Outreach, Engagement & Other Splendid Stuff

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The American Library Association has just released a new report on rural libraries.

The challenges outlined are familiar: Limited resources, transportation is a barrier, flat job growth and stagnant or negative population growth.

Happily, the recommendations for solutions are being implemented throughout the SALS system, including:

  • Funding library systems to facilitate cooperation among libraries, providing services and staff with expertise
  • Playing a role in building job skills and supporting the development of new businesses (e.g. Libraries Mean Business)
  • Providing educational support and opportunities – including access to online degree courses, to support the workforce
  • Empowering patrons by helping them find and evaluate online health information
  • Serving as critical partners with rural health entities
  • Providing social and civic engagement

The good news is, rural libraries are great at working with their communities to address local challenges. Take, for example:

I'm proud that our rural libraries nourish their communities -- both mind and body -- and create opportunities for people to improve their lives. Thanks for doing amazing work!

If you need money to make the magic happen, and are considering a budget referendum in 2017 or 2018, please let me know.

Spread the word about the Love Your Library fund, which allows taxpayers to make a donation to the Summer Reading Program -- don't forget to encourage Governor Cuomo to sign it!

I want to know everything. Tell me what you're up to! Invite me to visit! I'm (mostly) housebroken:

Wanted: A Few Good Libraries

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I'm looking for 2-3 libraries that would like to beta-test the Libraries Mean Business program this in October and November.

These 90-minute, turn-key programs will have four components:

  1. Presentation or workshop by an expert addressing a particular skill
  2. Introduction to local partners/resources
  3. Training for attendees on resources available through member libraries
  4. Speed-dating session with experts

If you're interested in hosting one of the first workshops helping local small businesses and entrepreneurs develop their business skills, let me know!

Opportunity: Great Meadow Correctional Facility

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The Great Meadow Correctional Facility seeks a resilient, friendly, self-starter for Library Clerk 2, an open competitive Civil Service position. This position works with Heather, an awesome Correctional Facility Librarian, to provide library services.

Minimum qualifications:

  1. High School Diploma or High School Equivalency Diploma and one year of clerical experience or
  2. 30 college semester credit hours, with at least nine credit hours in any combination of the following: Library / Information Science, Computer Applications, or Information Studies.

Submit resumes to:

Great Meadow CF

PO Box 51

Comstock, NY 12821

Attn: Personnel 518-639-5516, ext. 3600

A Very Excellent Workshop

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Reconnect with the joy of picture books and up your story time game during the Whole Book Approach Workshop with Courtney Waring from the Eric Carle Museum
from 1 to 3 p.m. Tuesday, September 26 @ SALS.

The Whole Book Approach, developed by former Carle educator Megan Dowd Lambert, is designed to give educators the tools to evaluate the picture book as an art form and to encourage the critical engagement of students during picture book reading experiences.

By the end of the workshop you will be able to:

  • Discuss a book’s visual elements such as trim size, orientation, jacket, cover, and end papers.
  • Explain how these components enhance, underscore, and interact with the text.
  • Lead a dynamic story time where children are active participants.

Save the Date: Adult Program Swap!

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Mohawk Valley, Upper Hudson and Southern Adirondack library systems are joining forces to bring you a brand new networking and sharing opportunity: Adult Program Swap. The first Swap will take place from 9:30 to 11:30 am at Upper Hudson Library System, 28 Essex St, Albany, 12203.

Any and all adult services/programming librarians are invited to share your best programs. The first session will focus on adult arts & crafts programs, and will be led by Leah LaFera from Schenectady County Public Library.

Use this template to share information about your favorite arts & crafts program.

Registration is required.

New Computers? Yes Please!

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It's that time of year again -- time to order computers through Joint Automation!

The amazing JA staff has been hard at work finding the best prices on computers, and asks in return that member libraries:

  1. Please make the order deadline! The number of orders coming in late (very late) has gotten out of control. This delays the process of everyone getting their PCs and the schedule for the next order is also effected.
  2. All order forms should be e-mailed as an attachment to The subject should contain your library’s 3 letter code (E.g. “XYZ - 2017 Mid-Year Group Order”).
  3. Once your order has been received and processed, we will send you an e-mail confirmation. This may take a day or two depending on current workloads.
  4. Reminders will be sent before the order deadline.

