Outreach, Engagement & Other Splendid Stuff

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IMLS has released its new strategic plan, Transforming Communities. It outlines four priorities for the next couple of years:

  • Promote lifelong learning
  • Build capacity
  • Increase public access
  • Achieve excellence

Strategic plans provide a road map for your organization, giving you a chance to reflect on where you are, what you've accomplished, what your goals are for the future and then align resources with those goals. In addition to being essential for any thriving organization, a strategic plan is required by the Division of Library Development for every library in New York State.

If your library doesn't have a plan, or you're interested in updating your current plan, get in touch ( and we'll help you develop a killer, community-based strategic plan and chart a road map to excellence!

PLA or Bust!

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Clifton Park-Halfmoon Library is planning to book a 54-seat bus for the Public Library Association conference (March 20-24) in Philadelphia. The bus would leave from the library's parking lot the morning of Wednesday, March 21st, and return the afternoon of Saturday, March 24.

The bus will drop people off at their hotels in Philadelphia. The cost of the trip will depend on how many people sign up for the bus.

Interested? Let Alex know by Friday, January 19 - including how many seats you would like. She will decide to book the bus by the week of January 22. E-mail Alex at

Plans For the Future

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In 2017, voters in Galway approved funding for a new library to be built. Deb Flint recently posted architectural drawings for the new library, and we're super excited. The new library will have room for the community to meet, a separate children's area, and loads of room for stacks, reading and fun.

Check it Out

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The Whitehall Public Library recently installed a brand new circulation desk, complete with a wonderful area to display books face out. The Whitehall team now how more space to work and a more streamlined experience for their patrons.

Ready to Respond

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The Mechanicville District Public Library recently held a training for library staff and the community on responding to opioid overdoses. If your library is also holding Narcan or other trainings, please let me know.

Annual Report Party

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Ain't no party like an annual report party cause an annual report party don't stop until all of the fields have been completed and the Board of Trustees has approved and its been submitted to the state. Phew!

Good news! You don't have to go it alone. Come to SALS's Annual Report Party from 9 am to 1 p.m. Wednesday, January 31st. Gather your stats and join us for a fun day of data input, lunch, games -- and get a first glimpse at the exciting new Annual Report tool we've developed. The snow date/back up date is February 7th. Sign up here.

All annual reports are due to the SALS business office by February 15th, and must be approved by your Board of Trustees before being submitted.

Dominate Social Media

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Interested in dominating the world of social media? Join Dana Willbanks of Albany Public Library and Doug Bixler of Schenectady County Public Library to learn the what, how, and “whoa!” of social media management in this hands-on workshop that covers what works, what doesn’t, and the tools to make your library’s social media presence awesome.

Topics include learning your demographic, using social media insights, better practices for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, creating graphics and hashtags, using paid ads, responding to public comments, getting the word out about your social media platforms, and so much more.

This session will be a reprise of their super popular pre-conference CE at NYLA, 2017.

Title: Social MediAhhh!

Date: Wednesday, January 24th (Snow date: January 31st)

Time: 9:30 am - 12:30 pm

Location: UHLS | 28 Essex Street, Albany, NY 12206

Limit: 30
Contact Hours: 3

Registration is required. Please register here.

Stay Up-To-Date

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If you've been a public librarian for more than five years, it's time to renew your professional certificate. Not sure when the last time you renewed? Check here. New librarians can apply for a professional certificate here.

Librarians who received a certificate after January 1, 2010, must complete 60 hours of professional development every five years. Professional development may include workshops at the System, through NYLA, colleges, universities, conference sessions and webinars. Up to 12 hours may include " instructional activities that contain relevant content both created by and delivered by the public librarian professional certificate holder."

Looking for ways to fulfill your professional development requirement? The Division of Library Development has a helpful page of potential resources.

Reason to Celebrate

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Party like there's no one reading! There's a literary occasion for every day of the year, as well as eleven high holidays.

Money Well Spent

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Vending machines now dispense short stories -- vegan and gluten free!

Wild Women

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Environmentalists, naturalists, explorers, scientists and poets -- 25 women who write wild.

Opportunities Abound

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Public libraries are invited to apply for Revisiting the Founding Era, a nationwide project that will use historical documents to spark public conversations about the Founding Era’s enduring ideas and themes and how they continue to influence our lives today.

Up to 100 U.S. public libraries will be selected to host programs related to the American Revolution and the early years of the nation. Participating libraries will receive:

  • 10 copies of a 100-page reader containing selected documents from the lauded Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in U.S. history
  • $1,000 to help implement discussion groups and other public programs
  • Training, resources and support

Libraries, working in collaboration with scholars, local experts and others, will be asked to implement at least three public programs for adult and teen audiences. Topics may include the rights of citizens versus the rights of government; who is “we the people?”; and decision-making and taking action.

Read the full project guidelines and apply online by January 31, 2018. Public libraries serving rural or underserved communities are especially encouraged to apply.

