Category Archives: Outreach

Girls Who Code

The North Dakota State Library is excited to announce its partnership with Girls Who Code. Girls Who Code brings computer science opportunities to elementary, middle, and high school girls in your community—no coding experience is necessary to facilitate a weekly club.

After signing up, facilitators will receive access to the club curriculum completely free and can learn to code right alongside the students.

3–5th grade club: This club is run similar to a book club and does not need computer access. Books are provided for free. Check out the sample curriculum here.

6–12th grade club: This club does require computer access for each participant. To view the learning platform and sample curriculum, follow the instructions below.

  1. Visit the online learning platform, Girls Who Code HQ
  2. Create an HQ Account by clicking Sign Up and “I want to start a club or I want to volunteer for a club.” This does not obligate you to host a club.
  3. Click on the different icons to learn more about the clubs.

To learn more about the Girls Who Code organization, you can check out these links: Overview; Club Summary

To apply to host a club, click here. Remember to indicate North Dakota State Library as your partner affiliation.

For more information, please contact Abby Ebach at aebach@nd.gov or 701-328-4680.

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Digital Initiatives Launches Historypin Account

historypinThe Digital Initiatives department at the North Dakota State Library has recently created an account on Historypin. Historypin is an online, user-generated archive of photographs, videos, and audio recordings. Users are able to pin their content, to Google Maps. Where Google Street View is available, users can overly their historic images and compare them with the modern view by using the slider feature.

Historypin collects, curates, and organizes stories to bring people together, one story/ pin at a time. Historypin has created and continues to maintain storytelling techniques for thousands of members and organizations across the globe. Historypin helps expand understanding of community history and culture by brining resources to come to life.

The State Library currently has two dozen images on its Historypin account, and more are on the way! The images come from the many ScanDays held in libraries and other organizations across the state. All of the pinned images are Google Street View compatible, so the fun slider feature is available. Each pin also includes certain information about the image, like title, description, location, date, and the link to the full item record on Digital Horizons.

Historypin is free to use, and it is also free to join by creating an account. To explore the State Library’s collection of images on Historypin, visit http://bit.ly/ndslhistorypin

Public Library and School Library Collaboration Toolkit

The “Public Library and School Library Collaboration Toolkit” has been released. Members of AASL (American Association of School Librarians), ALSC (Association for Library Service to Children), and YALSA (Young Adult Library Services Association) worked together for three years to create a document that benefits both school librarians and public librarians by encouraging them working together collaboratively.

This toolkit provides 5 chapters full of research, information, and examples for librarians to look towards when beginning collaboration initiatives between school and public libraries. There are also scrips and tips for both school and public librarians on how to overcome their different institutional hurdles.

Working together makes libraries and communities stronger. Look through the toolkit here.

ALSC put together a brief explanation of the toolkit here and has a list of successful past partnerships between school and public libraries that can be found here.

2016 ARSL Conference

arslOn October 26-29, I had the pleasure of attending the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL) 2016 Conference in Fargo, North Dakota. This was my first national library conference, and what a conference it was! Each day was full of interesting speakers and great sessions.

Perhaps my favorite moment from the conference occurred during Will Weaver’s speech. Weaver is the author of Red Earth, White Earth, A Gravestone Made of Wheat and Other Stories, Saturday Night Dirt, and Striking Out. In his speech, Weaver talked about the importance of libraries and how they have influenced him over the years. He held up a book at one point, and confirmed with the crowd of librarians that it was indeed a library book. He admitted he has the tendency of accidentally stealing library books when he visits them for various engagements. As it turns out, a librarian from the library to which the book belonged was in attendance! As the audience roared with laughter, Weaver had the librarian come up to the front and he returned the book to her.

I thoroughly enjoyed each keynote speaker, and I don’t think there was one session I regretted attending. If anything, I regretted not being able to attend more sessions!