The deadline for this order is Monday, August 28, 2017.

The full ordering schedule is available on the JA Project Web site.

Professor Plum. In the Library. With the Paper Cutter?

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Does mystery love company? Find out during the first How to Library session from 10 to 11:30 am Wednesday, October 11, at SALS. The fabulous adult services librarians from Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library will lead a reader's advisory covering:

This is the first in a series of member-led workshops showcasing the expertise and talent of our libraries. A huge thanks to Lou Ann Stewart for kicking off the series!

Safety First

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The Crandall Public Library and SALS are co-sponsoring two workshops on library safety and security. The workshops will be held on Friday, October 27, 2017. There are two sessions – the morning session will take place at Crandall Public Library (Glens Falls) from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm and the afternoon session at Saratoga Springs Public Library from 1:30 to 5:30 pm.

The presenter is security expert, Dr. Steve Albrecht. He has trained thousands of library employees on the do’s and don’ts of handling challenging, entitled, odd, or even threatening patrons, including the homeless, mentally ill, gang members, thieves, internet hogs, and others who want to disrupt the library.

Library staff who attend this program will gain practical and realistic tools leading to a safer workplace. The workshop content will touch upon behaviors, security measures, and activating “high-risk” customer service skills.

Muggle Millionaires

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Forbes has released its list of the world's highest paid authors, and JK Rowling has reclaimed her throne! Her Hogwarts empire continues to flourish two decades after it all began. Alerte ascendare!

Big Poppa

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A man of few words has pithy advice to impart.

Get the Look

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Yes, yes, we know. Winter is coming. The question is, how best to prepare. To look as sharp as Jon Snow, pick up a couple of Ikea rugs, sand them down and voila! You're ready to battle all that lies beyond the wall!

Opportunities Abound

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The American Library Association (ALA) has opened the application period for grants to develop public and school library programming that promotes computer science and computational thinking among youth. The grant opportunity, announced last month, is the latest phase of the Libraries Ready to Code (RtC) initiative of ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy (OITP), sponsored by Google.

Through a competitive request for proposals (RFP) process, a cohort of 25-50 libraries will be selected to receive grants of up to $25,000 to design and implement youth coding programs that incorporate Ready to Code concepts. Through these programs, the library cohort will collaboratively develop, pilot and rapidly iterate a “Ready to Code” toolkit containing a selection of CS resources for libraries and an implementation guide.

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The App Challenge is an annual congressional initiative to encourage student engagement in coding and computer science through local events hosted by the Members of Congress.

Between now and November 1, high school students from across the country will be busy creating an app for mobile, tablet or computer devices.

This year, there are over 165 Members of Congress signed up to participate in the launch! Check to see if your district is participating. If not, we encourage you to connect with your Representative to make sure that s/he does sign up. The App Challenge website also has a library letter template you can use to send to your Member of Congress.

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YALSA, in partnership with the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL), is implementing an project to build the capacity of small, rural and tribal libraries to provide college and career readiness (CCR) services for and with middle schoolers. YALSA and ARSL will work with library staff to build needed skills while also developing, testing and refining turn-key resources, which other libraries can adapt for their own use. The project is aimed at library staff in libraries with a service population of 15,000 or fewer, as well as libraries that are 25 miles or more from an urbanized area.

Future Ready with the Library Goals

  • Library staff at rural, small, and tribal libraries will learn effective methods for planning and implementing , with a local partner, CCR initiatives for and with middle schoolers and their families
  • Middle schoolers and their families in rural, small, and tribal communities will gain valuable future ready information that will better prepare them for starting a career and/or focusing on academics related to a career after high school
  • Middle schoolers in rural, small, and tribal libraries will engage in valuable career exploration and workforce preparation experiences
  • Library staff in small, rural, and tribal libraries around the U.S. will develop a set of model programs and tools that can be used by a wide range of communities and libraries.

