Outreach, Engagement & Other Splendid Stuff

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It's been a hectic couple of months, with lots of exciting stuff going on in our region. First up, a big congratulations to the former Hadley-Luzerne Public Library on its successful budget referendum and charter change. It's now a school district library, to be called the Rockwell Falls Public Library.

A bit of potential good news: The State Senate and Assembly passed bills restoring the $20 million in cuts to Public Library Construction Aid for a total of $34 million statewide. We're still waiting to hear if the Governor signs the bill ... stay tuned.

Sara and I attended the annual American Library Association conference and had a chance to accept the Public Library Association's Innovation Award along with Caitlin Johnson, director of the Schuylerville Public Library, for the Fresh Food Collective Farm-to-Library initiative. I also had two opportunities to amplify the stories of our incredible member libraries, the first in a presentation about the work we're doing to reduce food waste and food insecurity in rural food deserts, and a second about providing services to New Americans.Thanks for doing amazing work!

All the People!

More than 20 information professionals came out for the June Infomingle, a professional networking event put together by SALS, Skidmore College's Scribner Library, and the Capital District Library Council. Participants won prizes during the icebreaker bingo session, whizzed through five rounds of speed networking, and shared their excellent work on our brag board. As a special bonus, NYLA Presidential candidate Anna Lee Dragon stopped by to share her vision, and Leah LaFera created a magical Harry Potter escape room for muggles & wizards. Thanks to all for attending!

Adult ProgramPalooza

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Janie Hermann (Princeton Public Library, NJ), the goddess of adult programming, and Mallory Arents (Darien Public Library, CT), came to the Crandall Public Library for our first AdultProgramPalooza, a day devoted to all things related to adult programming. Thanks to everyone who participated and contributed to the big day!

Author, Author

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The Town of Ballston Community Library invites everyone to its upcoming author event, featuring Becky Albertalli and Jennifer Dugan. Bring a teen you love.

Dig In!

The Schuylerville Public Library broke ground in June on its reading room addition -- creating additional space for quiet reading and meetings. We can't wait to see the new space unveiled!

Feed the People

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The Argyle Free Library is the fourth library to join the Fresh Food Collective Farm-to-Library Distribution. A small refrigerator was installed in June, and lettuce, yogurt, and other goodies have been made available to the community. This program is done in partnership with the Comfort Food Community and provides fresh fruit and vegetables gleaned from local farms, distributed to libraries serving rural food deserts.

Learn All the Things!

Thanks to everyone who came out for the 21st Century Communication & Engagement series. We held ten sessions on five topics, attended by more than 100 people! As a profession that promotes lifelong learning, it's important that we make time to continue to learn and grow. This summer, I'll be working on putting together professional development opportunities in the fall, including a workshop on the upcoming 2020 Census.

Life on Mars

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If there is, indeed, life on Mars, we're happy to know that the Corinth Free Library will be there, ready to meet their information needs. That's right, the Corinth Free Library is making a return trip to the red planet (perhaps to pick up some overdue items). Safe travels!

It's the Law

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New York State Public Officer's Law requires all public library trustees (not 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.

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.

Not sure whether your library is legally a public library or an association library? Library type information is listed for every public and association library in New York State on the library’s Annual Report and also on the “Find Your Public Library” web page.

Summer Food Service Program

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The 2019 NYSED administration of the Summer Food Service Program, which provides free meals to approximately 400,000 students, kicks off in July at nearly 3,000 sites statewide. An interactive USDA online map helps families find a service site by address, city or zip code.

The Summer Food Service Program was established to ensure that low-income children, 18 and younger, continue to receive nutritious meals when schools are not in session. USDA Food and Nutrition Service administers the Summer Food Service Program at the national level and the New York State Education Department administers it at the state level.

The majority of New York sponsors begin operating Summer Food Service Programs on July 8, 2019. There are a number of tools available to help find the site nearest you:

Use the interactive mapper on to find and refer to sites in your area. Check back often, as sites are added as they are approved. Site information is also available in a list linked below the mapper, and by phone:

  • Call 2-1-1 (upstate)
  • Text “Food” or "Comida" to 877-877

Most Valuable Card in Your Wallet

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Thanks to your library card, taking in culture is easier than ever. A new partnership between SALS and SPAC provides a 20% discount for ten performances when people show their library card! Enjoy the ballet, chamber music, and Japanese drummers. See you at SPAC!

