Outreach, Engagement & Other Splendid Stuff

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It's been a busy couple of weeks at SALS. A number of our member libraries are working on strategic plans, and we have some new directors in our midst. We've been hosting a bunch of professional development opportunities, including an Escape Room Workshop, Libraries Mean Business sessions and a conference for the NYS Outreach Coordinators.

The theme of the Outreach conference was Stronger Together: Diversity & Inclusion in Public Libraries. We spent a couple of days asking ourselves some hard questions and reflecting on implicit bias, as well as policies and practices which are more exclusive than inclusive. We brainstormed ideas about how libraries could be more welcoming, including:

  • Taking libraries services to people where they are
  • Connecting with partner organizations that serve the same population
  • Invite community members to take an active role in the library
  • Make space on library boards for new faces
  • Be willing to have difficult conversations
  • Staff should reflect the community
  • Foster empathy

What do you do at your library to make it a welcoming, inclusive space? Let me know!

Get Out!

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Last week, a group of intrepid youth services librarians allowed themselves to be blindfolded, and led into a room, only to find themselves trapped by Jono Naito from the Museum of Intrigue. They had to find and solve a series of clues in order to get out. The good news: They escaped, and learned how to create escape rooms for as little as $35. Be careful the next time you visit a library ...

All the Things

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A couple of weeks ago I had a chance to visit Susan at the Town of Johnsburg Public Library. In addition to lending traditional library items, they also lend snowshoes and pickleball equipment, giving patrons a chance to get healthy while being entertained.

Visual Merchandising

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Roberta at the Hadley-Luzerne Library used her background in visual merchandising to rethink how the library was using space. She relocated the reference room to a smaller space, weeded the collection, and created a compelling display and sitting area where patrons can relax. Visual merchandising is a sales strategy that uses visual cues to highlight goods and services, drawing people in to take a closer look.
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The Libraries Mean Business initiative continues to gather steam. Our kick-off programs at the Schuylerville Public Library and Mechanicville District Public Library were a hit, and more libraries -- including the Greenwich Free Library and the Galway Public Library -- are preparing to launch.

These 90-minute to two-hour, turn-key programs have three components:

  • Training for attendees on resources available through member
  • Presentation or workshop by an expert addressing a particular skill (e.g. Marketing via Social Media, Writing a Business Plan)
  • Introduction to local partners/resources

Member libraries are responsible for:

  • · Promotion of program
  • · Drawing a minimum of 10 people to each event
  • · Hosting at least one additional programs to support those organized by SALS.
  • · Recording data about programs in Project Outcome

If you'd like to provide opportunities for small businesses and entrepreneurs to build their talents, get in touch. This project is supported by funds from New York State Library's Adult Literacy Library Services Program.

Live Your Best Life

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Yoga (goats optional). Meditation. Walking book clubs. Libraries are playing a role in helping their communities live healthier lives by offering a wide variety of health and wellness programs. Find out more about what neighboring libraries are doing -- and share your own programs -- at the next tri-system Adult Program Swap, from 9:30 to 11:30 am on Thursday, May 24, at the Upper Hudson Library System.

Be sure to download and edit the program information template: so we can share our good work.

Registration is required; reserve your spot today. If you'd like to carpool, contact Erica.

Coffee and light refreshments will be served.

Power to the Patients!

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The Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library is hosting a CE workshop, "Patient Empowerment: Using Information Resources to Improve Health Communication," from 1 to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, June 19 in its computer lab. There is space for seven librarians to join. Participating librarians will earn 4 hours of CE credit.

The goal of this workshop is to introduce librarians to how health information resources can be used to improve patient-physician communication. Incorporating information literacy and public health, participants will learn how health information resources help individuals prepare for an appointment, the ability to research appropriate consumer health information resources for specific populations and conditions, and to help individuals use this information to create questions to ask their physicians.

This interactive workshop is divided into three sections:

1. Preparing for a successful medical appointment

2. Finding information in all the right places

3. During the Follow-up Visit

If you would like to attend, please let Stephanie Dobiecki ( know by Friday, June 1.

Breaking Down Barriers

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The NYLA Public Library Section will be hosting a spring conference from 10 am to 5 pm Friday, June 1, at Canandaigua Inn on the Lake in Canandaigua, NY. The conference will focus on breaking down barriers of all kinds to make libraries more accessible to patrons, whether they are fines, biases, or physical.

Registration Rates
NYLA Members: $40
Non Members; $70

Click HERE to register!

Participants will earn six CE hours.

CE Hours: 6

Most Dangerous Knitters

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As any reader knows, underestimate knitters at your own risk. Madame DeFarge knit a revolution, and this article reveals that women have been knitting as a form of espionage through multiple wars. Keep a close eye on the knitting group at your library ...

Literary Fauna

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Free Art Books

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The Distribution to Underserved Communities Library Program invites you to place an order of free art books for your institution.

The D.U.C. distributes books on contemporary art and culture to public schools, libraries, prisons, and alternative education centers nationwide. Books are brand new, free, and shipped at no cost. All public institutions of learning that self-define as underserved are eligible to participate.

If you are a new participant, visit the D.U.C.'s guidelines to get started.

Build a Better World Through Literacy

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Do you have an idea for a great literacy program but don't have the money to implement it? Consider applying for a Better World Books Literacy Grant by 11:59 pm May 31, 2018. Libraries can apply for funds to support their efforts to further literacy in their communities.

Libraries and nonprofits may pitch only one project each, with a maximum award of $15,000 (or equivalent) per project.

Organizations must clearly outline the project elements that require the requested funds. The Better World Books Literacy Council will review the projects. The Literacy Council will select library and nonprofit winners.