Schedule for Cohort 2 application process announced:

Those selected to participate in the second cohort will meet face-to-face for a two-day orientation just before the ALA Midwinter meeting in Denver, Colorado. For more information about the project, check out our FAQ.

You can see the list of Cohort 1 participants and read about their work on the YALSAblog.

Use this quick online form to sign up to receive e-mail notifications about the project, including an announcement when the next round of applications opens. To access an existing compilation of college and career readiness resources, visit YALSA's wiki.

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The Spectrum Digital Education Grant has announced a new opportunity to apply for funding. In order to be eligible, organizations must:

  • Serve communities located in a Spectrum market
  • Have 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status

Application Requirements

Your program should:

  • Focus on families or seniors.
  • Be able to report to Spectrum the following metrics:
    number of people impacted, population served, and demographics.
  • Partner with diverse, minority-based communities.
  • Be an existing program, already working with a diverse population.
  • Meet the unique needs of its community and align with the nonprofit’s current mission.
  • Have a lasting, meaningful and tangible impact (e.g. development of a new digital site or app, expansion of the capacity of a digital learning center, creation of a mobile computer lab, etc.)

Selection Criteria

The Spectrum Digital Education Grant Program Selection Committee will use the following criteria in evaluating completed, eligible applications:

  • How is the program compelling, captivating or unique?
  • To what extent does the program address community needs, with a focus on the digital divide?
  • Does the program partner with the community or any government entities?
  • Does the program support families or seniors?
  • Based on the proposed budget, is it financially feasible that the program will accomplish its goals at the conclusion of the one-year period?
  • How does the program have a lasting, meaningful and tangible impact?
  • Is there data to illustrate the program’s impact? Can the organization report those metrics to Spectrum?

Applications are due August 11, 2017.

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Applications are now being accepted from public librarians interested in participating in a new program of continuing education, training, and services to empower public libraries to build collections of historically-valuable, web-published materials documenting their local communities. This program is offered by the Internet Archive in partnership with WebJunction and with funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Each participating library will receive the equivalent of $25,000 in web archiving services, equaling a 0.50 TB archival data budget per year for five years (extending beyond the two years of this project) to build local history web archive collections. Each librarian will also receive $3,500 per year to attend cohort meetings, participate in training, conferences and professional development, and local events.

Applications will close on August 25.

For more information, contact Maria Praetzellis, Program Manager at Web Archiving, Internet Archive, at

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The Institute for Museum and Library Services has announced the National Leadership Grants for Libraries (NLG-L), due September 1, 2017. These grants support projects that address significant challenges and opportunities facing the library and archives fields and that have the potential to advance theory and practice. Successful proposals will generate results such as new tools, research findings, models, services, practices, or alliances that will be widely used, adapted, scaled, or replicated to extend the benefits of federal investment.

All applications must designate one of the following project categories:

  • Community Anchors
  • National Digital Platform
  • Curating Collections

Grant Amount:

  • Sparks Grants: up to $25,000.
  • Planning Grants: up to $50,000.
  • National Forum Grants: up to $100,000.
  • Project and Research Grants: up to $2,000,000.

Grant Period: One year for Sparks Grants and Planning Grants. One to two years for National Forum Grants. One to three years for Project Grants and Research Grants.

Eligibility: Applicants that fulfill the general criteria for libraries may apply. See the Notice of Funding Opportunity for special conditions of eligibility for this program.

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In this six-month learning and prototyping project, ALA and the Center for News Literacy will work with teams from five public libraries to adapt existing media literacy training materials to serve the needs of public librarians and the communities they serve.

The cohort teams will attend an in-person training and use their skills to conduct related adult public programs in their communities. Team members will also provide feedback on the training and serve as advisers to, and beta testers for, the development of a corresponding web-based curriculum for the library field.

Read the guidelines for Media Literacy @ Your Library or apply online to be part of the cohort.

