Outreach, Engagement & Other Splendid Stuff

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Woke, capable, and brave. Those are the traits needed to dismantle oppression and demand justice to create a world that does not yet exist, according to Mia Henry, who led the Public Library Association's Social Justice and Public Libraries: Equity Starts With Us workshop in Chicago last week. We were challenged to think about what space we, as individuals and professionals, as well as our institutions, could occupy in doing the work necessary for our collective liberation. The best place to start, says Henry, is by having the courage to face and call out oppression when we see it, being self-aware and recognizing our role in choosing to perpetuate or eliminate oppression, and finding tools to help us do this work.

Members of the PLA Task Force on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion were on hand to facilitate breakout groups discussing how to apply what we were learning in our day-to-day work, and how we can address the Five Faces of Oppression:

  1. Exploitation: Whose labor is overused, undervalued, not compensated, or under-compensated?
  2. Marginalization: Whose experiences, perspectives, or bodies are separated or left out?
  3. Powerlessness: Who is silenced? Who doesn't participate? Who doesn't feel worthy or belonging?
  4. Cultural Imperialism/Dominance: What cultures, experiences, or backgrounds are co-opted, exoticized, deemed strange/not normal, or erased?
  5. Violence: Who is being harmed physically, mentally, or spiritually?

Working toward collective liberation gives us a chance to rethink our policies, practices, collections, hiring and staffing, community programs, core services, and spaces. One place to start is by considering the following questions:

  • How can I be a better colleague?
  • What skills do we need to build?
  • What kind of education do we provide to our patrons and community?
  • What policies and practices need to be revisited or changed?
  • Who benefits the most from our services?
  • Who benefits the least?
  • How do we not serve the underserved?
  • How do we serve the overserved?
  • What structural barriers need to be addressed, and how?
  • What about the way my work is set up makes it hard to advance justice and equity?
  • What can be changed?

The road to liberation is long and is best traveled with others. Find colleagues who are excited about this work, and begin asking (and answering) questions. While it may be challenging and uncomfortable at times, collective liberation needs to be embedded in all that we do.

Congratulations to the Crandall Public Library for its successful budget referendum. It's Southern Adirondack Network Guide (SANG) is a great model of how to work to end oppression by connecting people with resources. Thanks for modeling one way to do this work!

Everybody Counts

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Katherine Dillon, a partnership specialist from the US Census, provided an overview of what libraries in the Mohawk Valley and Southern Adirondack Library Systems can expect during the 2020 Census effort. She shared resources to help connect with children, one of the hard-to-count populations. Regional partnership specialists were on hand to meet libraries, and Jeremy Johannesen from the New York Library Association provided a birds-eye view of how libraries across the country and the state are thinking about the census.

Amazing Friends

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Carol Kuhr, the president of the Friends of the Argyle Free Library, convened a conversation about how to start and nourish a Friends group for Washington County Libraries on October 2. Wilma Jozwiak and Sheila Moroni, two of the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Library's Friends, kicked off the meeting talking about their Quad Leadership team, a distributed leadership model that leverages the talents of multiple people who share responsibility for the group. The evening was informative, entertaining, and inspiring. Thanks Carol, Wilma & Sheila!
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In its 2020 budget, the SALS Board of Trustees has earmarked funds to once again renew its three challenge grants: Construction, Continuing Education, and Library Services Seed.

Follow the links below to find information for each of the grant programs, a budget form, as well as the Walkabout guide for the Construction program.

Applications are due December 27, 2019, using an online form.

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The Library Complete Count Committee of New York State has published a LibGuide for New York Libraries.

This guide will be continually updated up through Census Day - April 1, 2020, to help libraries navigate the many questions surrounding the country's first digital decennial census. The guide includes FAQ's for public, academic, and school libraries as well as New York-specific information, and links to other entities in the area who are working on complete count efforts. There are downloadable materials for marketing and training.

If you have any questions, reach out to Carolyn Bennett Glauda -
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Since 2016, SALS's Libraries Mean Business initiative has supported small businesses and entrepreneurs. We provide funding to train Notary Publics for each SALS's library, and are builidng a digital collection of business-related e-books and e-audiobooks.

If your library has not yet taken part in the Notary Public Training program, or if you would like to have a second person trained, there's good news!.

