Outreach, Engagement & Other Splendid Stuff

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Congratulations to the Crandall Public Library, which got a lovely shout out from Bill McKibben in The New Yorker. There's nothing more delightful than reading a story discussing our member libraries in glowing terms. Want more great news? Here's a wonderful article about the summer lunch program hosted by many of our Saratoga County libraries.

As summer comes to an end and kids head back to school, we have a brief minute to catch our collective breath before the fall. September is Library Card Sign-Up Month, a chance to welcome new patrons to the many delights and resources at your library. If you have something fabulous planned to celebrate, please let us know -- and send pictures!

September also brings Welcoming Week, from September 13 to 22. Organized by Welcoming America, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, Welcoming Week celebrates inclusion by bringing communities together to build common ground.

One unwelcome arrival is Macmillan's new library ebook lending model. Under this new model, scheduled to take effect November 1, a library may purchase only a single copy of each new title in eBook format upon release, after which Macmillan will impose an eight-week embargo on additional copies of that title sold to libraries. For a consortium like SALS, that means we can only add one title for patrons in the entire system until eight weeks have passed. This model gets us hot under the collar, so we're encouraging everyone to take action -- and the American Library Association has made it easy. Take a moment to advocate, so we can ensure that our patrons continue to have access to the material they want in a timely fashion.

And finally, don't let the new minimum standards for public libraries catch you by surprise. By January 2021, all public libraries must have a community-based strategic plan in place. A strategic plan helps determine what vision a community has for itself and how the library can help. It includes an outline of priorities for what services a library will provide, aligns the plan to necessary resources, and provides a way to measure success. If you don't currently have a community-based plan of service, get in touch, and we'll help you get started.

I'm headed to the Association of Rural and Small Libraries conference next week and looking forward to learning from our colleagues across the country. Hope to see you there!

Slow Ride

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The frenetic pace of the modern world can be exhausting. To combat the stress created by our hectic world, the Fort Edward Free Library has a new collection for the public: Grove Snails. Patrons can check out a snail to take home. The perfect pet, snails don't shed, eat little, are docile off-leash, and are quiet. The snails are a popular new collection for the library -- the only challenge is where to put the barcode.

Awful Art

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Move over, Michaelangelo. The Pember Public Library & Museum is hosting a Dreadful Art Exhibition, featuring, as you may have guessed, truly terrible artwork. The exhibit includes flea market finds as well as highlighting local artist's labors. All are invited to gawk.

Be Prepared

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As mass shootings become regular headlines, a number of SALS's libraries are hosting active shooter drills. Most recently, the Saratoga County Sherriff's Office held a drill at the Clifton Park - Halfmoon Public Library to train the staff on how to react should a shooting occur. The Sherriff's Department also held a training for library staff and the public at the Mechanicville District Public Library. If your library would benefit from a similar workshop, reach out to local law enforcement agencies to collaborate.

Mental Health First Aid

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The Saratoga Springs Public Library will be hosting an 8-hour Mental Health First Aid training certification course from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm on Friday, September 27. Everyone is invited to attend. Click Here To Register
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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. There are two in-person classes:

  • 12:30 to 4:30 pm Friday, October 25 @ SUNY Adirondack Queensbury Campus

  • 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.

Everybody Counts

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Census 2020 is coming! Are you ready?

Katherine Dillon from the US Census will discuss what we can expect, potential ways to partner, and the importance of counting everyone during a workshop about the census at 10 am Thursday, October 10 at the Southern Adirondack Library System.

We encourage all directors and youth services staff to attend since young children are historically undercounted. Register online to attend.

Read Freely

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It's almost time for the annual celebration of the controversial! Banned Books Week, from September 22-28, is a time to revel in our freedom to read, think critically, and have access to a wide range of ideas. What are your plans to challenge censorship?

Save the Date

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Game On!

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ALA International Games Week Registration is open for 2019!