Selected libraries will receive:

  • An intensive six-month experience that will include training and support for a three-person library team to develop and implement media literacy programming for adult patrons.
  • $1,500 for program-related expenses, such as travel, promotion and public programming costs.
  • In-person media literacy workshop training, to be held on Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017, in Chicago.
  • Two nights’ hotel lodging and some meals at the in-person workshop for three library representatives. (Note that travel costs to Chicago are at the library’s expense or must be paid from the $1,500 stipend.)
  • Communications support, access to a community of practice, and technical and programming support.

Media Literacy @ Your Library is supported by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Democracy Fund and the Rita Allen Foundation. The project is administered by ALA’s Public Programs Office.

Applications must be received by Sept. 11, 2017

Usability Basics Webinar - Session 1

Thursday, Aug. 10th, 1pm

This is an online event.

The user experience — A chance to capture the user’s imagination and become their “go to” digital universe expert. But many of our tools and services are designed for baby boomers, not digital natives. Too often, we talk instead of text. And we expect a “one-size fits all” solution to meet the diverse communication styles of the communities we serve. How do we actively work to meet our users where they are? More importantly, how do we measure and communicate our progress toward achieving this goal to our funding agencies and the public at large?

Join user experience librarian and usability testing leader, Rebecca Blakiston for an introductory survey of usability testing methods and real world examples of how early adopters are using these techniques in their libraries. Walk away prepared to foster discussions in your library and start the move toward measured, demonstrable ease of use and impact.

Partnerships Amid Budget Challenges: School & Public Libraries

Tuesday, Aug. 15th, 2pm

This is an online event.

Cranston Public Library and Cranston Public School Library System recognized the needs of their community and its students and partnered up to serve them.

Join us and hear a success story of a partnership that put its community and student needs above all else.

Emily Brown, Youth Services Coordinator at Cranston Public Library and Susan Rose, Library Program Supervisor of Cranston Public Schools will share how they combined efforts (and forces!) in the face of budget cuts, drove library cards sign-ups and usage, and successfully served the evolving community and its library needs.

Key Findings on Social and Emotional Learning

Thursday, Aug. 17th, 2pm

This is an online event.

Social and Emotional Learning. Whole Child. Non-Cognitive Skills. Character. There are many different terms in play for this work, which is intended to help children learn skills they need to succeed in school, in work and in life.

During this session, results will be shared from a recent market research project conducted by EDGE Research that explored how K-12 educators, out-of-school time leaders, and parents think about SEL. Researchers also explored how these groups responded to different ways of framing the benefits of SEL. The findings are based on research, interviews with 45 field leaders, a survey of 1,600 professionals, and focus groups.

IFLA's Global Vision: An Interactive Discussion

Thursday, Aug. 24th, 3pm

This is an online event.

Earlier this year, the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) launched a series of Global Vision discussions to bring together thousands of librarians around the world, through face-to-face and online interactive participation, to explore how a connected library field can meet the challenges of the future. Participate in this global discussion to identify future challenges and opportunities facing the library field and help to prioritize actions that a united and connected library field can take.

The Association for Rural and Small Libraries, in collaboration with WebJunction, invites rural and small libraries to join this highly interactive webinar discussion to voice your opinions and contribute to shaping a unique and comprehensive IFLA Global Vision. In preparation, you may want to reflect on your work in the library field: Why do you think your work is important? How do you see your work in the future? You may also refer to IFLA’s Trend Report as well as other relevant publications about libraries and the trends and developments affecting them.

Facilitated by: Jennifer Pearson, ARSL board member, IFLA Global Vision North American regional discussion representative, and director Marshall County Memorial Library (TN)

Wikipedia + Libraries: Better Together

Wednesday, Sep. 13th, 12am

This is an online event.