Safe, Prepared and Effective Learning Environments

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The University at Albany is a national leader in the area of emergency preparedness and safety in institutions of education – home to experts in the fields of emergency preparedness, mental health, pre-school to college education, public health, cybersecurity and social work. All are vital in the multifaceted approach necessary to adequately ready schools to mitigate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from various emergencies and crises.

In response to this need, UAlbany’s School of Education (SOE) and College of Emergency Preparedness, Homeland Security and Cyber Security (CEHC), and partner schools at the University are combining with experts in a wide variety of school safety experts to present a School Preparedness and Safety Summit. Scheduled for this summer, the Summit is the kick-off event for the Initiative for Safe, Prepared and Effective Learning Environments (SPELE).

This two-day, no cost-to-attendee, interactive program from 8:30 am to 5 pm on August 12 & August 13 will provide an opportunity for all those with a vested interest in protecting children and young adults to gain hands-on experience with emergency preparation, response and recovery. The workshops will take place at the Albany Convention Center, 55 Eagle Street

Albany NY 12207.

Wanted: NYS Regents Library Council Advisors

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The New York State Library is seeking recommendations for membership on the New York State Regents Advisory Council on Libraries by August 1.

The Regents Advisory Council on Libraries advises the New York State Board of Regents regarding the New York State Library, library development programs, library aid programs and other matters related to the operations of libraries and library systems in New York. The Council works with the officers of the State Education Department in developing a comprehensive statewide library and information plan and makes recommendations to the Regents concerning the implementation of the program of library service.

The New York State Board of Regents will appoint three (3) Regents Advisory Council members to serve five-year terms from October 1, 2019 to September 30, 2024 and one (1) partial four-year term from October 1, 2019 to September 30, 2023.

The Council meets a minimum of four times a year: January (by conference call), April (Board of Regents meeting in Albany), September (by conference call) and December (in person). Members of the Regents Advisory Council are leaders in a wide variety of endeavors across the State, including business, human services, education, and libraries. For more information, see

The New York State Library particularly encourages recommendations of representatives of New York State's broadly diverse population and endeavors to select members whose geographic diversity and professional and personal experience will enrich the work of the Council.

Please send nominations, along with a resume, for the Regents Advisory Council on Libraries by August 1st to: Paula Paolucci, Office of the State Librarian and Assistant Commissioner for Libraries, New York State Library, 10C34 Cultural Education Center, Albany, NY 12230; e-mail to

Save the Date

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Opportunities Abound: Grants, Awards & More

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Documentary Heritage and Preservation Services for New York (DHPSNY) currently offers FREE Planning & Assessment Services designed to support New York State collecting institutions in improving and advancing program efforts while forming strategies for future growth and development. In each instance, DHPSNY services aim to improve adherence to best practices and are tailored to an organization’s unique circumstances.

To be considered for the Summer 2019 Planning & Assessment round, applications must be received by Friday, July 12, 2019.

DHPSNY offers New York State collecting institutions free services in four categories:

  • Strategic Planning Assistance helps organizations think proactively about their future and shape a three-year plan to serve as a road map for future decision making under a trained facilitator.
  • Archival Needs Assessments are an excellent way to examine your archival program holistically through an external lens.
  • Preservation Surveys consist of a general evaluation of your institution's preservation needs, pinpointing areas of concern and recommendations for improvement.
  • Condition Surveys are a valuable tool for institutions that have received a Preservation Survey (through DHPSNY or another program) and are looking to evaluate the conditions of collection materials on a more granular level.

For assistance, questions about eligibility, or additional information, contact DHPSNY Program Manager Anastasia Matijkiw at (215) 545-0613 extension 338 or DHPSNY’s Planning & Assessment page also features helpful tools for navigating the application process, including frequently asked questions and sample applications.

Learn more and apply!

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The New York Library Association Intellectual Freedom Award Subcommittee is seeking nominations for this year’s award.

