Outreach, Engagement & Other Splendid Stuff

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As I try to declutter my life, I ask people not to give me gifts, which is challenging at this time of year. When considering gifts to give others, I try to avoid the consumptive urge, and instead think of ways to improve our collective quality of life -- something libraries do every day.

This year, libraries are nailing gift giving, by going fine free, providing library cards for people with no fixed address, bringing materials to those with limited to no access, and helping immigrants become citizens. But I recognize that all of those fabulous gifts can be a heavy lift for one person (and someone's already snatched up James Joyce's glasses) so when in doubt, give the best gift of all, a book. Try something the from the PEN America Literary Awards, revisit the classics, take part in Saratoga Reads, or give someone a candle that smells like books.

Whatever you do, be sure to remind those you love of the power of public libraries -- the gift that keeps on giving.

Safety First

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The Clifton Park - Halfmoon Public Library held an active shooter drill for the public -- the second to be hosted at the library.

How to Grow a Library

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One of my favorite things to see is the progress being made on the new Galway Public Library. At this rate, it will be on track to open as this summer as planned -- can't wait!

Ask a Lawyer

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In partnership with the Western New York Library Resources Council (WNYLRC), the Capital District Library Council (CDLC) has retained the services of an attorney to offer CDLC and its members timely input on intellectual property, digital rights management, vendor contracts, first amendment, civil rights, employment law, and other legal issues that can impact library operations.

To preserve confidentiality, questions sent to CDLC's "Ask the Lawyer" service are sent directly to CDLC, WNYLRC, and our counsel for review and answers. Answers might come in the form of:

  • Public commentary shared with the member who inquired and become part of a Legal RAQ - "Recently Asked Questions" on the WNYLRC website;
  • A training session (in person or webinar);
  • A confidential memo shared only with the inquiring library and the CDLC and WNYLRC liaison.

Ask the Lawyer maintains Recently Asked Questions (RAQs), which are available here.

Save the Date

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The next Adult Program Swap will take place at 9:30 am Thursday, January 17, at the Upper Hudson Library System. Bring your best adult program to share with others!

Annual Report Party!

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Does the thought of doing the Annual Report to the State fill you with dread? There's no need to go it alone! Come to the SALS's Annual Report Party from 9 am to 1 pm Wednesday, January 30, to have your questions asked, commiserate with your colleagues and party hard. Did we mention we'll provide lunch? The snow date is February 6. Register now to reserve your spot. Straw boaters optional.

Wanted: Manager, Adult & Outreach Services, UHLS

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The Upper Hudson Library System (UHLS) has an opportunity for a creative library professional to join our team. We are a cooperative library system headquartered in Albany, providing services to enhance, support and connect the 29 independent public libraries in New York’s Albany and Rensselaer Counties.

Our new colleague will collaborate with UHLS staff and our member libraries to provide System services focusing on:

  • adult services support and continuing education
  • digital collection growth and management
  • resource sharing services
  • outreach services

We are looking for a professional who:

  • is passionate about public library service
  • is ready to be a strong leader in helping our member libraries make a difference in their communities
  • understands and seeks to further the important role public library systems play in strengthening library service

You should be able to demonstrate through your skills and experience:

  • the ability to plan and organize multiple priorities effectively and efficiently
  • resourcefulness and creativity as an approach to both relationship building and problem-solving
  • the ability to supervise staff to maximize capacity and customer service
  • a confident and effective public presentation style
  • an awareness of current trends in public library services, especially in adult services, digital collections, and resource sharing
  • a commitment to engagement in professional organizations and activities

You must have:

  • an MLS/MSIS degree from an ALA-accredited institution; and
  • a New York State Public Librarian’s Professional Certificate (or be eligible for this certification); and
  • a valid driver’s license; and
  • at least five years of relevant professional experience working in a public library, two years of which must include supervisory responsibilities.

This is a full-time position with a competitive benefits package, including participation in the NYS Retirement System. The starting salary range for this position will be $60,000-$65,000, depending on experience and qualifications.

Please submit a cover letter, resume, and the names and contact information for three professional references via e-mail to The review of applications will begin on December 19, 2018, and continue until the position is filled.

For additional information about UHLS, visit

Bearing Witness

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Kuwaiti artist Momhammed Sharaf has created "A Cemetery of Banned Books" to protest the government's restriction of material. The installation, timed to coincide with Kuwait's annual book fair, was dismantled by authorities.

Saucy Tomes

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When faced with how to handly racy titles, the University of Oxford's Bodleian Library marked the books with the Greek letter phi. The quarantined collection was disbanded in 2010, and the library is now celebrating these titles with a special exhibit.

Opportunities Abound: Grants, Awards & More

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Share the awesome work you're doing with your colleagues at next year's New York Library Association conference in Saratoga Springs! Submit a program proposal by Monday, December 31, 2018.
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ALA 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 $10,000 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 to check eligibility.