To learn more about the Better World Literacy Grants, read about past winners or to apply for a grant visit


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Interested in learning to innovate, collaborate and lead? Take part in the Connecticut Library's EXCITE Transformation for Libraries program, an intensive team-based experiential learning program that will teach collaboration and innovation skills, result in programs and services that respond to community input and demonstrated needs, lead to cultural change at libraries, and sustain project impact through extended training.

The learning is led by Jeanine Esposito from Innovation Builders, an organization with experience guiding organizations such as PepsiCo, United Health, and several public libraries to innovate new products and services and transform ways of doing business.

See the "EXCITE Journey" video featuring participants from the pilot project. Additional information is included below, in the project FAQs, and on the pilot project page.

The deadline to apply for the second cohort is June 14, 2018.

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Would you like an opportunity to honor an active library supporter, Friend or Friends of the Library? The Daniel W. Casey Library Advocacy Award is sponsored by the Friends of Libraries Section of NYLA. Given annually since 1993, the award honors a volunteer member or group from the library community whose efforts have contributed to the growth of libraries or Friends of the Library organizations.

The deadline for this award is July 1, 2018. This year’s award recipient will be announced at the FLS annual meeting in Rochester on Friday, November 9th at the NYLA Annual Conference.

Nominations must include all relevant information as per the application form. Make sure to describe the contribution of nominee (group or individual) to library service in detail; such as positions held, years of service, accomplishments, successful fundraisers, etc.

Please submit the nomination form and all supporting materials (clippings of press releases, promotional materials, etc.) electronically to Marie Bindeman, Coordinator, at, or by mail to Marie Bindeman, 5498 Hartford Drive, Lockport, NY 14094. Paper copies sent by mail will not be returned.

If you have any questions, contact Marie Bindeman at or call 716-433-0548.

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The Friends of Libraries Section is pleased to participate in NYLA’s Dewey Fellowship Award program. Each year, four Sections of NYLA are eligible to select a NYLA member to attend the Annual Conference, all expenses paid. The award is underwritten by the Lake Placid Foundation and will be awarded by FLS every other year. One Section nominee will be chosen. The recommended candidate’s application is ultimately reviewed by the NYLA Awards Committee. The fellowship award is then approved by NYLA Council.

The FLS Dewey Fellow are chosen based on the following criteria:

  • 3+ years of volunteer experience as a member of a Friends of the Library organization (e.g., an officer or committee chair of a Friends group; a former board member of NYLA’s Friends of Libraries Section);
  • A record of accomplishments as a Friends member; and personal involvement in activities to advance the library community (e.g., activism on the local or state level, service on FLS Executive Board, service on an FLS committee).
  • The applicant must be a personal member of FLS/NYLA or a member of a Friends group that is a current organizational member of FLS/NYLA. Current members of the FLS Executive Board are not eligible for the fellowship.

The FLS Dewey Fellowship Award will pay a maximum of $1,000 of the cost to attend the 2018 NYLA Annual Conference is November 7 - 10 in Rochester. Reimbursements include registration, a pre-conference continuing education seminar, tickets for various meal functions, lodging, and travel.

Applicants must file a completed application (Word Document) by 5 p.m. Wednesday, June 15, 2018. Application packets should be submitted to Kitty Bressington, Coordinator, FLS Dewey Fellowship Award, c/o Linden Financial Consultants, 141 Sully’s Trail, Ste 7A, Pittsford, NY 14534 or e-mail: Any questions about the award may be directed to Kitty at this e-mail address.

The FLS Dewey Fellowship Award Committee will review all eligible applications and notify applicants of the final results in late summer 2018.

Effective Programs for Reaching and Engaging Underserved and Hard to Reach Populations

Thursday, May 17th, 12pm

This is an online event.

This webinar will focus on successful case studies for reaching, engaging and maintaining membership of hard to reach and marginalized populations; such as rural, racial/ethnic minority and LGBTQ populations.

Building a Culture of Learning with Library Boards

Thursday, May 24th, 3pm

This is an online event.

Libraries that cultivate a culture of learning encourage their staff to participate in continuing education. But shouldn't this learning culture also extend to library boards? At the State Library of Iowa, we say yes! Trustees can and should play a key role in fostering a culture of learning at their libraries-beginning with themselves. When library boards embrace a learning culture, they become more receptive to supporting continuing education, in policy, planning, and budgeting. This webinar presents ideas for growing board learning into a blossoming culture that motivates board members to see education and training as a natural part of their trusteeship.

This webinar is hosted in collaboration with the Association for Rural and Small Libraries.

Presented by: Bonnie McKewon, Consultant, State Library of Iowa, Northwest District

Planning Optimal Library Spaces

Friday, May 25th, 2pm

This is an online event.

In this free, hour-long webinar, author David Moore offers exclusive insights into library space planning, creative thinking, and renovation while discussing his most recent title, Planning Optimal Library Spaces: Principles, Processes, and Practices. Susan Maguire, Booklist’s Senior Editor, Collection Management and Library Outreach, will moderate.

Taking Community Partnerships to the Next Level

Tuesday, May 29th, 3pm

This is an online event.

Community partnerships have the power to meet your library's strategic goals, expand your reach and amplify what's great in your community. You already pursue partnerships, but you can take them to the next level, or beyond! Help your community achieve its aspirations by creating partnerships built on solid relationships, mutual respect and SMART goals. Learn from the successes, failures and lessons of real-world examples. You will forge stronger community-led libraries where goals and values are aligned, and collaboration leads to innovation.

Presented by: Audrey Barbakoff, Community Engagement and Economic Development Manager, King County Library System