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Geek Squad Academy gives underserved youth opportunities to develop tech skills to inspire education and career choices. This program allows students to envision a future where they are creators, not consumers, of the technology that powers the world. Geek Squad Academy participants can explore various aspects of technology such as coding, programming, film production/photography, 3D design, digital music, and digital citizenship.

Eligible organizations may apply to host a Geek Squad Academy event. Applications are currently being accepted through February 1, 2018. Learn more about Geek Squad Academy here. Contact with questions.

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ALA invites libraries to apply for a pilot of the Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation (TRHT) Great Stories Club (GSC), a thematic reading and discussion program series that will engage underserved teens through literature-based library outreach programs and racial healing work.

The TRHT GSC is supported by a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

An expansion of ALA’s long-standing GSC program model, the TRHT GSC will feature books that explore the coming-of-age experience for historically marginalized youth. The TRHT GSC is a part of the 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.

Visit the project guidelines and apply online by February 16, 2018. Potential applicants may register for a free Jan. 12 webinar to learn more about the pilot program and its requirements.

Up to 25 selected libraries will work with small groups of teens to read and discuss three titles --selected by librarians and humanities scholars to resonate with reluctant readers facing difficult challenges like detention, incarceration, addiction, academic probation, poverty, and homelessness -- on the theme “Growing Up Brave on the Margins.”

Participating libraries must host at least three book discussion programs and at least one interactive racial healing session, led by a racial healing practitioner familiar with the Kellogg Foundation’s TRHT framework and racial healing approach. Programming must take place between May and October 2018.

Participating libraries will receive:

  • 11 copies of each of the three selected titles (10 to gift to participants, one for the discussion leader/library collection)
  • A $300 programming stipend
  • Access to a racial healing practitioner who is engaged with the Kellogg Foundation’s TRHT framework and racial healing approach
  • Travel and accommodation expenses paid for one library staff member to attend a project orientation workshop, April 19-20, 2018, in Chicago; training will cover humanities content for the selected titles, best practices for leading discussion groups, an overview of the TRHT process, and an interactive session led by a racial healing practitioner
  • Additional training, resources and support

Applicant libraries must either be located within an organization that serves under-resourced, troubled or at-risk teens (e.g., alternative high schools, juvenile detention facilities) or work in partnership with an organization that serves that teenage population. For examples of acceptable partner organizations, visit the TRHT GSC Resources page.

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Deadline: February 21, 2018

Grant Amounts: $25,000 to $500,000 with a 1:1 match

Administered by National Park Service in partnership with: Institute of Museum and Library Services, National Endowment for the Arts, and National Endowment for the Humanities


Preservation and/or conservation of collections of national significance


Save America’s Treasures grants provide preservation and/or conservation assistance to nationally significant historic properties and collections. Grants are awarded through a competitive process and require a dollar-for-dollar, non-Federal match, which can be cash or documented in-kind.

Application must include the following information:

- Describe in detail why the materials are of national significance.

- The source(s), nature, extent, and severity of the threat, danger or damage to the collection must be clearly and convincingly argued. Photos are encouraged to support this criterion.

- Clearly state what conservation activities will be undertaken as part of this project and how they will mitigate stated threats.


QUESTIONS ABOUT THE GRANT? Contact: National Park Service Program Officers -

Wild Wisconsin Winter Web Conference

Tuesday, Jan. 23rd, 10am

This is an online event.

The Wild Wisconsin Winter Web Conference is a state-wide virtual conference developed by the Nicolet Federated Library System and supported by 15 other library systems in Wisconsin.

Several 60-minute web presentations, focusing on the needs of public libraries, will be given over three blustery days in January.

From Facilities to Trauma: Disaster Planning and Community Resiliency at Your Library

Tuesday, Jan. 30th, 3pm

This is an online event.

Recent catastrophes have highlighted the important role public libraries play in enhancing their community’s resiliency and post-disaster recovery efforts. Many community leaders now view libraries as ad hoc disaster recovery centers and recognize librarians as Information First Responders. This presentation will help you and your library embrace this new role as Information First Responders, who quickly enable people to get back to work, back to their lives, and ensure recovery of the community’s economic life. Learn what you need to prepare before disaster strikes, guided by New Jersey State Library’s Disaster Preparedness & Community Resiliency Toolkit, which has been emergency-tested by libraries. Your library can be at the forefront in providing that safe haven in times of crisis and helping your community return to normal life.

Growing Your Library's Role: Creating a Community Garden with Impact

Wednesday, March 14th, 2pm

This is an online event.

Join Pottsboro (Texas) Area Public Library for this 60-minute webinar, where the library's director will discuss how planting a community garden led to the development of unique partnerships and an influx of new users from diverse market segments. Learn how the rural library's programming horizons were broadened and how the library took on a new role in their small community.

This webinar will review the steps Pottsboro Area Public Library took to get their community garden started and where it is going.

Participants of this webinar will learn about:

  • Creating a community garden that is scalable for all budgets and spaces
  • Components and operation of community gardens
  • Potential community organizations for partnerships