Read the project guidelines and apply online by Dec. 14, 2018.

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.

The grants allow libraries to augment their print and digital English as a second language (ESL) collections; increase computer access and training; provide job training; hold English language learning (ELL), general educational development (GED) and citizenship classes; and raise the visibility of services for immigrant populations.

American Dream libraries build replicable programs, develop coalition-building strategies, and provide annotated lists of vetted resources for libraries across the country. ALA shares the libraries’ successes and strategies through the website, on webinars, and at state, regional and national conferences.

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, Literacy and Outreach Services.

2019 Loleta D. Fyan Grant

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The American Library Association's Library & Research Center is now accepting applications for the Loleta D. Fyan Grant, a grant for up to $5,000 for the improvement of public libraries and the services they provide. Loleta D. Fyan, ALA President 1951-1952, believed that every individual, regardless of residence, is equally entitled to high-quality library service and that librarians must be adept in using the political process to acquire this "right of citizenship."

The grant, up to $5,000, is to be used for the development and improvement of public libraries and the services they provide. The project should:

  • Result in the development and improvement of public libraries and the services they provide;
  • Have the potential for broader impact and application beyond meeting a specific local need;
  • Be designed to effect changes in public library services that are innovative and responsive to the future; and
  • Be capable of completion within one year.

Applicants can include but are not limited to: local, regional or state libraries, associations or organizations, including units of the ALA; library schools; or individuals. Deadline for submissions, sent via email, is January 11, 2019.

You can find more information about the grant, how to submit proposals, and requirements of the recipient(s) here.

Big Talk From Small Libraries

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Big Talk From Small Libraries 2019 will be held between 8:45 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. (CT) on Friday, February 22, via the GoToWebinar online meeting service. If you are interested in presenting, please submit your proposal by Friday, January 18, 2019.

This free one-day online conference is aimed at librarians from small libraries. We are looking for speakers from small libraries or speakers who directly work with small libraries. Small libraries of all types – public, academic, school, museum, special, etc. – are encouraged to submit a proposal. We’re looking for seven 50-minute presentations and five 10-minute “lightning round” presentations.

Big Opportunities for Small Libraries

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IMLS has announced a new discretionary grant program, Accelerating Promising Practices for Small Libraries (APP). This is a special initiative of the National Leadership Grants for Libraries Program, and the goal is to support projects that strengthen the ability of small and rural libraries and archives to serve their communities. IMLS invites applications that focus on the following topics:

Three categories of APP grants are available to applicants:

  • Transforming School Library Practice: School libraries support learning and the development of critical thinking, creativity, and collaboration skills. IMLS is interested in furthering how school library professionals can serve as integral instructional partners to classroom teachers. Grant projects could include programs and services that prepare students for success in college, career, and life, or foster early, digital, information, health, financial, media, civic, and other types of literacies.
  • Community Memory: Libraries and archives not only serve as stewards of our nation’s knowledge and collections, but also as trusted spaces for community engagement and dialogue. This project category centers on engaging local communities in the collection, documentation, and preservation of their local histories, experiences, and identities. Proposals could include events and programs to digitize materials related to community histories, such as photographs, artifacts, or texts, or oral history projects that involve community members in the documentation and preservation of local histories.
  • Digital Inclusion: Libraries have an important role in promoting digital inclusion and increasing access to information, ideas, and networks. This category focuses on projects that support the role libraries play in promoting digital literacy, providing internet access, and enabling community engagement through civic data and civic technology. Grant proposals could include programs supporting broadband access and wireless networks to address the homework gap, increase small business development and entrepreneurship, or plan for emergency preparedness.

Cohort Learning and Evaluation
Grantees in this initiative will participate in communities of practice based on their project category. Three third-party mentor organizations will lead these cohorts, providing expert guidance and facilitating communication between grantees.

The deadline to submit an application is February 25, 2019.
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The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and Arts Midwest have opened the application process for the September 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020 NEA Big Read program. This grant program annually supports approximately 75 dynamic community reading programs, each designed around a single NEA Big Read selection. Organizations selected to participate in NEA Big Read receive a grant, access to online training resources and opportunities, digital resources, and promotional materials designed to support widespread community involvement.

NEA Big Read applicants submit proposals to host a series of community events presented at a variety of locations over the course of one month or longer. Events use the same NEA Big Read book as a point of departure and encourage participants to engage both with the book and fellow community members. Each NEA Big Read program includes: a kick-off event, often attended by high-profile leaders and other local luminaries; major events inspired by the content and themes from the book (e.g., panel discussions and author readings); artistic events related to the book (e.g., art/writing contests, film screenings, and theatrical performances); and book discussions in diverse locations involving a wide range of audiences.

Deadline: Thursday, January 24, 2019.

