Outreach, Engagement & Other Splendid Stuff

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Last week, the best looking advocates in the universe gathered to make a case for increased library funding to their representatives in Albany. We met with five assemblymembers and three State Senators -- all of whom expressed their admiration for and support of public libraries. Thanks to everyone who came out and shared their story. I'll keep you updated as the state budget process continues. If you haven't yet had a chance to send a thank-you note to your representative, please do so!

In the meantime, take a minute to remind our representatives in Washington, D.C., that federal funding for libraries is critical.

I know you're doing cool stuff. Share your story -- drop me a line or call and let me know how hard you rock!

Library Trustee Awards

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Are you able to throw together a book sale in less than a month? Have you overcome tough budget referendums and secure sustainable funding for your library? Do you use your superpowers to advocate for libraries locally, regionally, statewide and nationally?

One of the reasons our libraries rock is due to the work of our library trustees. We want to recognize one of our impressive library trustees with the SALS Trustee of the Year Award, given at the SALS Annual Meeting on May 21, 2018. If you have a super trustee, let Sara Dallas know by March 30, 2018.

Nominees should meet the following Eligibility Requirements:

  • Member of the Board of Trustees of a SALS member library for the 2017 calendar year.

  • Initiated service(s), program(s) or community involvement on behalf of the library.

  • Demonstrated exemplary leadership characteristics.

  • Pursued excellence in the library and sought to have the library make a difference in the community.

Nomination Procedure:

  • The Library Director or a Trustee may nominate an individual. Submit nominations on library letterhead and include supporting materials. Nominations by e-mail or fax will not be accepted.

  • One award will be given. One Trustee per library will be considered.

  • The nomination must be received at SALS before 4:30 pm, March 30, 2018, Attention: Sara Dallas

  • SALS Personnel Committee is responsible for the selection of the award recipients.


  • Award winners will be announced April 17, 2018, at the SALS Board Meeting. The award will be presented at the SALS 60th Annual Meeting on May 21, 2018.

  • Award consists of a framed certificate honoring the recipient’s achievements on behalf of his/her library.

  • If the award recipient is not present at the Annual Meeting, the certificate will be given to the library’s Board representative for presentation at the library’s next Board meeting.

Program of the Year

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How have your library programs made a difference in the community? If your library had a program that demonstrates creativity, innovation, community partnerships, enhances services to your community, or serves a previously unserved constituency, apply for a chance at winning SALS's Program of the Year award.


  • Program must have been initiated during the 2017 calendar year.

  • Any program---adult, outreach, young adult, children, community services or public relations -- is eligible.

  • Selection is based on programs that have demonstrated creativity and innovation, demonstrated community partnerships, enhanced services to the community, or reached a previously unserved constituency.

  • The program must have pursued excellence in library services and sought to have the library make a difference in the community.


  • A program may be nominated by the library, by a community member, or by a Trustee. Submissions should be described on library letterhead and include by any supporting materials. Nominations by e-mail or fax will not be accepted.

  • There can be only one program of the year. One submission per library will be considered.

  • The nomination must be received at SALS before 4:30 p.m., March 30, 2018, Attention: Sara Dallas

  • SALS Library Services Committee is responsible for the selection of the award recipients.


  • Award winners will be announced on April 17, 2018, at the SALS Board Meeting.
  • Awards will be presented at the SALS 60th Annual Meeting on May 21, 2018.

  • The award is a framed certificate honoring the library’s achievements.

  • If a representative from an award-winning library is not present at the Annual Meeting, the certificate will be given to the library's Board representative for presentation at the library's next Board Meeting.

Deadline for submission is March 30, 2018.

Libraries as Bridges Out of Poverty

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How do we create libraries that are welcoming to everyone? By facing our assumptions, and recognizing that for many people, libraries can appear intimidating, confusing, and expensive. Learn how to create space for marginalized communities when Josh Willenbrink, Karen Bradley & Leah LaFera host a Bridges Out of Poverty training from 9:30 -11:30 am Thursday, March 8, at the Schenectady County Public Library.