SALS will cover the cost of one person from each member library to:

In exchange, participating libraries MUST:

  • Let Erica know they intend to participate
  • Register with SUNY Adirondack & identify as part of the SALS group
  • Pay for the class, registration, and license
  • Submit paperwork to be reimbursed -- including documentation indicating completion of the SUNY Adirondack class and Notary Public Exam and registration. Libraries will only be reimbursed after the Notary Public Exam has been completed.

The Notary Public License Exam Preparation—Face-to-Face classes are four hours long. The next in-person class will take place:

  • 9:30 am to 1:30 pm Friday, November 15 @ SUNY Adirondack Saratoga

The price of the class is $65.

  • All materials will be provided, and information about how to link to NYS Department of State licensing information, booklets and forms will be distributed.
  • The Notary Public exam will not be given during this workshop. There will be an 80-question practice exam.
  • Participants will receive a certificate of completion at the end of the course. Submit this with the paid bills to SALS for reimbursement.

There is also an online learning opportunity, available from September 9 through December 13, allowing anyone interested to move at your own pace.

Please identify yourself as a SALS member when registering to obtain documentation of online course completion to submit with a copy of the paid bill to SALS for reimbursement.

To register and pay for the course call 518-743-2238, e-mail, or complete and submit the registration form.

Please note that you must complete all required components of the course and submit your paid bill, course participation documentation and proof of completed and passed Notary Public exam to receive reimbursement from SALS. The deadline for submitting documentation for reimbursement to Erica is December 31, 2019. No reimbursements will be made after that date.

Support for this program comes from the New York State Library’s Adult Literacy Library Services Program.

Measuring Success

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Few of us enjoy our annual evaluations or performance reviews. This article in the National Law Review helps reframe our approach, providing a new way to think about the opportunity.
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To promote the concept of a global community of libraries, the American Library Association (ALA) encourages U.S. libraries to form partnerships with libraries in other countries. Developing a Sister Library relationship is a great opportunity to learn about the work and lives of librarians around the world.

Get tips on how to find a Sister Library. Browse “Libraries Seeking Sisters” list of libraries seeking a Sister Library partnership. If you wish to be added to the list so that a potential Sister Library can find you, complete this form: Add Me to the List of Sister Libraries Seeking Partners. For more information, email

Fund All The Things!!

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To celebrate PLA’s 75th Anniversary and encourage equity, diversity and inclusion in library leadership, PLA has raised $7,500 to sponsor 15 scholarships for public library staff and library school students to attend the PLA 2020 Conference in Nashville, TN. The scholarships will be divided into three categories, with 5 scholarships given out in each category—library school student scholarships, early career librarian scholarships, and library support staff scholarships.

Early-career librarian scholarships aim to provide opportunities for public librarians who have five years or less of post-MLIS experience to learn, network, and develop new skills by attending the PLA Conference for the first time.


  • Equip early-career librarians with tools to provide community-centered and people-focused services at their libraries
  • Increase participation of entry-level and minority librarians in PLA professional development training
  • Encourage positive interactions between PLA members in order to strengthen membership retention


  • Be a PLA member with five years or less of post-MLIS experience in a public library
  • Never attended a PLA Conference previously
  • Currently employed in a public library

Library Support Staff Scholarships provide opportunities for public library support staff to expand their professional horizons and share best practices with their peers by participating in the PLA 2020 Conference.


  • Encourage skill development for library support staff so they can better serve their communities and library
  • Connect library support staff from various communities in order to share knowledge and common best practices
  • Increase engagement of library support staff in PLA professional development trainings
  • Provide equitable and inclusive professional development opportunities for library support staff


  • Be a PLA member
  • Currently employed in a public library

Library School Student Scholarships provide opportunities for any library science and/or information science students to explore a career in public librarianship and learn about current issues affecting public libraries at the PLA 2020 Conference.


  • Introduce students to PLA professional development offerings
  • Connect students with peers and mentors to help guide their path to a meaningful public library career

Scholarship applicants must be:

  • Be a PLA student member
  • Enrolled at least part-time at an ALA-accredited institution (part-time status as defined by your institution)

Five (5) scholarships in each category will be awarded, to a total of 15 scholarships. Each scholarship will include complimentary early-bird registration (up to a $305 value), and $500 stipend to attend the PLA 2020 Conference, February 25–29, 2020 in Nashville, TN. The cost of preconferences and separately ticketed events is not included.

If a scholarship recipient has already paid to register for the conference, then a refund of their early-bird registration fee (up to $305) will be issued.

