Last week, Jennifer mentioned the department of agriculture’s recent announcement about $100 million in grants and loans for rural libraries. I wanted to know a bit more about the program, so checked into it a little bit more. Here’s what I found.
· The U.S. Dept. of Agriculture has designated approximately $100 million in grants and loans (texas state library blog says they’ve learned it’s mostly loans and “a much smaller number of grants”) from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to support public libraries in rural areas or small towns. Loans can be repaid over 40 years, and are available to institutions who can’t otherwise get credit.
· Definition of rural is serving under 20,000 (similar to WJ definition of a small/rural library serving < 25,000).
· Administered through the Rural Development Housing and Community Facilities Programs, the funds will support the construction, enlargement, or improvement of public library facilities along with the purchase of facility equipment.
· Depending on funding availability, RD plans to provide up to $500,000 in additional grant funds to each State Office through the Community Facilities American Recovery Reinvestment Act grant account for library projects.
· Funds may be used for costs to acquire land needed for a facility, pay necessary professional fees, and purchase equipment required for a facility’s operation. Funds can be used to purchase shelving, furniture, computers, audio-visual equipment, distance learning equipment, and bookmobiles.
· Applications will be accepted through the USDA Rural Development regional field offices (different for every state) http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rhs
· Community Facilities Grants are authorized on a graduated scale. Applicants located in smaller communities with low populations and low incomes will receive a higher percentage of grants. Grant funding limitations are based on population and income, economic feasibility, and availability of funds
Links to more info
· USDA fact sheet on the program (PDF): http://www.wo.ala.org/districtdispatch/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/USDA.pdf
· ALA Washington Office press release: http://www.ala.org/ala/newspresscenter/news/pressreleases2010/january2010/usdadesignates_wo.cfm
The Secretary of Agriculture has allocated $100 million in United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Community Facilities funding for public libraries to provide educational opportunities and improve public services in rural communities. The funding will be provided primarily through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. In 78 percent of rural communities, the library is the sole provider of no-fee Internet access,” Emily Sheketoff, executive director of the ALA Washington Office, said. “This funding specifically set aside for rural libraries is a lifeline for communities across the country who depend on their local libraries for basic needs such as Internet access as well as assistance with e-government services, literacy and homework programs, and much more. We thank the USDA for its recognition of the vital role libraries play in rural communities and their need for funding.” Funds may be used to construct, enlarge or improve public libraries. This can include costs to acquire land needed for a facility, pay necessary professional fees and purchase equipment required for operation. Funds can be used to purchase shelving, furniture, computers, audio-visual equipment, distance learning equipment and bookmobiles.
· Association for Small & Rural Libraries re-posted fact sheet information on their grants section: http://www.arsl.info/links/grant-news/usda-funds/
Selected blog mentions
These posts mostly repost the info; a few other state libraries, systems, or associations posted as well but this gives you a good sense for who picked it up.
· Marshall Breeding: http://www.librarytechnology.org/ltg-displaytext.pl?RC=14494
· TX state library: http://www.tsl.state.tx.us/ld/librarydevelopments/?p=2374
· Libraries in the News: http://www.ilovelibraries.ala.org/news/?p=686
· Southern Adirondack Library System: http://salsblog.sals.edu/index.php/2010/01/27/money-for-rural-libraries/comment-page-1/ (this post does offer a local contact for assistance)
To those of you who are investigating these loan and grant options and application process, is there anything that WebJunction can do to support this process for everyone? It might be helpful to share applications, tips or tricks for going through the process, or lessons learned once awards are made. Let us know what you’d like to see or how we can help.
In September of 2007, the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL) was a new organization. Having just separated from Clarion University because of the impending retirement of Professor Bernard Vavrek, and the university’s subsequent decision to discontinue the Center for the Study of Rural Librarianship, ARSL’s 12-member board was meeting that fall for the first time. According to Patty Hector, 2008-2009 ARSL board president, “We were fairly overwhelmed by the massive amount of activity that needed to be addressed and decisions that needed to be made in a very short period of time.”
