Outreach, Engagement & Other Splendid Stuff

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November moved faster than the speed of light, which is too bad because Dinovember is one of my favorite times of the year. A huge thanks to all of the libraries that took part and posted pictures of naughty, inquisitive dinosaurs on social media. Sassy dinos are the only things to keep me going as the nights get longer and COVID-19 infections begin to surge in our region once again.

As people begin to consider the implications for the new infection rates and hunker down with their families, it's a chance to plan for what library services may look like this winter, building on the incredible work done during the pandemic. One of the areas we can focus on is digital equity. What happens to communities when they don't have adequate broadband or Internet access to support remote work, allow people to connect to the larger world, and limit what opportunities are available? How can libraries help?

There are also bright spots. Penguin Random House is extending its temporary digital rights terms for libraries. Both Coursera and LinkedIn Learning offer free courses to help people brush up on their skills before re-entering the job market. And more libraries are reconsidering their stance on fines, as tales of success are shared.

As we go forward, we have a chance to think about what steps we can take to make our libraries more accessible, inclusive, and welcoming to all. If you have a new project or initiative in the works or exciting ideas about rethinking library services, let me know!

Celebrating Herstory

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The American Library Association awarded Easton Library a Women’s Suffrage Centennial Book Donation Grant in August. The grant was given to our library in commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of Women’s Right to Vote or the 19th Amendment.

Our display case in the Easton Library's entry is filled with information on women’s suffrage leaders, both familiar and lesser known, who contributed alongside others to a broad heritage of controversial action towards the American promise of a representative and inclusive democracy. Please drop in to see the display. It will not disappoint! #LibrariesEngageVoters

Wanted: Library Manager

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The Board of Trustees of the Menands Public Library seeks an enthusiastic and community-oriented individual to serve as Library Manager to oversee the library in the Village of Menands.

The Menands Public Library is a school district public library and is a member of the Upper Hudson Library System. The Library Manager reports to a five-member board of trustees and collaborates with the library board on a variety of activities related to delivering library service to our community. The Library Manager has primary responsibility for the operation and management of the library, including but not limited to: collection development, customer service, program planning, and implementation, utilization of technology to enhance library services, written monthly updates to the board, public relations, and community outreach. The Library Manager supervises a small staff of up to five part-time employees.

The position of Library Manager is provisional and permanent appointment is contingent upon passing the Library Manager Albany County Civil Service exam and being reachable on the eligible list for that title.

Minimum qualifications for this position include completion of sixty (60) credit hours from a regionally accredited or New York State registered college or university and one (1) year of professional experience in administering not-for-profit, government, education, human services, or library services. Equivalent volunteer work in a library can be substituted for professional experience.

The Library Manager’s annual salary will be $40,000 - $44,000 based on the selected candidate’s skills and experience. The compensation package also includes participation in the New York State Retirement System. The projected start date for this position will be February 14, 2021.

More information about the position and the library can be found on the library's website.

Qualified applicants should submit a cover letter, resume, and contact information for three professional references to the Search Committee via email to

Application review will begin on 12/15/20 and continue until the position is filled.

Get Even Smarter

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Are you an individual looking to improve your own DEI practices? Or maybe you want to improve your organization’s work around diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Lara Pimentel, senior director of Development at ProLiteracy interviews Sarah Kith, diversity and inclusion advisor at the Library of Congress, to further understand, explore, and advance efforts around diversity, inclusion, equity, and equality in the workplace. In this blogcast, Pimentel and Kith discuss different ways to implement positive change and uncover biases and introduce tools for initiating difficult conversations.

And Then There Were Four

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With Bertelsmann's (Penguin Random House) acquisition of Simon & Schuster, there are now four major publishers in the US -- down from six just a few years ago. The purchase raises a number of issues for publishing, in addition to the inevitable question, what happens as the number of publishers decreases? What happens to the breadth of voices represented? How does this affect libraries' ability to negotiate when we disagree with decisions made about how content will be available?

Great Escape

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When historians look back at this year, they will no doubt find that of all the years this decade, it has been the most extra. Looking for a brief respite, where you can wander through a gentler time? Take a virtual visit to Jane Austen's House, where tea is served, the floorboards are scrubbed, and the plots are being hatched.

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.

Library workers may apply online for grant funding until February 5, 2021, 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.

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).

Virtual Health Programming in Public Libraries Award

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The Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM) has opened its Health Programming in Public Libraries Award to fund virtual health programs for public library patrons that incorporate MedlinePlus and information about the All of Us Research Program. Up to $20,000 of funding per award is available for 8 or more projects within the region.

Projects are encouraged which include:

  • Virtual programming that can be promoted to public library patrons
  • A focus on underserved health communities and underrepresented populations

Projects must include a public library, state library, or library association as a partner or applicant. Virtual programming is central to this award.

Possible allowable related costs include: social media campaigns, digital library collections (ebooks/eaudio), speaker fees, closed captioning and digital platform subscriptions.

Efforts will be made to fund programs throughout the region and that have the potential to reach populations Underserved by Research. NNLM MAR staff will work with funded programs to integrate relevant health information and NIH All of Us Research Program content into programs.

