Archiving in Rural Libraries: Newspapers

Does your town have a newspaper? Did it have one once? If the town or surrounding towns have or had a newspaper the library probably has every copy ever printed. Chances are that many patrons will come in and ask for the back issues of these newspapers. Therefore, storage for these materials can become difficult. When faced with storing newspapers it is very common to see them stored in stacks that can easily be searched when requested by a patron. Keeping these papers usable for the public is the challenge that many librarians and archivists face.

The easiest way to preserve newspapers is by purchasing large acid & lignin free newspaper folders. These folders are generally labeled as oversized folders that can be purchased to the sized of the newspaper. I would suggest purchasing a folder that is slightly larger than the newspaper so the item is fully covered. This will keep it completely out of damaging light and dust. The most common practice is to have one newspaper per folder so that each item stays as pristine as possible. These folders can then be put into an oversized box that can easily be looked through in order to find the item when requested. If the newspaper is particularly fragile it is suggested that it does not circulate among patrons. A fragile item will be fine in one of the folders but for extra protection I would suggest using a Mylar or Polyester sleeve. These sleeves will encase the entire newspaper in a type of plastic wrapping that will prevent moisture and air movement through the item. I suggest this for those newspapers that are starting to disintegrate from age and use. Though it will not stop the disintegration process entirely it will slow it down enough to ensure its usefulness for the future.

Depending on where the items are purchased the cost will fluctuate. The two most common archival suppliers are Gaylord Archival Supplies and Hollinger Metal Edge. The item depends on the best place to shop. The items within these two companies are comparable in quality so when ordering it is important to have a general idea of how many items are needed. When ordering take notice of the package sizes (package of 10, 25, 50, etc.) and of the minimum order amount. Because these folders and boxes are oversized they may not be available at a general office supply store like Staples.

Where to start with your newspaper archive: 

  1. Gaylord Archival Supplies has a starter kit available for those archiving newspapers for the first time. It is available for order at this link.
  2. Hollinger Metal Edge also sells a newspaper kit. The page comes with the option to purchase more folders of the size that are in the kit right away. It is available at this link.

 

Archiving in Rural Libraries: The Basics

Libraries in small towns around the country are running into the problem of being the only historical repository for their town. Sure they could send their materials to the State Archives or Historical Society but then they would lose all those materials that made their town so unique. Archiving these items does not have to be time-consuming, crazy expensive, or difficult. All it takes is a little direction and knowledge on where to purchase the preservation items.

The most basic way to preserve different documents, photographs, or small books is to put them in acid & lignin free folders and boxes that will protect them from damaging light, dirt, and bugs. If there just is not time to organize all of the items, put them in the folders and boxes as they are to prevent further damage to them until there is time to archive them.

For those that have a bit more time the documents can be organized chronologically or by subject. It depends on what you, as the archivist, think would be a reliable narration of the town’s history. If the documents show the history of the town as a whole, I would suggest chronological organization so that they tell the full story. But if there are several collections of items that all discuss the same event then organizing them by subject may be more pertinent to the story you want to tell. There is no wrong way to organize these items so have fun with looking over them and learning more about your town and library.

Places to purchase the folders and boxes:

  1. Gaylord Archival Supplies
    1. This company caters to smaller institutions by allowing a smaller amount of items to be ordered at one time.
    2. Suggested box: Classic Storage Box
    3. Suggested folders: Letter Size File Folders
  2. Hollinger Metal Edge:
    1. This company tends to cater to larger institutions by requiring a minimum amount of items to be ordered on selected items.
    2. Suggested box: Standard Record Storage Boxes
    3. Suggested folders: Letter Size Tabbed File Folders
  3. Staples:
    1. As a general office supply store their items will be the cheapest option however they may not be acid & lignin free.
    2. Suggested box: Letter/Legal Size Storage Boxes
    3. Suggested folders: Three Tab File Folders

 

Note: The reason for acid & lignin free materials is so that the folders and boxes do not react with the natural acid in the documents or photographs during their years in storage. This reaction is what causes the discoloration (yellowing) in items overtime.

Grants for Libraries

MC900433808[1]Literacy Grants for Libraries (Better World Books)

Application deadline: March 31

 Projects should address the literacy needs of under-served populations in their community. Literacy needs are defined by broadly identifying, understanding, interpreting, creating, communicating, and computing information to live a more fulfilling and productive life. Libraries may pitch one project each, with a maximum award of $15,000 per project. Projects that will have a measurable and long-term impact on an under-served population and will continue to operate after grant funds have been utilized will be looked upon favorably. Additional information and application forms are available on their site.

 Master of Library and Information Science Degree Grant (NDSL)

Application deadline: May 31

The North Dakota State Library provides a training grant encouraging North Dakotans to pursue a Master of Library and Information Science degree from an ALA-accredited school (ALA/MLIS) and to work in North Dakota. Applicants must be employed by a North Dakota public school library, a public library, a public academic library, or the State Library. Applicants must be accepted into an ALA/MLIS program prior to the award. Applications may be submitted for a total amount of up to $8,500. To learn more or apply, head to the State Library’s PDF about this grant.