I attended two sessions on programming. One was on teen programs and the other was on how to utilize your community for library programs. The session on teen programs, presented by the librarians at the North Loan City Library in Utah, offered some great ideas: Nerf gun events, teens volunteering at the library to earn points, forming a teen advisory board, and creating an email list just for teens so they can stay up-to-date on what teen-related things are happening at the library.

The mining your community session, presented by the librarian of the Stanley Community Library in Idaho, was just as beneficial. Every community has its gems so utilize them! For example, if someone in your community knits as a hobby, ask this person if he/she would come to the library and host a program on kitting; or if someone is a toy collector, set up a display or have the person come in for a lecture on their history. Some of the great program topics from this session included knitting, adult coloring, lectures, writing classes, music, car maintenance, photography, and cooking.

Librarians are often seen as the people who know everything. As a result, we are likely to receive technology questions that we may not know the answer to, or perhaps the patron is not being receptive. One session on patron technology training tips addressed this. Some of the tips from this session included identify yourself as a technology trainer and do the best you can, create a plan, take deep breaths, narrate your process to the patron, focus on quality, create teachable moments, and implement a resource guide.

Another session, presented by California librarian/ trainer Crystal Schimpf, covered the basics of digital storytelling for libraries and how it can be used for advocacy. Technology is ubiquitous in today’s world so it makes sense for libraries to use it to promote themselves and reach patrons. Libraries can make videos that highlight a database, give a virtual tour, or provide a crash course on services. The sky is the limit! The session stressed that videos should be short but fun. When creating videos you will want to create goals, pick your video platform, write scripts, log your shots, and get the necessary equipment and software (which can be done at a relatively low cost). Once the videos are done, share them on social media and get them out there as much as you can.

One of the more entertaining sessions was presented by Harmony Higbie, director of the Underwood Public Library in Underwood, ND. The session was on Kahoot, a modern twist on trivia. Kahoot can be played for free on your computer, tablet, or mobile device. Kahoot can be used in the library for trivia, book clubs, and more! For more information on Kahoot, visit their website: https://getkahoot.com/

In addition to the before mentioned sessions, I attended two sessions relating to digital preservation. If you would like more information on this area, review the services offered by the Internet Archive. You can also contact the State Library’s Digital Initiatives coordinator.

There were around 500 librarians from across the country at the ARSL conference, and I was lucky to meet some of them and hear their stories. One of the librarians I met was from beautiful St. George, Utah, which is where the ARSL conference will be in 2017. The librarian will be the co-chair for the 2017 conference, and he had some great things to say about the St. George area (he even showed me a picture of the view from his backyard to prove his point).

If you are interested in attending the ARSL conference, I would highly encourage you to do so. You can learn more about ARSL and the annual conference at their website: http://arsl.info/

If you have any questions or would like more information on the ideas and conference sessions I shared, feel free to contact me.

Community Celebrations

Library-logo-blue-outlineOften we assume that everyone in town knows about the library. However, many times people in town don’t know what the library offers beyond books. Sometimes reaching new people requires leaving the library and getting out into the community. Here’s how a few North Dakota libraries have gotten the library involved in local community events:

SUMMER

  • Edna Ralston Library’s chess club participated in the parade for Larimore Days.
  • McVille Community Library hosts an event to kickoff McVille Days, bringing in a special speaker and then serving dessert to celebrate the Library’s anniversary. The Library also holds an ice cream social fundraiser during the McVille Days Car Show. As one of the few places with air conditioning and public restrooms, plus all the McVille High School trophies and class pictures, the Library is a big draw.
McVille's ice cream social for McVille Days

McVille Community Library’s ice cream social for McVille Days

Fall

  • Walhalla Public Library held a silent auction during the Walhalla Giant Pumpkin Fest that raised nearly $3,000 for the library.
  • The Heart of America Library in Rugby participated in “Trunk or Treat” for Halloween sponsored by the Rugby Jaycees. They were “Library Lady Bugs” and handed out bookmarks and candy from the librarian’s decorated VW Beetle.
Trunk or Treating in Rugby

Trunk or Treating in Rugby

WINTER

  • The McVille Community Library participates in Winter Fest, a community celebration held the last Sunday in November to usher in the Christmas season.  The Library hosts a meal, provided by volunteers who love to cook and bake for the Library. The board and volunteers serve the meal, and the Boy Scouts bus tables. There are a variety of events – pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus, Bingo, Cookie Walk, Silent Auction – which all take place in the city auditorium above the Library, so it is a great opportunity for the Library to have a fundraiser.