Award criteria are:

  1. Nominees may be an individual, a group of individuals, or an organization.
  2. The nominee should be engaged in an activity affecting information access in the State of New York.
  3. Nominee’s efforts will have furthered the cause of intellectual freedom in the state.
  4. Nomination will be appropriately documented in news releases, supporting letters, etc.
  5. A member of the Intellectual Freedom Committee may not be considered for the award.

The winner will receive the award at the NYLA annual conference, along with a plaque and $500. For more information about the award, visit NYLA’s website.

Nomination forms are available here and will be accepted through July 15. Completed forms may be sent to NYLA at 6021 State Farm Rd., Guilderland, NY 12084 or

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Library workers are invited to apply for the American Library Association’s Great Stories Club series on Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT), a thematic reading and discussion program that engages underserved teens through literature-based library outreach programs and racial healing work.

Visit the project guidelines and apply online by July 15. Up to 35 libraries will be selected.

An expansion of ALA’s longstanding Great Stories Club program model, the TRHT series features books that explore questions of race, equity, identity, history, institutional change and social justice. The series is a part of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation efforts, a comprehensive, national and community-based process to plan for and bring about transformational and sustainable change, and to address the historic and contemporary effects of racism.

Participating libraries will work with small groups of approximately 10 teens; provide up to four theme-related books for each participant to keep as their own; and convene opportunities for exploration and discussion of relevant humanities content among peers. Libraries will also be encouraged, but not required, to offer at least one interactive session led by a racial healing practitioner.

Grantee benefits include 11 paperback copies of up to four books on the reading list; a programming grant of up to $1,200; travel and accommodation expenses paid for attendance at a two-day orientation workshop in Chicago; and additional resources, training and support from ALA’s Public Programs Office.

The theme for this round is “Growing Up Brave on the Margins: Courage and Coming of Age.” Applicant libraries may select up to four books from the reading list below.

  • “Ms. Marvel Volume 1: No Normal,” G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona
  • “The Hate U Give,” Angie Thomas
  • “March: Book One,” John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell
  • “Shadowshaper,” Daniel José Older
  • “X: A Novel,” Ilyashah Shabazz and Kekla Magoon
  • “The Sun is Also a Star,” Nicola Yoon

All types of libraries (public, school, academic and special) are eligible. Participating libraries must work in partnership with, or be located within, an organization that reaches underserved teens (e.g., juvenile justice facilities, alternative high schools, agencies serving teenaged foster children, youth-focused community nonprofits).

The Great Stories Club is administered by ALA’s Public Programs Office in partnership with ALA’s Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services. Funding is provided by the Kellogg Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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Are you a public librarian who works directly with refugees in your community? Are you interested in learning more about refugees and how to best serve them through your public library?

The Mortenson Center for International Library Programs at University of Illinois invites all librarians and library staff working in public libraries to take a short 10-minute anonymous survey to share your professional experiences with refugees and to ask any questions about better understanding and serving refugees in your community. You can select this link to fill out the survey or copy and paste the following address in your preferred web browser: Please complete the survey by Wednesday, July 17.

This survey is an effort to better understand how public libraries and refugee resettlement agencies (International Rescue Committee, World Relief, etc.) view and collaborate with each other in order to serve refugees and asylum seekers. The Center will use survey results in our next steps to develop and share resources about serving refugees as a continuation of our recently IMLS-funded project, Project Welcome: Libraries and Community Anchors Planning for Resettlement and Integration of Refugees and Asylum Seekers. You can learn more about the project and our previous activities on our website.

We hope you will help us continue to work towards supporting the development of public libraries as welcoming and inclusive spaces for refugees in the United States. If you have any questions/comments about the survey and/or project, please contact Clara M. Chu, Director of the Mortenson Center.

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The Jerry Kline Community Impact Prize, developed in partnership between Library Journal and the Gerald M. Kline Family Foundation, has been created to recognize the public library as a vital community asset. Today’s public libraries must navigate dynamic shifts in content delivery, modes of learning, knowledge building, and social engagement—in order to become community connectors, to grow diversity, and to strengthen the community. The Community Impact Prize is designed to celebrate libraries that have significantly helped their communities thrive.

Prize: One winning library will receive $250,000 in 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.

Goals: The prize program aims to support outcomes for communities from public libraries that:

  • encourage people to recognize the vital importance of, and the future of libraries in our society
  • assert the library’s value as a center for lifelong learning and community engagement
  • increase social cohesion
  • support diversity inside and outside of the library
  • establish the library’s role as a vital source of innovation and creative place-making within the community.