Transform your library by participating in the International Games Week. This event is an annual celebration of games, play, libraries, and learning that is free for libraries!

This event has only one requirement - you have to have some sort of game-related activity in or around your library, on or around the official dates, November 3rd through the 9th. That's it! The games can be videogames on a library console, tabletop games, social games, party games - whatever you think will work for your individual library and community.

To register, fill out the form at and tell us a bit about your library.

(photo by Christopher Paul High @ Unsplash)

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When the Tully Free Library in Central New York began lending out hotspots to their patrons, they never expected to get hit with a whopping bill for $880 in roaming fees, but that's just what happened when a patron took the hotspot over the border into Canada. Verizon initially declined to waive the fees, but eventually succumbed. Lesson learned: When providing mobile hotspots to the public, be sure to put an international roaming block in place -- or be prepared to pay dearly.
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Harlequin is excited to launch a mentorship initiative as part of our Romance Includes You programming, which aims to support increased diversity and inclusion in romance publishing.

Here is an overview of the details:

  • One winner will be chosen to receive a year-long mentorship program with a Harlequin editor, including an offer to publish their book, plus a $5000 (US) stipend.
  • The submission period begins September 1, 2019 – October 15, 2019.
  • The contest is open to aspiring romance writers living in North America from underrepresented communities
    • We want to work with authors from a wide range of backgrounds, communities and cultures, including [but not limited to] people of color, members of racial and ethnic minorities, LBGTQIA+ communities, Indigenous communities, people with disabilities and other diverse and own voices.
  • Interested aspiring romance authors will need to submit a story synopsis (maximum 2,500 words), a first chapter of the novel (maximum 7,500 words), and a personal statement on why they want to write a romance novel (maximum 500 words).
  • More information can be found at
  • Link to the press release:

If you have any questions, please contract Lisa Wray at

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:

Share Your Story

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What stories do you want to tell about your library to your community, board, city council, funders, or other important stakeholders? What data would help you to tell these stories?

PLA is re-envisioning its annual survey of public libraries, the Public Library Data Service (PLDS), and is interested in getting your input about public libraries’ data needs. PLA will host virtual town hall meetings in September to gather feedback from the public library field on how a new tool could better support its needs. Your input will be used to develop a new online tool that will help libraries use data better as well as assist PLA in advocating for public libraries nationally.

Participation is free, but registration is required. Questions and comments may be sent to

Learn All the Things!

Reaching Across the Aisle for Library Funding & Other Initiatives

Thursday, Aug. 29th, 2pm

This is an online event.

Recent political campaigns and philosophical confrontations online and in the press have destroyed lasting friendships, frayed family ties, and alienated neighbors and co-workers. Social media has devolved into a battleground of nasty diatribes and personal slurs.

The Discovery Model is about first listening to the other person’s point of view and being able to understand their values and the world they live in. The point? It’s about strengthening and sustaining workplace, personal, and online relationships, not trying to win the argument du jour. And learning to live in peace on the same planet with people you disagree with.

For libraries and other organizations looking for financial and political support, influence begins with empathy. Do you know the other person’s priorities? How your political opponents find the information that guides their decisions? What misunderstandings they might have about your positions? And, most importantly, what mistakes might you have been making when communicating your values and advocating for your causes?

This webinar will include the concept of listening with a “clean heart and fresh eyes,” the 75% rule, why emotions can be more important than facts, questions that elicit information, building trust and respect, turning enemies into allies, and how the Discovery Model might change your opinions as well.


  • Introduction: The Elephant and the Wise Blind Seers
  • The Key Idea: Are Conversations Battles to Win or Lose?
  • The Rules of The Game: Agreements About Civility
  • Start with Commonality and Foundation Ideas
  • Precision in Language and Concepts
  • Verifying and Evaluating Information
  • Avoiding Common Critical Thinking Mistakes
  • Next steps


  • Build and maintain positive relationships based on trust and respect during divisive political times, even with political opponents.
  • Attract people who want to discuss issues and learn instead of debating them as competing in a reality-show contest.
  • Create safe public environments for difficult conversations.
  • Win financial and political support for institutions and causes.
  • Set an example of civil behavior for the people you serve.

