Outreach, Engagement & Other Splendid Stuff

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The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the issue of digital inequity, and how many of our communities struggle to get connected. If you haven't already done so, take a look at the Emergency Connectivity Fund.

Libraries are eligible to apply for the new $7.172 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund through the FCC’s E-rate program. Participating libraries will receive 100 percent reimbursement for the cost of hotspots and other Wi-Fi-capable devices, modems, routers, laptops, tablets, and similar devices to loan to patrons. The FCC announced the ECF program application would open on June 29 for 45 days, closing on August 13. Use ALA's new toolkit to help guide your library to apply for funding through the program.

If you decide to apply to the ECF, keep in mind that some devices will have to comply with the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA).

In addition to the ECF, the American Rescue Plan (ARPA) includes $135 million available for National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities to support state and regional arts and humanities agencies. Sixty percent of the funds are designated for direct grants eligible to libraries and 40 percent for grants and administration for state arts and humanities agencies.

Ramble & Read

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The Galway Public Library recently opened a brand-new Story Walk on its 13-acre property. Visitors can enjoy “The Keeper of Wild Words” by Brooke Smith as they take a 10-15 minute walk through the woods. It's a great opportunity to get some exercise while sharing a story.

A Secret Garden

The Schuylerville Public Library's Girls Who Code Group partnered with the local Girl Scout Troop 3232 to build a meditation spot at the Hudson Crossing Park's Secret Garden! They thoughtfully designed a spot that gives all who need it a place to pause, reflect, and perhaps say the things that they need to say, but where they can’t say anywhere else.

Led by Michelle Isopo, the girls, their troop leaders and helpers worked to make the Secret Garden at Hudson Crossing Park a special respite. Excellent work!

Making E-books More Accessible

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The New York State Senate & Assembly recently sent a bill to Governor Cuomo to sign requiring “publishers who offer to license e-books to the public” to also offer those e-books to libraries on “reasonable” terms. The bill’s summary states that the law is designed to ensure that “widely accepted and effective industry practices remain in place while prohibiting harmful practices that discriminate against libraries and harm library patrons.”

The law, once signed, will go into effect in January 2022.

Virtual Trustee Training Opportunity

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Join co-authors of the Handbook for Library Trustees of New York State Jerry Nichols and Rebekkah Smith Aldrich for this fun and informative series! Each month trustees are encouraged to read a chapter of the Trustee Handbook and send in questions that the authors will address at live events later this year.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021 from 5:00-6:30pm: Duties & Responsibilities | Register Here

Before the event:
1) Read the chapter: Duties & Responsibilities
2) Thoughts to consider before the program:

  • What is your purpose as a Library Trustee?
  • What do you believe is the mission of your library in the community?
  • Have you received a thorough orientation about the Library, its services, and how it functions?
  • How can the Board be most effective as the public body entrusted with the future of the community’s library?

3) Submit your questions here.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021, from 5:00-6:30 pm: Library Board Meetings | Register Here

Before the event:
1) Read the chapter: Library Board Meetings
2) Thoughts to consider before the program:

  • Are your meetings well organized with a standard agenda and materials distributed well in advance?
  • Do all Board members regularly attend and are well prepared?
  • Are you familiar with and faithfully follow the Open Meetings Law?
  • Do you review and approve all bills and personnel actions?
  • Are you fully apprised of all library activities from the various departments?

3) Submit your questions here.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021, from 5:00-6:30 pm: Personnel | Register Here

Before the event:
1) Read the chapter: Personnel
2) Thoughts to consider before the program:

  • Do you abide by the Best Practices rubric: “Director selects; Board appoints”?
  • Do you approve all personnel actions (even retroactively), including salary increases, promotions, and terminations?
  • If applicable, do you understand your responsibilities under NYS Civil Service Law?
  • Does your Board treat the director as the CEO and avoid micromanagement?
  • Do you provide sufficient compensation to attract quality staff and a competent library director?
  • Do you avoid all appearances of nepotism in the hiring and promotional process?

3) Submit your questions here.