About this same time, WebJunction approached ARSL with the offer to use follow-on funding from the Gates Foundation’s Rural Sustainability Project. The idea was to support ARSL’s website on WebJunction.org, and make WebJunction tools available to the ARSL board at no charge. The board accepted the offer of support as they helped the association get off the ground. Since then, ARSL has been using the webjunction.org/arsl page as their primary home page, along with ARSL BCR pages that allow memberships and conference registrations to happen as a link to that page.
I’ve worked closely with the team who managed our Rural Library Sustainability project since its inception, and served on ARSL’s board as an ex-officio member since February. In my time with ARSL’s board I’ve had a unique opportunity to observe an exciting time in the history of their organization’s development. Every member of the ARSL board has made great strides in developing an organization that’s truly poised and responsive to the rural and small library members they serve. It has been a great pleasure to get to know the ARSL board members and to be a small part of this work.
Two years later, ARSL is no longer a new organization. They have many things well-established now and are looking to step out into new directions. One of their areas of focus over the coming year is to look for ways to define their unique identity, and to be more responsive to their members. One way they plan to do this is to launch an all new, independent website. The vision for this site is that it be a dynamic space that captures ARSL’s personality and mission in a way that is appealing and relevant their members. Elements of this website, including the new ARSL logo, were unveiled at their annual conference this weekend.
Please visit their new website at http://www.arsl.info.
We are very excited about this development for ARSL and look forward to seeing the new site evolve. We also look forward to finding new ways to partner with ARSL in the coming year, as we each strive towards a common mission of working together to meet the needs in small and rural libraries. Co-sponsoring webinar programs is one idea, but there are so many other possibilities.
WebJunction will continue our focus on public access computing support for rural and small libraries. We’ll publish our Rural Update with news and announcements of special interest to those working in small and rural libraries. We’ll also keep you posted when we have rural-focused programs, webinars, or new content posted to the site. WebJunction will remain a great resource for people to find and connect with one another to support whatever you’re working on in your library. If you have ideas for topics, programs, or other things you might need, as always, please let us know.
I have hardly had a chance to catch my breath since attending the Online Community Summit last week in Sonoma. I love this conerence because it’s a small, intimate event that brings together online community builders and other social media folk across sectors and types of communities. I always meet interesting people there and get inspired by all the discussion and friendly sharing of online community building best practices.
Big takeaways or reminders for me this year were:
Bryan Person of Live World interviewed me while I was at the conference if you want to get a bit more flavor for what I was thinking and learning there. (Warning: I say kick-@ss when I’m talking about social media librarians in this clip!) Thanks Brian and everyone for making this a great professional development opportunity for me!
Here’s my personal view from the new OCLC Seattle office, where WebJunction and ContentDM are now happily co-located. For those of you who have been tracking my office view pics for a while now, you’ll notice the lack of a lake. Still, the place fits us better I think. And I think we’ll like it here. Not to mention, our network is seriously faster than in the old place. I didn’t realize, honestly, how bad it was.
Don’t worry – we’re still working on WebJunction performance in the meantime.
That aside, I was surprised when I learned today that a new WJ toolbar has been created and posted on our new site. It took maybe one or two seconds to download into Firefox 3 and now I have a very handy list of links to WJ, a search function (Google search of WJ) and a set of links to WJ pages that are visited frequently. It looks like Tim created this and Sharon posted it?
It’s great! I love it!
Along with our new platform, WebJunction has a new course catalog with around 600 new courses to choose from. In order to help you pull a few needles out of that haystack, we feature one course that we’ve heard is especially useful or might meet an important need for library staff. Our featured course this week was managing difficult patrons with confidence. (And anyone who has worked in a public library probably knows what we mean by “difficult”. It’s not necessarily that the patrons themselves are difficult. It’s that managing some behaviors can be.)