How does your library get involved in the community? Share your stories in the comments!

 

Pirate for a Day

pirate shipThis week I’m highlighting the “Pirate for a Day” program that the Walhalla Public Library hosted at the end of October. I thought it was such as great idea that I wanted to share it with everyone with the hope that it might be a program you could replicate in your community!

Walhalla citizens Crystal and Dale Anderson organized the “Pirate for a Day” program, which acts as the story time theme for the week, a community event for all ages, and a fundraiser for the library all in one fabulous program! So how exactly does this amazing program work?

  • Have patrons purchase a “treasure map” at the library for $1.00; Walhalla also offered temporary tattoos for $0.25 and eye patches for $0.50.
  • Patrons get the map stamped by local businesses and return it to the library by the deadline to be entered in the prize drawing.
  • Have the deadline for the prize drawing coincide with a pirate-themed story time. (Check out this list of pirate book ideas for your story time!)

The Walhalla Public Library had map available Wednesday through Friday, with the deadline the following Tuesday, but you could adapt the schedule to whatever works for your schedule. Additional preparation on the part of the library would require asking local businesses to participate, making a map, and getting a prize donated.

pirate for a day

Kids dressed up for pirate story time

(For more photos of Pirate for a Day and all of the library’s fall programming, check out the photos in their Fall 2015 Facebook album.)

This type of program is a fun way to get your entire community involved, and perhaps reach community members who may not yet be library patrons. Has your library done any community-wide programs? Share your ideas in the comments!

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!

Turning Outward to Better Understand and Serve your Community

transformingLibrariesThinking about revising your library’s strategic plan? Wondering how you can do more to better understand the communities you serve? In need of more informed advocacy and outreach? Consider utilizing the Turning Outward workbook from Transforming Libraries. It is a collection of tools designed to help libraries strengthen their roles as community leaders and bring about positive change in their service area.

The workbook is laid out as a 90-day plan, which sounds daunting at first, but it’s broken down into manageable installments. Since this step-by-step process was developed by The Harwood Institute for Public Innovation in partnership with the American Library Association, you know it will be effective.

I do recommend reading through the entire workbook before you begin tackling the project, however, as this will ground your understanding of the process and assist with keeping things flowing forwards smoothly. There are a few awkward moments in the workbook, like where you’re asked to discuss aspects of the Cycle of Public Innovation graphic several pages before it appears. Knowing this in advance will keep you from getting hung up on such inconvenient details.

The entire workbook is available as a PDF online, free of charge right here.

You can learn more about Transforming Libraries and the Turning Outward program on this site.

Licensed under

“The Cycle of Public Innovation” by the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation used under CC BY NC SA 3.0 license.

 

Community Tool Box

toolboxWe all want our libraries to be more than just repositories for books – we also want them to be thriving centers in the community. However, it can seem like an overwhelming task to actually develop connections in the community.

That’s where the Community Tool Box can come in handy. Brought to you by the Work Group for Community Health and Development at the University of Kansas, the Community Tool Box is a “free, online resource for those working to build healthier communities and bring about social change.” It breaks down each step of the process for you.

There is a helpful guide to getting started, outlining the process with links to related resources:

  • Assess
  • Plan
  • Act
  • Evaluate
  • Sustain

The Learn A Skill section can guide you through chapters relevant to exactly what you need assistance with in your community. There are also Toolkits for specific activities, each with an outline and several examples.

These resources are not specifically tailored to libraries; however, if you attended the Summer Summit symposiums this year, you’ll notice that they focus on several topics that were discussed:

What’s going on in your community? What would you like to see happen? Share your stories in the comments!