Participants will learn about messages you may be inadvertently sending to those in poverty; simple changes can libraries can make to be more accessible to potential library users, and have a more significant impact in your community.

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For the past year, SALS has been working to position member libraries as business incubators -- a place where local businesses can go to get support and services to help them be successful. As part of that initiative, we're providing an opportunity for every library in the SALS to have a Notary Public.

Since beginning last spring, we've had nine libraries participate, and now have twelve licensed Notaries Public in our libraries. Together, they have already notarized more than 200 documents.

If you haven't yet had a chance to take part in the training, we are partnering with SUNY Adirondack once again to offer Notary Public classes. SALS will reimburse libraries that attend the SUNY Adirondack Notary Exam Preparation Class -- either the face-to-face classes or online, self-paced course. This opportunity is limited to 25 participants -- if you are interested in taking advantage of this program, you must let me know by April 12, 2018. Send an e-mail to

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

  1. Attend the Notary Exam Preparation Course at SUNY Adirondack
  2. Take the one-hour Notary Exam
  3. Secure a Notary Public License

In exchange, participating libraries MUST:

  1. Let me know they intend to participate
  2. Register with SUNY Adirondack & identify as part of the SALS group
  3. Pay for the class, registration, and license
  4. Submit paperwork to be reimbursed -- including documentation indicating completion of the SUNY Adirondack class.

The Notary Public License Exam Preparation—Face-to-Face classes are four hours long. The next in-person class will be from 9 am to 1 pm Thursday, May 3.

Both are on the Queensbury Campus. 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.

The Notary Public License Exam Preparation Course online, self-paced, notary course is offered through May 4 using the Angel learning system.

The Notary Public exam will not be given during this workshop. Information about the exam schedule will be available in the class. Registration for this course closes on Friday, April 13. The cost is $75.

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. Remember to identify yourself as a SALS member.

Please note that you must complete all required components of the course and submit your paid bill and the course participation documentation to receive reimbursement from SALS. The deadline for submitting documentation for reimbursement to Erica is May 15, 2018. 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.

PC Order Time!

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It's a new year and time for new PCs! The 2018 Beginning-Year Group PC and Equipment Order has begun. If you ordered PCs in the previous end-year order, the PCs are being delivered now.

1. Please make the order deadline! Missing it delays the process of everyone getting their PCs and affects the schedule for the next order. The full group order schedule for the year is located at

2. All order forms should be e-mailed as an attachment to The subject should contain your library’s 3 letter code (E.g. “XYZ - 2018 Beginning-Year Group Order”). This makes it easier to separate actual orders from questions.

3. Once your order has been received and processed, we will send you an e-mail confirmation. This may take a day or two depending on current workloads.

The deadline for this order is Friday, March 16, 2018.

The full ordering schedule is available on the JA Project web site…

ALL the PCs will be shipped to SALS to be configured. Once each PC is configured it will be sent to your library in the delivery. Kitten not included.

Summer is Coming

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While the weather may still be frightful, it's time to make plans for this year's summer reading program. The next Adult Program Swap will focus on adult summer reading program at 9:30 am March 28 at SALS. Bring your great ideas to share with others. If you need inspiration, check out the Capital Region Adult Programming Blog by Leah LaFera.

Talking Book & Braille Library

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Remember that question on the Annual Report about the Talking Book and Braille Library? Guess what? The Library of Congress National Library Service (NLS) is launching a national television and radio campaign Monday, February 26, on National Public Radio, the History Channel, and the Hallmark Channel about using the Talking Book and Braille Library.

You may get questions about how patrons would apply for access to talking book and braille library program services. Information on eligibility and application for these free services is available from the New York State Library Talking Book and Braille Library.