Wikipedia + Libraries is a 10-week course consisting of 6 live online sessions, online discussion forums, reading and activities where participants will gain the skills and knowledge needed to evaluate, edit and contribute to English-language Wikipedia and to plan Wikipedia events for their community members, including:

  • Learning about the inner workings of English-language Wikipedia.
  • Understanding Wikipedia’s quality criteria and applying your own critical eye; helping others (patrons, colleagues) learn to evaluate quality and reliability.
  • Adding Wikipedia (and information literacy) to existing library programming and patron (and staff) training (Tech help, GED prep, ESL, etc.).
  • Creating Wikipedia-centered programming (edit-a-thons, topic-specific groups (e.g. local history) that contribute articles in subject areas of interest, etc.) that engages community members.

As a result of participating, public library staff will be able to use Wikipedia to:

  • Engage and empower their community members to build information literacy skills and to access and create knowledge
  • Raise the visibility of their libraries and their unique, local collections
  • Build on their own digital, critical thinking, and community engagement skills—and encourage their colleagues to do the same

Course work is expected to require a time commitment averaging 3-5 hours per week. This include six, 90 minute live online sessions (Sept. 13, 20, 27, Oct. 11, 25 & Nov 15) and independent readings, online discussion forums, and activities between sessions.

Make Your Mark: Logo Design for Libraries

Tuesday, Sep. 26th, 2-3:30pm

This is an online event.

Logos are a crucial visual element of every brand. As a part of your institutional brand, your logo is the face of your library. This webinar will provide an introduction to the fundamentals of graphic design, including typography and color theory. We’ll discuss branding and look at successful examples of logo brand design -- like the New York Public Library’s iconic lion logo and Nike’s distinctive “swoosh”. This session will also provide an overview of logo creation tools, including Canva, a free, online graphic design tool.

Learning Objectives:

  1. learn about graphic design basics including typography, color theory, and other fundamentals
  2. begin to think critically about brand and logo development through examination of successful logo designs
  3. learn how to make intentional and informed creative decisions during logo design projects
  4. explore a variety of logo creation tools, including Canva

This webinar is free of charge to SMART members in good standing prior to July 15. Login in with your NYLA username and password to receive a zero dollar balance.

Register HERE!

The Name of the Game: Playing Tabletop Games to Build 21st Century Skills

Tuesday, Sep. 26th, 3pm

This is an online event.

As hubs of lifelong learning, public libraries are always seeking new strategies to cultivate 21st century skills in their community members. The deeper we move into this century, the more critical it becomes for people to hone skills like communication, collaboration, critical thinking, global awareness and creativity. Your patrons can strengthen these skill sets while also having fun in a social setting — through playing tabletop games at the library. Learn about the wide array of games available and the specific skill sets each one promotes. Hear how public librarians are using games and get new ideas for programming and game-related projects that you can do at your library.

Presented by: Lauren Hays, Instructional and Research Librarian and Co-Director of the Center for Games and Learning at MidAmerica Nazarene University; and Kate McNair, Teen Services Coordinating Librarian, Johnson County Public Library, and YASLA Board of Directors.

Digital Literacy Basics Webinar - Session 1

Tuesday, Oct. 10th, 10am

This is an online event.

References interviews, homework help, embedded library services — Chances to demonstrate library’s and librarians’ ability to affordably and accessibly mitigate the risks of the digital age.

How do we go beyond helping patrons recognize fake news, to facilitating their acquisition of reliable answers to the questions that count? How do we start to measure and communicate the positive impacts of our efforts to educators, funding agencies, and the public at large?

Join an introductory survey of modern literacy education techniques and real world examples of how working libraries are using these techniques to demonstrate their ability to delivery cost effective, tangible results in a digital world. Walk away prepared to foster literacy education in your library and start the move toward measurable impact.

Project Management Basics Webinar - Session 1

Tuesday, Nov. 7th, 1pm

This is an online event.

New programs, new technology, new spaces — Chances to rekindle relationships, bring new people in the doors, and satisfy long-term supporters. But these activities require effective project management.In this session, we'll discuss:

  • How do we ensure success by scaling our efforts to the size of our project and available staff skill sets?
  • How do we motivate project teams and communicate our progress to management, funders, and the communities we serve?

Join project management for libraries leader and public librarian, Robin Hastings, for a targeted, tactical survey of project management techniques.