Designing for Human Behavior

Wednesday, Sep. 18th, 2:30pm

This is an online event.

Creating contemporary library spaces that support human behavior can sound intimidating. What are natural social behaviors? What do people seek out in spaces, and what makes them appealing to our senses? And how can we design our library spaces with these things in mind?

This free webinar will provide a basic understanding of the natural human behaviors and instincts that drive our everyday lives, such as the desire to be in a secure environment and the need to have a vision of your surroundings. You will learn how you can design library spaces to promote comfort and security through the details – everything from the pitch of the seat and the ability to maintain your personal bubble, to the sightlines, improving comfort for instincts that trigger our internal fight or flight response. Furniture that works well in library spaces puts our instinctual fears at ease and allow us to spend time tucked away in the comfy chair reading a novel or at a computer completing a task. It’s time to understand why this happens and how to better design libraries with these things in mind.

Participants will be able to:

  • Create an understanding of human behavior in the context of public spaces and libraries
  • Display the unique and varying ways humans interact with furniture and space in libraries.
  • Describe the work and usage patterns that typically emerge in libraries.
  • Show what furniture and design concepts best address how people behave in libraries.

This webinar addresses several of LLAMA's Foundational Leadership Competencies including evidence-based decision making, forward-thinking, marketing, communication skills, and problem-solving.

Presenter: Joe S. Agati is an industrial designer. By observing “key user insights,” he has been able to develop products that positively impact people’s lives.

Census, the Citizenship Question and the Community and Organizational Response

Thursday, Sep. 19th, 1pm

This is an online event.

The Trump administration efforts to include a question about citizenship in the 2020 Census sparked fear and concern among communities of color and immigrant communities. Hear how Asian American and Pacific Islander organizations and networks are organizing and mobilizing around Census 2020 and what shifts they have made to fight back against the citizenship question.

On the webinar are XP Lee Program Manager for Policy & Special Projects with the Minnesota Council on Foundations to share how philanthropy in Minnesota is supporting the community work and Joseph Lachman ACRS Civic Engagement Program Manager with Asian Counseling and Referral Services who will talk about how their organization that is focused on mental health is building coalitions and advocating for a full census count in underserved communities.

Connecting With Today’s Volunteers to Transform the Friends of the Library: Expectations, Engagement, and Impact

Wednesday, Sep. 25th, 2pm

This is an online event.

Can a nonprofit transform the way it attracts and utilizes volunteers? Traditional volunteer programs in libraries of all sizes need to be redesigned to work with today’s volunteers – many of whom have limited time to give and expect to have their expertise put to good use. Does your Friends group need assistance in graphic design, technology, social media, event planning, leadership, or public relations? How does an organization design roles for volunteers with new skillsets, and where do you begin to look for people to fill these positions?

Reaching volunteers as vastly different as Baby Boomers and Millennials is challenging, but both groups want to make an impact. Discover new approaches to recruit volunteers that are reshaping other nonprofits such as online recruitment and using virtual volunteers to work remotely on library projects. See how these changes can have an impact on your organization and help the Friends succeed in their mission.

Learning Objectives:

After the webinar, attendees will be able to: Identify current trends that require a shift in traditional volunteer management practices; Inventory their organization’s needs that can be met by the expertise and skills of new volunteers; Design effective job descriptions establishing explicit expectations of training, investment of time, and clearly delineated tasks; Prepare an achievable recruitment plan to locate skilled volunteers to meet the organization’s needs


Carla Lehn began her career as a VISTA volunteer and, after receiving a Masters in Community Development from the University of California, Davis, worked for United Way for over a decade. Before joining the California State Library staff in 2001 to work on statewide literacy, volunteerism, and community engagement initiatives. Carla’s most recent book, From Library Volunteer to Library Advocate: Tapping Into the Power of Community Engagement, was published by Libraries Unlimited in June 2018.