PLA is committed to creating an inclusive environment for all our members and is consistently advocating for equity, diversity, inclusion, and social justice. In awarding the scholarships, preference will be given to applicants from diverse cultural/ethnic backgrounds and applicants who identify as a member of the LGBTQ community.

The committee will strive to achieve diversity and balance among scholarship recipients and will also consider financial need and geographical location of the applicant.

Ready to apply? Go to the online scholarship application form.

Application deadline is Wednesday, November 6, 2019.

Scholarship recipients will be announced Wednesday, November 20, 2019.

Questions about the scholarships? Please contact us.

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America Walks is offering a Community Change Grant program. This program will award grantees $1,500 in community stipends for projects related to creating healthy, active, and engaged places to live, work and play.

This grant will work to provide support to the growing network of advocates, organizations, and agencies using innovative, engaging, and inclusive programs and projects to create change at the community level.

Funded projects must demonstrate that they will show increased physical activity and active transportation in a specific community, work to engage people and organizations new to the efforts of walking and walkability, and demonstrate a culture of inclusive health. Projects will create healthy, active, and engaged communities that support walking as transportation, health, and recreation.

Awardees will be notified in December 2019. Funds must be used in the 2020 calendar year.

Please contact Heidi Simon at with questions.

Applications are due by November 8th by 5 pm Eastern Standard Time.

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Submissions are open for the 2020 EBSCO Midwinter Meeting Scholarship. EBSCO provides up to $1,500 to defray the costs of travel and other expenses to the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting, which will be held Jan. 24-28 in Philadelphia.

The five midwinter scholarships will be awarded to librarians responding to the following essay question: What do you think the biggest factors for change will be as libraries expand into non-traditional areas of service, introduce new technologies and endeavor to support their changing research communities?

An ALA-designated jury selects the winners based on their 250-word responses. Winners, jury members, and ALA representatives are invited to a Scholarship Winners Breakfast that EBSCO hosts during the conference.

Midwinter submissions are due Nov. 8, 2019.

In addition, seven Annual Conference scholarships will be awarded to librarians responding to the following essay question: How will attending this ALA Conference contribute to my professional development?

Annual Conference Submissions are due Dec. 1, 2019. The ALA Annual Conference will be held June 25-30, 2020 in Chicago.

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In advance of Computer Science Education Week (CSEdWeek), ALA is opening a call for applications for $300 mini-grants for public libraries to facilitate an Hour of Code activity for youth using Google’s CS First Hour of Code activity.

Libraries Ready to Code, an ALA initiative sponsored by Google, aims to ensure libraries have the resources, capacity, and inspiration to embrace activities that promote computational thinking (CT) and computer science (CS) among our nation’s youth. CSEdWeek is held every year in recognition of the birthday of Admiral Grace Murray Hopper (December 9, 1906).

Successful applicants will plan their own CS First Hour of Code activities using tools and inspiration provided by Ready to Code. During CSEdWeek, participating libraries will facilitate an activity, share video, photos, and tweets using #ReadyToCode, #CSFirst, and #CodeYourHero. Applicants will hold one additional CS First activity before or after CS Education week.

To apply for the $300 Ready to Code mini-grant, visit the Ready to Code website for more information. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis with the final deadline for submitting an application on November 18. Up to eligible 450 libraries will be awarded mini-grants. The mini-grants will be disbursed following CS Education Week and after selected libraries successfully submit a brief report on their activities to confirm they were conducted.

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The Colorado State Library and Colorado Library Consortium are excited to announce that the next Research Institute for Public Libraries (RIPL) national event will occur July 12-15, 2020, at the Eaglewood Resort in the Chicago suburb of Itasca, Illinois.

At the 2020 national event, the RIPL Team will debut a new curriculum and format, tailored to meeting the needs of those just getting started with data and evaluation as well as data geeks. Longer breakout sessions will enable participants to explore topics in more depth. What’s not changing? Hands-on, experiential learning; an immersive, camp-like experience; and the opportunity to connect with instructors and library staff from around the US and beyond who are passionate about creating data-powered libraries.

We will be selecting up to 15 people to serve as facilitators at RIPL 2020. Both RIPL alumni and those who are new to the event are welcome to apply. Facilitators receive a discounted rate on the registration fee. The application deadline is November 22, 2019.

Do you work in a rural and small public library and want to attend RIPL 2020? Fifteen scholarships are available to staff working in rural and small libraries that cover the registration fee, lodging, all meals during the event, and up to $500 in travel expenses. The application deadline is November 22, 2019.