Full course details are listed below. As always, let us know if you’ve taken the course by leaving a comment or tag. If there are other courses you’d like to see at WebJunction, let us know that as well!
WebJunction staffers have a bit of a tradition. Every time we go out to dinner with more than three or four of us – usually it involves the colleagues we work with over great distances – we have what we call a “dinner question”. It all started when I asked a table full of people – there were maybe eight or nine of us – if you had all the money and all the talent, what would you do for your job? It’s my standard question that I like to ask everyone I know, as well as ponder myself (most often I think I’d like to be a jazz singer, like the lead vocalist in pink martini).
Over the years we’ve discussed everything from “what animal would you be?” to “who was your first love?” and then back to “what was your favorite meal?” and then “who’s the most famous person you’ve ever met?” or “what was your most terrifying travel experience?” Every time we’ve done this, inside our team and alongside our friends and colleagues in library land, we’ve learned a lot about each other as well as instigated some of the most interesting conversations I’ve ever had. These questions, as simple as they may have been, have made us stronger as a team, as a community at WebJunction, and as a community of library professionals. Now I have a hunch that’s an important part of the community building work that we do, and I’ve been thinking about how to get it into the online environment.
If you have an idea about how we can translate these f2f conversations into an online space, I’d love to hear. (Or maybe we’re already doing something like that with St. Jerry’s Virtual Scriptorium? Update 8/28/08: changed link to collapsed page view, where you can login and post to this thread. St. Jerry’s thread is at the top of the list. Thanks Roy!)
And, next time you’re out to dinner with colleagues in library land, try it, and let us know what happens!
My colleague Zola Maddison mentioned to me today that she thought we ought to publish the patron stories behind or alongside the library staff stories we tell at WebJunction.
So, what if when we talked about what Rachel does for her library in the Mission Branch of San Francisco Public, we could also hear the voices of some of her patrons talking about how her library services have changed and enriched their lives?
That is why we do this stuff, afterall.
Zola’s comments came after a whirl-wind hour of Knowledge Cafe-ing, hosted by Betha and Emily, based on their time at SLA this year. At the end of that session we were talking about actions and outcomes from the Cafe. ‘Just let it change you,’ I said, ‘let it influence our work’. But what I think I may have meant was more simple than that, even: ‘just let it remind you’.
I thought it might be fitting to end the Happy Birthday celebrations this week with a link (right here? from the blog?) to a clandestine view of the new WebJunction home page. Cleverly titled “sneaky peeky” this is the view that WJ staff have themselves been playing with in our “sandbox” for the last couple of weeks. It’s not nearly ready for beta release yet, but as you can see, My WebJunction is right there at the top of the page, along with our fancy new brand, just waiting for me/you/us to populate it with whatever i/you/we care about. It’s gonna be rockin’ and we can’t wait to start evolving this with more than just a few of us with our eyes on it.
Next week we get together with all of our current community partners for some good old fashioned f2f training, and this will be our first chance to show off and gather input on the new system with people outside of the WJ staff. Next? Our WJ Advocates will get a sneak peek and they’ll tell us what they think. Then? Well, by that time I think we’ll all be ready for a broader audience. And that’s where we all get to tell each other what we think. And it will grow from there.
I admit it. I like shoes. They’re fun. It’s one of my little things that keeps me going – when otherwise things might feel a little blah, a cute pair of shoes (on me or someone else) literally makes my day. Voila!
Personal faves from around the office? Kathleen (yellow sling-backs or teal clogs, I can’t decide). Jennifer (the ones that go perfectly with the plaids!) Dave (the old ones). Rachel (black sandals or red patten flats, I can’t decide). Michael (I can’t decide). Laura (plum ankle straps, hands down).