The live events will include a brief introduction to the chapter topic, tackle questions sent in advance by attendees, and address questions that come in live during the event.

Co-Moderators for the series:

  • Brian M. Hildreth, Executive Director, Southern Tier Library System
  • Ron Kirsop, Executive Director, Pioneer Library System.

Submit Your Questions Here

Opportunity: Executive Director, North Country Library System

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Take a leadership role and help northern New York libraries maintain sustainability with core needs of adequate funding and compliance as well as explore innovative services and resource sharing. The North Country Library System (NCLS) seeks a visionary leader responsive to member library and community needs, and skilled in focusing the efforts of talented staff to be its next Executive Director (ED). NCLS is a cooperative of 65 public libraries covering Jefferson, Lewis, Oswego, and St. Lawrence Counties of New York State. With a $2.6 million budget and 15 FTE staff, NCLS is a member-focused organization with a mission to provide collaborative services that strengthen our libraries. NCLS’s 14,000 square foot, solar supplemented headquarters is situated on a beautiful eleven-acre wooded lot bordering the Black River in Watertown, NY.


The Executive Director, under the general direction of the Board of Trustees, is responsible for the administration of system operations. The ED supervises the department managers and works with the board, staff, and library directors to align system services with the member libraries’ needs and priorities. For the complete position description, see NCLS Executive Director Responsibilities.


An ALA-accredited Master’s Degree in Library Science; the ability to obtain a NY State Public Librarian Certificate; a minimum of eight years post MLS experience, three years in an administrative capacity – with all requirements to be met by the end of the calendar year 2021. Essential abilities and experience include creativity, enthusiasm, superior written and oral communications skills; political acumen; consensus-building skills; experience in recruiting, evaluating, and mentoring staff; thorough knowledge of library trends and best practices; an understanding of evolving library technology as well as budget and finance issues; proven success working with and reporting to a governing board.


The hiring salary range is $85,000 - $100,000 (with placement being dependent on experience and qualifications) and an attractive benefits package.

To start the application process, submit a cover letter, resume, and references to by September 17, 2021, for full consideration. The minimum requirements must be met by the end of the year, December 31, 2021.

Build Your Skills!

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The Day that Changed the World

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Public libraries interested in sharing a downloadable educational exhibition exploring the history of September 11, 2001: The Day that Changed the World and its ongoing implications can request a free download to receive:

  • Digital downloads for 14 posters, featuring archival photographs and images of artifacts
  • An invitation to free virtual training, including a live virtual tour of the Museum and information on how to use its online resources to supplement the exhibition
  • Access to the 9/11 Primer, an online collection of resources for educators and online learners, to help you supplement the exhibition

The exhibition explores the consequences of terrorism on individual lives and communities at the local, national, and international levels, and encourages critical thinking about the legacy of 9/11.

NOTE: A limited number of printed poster sets are available to libraries with limited resources or technological barriers. Printed posters will be given away on a first-come, first-served basis and will be shipped, free of charge, to libraries. Printed poster requests must be received by August 6.

Questions? Contact

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Public and tribal libraries are invited to apply for NASA@ My Library, a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) education initiative that will increase and enhance STEAM learning opportunities for library patrons throughout the nation, including geographic areas and populations currently underrepresented in STEAM education.

60 public and tribal libraries in the U.S. will be selected through a competitive application process to become NASA@ My Library Partners.

Applications will be accepted until July 21. View the project guidelines and apply online. ALA members and nonmembers are encouraged to apply.

NASA@ My Library Partners will receive training and resources to implement NASA events and programming, access to a university subject matter expert (SME) to support patron engagement, and a $1,600 programming stipend to purchase materials for NASA STEAM activities and/or support presentations by local NASA-funded SMEs.

This opportunity is open to public and tribal libraries in the U.S. Priority consideration will be given to libraries in communities with above average populations of demographics underrepresented in STEM education and professions. For more details on priority consideration and eligibility, visit the project guidelines.