Cost and Registration:

The charge for the webinar is $25 for NYLA personal or organizational members (who are not members of the Friends of Libraries Section) and $35 for those who are not members of the New York Library Association. Group registrations are also available ($75 member rate/$99 nonmember rate). Interested participants may choose to join NYLA prior to registering for the webinar to receive the NYLA member rate. However, at the time of registration, a NYLA member may not add FLS to their existing membership in order to attend the webinar at no cost. Registration is closed 48 hours prior to the start time of the webinar.

There is no cost to attend for existing personal and organizational members of the Friends of Libraries Section of NYLA. The FLS membership must be active on August 1, 2019, and the membership expiration date must be after the date of the webinar. Elected officers of Friends Group organizational members of NYLA are also eligible for this benefit, as long as these individuals are included on the “Elected Officer Registration Form” on file with Lois Powell, NYLA’s Director of Membership Services. When registering, FLS members need their assigned user name and password to qualify for an “FLS Member Reg Pass” that will waive the webinar registration fee.

Registration will open Wednesday, August 14. Registration is through the NYLA Online Membership Center and a credit card is required for payment. Checks and purchase orders are not accepted.

Making a Collection Count

Wednesday, Oct. 2nd, 10am

10 Community Way

East Greenbush, NY

Awful Library Books is coming to the Capital District!

Mary Kelly and Holly Hibner of Awful Library Books fame will present this workshop on collection development. When not running their popular blog, they are both public librarians in Michigan.

This program will discuss how to assess the overall quality of a library collection, including the benefits and methods of taking a physical inventory, analyzing collection procedures and workflows, and the life cycle of a collection. Most importantly, participants will learn how to measure a collection’s quality. The presenters' holistic approach to collection management will help all types and sizes of libraries to keep pace with the demands and expectations of their communities.

CDLC is fully subsidizing this workshop. The workshop is free, but registration is required.

Scams, Fraud and Identity Theft: How Libraries Can Help

Thursday, Oct. 17th, 3pm

This is an online event.

Consumers are faced with increasingly complex scams and schemes used to defraud millions of people each year. As libraries strive to increase the digital and information literacy skills of their patrons, and provide timely and effective strategies for fraud protection, keeping up with options for consumer protection can be overwhelming.

This webinar will explore the free resources available in multiple languages and formats provided by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that can be used by your patrons to protect their identity and to recognize and avoid scams. You’ll also hear how Johnson County Library is partnering with local agencies to provide programs and resources to empower consumers in their community.

Presented by: Carol Kando-Pineda, Counsel, Division of Consumer and Business Education, Federal Trade Commission; and Marty Johannes, Careers/Personal Finance Librarian, Johnson County Library (KS)

Public Libraries Partner to Respond to the Opioid Crisis

Wednesday, Oct. 30th, 3pm

This is an online event.

As communities across the country experience the impact of the opioid epidemic, public library staff are finding themselves on the front line of this public health crisis. How should libraries engage? Public Libraries Respond to the Opioid Epidemic with Their Community is an IMLS-funded project led by OCLC and PLA to expand libraries’ capacity to support their communities. The project studied a diverse set of communities where the library is an active partner in addressing the epidemic and facilitated discussions with library leaders and a range of government, public health, and community organizations.

Presenters will share insights gained from the case studies and emerging practices, opportunities, and challenges, and share resources to help library staff guide their libraries’ response to the opioid crisis. This is the first in a series of webinars on this topic, highlighting the project findings.

Presented by: Lynn Silipigni Connaway, OCLC; Michelle Jeske, Denver Public Library; Marion Rorke, Denver Dept of Public Health and Environment; and Kendra Morgan, WebJunction