SALS, UHLS & MVLS have teamed up to host a program to answer all of your questions from 9:30 -11:30 am Tuesday, April 10 at the Upper Hudson Library System. Shawn Lemieux, the Senior Librarian at TBBL, will tell us about free services for people who need physical and visual options for reading. The discussion will include the TBBL application and certification guidelines and additional referrals and resources. There will be a demonstration of the equipment and options for using BARD, BARD Express, BARD Mobile, and third-party players, and an opportunity to try out the devices and ask questions.

If you have any questions about the program or eligibility, get in touch with Erica, and plan on attending an introduction to TBBL.

Applications for service require certification of eligibility by an appropriate authority, which includes librarians, library directors, and library managers. Learning disabilities require certification from a medical doctor or doctor of osteopathy.

Applications may be downloaded and printed from the websites.

Saving Lives

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As the opioid epidemic ravages communities, libraries are on the front lines, saving lives and responding to the crisis.

Where My Ladies At?

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Turns out there are fewer women authors and characters than there were in the 19th century. When women win prizes for their work, it tends to center on male characters. The good news: Women characters, when portrayed, sigh less.

Waxing Poetic

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Hachette Audio is launching a collection of audiobooks on vinyl. You read that correctly. David Foster Wallace, Amanda Palmer, Lin-Manuel Miranda and others will be pressed.
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The Public Library Association and the National Network of Libraries of Medicine are seeking public library workers to participate in virtual focus groups this spring. The focus groups are being conducted as part of Promoting Healthy Communities, a nationwide initiative intended to increase public library workers’ knowledge and skills related to consumer health services.

Participants will be asked to share questions, experiences, concerns, and success stories related to the delivery of health information through public libraries.

Each participant will be interviewed by telephone for approximately 90 minutes and will receive a $25 gift card.

To preserve privacy, no individual or library will be identified in the transcripts. For more information, e-mail Dr. Catherine Arnott Smith at

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.

Earth Day

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There are two opportunities designed to bring Earth weather and climate explorations to your library:

  1. Celebrate 60 Years of Earth Observations with NASA at 3 pm Tuesday, March 6

In its 60 year history, NASA has spent a great deal of time looking outward to find and learn about planets in our solar system and beyond. This Earth Day, however, our focus turns to the numerous NASA missions that study the planet that we live on and help us understand the Earth's complex, dynamic systems. Join STAR Net and Theresa Schwerin from the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies to learn how you can celebrate Earth Day with NASA with programming ideas for children, teens, and adults!

Register here.

  1. NOVA's Case for Climate Change airs April 18th on PBS.

Climate change is the defining challenge of our time, yet widespread misunderstanding and misinformation have hampered the ability of individuals-politicians, and public alike-to understand and address the issue. In this 2-hour documentary, NOVA will cut through the noise and help define the way forward. Why do scientists agree that our climate is changing and that human activity is causing it? How will it affect us, and when? What will it take to bend the curve of planetary warming toward more benign outcomes? Join scientists around the globe on a quest to better understand the workings of the weather and climate machine we call Earth, and discover how they are finding that we can be resilient-even thrive-in the face of enormous change.

Interested in screening this film for your community? Contact Gina Varamo at to register for a free screening kit.

Facilitating Constructive Contributions: Dealing with Difficult Behaviors; Helping People Share from a Better Place

Wednesday, March 7th, 3pm

This is an online event.

Basic facilitation skills involve keeping a group on topic and on time. But what happens when a participant needs special attention? This webinar will identify common types of disruptive behavior and share multiple methods for facilitators to keep the conversation constructive. We’ll discuss what kinds of factors lead caring people to become the "difficult" ones to better understand which strategy to use when. We’ll also review how to create the conditions that reduce the likelihood of difficult of behaviors in the first place. Bring questions from your own challenging facilitation moments for the extended question and answer session.

This session is hosted by the California State Library, represented by Suzanne Flint. The lead presenter will be Susan Stuart Clark.

This webinar will be of interest to: Librarians and library staff who have had experience designing and facilitating group discussions on important issues and are interested in deepening their group process skills.

Handling Negative Feedback Online: Strategies for your Library

Thursday, March 8th, 3pm

This is an online event.