The project is offered by the National Center for Interactive Learning (NCIL) at the Space Science Institute (SSI) in partnership with the American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office, Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) and Education Development Center (EDC). Support comes from NASA's Science Mission Directorate as part of its Science Activation program.

How Does Your Garden Grow?

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When it came time to weed the Kailua-Kona Public Library's collection, and to deal with the many donations that came its way, the library came up with a clever solution -- donate the old books to gardeners. It turns out, discarded books make great mulch (once their covers are removed) and help control weeds in the garden. Others have used old books as the borders for their raised beds. Food for the mind, food for the soil.

Grants for Small & Rural Libraries

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ALA invites library workers to apply for round 3 of the Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC): Focus on Small and Rural Libraries grant.

Up to 100 libraries will be awarded in this round of grantmaking, part of ALA’s longtime community engagement initiative. Library workers may apply online for grant funding by September 16 at

Participating libraries will receive training in how to lead conversations, a skill vital to 21st-century librarianship. Library workers will complete a free ALA e-course on basic facilitation skills; host at least one conversation with community members on a chosen topic; and receive $3,000 to support community engagement efforts. Grant funds may cover a range of expenses, including staff time and collections, and technology purchases.

Libraries that previously were awarded LTC: Focus on Small and Rural Libraries grants are eligible to apply for additional funding to expand their previously awarded projects.

The opportunity is open to libraries serving small and/or rural communities in the U.S. and U.S. territories. The Institute of 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.

Libraries Transforming Communities: Focus on Small and Rural Libraries is offered in partnership with the Association for Rural & Small Libraries (ARSL).

All the Awards!

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

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

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

  • Engagement – a) How does local government interact with the library—and vice versa—to support the service area’s defined civic goals? b) How does the library use collaborations with community groups and individuals to drive library services?
  • Recognition – How does the community recognize and value the library? Inclusion – How does the library meet the needs of marginalized or underserved populations among its community and to promote social cohesion and connection across differences?
  • Leadership development – How does the library ensure its own organizational strength and dynamism?
  • Environmental sustainability – How does the library lead on sustainable thinking for the library itself and the community at large?
  • Inventiveness – Provide an example of one of the library’s services which is particularly original, both strategically and tactically?

Application Requirements

  • Nominations will be submitted via an online form.
  • Nominations 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, hours of volunteer service contributed to the library each year, types of existing funding sources with their relative percentages within total funding, and days and hours open per week. (We recognize that COVID closures may make the latter complicated. Please provide your pre-pandemic standard open hours and a brief explanation of any significant variation owing to the coronavirus.)
    • Multiple-author submissions are permitted. For submissions with multiple authors, please include the names and affiliations of all of the group members.
    • An overview summary of no more than 1,000 words pertaining to the goals and criteria listed above.
    • Detailed answers to focused answers on each of the criteria-driven questions above (via fields in the online submission form).
    • Three letters of support from community partners and/or civic leaders, with at least one from an elected official.
    • Optional: Supporting materials such as photographs/images of the library and surrounding community; press coverage, brief videos (not exceed three minutes), etc. These materials are NOT REQUIRED and may or may not be reviewed in the evaluation process.

Read about the 2020 winner, Cranston Public Library.

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. Previous winners are asked to take a ten-year hiatus from submitting again for consideration.

Application Deadline: The deadline for consideration for the 2021 Community Impact Prize is July 19, 2021. (Submissions close at 11:59 p.m. EDT.)

Please submit nominations via the form found here.

Questions? Please contact Meredith Schwartz, Editor-in-Chief, Library Journal at

I Love My Librarian Award

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We all have a special librarian in our lives. Now we have a chance to recognize the accomplishments of exceptional public, school, college, community college, or university librarians. Each year, up to ten librarians are selected to receive a $5,000 cash award and a $750 travel stipend to attend a ceremony in their honor. This year's I Love My Librarian Award Ceremony will be held on January 22, 2022, in San Antonio, Texas at the inaugural LibLearnX: The Library Learning Experience event.

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, 2021.

Questions? Email

Learn All the Things!