For WebJunction’s birthday, I decided to highlight my five favorite WebJunction moments *that have to do with shoes*. Whatever does this have to do with supporting libraries, you ask? Read on…
1. The photo you see here is me, Rachel, and Laura from the audience at CIL 2007. We were listening to the librarian from the National Geographic Society library talk about some cool 2.0 stuff they were doing with their intranet. Thanks to Rachel, we visited their library later that day.
2. This photo gives you a glimpse of one of our card-carrying shoe-lovers here around the office, and one of the 365 Days at WJ set that we started last year (before we started really planning for the new WJ in earnest, which is why we haven’t kept it up…shame on us!)
3. On the way to Midwinter Meeting in San Antonio 2006 I found myself without anything to wear but tennis shoes because my luggage had been lost on the way by United. Luckily, the conference center was practically attached to a mall and I was able to get some cute metallic silver flats to wear to my fancy dinner with Patrick Hogan. These shoes remind me of the shoes Sharon Streams is wearing this very minute! (This is also the blog post where I suggest that OCLC pick up Library Thing. Hmmm.)
4. When visiting the bay area just before the Online Community Uncoference in 2007, I sent a tweet about a cute pair of shoes I’d just bought. Colleague Dave Ungar (located in Dublin) picked it up and asked for a picture, which I posted on flickr. Several days later, our online exchange culminated in a spoof on some secret brand stuff another colleague had going on at work. You cannot hide on the tubes!
5. Finally, Michael Porter blogs his first (or was it second?) post at BlogJunction after accepting a transfer here from OCLC Western. In the post, libraryman admits to having purchased shoes from his WebJunction desk’s internet connection. It was after-hours, so we gave him a pass, but it brings me to my point about what any of this has to do with libraries… (more…)
It is with great sadness, but lots of well-wishes for a bright future ahead of her, that we bid farewell to Program Director Liz Kellison. Liz was our first Content Manager and the third WebJunction employee EVER. She’s been with the project since before it began – quite literally! – as she was one of the authors of our original grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, along with our Executive Director Marilyn Mason. Largely responsible for the initial vision of our service, Liz is famous around the office for promoting “read, learn and share” – i.e., bringing together courses, discussions, and articles all together on a single WebJunction page. Liz has been fun to work with, inspiring as a leader for us and for libraries, and a tireless advocate for our programs and the people we work with. We will miss her dearly, but hope you’ll join us in wishing her well in all her future endeavors. (sniff. sniff.)
My last fall trip is just now over. I’ve been sitting in my house for, I don’t know, twenty minutes or so, and I’m very happy to report that the trip and the talk went very well. For the first time I tried pulling together some of the ideas and research for my (extra-curricular) Libraries Build Communities project into a talk about the community building we do at WebJunction – the two are obviously very connected for me but not necessarily for everyone. But guess what? It worked! I was relieved and pleased that it seemed to be the right mix of community building for library staff and community building for patrons. Viola! Connections made!
I left out the Putnam stuff I’ve been talking about in some of my recent presentations and instead focused on our community building roots and how in-person community building and online community building share the same principles and practice; then I connected what our patrons are doing with web2.0 tools to what library staff are doing with the same, and with projects like WJ.
I was a little nervous about the mix, with only one hour for a joint presentation with my co-presenter, Mala, the team lead for WebJunction Arizona, but at the end of it all, one of our audience members come up and says something like: thank you for your overview of social networking and what it means for WebJunction; now I understand why this stuff is important. I work in a rural library and I’m trying to help my community understand how to use this stuff and understand what it’s all about; this was really helpful.
Does it really get more libraryland luscious than that? Maybe. I’ll be here for it if it does. I only posted a few pictures from this very short visit, but you’ll find them here. Many, many thanks to the organizers of AzLA for having me. I had a great time and it was wonderful meeting and talking with so many of you and your library staff in Arizona.
(reposted on Libraries Build Communities)
LJ apparently had a server mishap last week and all Mover & Shaker nominations input before November 5 were l.o.s.t. So, please, if you nominated someone for Mover & Shaker this year, you’ll have to go back and do it again.