Learn All the Things!

From the Mountains to the Sea: Rural Health Issues and Resources

Tuesday, Dec. 11th 2018 at 2pm

This is an online event.

Evidence shows that there are marked health disparities between those living in rural areas versus their urban counterparts. Not only do rural residents suffer from a higher incidence of chronic illness, but they also have limited access to primary care services and are more likely to be uninsured or under-insured. This session will describe hallmarks of rural America, identify other access challenges of living in rural communities, and equip participants with tools to service the health information needs of those living in rural communities.


  • Increase knowledge of the unique nature of rural communities, including their attributes and challenges
  • Identify health information needs specific to rural communities
  • Become familiar with resources to address the health information needs of rural citizens
  • Identify potential community partners in rural communities

Using USCIS Resources to Support Immigrants and Refugees in the Library

Tuesday, Dec. 11th 2018 at 3pm

This is an online event.

Is your library looking for ways to support immigrants and refugees in your community? Would you like to help people learn about United States citizenship? Are you interested in free, high-quality, and easy-to-use educational resources? The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) Office of Citizenship has developed a wealth of products and resources your library can use to help people gain information on how to become a U.S. citizen, prepare for the U.S. naturalization test and interview, as well as navigate life in the United States.

During this one-hour webinar, attendees will:

  • Learn about developing "Citizenship Corners" using USCIS materials
  • Receive information on free educational products and resources available through USCIS
  • Gain ideas on how libraries can help recently arrived immigrants and refugees

Join presenters Domminick McParland (USCIS) and Shawn Chakrabarti (USCIS) as they discuss a variety of free resources available through USCIS, while you develop ideas on ways your organization can utilize these resources to help immigrants and refugees in your community.

This webinar will be of interest to library staff and volunteers who want to help immigrants and refugees learn English, become U.S. citizens, or navigate life in the United States.

Library Programming for Adults, From Start to Finish

Tuesday, Dec. 18th 2018 at 3pm

This is an online event.

Adult programming at your library can bring the community together in meaningful ways but finding the ideal program and attracting the right audience can be overwhelming. This webinar will teach you to plan events and programs from start to finish, including identifying potential partners, getting community input, and successful marketing. Learn how to deliver quality, budget-friendly programs that will bring in the crowds without reinventing the wheel. From choosing dates and times to selecting events that get results, you’ll hear practical tips on everything it takes to launch adult programs your community will love.

Presented by: Cara Romeo, Assistant Library Director/Community Services Librarian, K. O. Lee Aberdeen Public Library (SD)

Implicit Bias in the Library Workplace

Tuesday, Jan. 15th, 3pm

This is an online event.

How do library administrators and managers foster a healthy, inclusive work environment so all employees can succeed? Unfortunately, individuals with diverse backgrounds and uniqueness are being subjected to subtle and overt bias in the library workplace due to the divisive climate in which we live. We have each been a part of the process; on either end of the bias whether we know it or not.

In this webinar, presenter Dr. Michele A. L. Villagran will share examples of implicit bias within the library workplace and discuss best practices for addressing and minimizing implicit bias in recruitment, hiring and retention. Attendees will have access to a reference list of articles and videos on implicit bias including ones the presenter has authored and instructions for taking a free implicit bias test.

At the end of this one-hour webinar, participants will:

  • Increase awareness of situations involving biases.
  • Identify different types of implicit bias challenges.
  • Develop an understanding of how to approach implicit biases.
  • Describe strategies and solutions to foster an inclusive work environment that may be applied within library workplace.
  • Apply best practices within library workplace to reduce implicit bias in recruiting, hiring and retention.

This webinar will be of interest to: Library administration, managers, staff, and human resource professionals who want to learn more about implicit bias to foster a healthy, inclusive work environment for all.

Stand Up for Health: Health and Wellness Services for Your Community for Public Libraries

Monday, Feb. 4th, 7:45am

This is an online event.

This 4-week 12 CE online course (from February 4 - March 3, 2019) is designed to provide public library staff with the foundation (or a refresher) of health and wellness reference, programming, and outreach for their communities. New content is released each Monday. Each week will involve some reading, discussions with your classmates, and a short (2-pages or less!) assignment.

This class is intended to be completed as a cohort that involves discussion with your fellow students. There are no set hours to be online each week, but it is important that you complete the discussion and assignment for each week in a timely fashion. New content will be released each Monday.

  • Week 1: Introduction to Consumer Health for Public Libraries
  • Week 2: Health Reference in a public library environment
  • Week 3 Health Resources
  • Week 4 Health and Wellness Programming and Outreach for Public Libraries

Participants will earn 12 Continuing Education Credits.

This class provides all five competence and all 12 CE credits needed for the Consumer Health Information Specialization (CHIS) Level 1, a continuing education credit awarded by the Medical Library Association.