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

  • Engagement – How does the library serve the community’s defined civic goals via a two-way, ongoing dialog?
  • Recognition – What positive outcomes from the library does the community recognize?
  • Inclusion – How does the library serve and connect to its entire community?
  • Leadership development – How does the library ensure its own organizational strength and flexibility?
  • Sustainability goals – How does the library foster a resilient community by leading on sustainable thinking and activities?
  • Inventiveness – How are the library services original, both strategically and tactically?
  • Replicability – What services does the library offer that can be a model to others, reproduced, and potentially scaled?

Application Requirements

  • Nominations will be submitted via an online form.
  • Nominations should include the following:
    • Nominee data: Library name, primary contact and contact mailing address, phone number, email.
    • Library data: population in service area, physical area served, per capita budget, number of patrons served, number of FTE, number of volunteers, days and hours open, existing funding sources.
    • Multiple-author submissions are permitted. For submissions with multiple authors, applicants must be sure to include the names of all of the group members and indicate each author’s role.
    • An overview summary of no more than 2,000 words pertaining to the goals and criteria listed above.
    • Detailed answers to focused answers on each of the criteria driven questions above (via fields in the online submission form).
    • Three letters of support from community partners and/or civic leaders, with at least one from a civic official.
    • Optional: Supporting materials such as photographs/images of the library and surrounding community; press coverage, brief videos (not exceed three minutes), etc.

Eligibility: All U.S. Public Libraries are eligible for the prize whether in a single building in a small town or a multi-branch system serving an entire region.

Application Deadline: The deadline for consideration for the 2019 Community Impact Prize is August 1, 2019.

Please submit nominations via the form found here.

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The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) and the American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office invite libraries to apply to host Americans and the Holocaust, a traveling exhibition that examines the motives, pressures and fears that shaped Americans’ responses to Nazism, war and genocide in Europe during the 1930s and 1940s.

The special library exhibition — based on the exhibition at the USHMM in Washington, D.C. — will travel to 50 U.S. public and academic libraries from 2020 to 2022.

Read the project guidelines and apply online by August 9.

The Americans and the Holocaust traveling exhibition addresses important themes in American history, including Americans’ responses to refugees, war and genocide in the 1930s and ‘40s. This exhibition will challenge the commonly held assumptions that Americans knew little and did nothing about the Nazi persecution and murder of Jews as the Holocaust unfolded.

Drawing on a remarkable collection of primary sources from the 1930s and ‘40s, the exhibition focuses on the stories of individuals and groups of Americans who took action in response to Nazism. It will challenge visitors to consider the responsibilities and obstacles faced by individuals — from President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to ordinary Americans — who made difficult choices, sought to effect change, and, in a few cases, took significant risks to help victims of Nazism even as rescue never became a government priority. The USHMM and ALA PPO hope to challenge people to not only ask “what would I have done?” but also, “what will I do?”

Selected libraries will receive:

  • The 1,100-square-foot exhibition on loan for five to six weeks;
  • A $2,000 allowance to support public programs;
  • Expenses paid for a library staff member to attend an orientation workshop at USHMM in January 2020 in Washington, D.C.; and
  • Publicity materials, programming support and more.

Grantees will be required to meet minimum programming and reporting requirements. See the project guidelines for details.

Americans and the Holocaust was made possible by the generous support of lead sponsor Jeannie & Jonathan Lavine. Additional major funding was provided by the Bildners — Joan & Allen z”l, Elisa Spungen & Rob, Nancy & Jim; and Jane and Daniel Och. The Museum's exhibitions are also supported by the Lester Robbins and Sheila Johnson Robbins Traveling and Special Exhibitions Fund, established in 1990.

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The Yiddish Book Center’s “Coming to America” Reading Groups for Public Libraries is a reading and discussion program to engage teens and adults in thinking about immigrants' experiences encountering America.

Using Yiddish literature as a portal, the program will feature Yiddish literature in translation that explores questions of identity, assimilation, language, cuisine, and generational change, presenting American identity as an ongoing conversation, a give-and-take between insiders and outsiders, and will compare these works written in the early 20th century to works by contemporary immigrant writers.