This from Marylaine Block (to George by email posted here):
We are assured that the electronic nomination form is working, but if you prefer, you can supply all the information requested on the form and either fax it to 646-746-6734, or send it in an e-mail to Francine Fialkoff. The deadline has been extended to November 28.
So sorry to LJ – I hope you have a good turn out of do-overs!
Whew! What a whirlwind! Libraryman and I had a great time with our program yesterday (thoroughly documented, so I won’t go into it, other than to say…) We’ve heard from a number of people that they liked what we talked about! Yay. Community building is really behind so many of the tools and best practices at place here; it was really rewarding to start the day off with a conversation about ‘why’ and ‘how’ we do social networking (online and off). IL has a great audience and it’s a lot of fun to be here and share ideas and projects with everyone.
Otherwise, IL2007 has also been fabulous – I’ve had a great time connecting with people that I haven’t seen for a while, as well as spending time with people that I know online better than I do in person. I always take a chunk of breakfast/lunch/dinner slots while I’m here at this conference to talk in person specifically with people that I’ve known or met online over the year before – it’s fun! This year I’ve met with Amanada, Jennifer, Josh, David, Robin, and a few others that I’ve maybe seen around before but really became ‘friends’ with in the last several months – either through facebook, twitter, or the WJ. Not to mention the folks that I know well, but don’t see very often – great connecting with these folks as well. Heck, even the people I see every day, I end up having inspirational conversations with. It’s such a wonderful source of new energy and innovation to get away from daily activities – get out there and talk to people (even the same people!) in a new context. THANK YOU to OCLC and WebJunction for making this an important part of our roles in the cooperative; it really makes a huge difference! “I love my online community” (and it gets bigger all the time) is the only thing I have to say about that!
One project I’m working on now (also with libraryman, and with cindi trainor (current WJ member spotlight) and michael sauers (traveling librarian)) that I’m super excited about is a series of interviews with “veteran” library professionals – the innovators of earlier times – that we can publish as primary resources (oral histories) and excerpt as a popular series, beginning sometime next year. It’s the most exciting project that I’m currently involved in, really, and it’s great to be here with colleagues – gathering new ideas (and names) for those interviews. Stay tuned for more info … I think there will be a lot of ways the WJ community can get involved in this project once it takes off.
I’ve also been encouraging anyone who’s interested in working in the social networking, community building, or learning areas to check out our open positions right now (on OCLC’s career site). See something you like? Please apply. Three positions are currently open in the Community area; we’d love to hear from you!
Back to conferencing …
(Reposting from It’s All Good.)
I started a week’s vacation on Monday. I’m taking some time for a ‘writing retreat’ so that I can make my next deadline (Nov 1 – ahhh!) for the infamous book I’m writing about libraries and community building.
Serendipitous it was then that the new OCLC report on sharing, privacy, trust, and social networking was published online here (in pdf) on Monday. It’s perfect timing because it has such relevance to that ‘other’ work.
But because it also has such absolute relevance to my work at OCLC and with WebJunction, I couldn’t help but pop in here and say ‘hey! you should read this!’ and invite everyone over to my other blog for early thoughts and highlights. As I say over there, there’s more to come, I’m sure, as we dig into all those juicy details.
Back to vacation — very much looking forward to seeing some of you at Internet Librarian next week, BTW. If you’re gonna be there and want to connect, my profile and schedule is up on the IL wiki (as are those of some other WJ friends you may want to connect with).
I noticed on twitter a few days ago that Karen Schneider (@kgs) is still answering questions about where the publib archives are. WebJunction hosts publib and a bunch of library lists, coincidentally featured on our home page last week (as well as recently pushed up a bit in the navigation hierarchy in our community center). We’re hoping that this makes the lists more visible for current and potential members. Eventually, WJ search will access our list archives as well as our articles, courses, and discussion boards. If you’re a current list subscriber, or have any feedback on any of our lists or other community tools, please, let us know!