Registration will open February 3, 2020.

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The American Library Association (ALA) is now accepting applications for Library Census Equity Fund mini-grants. Applications are due Nov. 22.

ALA will provide 25 libraries with $2,000 mini-grants to bolster their service to hard-to-count communities and help achieve a complete count in the 2020 Census.

All types of libraries and library organizations are eligible to apply (e.g., public libraries, school libraries, academic libraries, tribal libraries, state library agencies, Library Friends or Foundations, library cooperatives, state library associations, etc.).

Applicants may propose activities such as conducting community outreach activities or expanding the library’s technology capacity for people completing the census questionnaire online.

For more information:

Autism Welcome Here

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The "Autism Welcome Here: Library Programs, Services and More" grant, sponsored by Libraries and Autism: We're Connected, will accept applications beginning September 1, 2019.

The grant honors the groundbreaking work of Meg Kolaya, co-founder of Libraries and Autism: We're Connected and a pioneer in the area of library service to people with autism. It celebrates her contributions in promoting inclusion, connecting libraries and the autism community, and bringing awareness of the needs of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families to the library community.

The grant is a direct outcome of the Illinois State Library's broad and ambitious project, Targeting Autism: A National Forum on Serving Library Patrons on the Spectrum, and is funded by Barbara Klipper, retired librarian, consultant and trainer, and the author of Programming for Children and Teens with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ALA Editions, 2014).

A total of $5,000 will be awarded. Depending on the applications received, one grant for the full amount or multiple grants for smaller amounts totaling $5,000 may be awarded.

The application deadline is December 1, 2019.

Any type of library in the United States or Canada can apply, and the proposal can fund projects and services for any age group. Applicants may propose to initiate a new, creative program or service, bring an already-existing, successful program or service to their library for the first time, or enhance a program or service they already offer. All programs or services proposed must benefit people with autism or their families, directly or indirectly. Funds may be used to hire a trainer to present a workshop, to buy program materials, to pay for staff, etc.

Applications will be judged on the basis of:

1. The project is clearly described and well thought out.
2. The potential impact is significant.
3. There is institutional support for the program or service
4. People with autism, family members or other community stakeholders are involved in the development and/or implementation of the project.
5. The program is one that would be replicable in other communities.
6. The program or service is based on an understanding of the needs of people with autism and/or best practices in working with this population.
7. There is a plan for the continuation of the service or program after the grant year.
8. The project would not be possible without outside funding.

Please direct any questions to Barbara Klipper:

Awards!! Win All the Things!

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The PLA awards online application is now open!

PLA awards and grants highlight the best in public library service and honor those bringing innovation, creativity, and dedication to public libraries. In addition to the awards, grants, and honoraria, the winners and their libraries will be honored at the PLA Member Breakfast the 2020 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago. Applications close Friday, December 6, 2019, at 11:59 PM Central Time.

Nominate yourself or a colleague for any of the following awards and grants:

  • Allie Beth Martin Award, honoring a public librarian who has demonstrated extraordinary range and depth of knowledge about books or other library materials and has the distinguished ability to share that knowledge. Sponsored by Baker & Taylor.
  • Baker & Taylor Entertainment Audio Music/Video Product Award, promoting the development of a circulating audio music/video collection in a public library.
  • Charlie Robinson Award, honoring a public library director who, over a period of seven years, has been a risk taker, an innovator and/or a change agent in a public library. Sponsored by Baker & Taylor.
  • EBSCO Excellence in Rural Library Service Award, honoring a public library serving a population of 10,000 or less with an upper per capita income limit of not more than the 75th quartile of the national average that demonstrates excellence of service to its community.
  • Gordon M. Conable Award, honoring a public library staff member, library trustee or public library that has demonstrated a commitment to intellectual freedom and the Library Bill of Rights.
  • John Iliff Award, honoring a library worker, librarian or library that has used technology as a tool to improve services.
  • New Leaders Travel Grant, enhancing the professional development of new public librarians by making possible their attendance at major professional development activities.
  • PLA Library Innovation Award, recognizing a public library's innovative and creative service program to the community.
  • Romance Writers of America Library Grant, providing a public library the opportunity to build or expand its romance fiction collection and/or host romance fiction programming.
  • The Singer Group Helping Communities Come Together Award, recognizing a public library's ability to identify community needs specifically in times of crisis and division, and respond in creative and exemplary ways to critical challenges.