Application Deadline: Monday, November 16, 2020

Adult Literacy Grant

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The American Library Association and Dollar General Literacy Foundation invite public libraries to apply for grants to expand services for adult English language learners or adults in need of basic education and workforce development. Up to 16 grants of $5,000 each will be awarded. Public libraries are eligible if they serve adult English language learners and are located within 20 miles of a Dollar General Store, distribution center, or corporate office. Visit the Dollar General Store Locator.

Read the project guidelines and apply online by Friday, January 29, 2021.

ALA has a recorded webinar about the grant.

The American Dream Literacy Initiative strives to develop tools and resources for libraries and library staff to provide effective literacy services to adult English language learners in their communities and across the country. American Dream libraries build replicable programs, develop coalition-building strategies, and provide annotated lists of vetted resources for libraries across the country.

The American Dream Literacy Initiative is made possible through the generous support of the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. It is administered by ALA’s Public Programs Office and Office for Diversity.

Learn All the Things!

Preservation Interest Group: Response and Recovery from Unwanted Water Events

Tuesday, Dec. 8th, 9:30am

This is an online event.

Unwanted water? Unwanted water is the most common emergency affecting your collections, whether from a leaky building, a burst pipe, or even local area flooding.Learn how to reduce the risk, prepare in advance, and how to respond quickly!

Join area organizations and University at Albany's Ann Kearney and Karen Kiorpes on for this discussion on Response and Recovery from Unwanted Water Events.

All are welcome, including people from outside the Capital District!

SMART Goals – A How-To, Hands-On Working Session

Thursday, Dec. 10th, 10am

This is an online event.

When creating project, team, or organizational goals, we are often told to make them SMART. What does it mean to have goals that are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based? How do you create SMART goals? How does their creation help you think about your definition of success?

This 90-minute working session will teach you about SMART goals. In other words, how do you make them specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based, without making them unreasonable? You will learn what they are and then put what you are learning into practice by creating SMART goals for a project you have in mind. During the session, you will have time to work on your own goals and gain feedback on them from other participants.

About the Presenter:

Jill Hurst-Wahl is a consultant, speaker, writer, and educator, who understands the power of good communications. She is the president of Hurst Associates, Ltd. and professor emerita in Syracuse Unversity’s iSchool. In her various roles, including in team-based environments, Jill has been responsible for goal setting and goal attainment. She understands that goals must be well defined, so that you know when you have reached them.

Monday, Dec. 14th, 3pm

This is an online event.

Here’s an understatement: 2020 has been a very difficult year. We’re in our ninth month of living through a pandemic, and libraries across the country have been grappling when and how to continue to provide services to our patrons.

This online panel discussion features four library workers from various settings. We’ll review the year that was, and we’ll discuss lessons learned, challenges accepted, and ongoing concerns as we head into 2021.

Panelists include:
> Karen LaRocca-Fels, Library Director, Ossining Public Library
> Susanne Markgren, Assistant Director of the Library for Technical Services, Manhattan College
> Linda Miles, Assistant Professor - Librarian, Hostos Community College, CUNY
> Angela Washington, Associate Manager, Finance and Administration, Thomas J. Watson Library, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Effective, Efficient Boards and Board Meetings

Tuesday, Jan. 12th 2021 at 2pm

This is an online event.

Anyone running a meeting wants to help the group's members get things accomplished in a timely, orderly manner. What role does a board member play in this process? Whether it's the Friends officers or the library's Board of Trustees, all parties want well-organized meetings that run efficiently. The agenda, minutes, and motions all play a part. Regardless of the size of a board for a nonprofit organization, there are specific accountabilities the officers and directors must meet. Judy Siegel, Esq., of the Pro Bono Partnership will review nonprofit boards' legal and fiduciary duties. The session will include ways to provide the best oversight possible for the organization, keeping it functioning effectively. Learn what documents should be kept in your board book, how technology can and cannot be used to conduct board business, and practical strategies for more successful meetings.

This professional development opportunity is open to all. Registration is open.


Judy Siegel, Esq., is Senior Staff Attorney with the Pro Bono Partnership (New York Office) which provides direct legal services to nonprofit organizations in New York, including libraries and their Friends groups. Judy recruits and coordinates volunteer attorneys to assist clients, conducts outreach to nonprofit organizations in their service area, and presents legal workshops on topics relevant to nonprofit executives and board members. (

The charge for 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 also available ($75 member rate /$99 nonmember rate). A credit card is required for payment. Checks and purchase orders are not accepted. Registration closes 48 hours prior to the start time of the webinar.

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 and 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.

When registering through the NYLA Online Membership Center, FLS members need their assigned username and password to qualify for an "FLS Member Reg Pass" that will waive the webinar registration fee.

Proactive Advocacy and Communication for Library Trustees and Staff

Wednesday, Jan. 13th 2021 at 3pm

This is an online event.

Rally the troops, consolidate the message, and get it out there! These common and important steps are all part of the response when there’s a crisis challenging the library. But what can we do the rest of the time, before a crisis arises? Using both outward and inward-facing tools, there are simple steps that boards and library staff can integrate into their communication processes, to be better prepared for unknown changes. Learn about these tools and how they can set the stage for dealing more effectively with any crisis your library faces in the future.

This webinar is hosted in collaboration with the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL).

Presented by: Lori Fisher, Assistant State Librarian/Administrator of Library Operations, New Hampshire State Library