The goals of the program are:

  • to introduce libraries and the public to Yiddish literature in the context of the broader immigrant experience in coming to America.
  • to help prompt and inform discussions about American immigration experiences—a topic as relevant today as it was one hundred years ago.

Participating libraries will organize a reading group for adults and/or for teens aged 16-19, or for a combined group, to discuss three books of Yiddish literature in translation, as well as one book related to an immigrant community served by their library. Libraries will receive books for participants as well as discussion and resource guides. The reading group facilitator from each library will attend a workshop at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts to orient them to Yiddish literature in translation. All travel, lodging, and meal costs will be covered by the Yiddish Book Center for each library’s discussion facilitator.

Applicants may apply for an additional $500 grant to invite a guest speaker and present a public program related to the “Coming to America” theme. The Yiddish Book Center will provide downloadable discussion guides and reading resources for the reading groups, as well as advice and assistance engaging speakers.

The application deadline is August 16, 2019. Applicants will be notified of decisions by September 30, 2019.

Learn All the Things!

Hooray for Freedom! Part One: Privacy, Confidentiality, and Intellectual Freedom in the Library

Thursday, July 11th, 3pm

This is an online event.

Privacy, confidentiality, and intellectual freedom are core values of librarianship that are easy to agree with, but difficult to implement. Hooray for Freedom! will help you assess your professional practice, give you the legal and ethical context to support democracy in your library, and help you identify practical ways to implement improvements.

In this webinar, learners will:

• Gain familiarity with the legal undergirding of intellectual freedom in libraries.

• Recognize methods that help shrink the gap between ethics and practice for libraries of any size.

• Learn strategies to use in real-time situations related to the legal and ethical foundations of library practice.

Hooray for Freedom! Part Two: Developing Policies in Support of Ethical Practice

Thursday, Aug. 8th, 3pm

This is an online event.

Building on part one, Hooray for Freedom! Privacy, Confidentiality, and Intellectual Freedom in the Library, this webinar will help you assess your library’s current policies and procedures within a legal context, and help you draft specific policy language. We’ll explore considerations for libraries of all sizes in order to codify the library profession’s values for our institutions.

In this webinar, learners will:

• Increase understanding of the language in, and policy implications for, the 1st and 4th Amendments.

• Learn how to translate legal opinion into policy considerations for libraries.

• Recognize how to avoid policy drafting traps by maintaining focus on mission and purpose.

Why Wikipedia Matters for Health and Medical Information

Wednesday, Aug. 14th, 3pm

This is an online event.

Wikipedia is a go-to resource for health and medical information, not just for the general public but for health care providers as well. Over 50% of physicians, and 94% of medical students use Wikipedia to find medical information on the internet.* It may be popular but library staff want to know how reliable it is and how to assess quality on behalf of their patrons. The National Network of Librarians of Medicine (NNLM) supports strengthening the ability of public libraries nationwide to find reliable and authoritative medical and health information online for information seekers. Hear how Liz Waltman from the NNLM connects with WikiProject Medicine, an organization of volunteers dedicated to developing, maintaining, and promoting accurate medical information on Wikipedia. Learn about the upcoming online training program Wikipedia + Libraries: Health and Medical Information that will empower you to confidently guide your patrons to reliable resources on the internet. The free four-week course will be offered in the fall of 2019.

Presented by: Betha Gutsche, WebJunction Program Manager, OCLC; and Liz Waltman, Outreach, Education and Communications Coordinator, Southeastern/Atlantic Region, National Network of Librarians of Medicine

Library Technology Planning for Today and Tomorrow

Tuesday, Aug. 27th, 3pm

This is an online event.

Technology changes at a dizzying pace – so how do we plan for and implement these changes in libraries? A robust technology plan can help you create an environment that truly meets the needs of the community your library serves. The prospect of technology planning can seem overwhelming and time-consuming, especially in an already short-staffed library. This webinar will help libraries create a framework for their technology planning and introduce the tools and decisions that need to be incorporated into a working plan. Join us to learn how to successfully develop and implement a practical technology plan that can help move your library and community forward.

Presented by: Diana Silveira, librarian, president of Novare Library Services, and author of Library Technology Planning for Today and Tomorrow