Webinars and CE!!! Learn All the Things!

Advocacy 101: When Advocacy Becomes Second Nature

Thursday, Nov. 7th, 3pm

This is an online event.

If advocacy is a scary word to you, this webinar may change your feelings about it. Advocating for increased support for your library is an action that promotes the library’s success and contributes to your own enhanced ability to do your job well, with improved resources. Join us to build advocacy into your everyday routines. Learn about inexpensive ideas and activities, how to tap into the Friends of the Library and other groups, and how to figure out what matters to “them” (i.e. funding partners, community, grantors). Before you know it, you will be advocating like a natural.

Presented by: Lisa M. Shaw, Rural & Small Libraries Specialist, Maine State Library; and Kate Brunner, Children's Services Manager, Pine River Library (CO) and Regional Literacy Specialist, Southern Region at the Colorado State Library

This webinar is presented in collaboration with the Association for Rural & Small Libraries.

Reaching the Uninsured: Libraries Work to Reduce Disparities in Health Insurance Coverage

Tuesday, Nov. 19th, 2pm

This is an online event.

Join PLA for a webinar on how public libraries can educate uninsured patrons and build awareness about health insurance coverage. Participants will learn about PLA’s second annual initiative, Libraries Connecting You to Coverage, with tips and tools to help libraries start or increase their efforts to educate and build awareness of coverage. These efforts will help reach the uninsured, many of whom are people of color, and increase health insurance literacy for better health outcomes.

As part of its ongoing work to support the public library’s role in creating healthy communities, PLA offers public libraries a suite of free tools and resources to prepare for the next Open Enrollment period of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), November 1–December 15, 2019.

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this webinar, participants will be able to:

  • Identify the needs for promotion, education, and outreach around the 2019 Open Enrollment process and health insurance literacy;
  • Take advantage of free resources and tools to promote awareness about health insurance coverage options; and
  • Explore strategies for advocacy and developing partnerships to create a healthier community.


  • Emily Vardell is an assistant professor in the School of Library and Information Management at Emporia State University (Emporia, KS).
  • Sally Jones is the head of Information Services and interlibrary loan coordinator at Washington County (VA) Public Library.
  • Leighann Wood is a program manager with the Public Library Association (PLA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA).

Project Outcome: Taking Action Using the Results

Wednesday, Nov. 20th, 2pm

This is an online event.

You've surveyed your patrons, collected great outcome data, and learned more about what your patrons value...

Now, how can you begin implementing changes based on the outcomes you’ve gathered? In this free webinar, you’ll learn how your peers have taken action—and how you can, too—using results gathered from Project Outcome surveys. Learn how outcome data can be used to guide programming changes, strategic planning, communication, advocacy, or new funding requests. REGISTER NOW!

This webinar is open to everyone. PLA’s Project Outcome is a free online toolkit designed to help public libraries understand and share the impact of their programs and services by providing simple surveys and an easy-to-use process for measuring and analyzing outcomes. Learn more at

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this webinar, participants will be able to:

  • Confidently take the next steps after gathering data;
  • Understand how they can make changes using their survey results; and
  • Apply what they learned to better understand and use their Project Outcome data.

Doing the Work Externally and Internally: Race, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Thursday, Dec. 5th, 3pm

This is an online event.

How does a library respond to a community in deep crisis around race and social justice? That’s the question that Richland Library in Columbia, S.C., grappled with. Recognizing there was no single answer, they launched initiatives on multiple internal and external fronts. Starting with a Social Awareness Taskforce, geared toward community engagement and courageous conversations, they explored topics surrounding social and criminal justice, women’s rights and race.

By using Circles of Dialogue and mobile empathy labs, nearly 1,500 people have participated in the library’s race, equity and inclusion programming. They have also focused internally, empowering staff to lead the charge to understand their biases, macroaggressions, and cultural competence through Let’s Talk gatherings, Check Your Bubble worksheets, and other effective tools.

Hearing how Richland Library moved the needle on honest dialogue, empathy, and equity with their staff and community, you will be inspired to dig in and do the work at your own library.

Presented by: Richland Library (SC) staff, including Tamara King, Community Relations Director and 2019 Library Journal Mover & Shaker; Ci Ci Holloway, Human Resources Director; and Dee Robinson, Director of Library Experience, Branches.

This webinar is part of collaboration with Library Journal, highlighting the work of recent LJ Movers & Shakers.