Compassionate Career Services, Part Two: Tips and Tricks for Working Across the Digital Divide

Wednesday, July 21st, 4pm

This is an online event.

We're finally emerging from the worst of this historic pandemic, and current economic trends finally favor workers. Businesses are hiring again, and benefits are ending. Meanwhile, the digital divide is still an issue we have to contend with, and many of the patrons we work with need us more than ever.

Libraries are uniquely positioned to provide essential services to those who are looking for work. We've got the skills, the resources, and the ideals to help our communities. During this time of compassion fatigue, this workshop series presents a call for an empathetic job and career services for those who need it most. We will work through the current state of library-based career services, share specific advice for providing career services across the digital divide, and discuss how library staff can assist patrons with their job searches while keeping their mental health in mind.

Led by Shauna Edson, Digital Inclusion Coordinator Salt Lake City Public Library, part two of this series will cover:

> Specific advice to help patrons who only have access to phones and tablets work up their job materials
> Specific advice about formatting resumes and cover letters on tablets or iPhones
> Tech workarounds and shortcuts skill sharing

Uncomfortable Conversations With Librarians -- DEI Perspective

Thursday, July 22nd, 2pm

This is an online event.

Modeled after the hit web series and best-selling books "Uncomfortable Conversations With a Black Man", we will be sitting down with this diverse panel to talk about a wide range of "uncomfortable" topics related to librarianship. We look forward to a thought-provoking dialogue.

Moderator: Twanna Hodge (DEI Librarian - University of Florida)

Data Breaches: What Libraries Can Do To Prevent Them

Wednesday, Aug. 18th, 4pm

This is an online event.

Data breaches are terrifying and cause a lot of consternation. Join this session with our experts Dan Ayala and Gary Price to talk through what can be done on an individual level and by library IT staff to avoid having sensitive information comprised. We will also discuss resources libraries can share with their communities to help them avoid such a fate.

Compassionate Career Services, Part Three: When and How to "Teach People to Fish"

Monday, Aug. 23rd, 4pm

This is an online event.

We're finally emerging from the worst of this historic pandemic, and current economic trends finally favor workers. Businesses are hiring again, and benefits are ending. Meanwhile, the digital divide is still an issue we have to contend with, and many of the patrons we work with need us more than ever.

Libraries are uniquely positioned to provide essential services to those who are looking for work. We've got the skills, the resources, and the ideals to help our communities. During this time of compassion fatigue, this workshop series presents a call for an empathetic job and career services for those who need it most. We will work through the current state of library-based career services, share specific advice for providing career services across the digital divide, and discuss how library staff can assist patrons with their job searches while keeping their mental health in mind.

Presented by NYPL's Ricci Yuhico, art three of this series will cover:

> The limits of emotional labor/avoiding burnout on the part of library staff
> When and how to "push people out of the nest."
> Knowing your community resources and when to make referrals

Trust & Leadership: Ask the HR Expert

Monday, Sep. 20th, 2pm

This is an online event.

Join Holly Nowak, the HR professional behind the Ask the HR Expert service, for a discussion of building and improving workplace relationships and teams.

Participants of this session will explore traits that ‘followers’ seek in their leaders, understand that the definition of great leadership and communication are somewhat universal, and the overarching importance of trust in building effective workplace relationships.

Participants will leave this session with a top-of-mind focus on building and improving their workplace relationships for more productive and collaborative teams.

There will be a place to submit questions during the registration process. The deadline to submit questions is September 10.

Leading Performance: Ask the HR Expert

Monday, Oct. 18th, 2pm

This is an online event.

Join Holly Nowak, the HR professional behind the Ask the HR Expert service, to discuss effective and objective performance evaluations.

In this session, participants will understand the importance of timely, objective, and documented feedback on work performance. The session will also explore effective frameworks for ensuring our mindset is in the right place and how to utilize frameworks to prepare, leading to more effective and objective performance conversations. Participants of this session will feel more confident with accountability conversations and understand the importance of not avoiding difficult conversations.

Participants may submit questions for Holly during the registration process. The deadline to submit questions is October 8.