Great River Energy

Application deadline: March 15, June 15, September 15, and December 15

Great River Energy contributes to organizations in the communities they serve and the communities where their employees live. Awards of $500 to $2500 are given to nonprofit organizations focusing on community service, education, environment, and youth. Contributions in North Dakota are targeted to requesting organizations in Oliver, McLean and Mercer counties. To apply or find further information, visit their Community Contributions site.

Ottertail Power Company

Application deadlines: March 15, June 15, September 15, December 15

Otter Tail Power Company provides financial support for general operating and program expenses to qualifying organizations and activities in the communities they serve. Previous recipients in North Dakota include Lake Region Public Library, Minnewaukan Public Library, and Forman Public Library, and many ND public schools. To determine if you qualify or to apply for a grant, visit their Donations and Grants page.

EBSCO Solar

Application deadline: April 28

EBSCO Solar is a grant program that will fund two $100,000 solar installations at libraries around the world. Solar power is the cleanest and most abundant renewable energy source available. EBSCO believes they can make a critical impact on improving the environment and wants to help libraries make the transition to green power. FAQ’s and the application form are available on EBSCO’s solar site.

 

 

Homeless in the Library

Public libraries are much more than places where an elderly woman, with horn-rimmed glasses and her hair in a bun, shushes you every time you even think about speaking (common misconception). Libraries are community and cultural centers where individuals gather to explore, interact, learn, and read.

Also, libraries are often havens for people with nowhere else to go. Public libraries can be sanctuaries for the homeless. Libraries are a safe place for them to use the computers, read, attend programs, learn, utilize library services, etc. (which are the same reasons everyone else visits the library). Libraries have a responsibility to serve the homeless that come through their doors and treat them like any other patron.

According to the American Library Association’s (ALA) Services and Responsibilities of Libraries, ALA “promotes equal access to information for all persons, and recognizes the urgent need to respond to the increasing number of poor children, adults, and families in America… Therefore it is crucial that libraries recognize their role in enabling poor people to participate fully in a democratic society, by utilizing a wide variety of available resources and strategies.”

The Federal definition of a chronically homeless person is “either (1) an unaccompanied homeless individual with a disabling condition who has been continuously homeless for a year or more, OR (2) an unaccompanied individual with a disabling condition who has had at least four episodes of homelessness in the past three years,” and homeless is defined as “a person sleeping in a place not meant for human habitation (e.g. living on the streets, for example) OR living in a homeless emergency shelter” (Defining Chronic Homelessness: A Technical Guide for HUD Programs).

So with all of that in mind, here are some great resources for libraries on providing services to homeless patrons:

State Resources

ALA Resources

Other Resources

Articles

 

Best Books of 2016 & Best Forthcoming Books of 2017

Looking for a good book to read? Looking for a book to recommend to a patron? Looking for some books to add to your library’s collection? If so, here are some great lists for you!

2016 has come and gone. With the end of one year and the beginning of another, we can look back on the best books from 2016; and we can also look ahead with anticipation to some new books in 2017. Review the categories in the lists below to find the perfect book for you, your library, or your patrons.

2016

2017

Services for Homebound Patrons: Part 2

Once you’ve decided which services you want to offer to homebound patrons, how do you find the people who might qualify and are interested in these services?  Homebound patrons aren’t going to be coming through the doors of the library, so how do you get the information out to them?

Some groups and government entities that may be able to help spread the word about the services you are offering include:

Disability Groups
Libraries for the Blind and Physically Handicapped
Meals-on-Wheels
North Dakota Human Services
Religious Institutions
Senior Centers
Support Groups
Veterans Affairs
VFW Halls

Some of them may even be willing/able to help get the items to the homebound patrons while delivering their own services.  Depending on your community, there are probably many other ways to get the information out, but this is just to give you a launching point.

Also, make sure to utilize your city’s newspaper and calendar of events to get the information out to those who have a need for your services, along with getting it on the radio and on the community access channel on television, if possible.

A toolkit that you may find helpful when starting a homebound program is the Homebound Program Toolkit.  This document gives advice on the pros and cons of the different delivery methods, policy development, planning the program, and marketing the program.  It also includes forms that you will probably need when setting up the program, including a reader profile, participant application, and route schedule log.

Also, a great resource for your patrons (whether they are homebound or not) who are unable to read standard print materials due to a visual, physical, or reading disability is the Talking Books program.  If you or your patrons have any questions, you can find more information available online (http://library.nd.gov/talkingbooks.html) or by calling 1-701-328-1408 or 1-800-843-9948.

Services for Homebound Patrons: Part 1

The main priority of libraries is to provide services for the people in their community. Libraries do a lot for the patrons who use the library by providing programs and items that can be checked out. How do libraries make sure these same services are also available to the patrons who are unable to leave their homes?

Homebound patrons can include those who are temporarily or permanently confined to their homes due to illness, disability, surgery, age, etc. They may be feeling isolated and bored and in need of the services that your library can provide. Some of the ways that you can provide services to homebound patrons include:

Mail delivery. Staff members can select items based on the patrons’ interests or the patrons can request specific titles and send them through the mail.

