Monthly Archives: August 2015

Summer Summit Community Partnership Resources

SummerSummit logoEarlier in August I presented on the topic of community partnerships at our annual Summer Summit workshops, so I thought I’d highlight a few of the resources I covered for those who were unable to attend. At the workshops, Mary discussed community engagement and the report “Rising to the Challenge: Re-Envisioning Public Libraries” from The Aspen Institute. I focused on the first “Strategy for Success” from the report, which is “Aligning library services in support of community goals.”

In order to identify community goals, it’s helpful to get out into the community and talk to other organizations because “libraries that are valued by their communities involve the people, local groups and government agencies in developing services and programs.” This isn’t something you just add to your list of things to do. It’s a crucial task that must be incorporated into your broader strategic plan. If you missed our Summer Summit on strategic planning, you can still access the resources to help you get started. Continue reading

Get Ready for Library Card Sign-Up Month

PEANUTS_WEB_PSA_336x280September is Library Card Sign-Up Month! Library Card Sign-Up Month is a great opportunity to encourage your community to visit the library and get a card, but really it’s an ideal opportunity to highlight your resources and services and generally raise awareness about the library in your community. It doesn’t do you much good if people get library cards but never use them to access library resources! If you haven’t started getting ready, check out ALA’s site for resources to supplement your campaign.

Snoopy is the 2015 mascot, and you can download a poster to print as well as images you can use online. ALA also offers a press release and PSAs you can use. There is also a recorded webinar you can listen to, and be sure to read the comments in the chat box for even more ideas – you can skip right to the 26 minute mark to read the transcript of the brainstorming session. The Peanuts Movie comes out in early November, so this is perfectly timed to capitalize on all the Snoopy movie marketing as well! Remember, this is the time to get out of the library and into the community so that community members who aren’t already visiting the library will stop by to see what you offer.

How do you celebrate Library Card Sign-Up Month? How is your library “cooler than cool”? Share your ideas and strategies for a successful campaign!

Grants for Libraries

dollar signBNSF Railway Foundation

Application deadline: Ongoing

The BNSF Railway Foundation has helped improve the quality of life for thousands of communities across the 28 states through which BNSF operates and where BNSF employees live, work, and volunteer. As the corporation’s assets have grown, so has their Foundation’s commitment to giving and supporting communities. Focuses included civic, cultural, educational, and youth organizations. For more information, visit the grants section of their programs page; you can apply for a grant from them here.

 Digital Humanities Startup Grants (NEH)

Application deadline: September 16, 2015

The National Endowment for the Humanities’ Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant program awards grants to support the planning stages of digital projects that promise to benefit the humanities. The program supports both new projects in early stages of development and efforts to reinvigorate existing or dormant projects in innovative ways. Further information is available here.

 Margaret Edwards Collection Development Grant (YALSA)

Application deadline: November 1, 2015

This grant awards $5,000 for a library to use towards improving or expanding the services and programs it provides to help teens master text-based literacies. Funds may be used to provide new or support on-going successful programs. All personal YALSA members who represent a public library or school library are eligible to apply. Up to five grants will be awarded in 2015. Read the criteria and submit your application here.


Application deadline: Ongoing

Shell supports K-12 programs that boost bath and science skills. They are especially interested in supporting educational outreach in math, science, and technology to women and minority students and academic institutions with ethnically diverse enrollments. Priority consideration is given to organizations serving in or near US communities where Shell has a major presence. To learn more or to apply for a grant, visit their Request for a Grant from Shell page.

Wells Fargo

Application deadline: Ongoing

Wells Fargo supports organizations that work to strengthen communities. They look for projects that keep communities strong, diverse, and vibrant. They strive to assist communities by supporting non-profit organizations that provide human services, community development, educational, artistic, cultural, civic, and environmental programs. To discover if you qualify or to apply for a grant, check out their guidelines for corporate giving within North Dakota.

This article originally appeared in the August, 2015 issue of the State Library’s Flickertale (PDF).

Librarian Ethos

BalanceBasically good ethics are common sense, linked with good manners, filtered through a moral or philosophical worldview. Culture, education, and experience shape our worldview. We perceive and filter information through our worldview, and then act. If our worldview is too fundamental or too narrow, we perceive more threats. It is essential that the information professional remain open to other worldviews, other cultures, and other ways. To truly listen, we must suspend assumptions.

We do not want to become the librarian at the gate, hands on hips, frown on face, demanding the return of a book so it can be correctly shelved in its properly cataloged place.  Basically, librarians need to remember that we have chosen a service-orientated profession.  Our work should always be user-friendly.

This ethos means that most librarians want to find meaningful, service-oriented work in a healthy and cooperative environment.  We want to be creatively challenged but not overwhelmed. We want to be understood, capable, and compensated equitably.  We want the opportunity to keep learning so we can adapt to change and innovation.

We have learned core communication skills that our professional life demands: listening, presenting, writing, persuading, participating, leading, and managing. We must be able to analyze, problem-solve, make decisions, and take risks. We must be accountable and dependable.

Librarians must make the shift from merely disseminating information to designing user-centered library services. This may require reevaluating policy, structures, and personnel on a regular basis. The skills we have acquired will enable us to make a positive contribution to our clients and our profession.

“The survival of libraries depends on librarians.” – Roger C. Greer (educator & author)

Book-to-Action Book Club

booktoactionDo you have a library book club ready to break out of a reading rut and expand their horizons? Would you like to attract and engage new patrons with a different kind of book club? The California State Library and the California Center for the Book have put together a toolkit for a Book-to-Action book club model. Using this model, patrons read a book and discuss it, and then go into the community “to put their new-found knowledge into action by engaging in a community service project related to the book’s topic.”

The toolkit provides the following recommendations for choosing a book: Continue reading

The Long Goodbye to the ACT & SAT

Some very Testsbright students just do not do well with standardized tests like the ACT or SAT. Often, they do not bother to apply to prestigious schools because their test scores are too low. No clear connection between high SAT or ACT scores and future academic success has been proven. Consequently, more than 800 colleges and universities across the nation are adopting a “test-optional” policy. Students may apply without a SAT or ACT score. The goal is to attract a more diverse pool of students.

It is not surprising that the College Board (the organization that prepares and administers standardized tests) defends the use of SAT and ACT scores for college admission. They maintain that the scores on these tests are the best predictors of college success. However a study shows that the best predictors of student success in college are high school grades. Students who did not submit SAT or ACT test scores did just as well as those who did submit.

Critics of standardized admission tests argue that these tests are primarily used by influential schools as sorting tools to filter thousands of college applications. Most likely the ACT and SAT will not go away soon. But as more high-profile schools adopt a “test-optional” policy, they are acknowledging that high-achieving students, who are not necessarily good with standardized tests, should not be excluded from admission.

Programming with Post-It Notes

sticky-notes1-400x300[1]This month I’ve rounded up some easy self-directed program ideas for teens featuring Post-It notes. Two of these programs require multiple colors of sticky notes. Purchasing colored sticky notes cost about $20, which was considered a low-cost program by the librarians. The other two are little more flexible, and, while plain might work best, you could even use sticky notes with logos you’ve picked up for free or been given as promotional items if you want to keep it really low-cost. The two that require colored sticky notes are also require the most display space, which may be limiting for smaller libraries.

  • Post-It Note Art: Use colored sticky notes to create designs, using an online tool from 3M.

Do you have an abundance of sticky notes on hand? Have you tried Post-It programming? Share your stories in the comments?