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The discussion will highlight how these connections impact communities of color and other under-served groups. Among the questions that the panel will consider are:

  • What does this interconnection mean for libraries serving these types of communities?
  • How can/should libraries approach/address these concerns?

The linkages among these three themes are particularly relevant to the current conditions under which libraries find themselves performing.

All registrants will receive a link to the recording of the webinar.

What Libraries Need To Know To Survive A Ransomware Attack

Thursday, Sep. 24th, 1pm

This is an online event.

Ransomware (software that blocks access to systems until money is paid to the attacker) can be disruptive and expensive. For some libraries it can be catastrophic, though it doesn’t have to be. Planning and preparation are key to surviving a ransomware attack. This presentation will focus on cybersecurity needs to help libraries protect their systems from ransomware.

Participants will learn the steps to take at your institution to ensure that you can survive a ransomware attack. The presentation will cover plans, tools, and techniques that can help lower the risk of a ransomware attack, regardless of your budget.

Registrants will be emailed with the Zoom link one day prior to the meeting. This workshop will not be recorded.

Note: To create an account, go to the upper right-hand corner of the website, and choose the “Create an account” tab. Click on that to get started. Select “Other 3Rs Library Council Member” to select CDLC.

What's Next: Libraries Adapt to the New Abnormal

Tuesday, Oct. 6th, 10:30am

This is an online event.

With the COVID-19 pandemic upending strategic plans across the country, libraries have had to be nimble, flexible, and collaborative on a scale and time frame like never before. Fortunately, all three of those proficiencies are in the library wheelhouse.

In this free, day-long, virtual event, Library Journal will convene leaders at every level to share their learnings from the first phase of the crisis, how they’re preparing for the multiple possibilities of the medium-term—and beyond—and positioning themselves to come out of the recovery strong.