We all dread it: the negative comment. Whether it's on a blog post, in an email or on a social media channel, negative feedback can quickly demoralize us and leave us wondering how to respond.

In this webinar we'll examine the most common kinds of negative commentary and the best methods for handling each. We'll also learn what differentiates an online troll from other kinds of negative users and what to do if you encounter one. Get ready to be a whole lot more prepared the next time one of those undesirable comments appears!

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

  • Be familiar with the 4 types of negative online feedback
  • Be aware of the 6 steps for handling negative feedback
  • Be able to define a troll and how a troll differs from other types of negative feedback

This webinar will be of interest to: Staff responsible for handling online patron comments and feedback.

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

Best Practices for Management of Friends Boards

Tuesday, March 20th, 2pm

This is an online event.

Regardless of the size of a Friends group, if the organization has achieved 501(c)(3) status, there are specific accountabilities the Friends officers must meet to keep the organization legally viable. In this review of nonprofit boards’ legal and fiduciary duties, an attorney from the Pro Bono Partnership will explain ways to provide the best oversight possible for the organization, keeping Friends groups functioning effectively and using their charitable resources appropriately in support of their library.

Recent changes to the New York Nonprofit Revitalization Act of 2013 affect the day-to-day operations of the Friends, including transacting business by the Board, conflict of interest policies, and more. Learn what documents should be kept in your board book, how technology can and cannot be used to conduct board business, and practical strategies for more effective meetings.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify and apply the essential legal and fiduciary responsibilities of nonprofit boards
  2. Recognize the effect of recent changes to NYS laws governing nonprofits and be able to implement organizational changes in order to be in compliance
  3. Hold effective Board meetings for Friends organizations by applying the best practices addressed in the webinar
  4. Determine standard operating procedures for updating by-laws and handling other management issues for nonprofits


Courtney Darts is an attorney with the Pro Bono Partnership which provides business and transactional legal services to nonprofit organizations including libraries and their Friends groups in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. Courtney was appointed the organization’s first Legal Director in October 2017. She oversees the Partnership’s legal program, educational workshops, publications, and internship program. She also provides direct legal services to nonprofits in New York and Connecticut, focusing on nonprofit, tax-exempt, and corporate governance matters.

Intergenerational Programs at the Library: Connecting Generations for Healthy Communities

Thursday, March 29th, 3pm

This is an online event.

Walk into almost any public library and you’ll see people of all ages engaging in the community space. When libraries offer programs and services that intentionally spark connection between generations, they contribute to more vibrant and cohesive communities. Learn how your library can develop inviting opportunities to encourage more intergenerational connections on a day-to day basis. This webinar will discuss why intergenerational relationships are important and will help you develop skills to foster intergenerational communication in your library. We’ll explore ideas and resources that will turn your library into a community intergenerational catalyst.

Presented by: Jennifer Kulik, Ph.D., Founder and CEO of Silver Kite Community Arts; and Wendy Pender, Older Adults Project Specialist, King County Library System (WA)

Teaching Privacy in Libraries: Strategies and Tools

Thursday, March 29th, 3pm

This is an online event.

At a time when society is facing a new set of challenges around privacy, surveillance, censorship and free speech, library workers, as stewards of information and providers of internet access, are in a prime position to educate patrons about their digital rights.

Join presenter Alison Macrina, director of the Library Freedom Project, as she discusses practical strategies that can bring privacy back to our library communities at a time when these rights are most at risk. She will demonstrate tools and best practices that can be taught in any library environment, in one-on-one patron interactions or computer classes.

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

  • Learn about standard privacy best practices including passwords and password managers, endpoint security and software updates
  • Become familiar with several of the most trusted privacy technologies including the Tor browser and HTTPS
  • Learn how to incorporate privacy literacy into existing computer classes, or teach a standalone privacy class as well as how to stay up to date on privacy news and information

This webinar will be of interest to all library staff, particularly those who offer programs around technology.