Home delivery. Staff members or volunteers take items directly to the patrons’ houses on a regular schedule. If you go this route, make sure to have rules/policies to make sure that the patrons are providing an appropriate and safe environment for the staff/volunteers and that the service can be suspended if unsafe/inappropriate conditions exist (threatening behavior, wearing revealing attire, unconfined pets, etc.).

Delivery with other services. Find a service that already delivers and see if they would be willing to deliver books, as well.  One service you could check with is Meals-on-Wheels.

Book discussion groups. If the patrons give permission, the library could connect patrons with each other so they can discuss books and other interests they share.

Special interest visits. Library volunteers can visit the homebound patrons and discuss hobbies, interests, etc. The volunteer could also record the experience as part of an oral history project for the library.

What types of services does your library provide to homebound patrons?

Check back next week for the next part in Services for Homebound Patrons, where we will discuss how to figure out who your homebound patrons are and how to make them aware of what the library can offer them.

“We’re Closed” signs

454736426_1280x720The holiday season is upon us and, with that, your library will probably be closed at some point to give employees time with their families. With the holiday season comes winter weather.  Unfortunately, the snow and cold has already set in and libraries around the state have had to be closed due to the weather.

When letting your patrons know the library is closed, whether it is scheduled because of a holiday or last-minute because of bad weather, be sure to remind them that the online library resources are still accessible 24/7. Just because they can’t go into the physical building, doesn’t mean they can’t reap the benefits of all the online resources that your library is providing.  They can still access TutorND, Universal Class, OverDrive (if your library provides it), etc.

If your library has a website or Facebook page where you can post about the closure(s), be sure to provide direct links to the online resources available at your library. If you are posting a sign on the library’s door, include your website’s url with information on how to access the online resources.

NDLCC Standards Compliance: Weeding

Guest post by Mary Soucie, State Librarian (first published in the November 2016 issue of Flickertale)

This is part of our ongoing series regarding compliance with the ND Library Coordinating Council’s Standards for Public Libraries. This month we will focus on weeding.

Weeding your library, similar to weeding your garden, is vital if you want your collection to thrive and grow and produce good fruit. I know many librarians who are reluctant to weed. “Someone might want this” is the cry of these librarians. And that could be true, someday someone might want that material. If so, chances are good that you’ll be able to get the item through InterLibrary Loan. The fact that someone, someday *may* check out an item is not a good justification to keep it on the shelf. Each item needs to earn its space in your collection.

Statistics show that when you weed your collection, circulation naturally increases. I have personally experienced this multiple times. Once you pull out the items that aren’t circulating, people can find the gems that were hidden by the bulk. There are standard criteria that you should consider when weeding, such as number and last date of circulation, condition, age of the item, other items in the collection that are similar or on the same topic, availability through ILL, historical significance or local interest, and for nonfiction, the accuracy of the information. Personally, I always employee the “smell test” if an item is older and it smells musty or makes me sneeze when I sniff it, the item is pulled. Part of weeding is also identifying items that are out-of-date but still valid to have in the collection in an updated version. The Continuous Review, Evaluation, and Weeding method (CREW), developed by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, is the gold standard for weeding. You can download a free copy of the CREW manual at http://bit.ly/2fwM266. We strongly urge libraries to utilize the CREW manual when weeding.

At the Mountain Plains Library Association conference in October, I attended a fabulous session on the politics of weeding or in other words how to not get caught up in a weeding scandal. Our patrons may not understand the need for weeding our collection. The presenter, Mickey Coalwell, suggested taking a proactive approach when undertaking a weeding process by writing an article in the library’s newsletter about why we weed and how it is necessary to not only add to the collection, but also remove items for the various reasons stated above.

Mickey also stressed that libraries need to have a weeding policy in place. Weeding should be an ongoing function of the library. It is often when the library undertakes a massive weeding process that the community gets outraged. The “whistle blowers” are often staff, trustees or volunteers that don’t understand that the weeding process is a core function of the library. Each of those groups should be trained on the “whys of weeding.” You should know your weeding policy as well as you know your library’s elevator speech. You also want to make sure that you are following local and state policies for disposal of public property.

Once you’ve withdrawn the items from your collection, what do you do with them? One option is to allow the public to purchase them through a book sale or book cart. You can work with Better World Books or other similar entities that will attempt to sell them on your behalf and will share a portion of the proceeds. Goodwill Books may be willing to pick them up and resell what they can, recycling the other items. You may be able to work with physicians’ offices, oil change places, and similar businesses where people typically have to wait to set up a “Take and Read” service. Recycling, after the covers are removed, is another option for disposal.

Weeding is an essential function of the library and one that all libraries should undertake. Corinne Hill, Director at Chattanooga Public Library, summed it up best when she said “weeding is a complex issue. That’s why it’s done by the professionals.” If you have questions about weeding, please contact your Library Development Specialist. If you’d like assistance with getting the ball rolling, I have assisted a number of libraries with weeding projects during “Librarian for the Day” visits and would love to help you out as well.

Additional weeding resources:

 

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.