“Size does not matter. Quality matters” (Susan Hill Pieper)
As an introduction to the revised edition of the popular “Small But Powerful Guide to Winning Big Support for Your Rural Library,” this one-hour webinar was indeed “Small But Powerful.” It packed a punch of great insights and ideas that will help small libraries stay strong, relevant, and vital to the communities they serve.
Jennifer Peterson, community manager at WebJunction, ARSL board member and chair of ALA Rural, Native, and Tribal Libraries of All Kinds Committee, kicked it off with suggestions for “amplifying the value” of libraries every day and everywhere through the use of technology tools and data resources. Reach beyond the library walls with cool tools like digital frame slide shows, social “satellite” sites (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), library calculators, and videos of non-library people expressing what they value about the library.
Susan Hill Pieper, director of the Paulding County Carnegie Library (OH), shifted the presentation into high gear with her no-nonsense advice and first-hand experiences that have built a community of patrons who “cannot imagine life without the public library” and will rally enthusiastically to support it. Counseling that “your library must show excellent service consistently” in order to garner ardent support, Susan discussed a host of strategies and tips for sustaining a “modern library”—no matter how small—and for broadcasting its value loud and clear. She urges libraries to be willing and ready to adopt new technologies but to examine them for relevance and meaning to each community. The audience appreciated her example of scrutinizing “self check-out” for its detraction from the one-on-one interactions that may be the soul of the rural community library.
Marci Merola, director of the ALA Office for Library Advocacy, wrapped up the session with a quick tour of the substantial aggregation of resources that ALA has amassed on behalf of library advocacy efforts. Their Advocacy University is a potent collection to get you amplifying your library’s value on multiple fronts.
This is just an appetizer for the full meal of possibilities. Go to the webinar archive page for:
By Jenny Johnson, Executive Director, Branding and Marketing Services for OCLC
I geek movies, Italian food, making new friends and mystery novels. What do you geek? This is the question asked by the Geek the Library community awareness campaign.
If you haven’t heard about the campaign yet, here is your opportunity to find out more. This distinct awareness campaign—that focuses on highlighting the critical role public libraries play in every community and the continued need for sustained funding—is one fun way to help raise awareness about the amazing ways your library supports all the ‘geeking’ that goes on in your community. Many U.S. public libraries have signed up to implement the program locally, and positive results from the pilot campaign conducted with public libraries in Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Wisconsin are fueling momentum.
Geek the Library’s look and message are catchy and definitely grab people’s attention. A new OCLC membership report confirms this—there was impressive awareness of the campaign in surveyed pilot communities and high likeability. The best news is that Geek the Library doesn’t only get people’s attention; it also helps change people’s perceptions about public libraries and public library funding. According to the report, residents in pilot communities took positive steps to support their public libraries after being exposed to elements of the pilot campaign.
Geek the Library is an opportunity for public libraries to surprise their communities with an unexpected approach and connect with residents in a new way. The campaign encourages a personal connection to the library that leads to awareness and, hopefully, continued support. It also starts important local conversations. Essentially, it can help libraries develop community advocates who understand the value of the library, but also appreciate how funding works and recognize the need to keep it top-of-mind in community discussions.
Geek the Library certainly got the pilot communities talking about libraries and we can’t wait to see where the conversation goes in the new communities that are getting their geek on.
I recently read the report published by IMLS, Museums, Libraries, and 21st Century Skills which is a part of an outstanding initiative which “underscores the critical role our nation’s museums and libraries play in helping citizens build such 21st century skills as information, communications and technology literacy, critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, civic literacy, and global awareness.”
The initiative includes 3 parts, all available here http://www.imls.gov/about/21stCSkills.shtm:
1. The Online Self-Assessment: a brief interactive survey that quickly analyzes an institution’s 21st century strategies and describes next steps for action.
2. The Report: outlines a vision for the role of libraries and museums in the national dialogue around learning and 21st century skills and includes case studies [be sure to read these case studies!] of innovative audience engagement and 21st century skills practices from across the country.
3. The Self-Assessment Tool: allows museums and libraries to determine where they fit on the continuum of 21st century skills operations and programming.
I found numerous parallels to the efforts of the initiative with those of Project Compass and thought it would be great to start a discussion about the long term goals your library has to support the development of patrons’ 21st Century Skills beyond the current workforce challenged economic climate and on into the future.
The report identifies the differences between 20th and 21st Century skills, and provides a framework including four skills areas:
You can see the skill sets cover many of the areas we have traditionally focused on. I’m very excited to see how this framework might help libraries clarify our role and forge potential community partnerships to build 21st C. skills in our communities.
I found these 3 quotes to be particularly powerful:
First an overall call to collaboration:
All libraries and museums—and the people they serve—stand to benefit from becoming more intentional and purposeful about accommodating the lifelong learning needs of people in the 21st century, and doing this work collaboratively in alignment with community needs.
And then more focused on learning, specifically the role we as libraries can play in informal learning to help our communities…
Skills like critical thinking and problem solving are not only relevant for K-12 students and schools. There are millions of adult learners not in formal education programs looking to refine workplace skills. Even school-aged children spend the overwhelming majority of their waking hours in non-school settings, and increasingly they spend this time in organized out-of-school settings such as afterschool, museum, and library programs. In these settings, they develop important skills—such as problem solving, collaboration, global awareness, and selfdirection—not only for lifelong learning and everyday activities, but also for use back in K-12 schools and college classrooms.
And I loved this one that encourages us to
view learning from an “ecological perspective” that involves “life-long,” “life-wide,” and “life-deep” experiences.
The report itself is loaded with other excellent information that can both guide programming as well as advocacy efforts, with clear articulation of the critical value of libraries. I’ve yet to dive deep into the assessment tools, but kudos to the task force and team member who pulled together the launch of this outstanding initiative!
Read it and tell me what you think!
The Secretary of Agriculture announced in a 1/26/10 press release that the department has designated $100 million in USDA Rural Development Community Facilities funding for public libraries. The program will provide educational opportunities and improve public services in rural communities.
For more information on the program and how to apply, see the USDA Rural Development fact sheet.
Applications are handled by USDA Rural Development field offices. To reach the USDA Rural Development contact for a specific state, visit www.rurdev.usda.gov/ – adding the two-letter initial of the state to the end of the URL.
Thanks to Lori Reed for pointing out this excellent podcast from Joan Frye Williams and George Needham from their Thinking Out Loud series. I just listened to it for the second time and took some notes:
Bravo, George and Joan!
Our fellow staffer Michael Porter (aka Libraryman) has been spending his off hours working slavishly with David Lee King on a project they call Library 101. We know Michael as an unrepentent cheerleader of libraries and librarians who can convince anyone to get up and dance and sing for the cause (and have fun while doing it!). Well, their project debuted just a few days ago, with quite a splash. The project website includes a collection of more than 20 essays from thought leaders in the field, an extensive list of resources (101, actually) on “need to know” technology, and last but not least, a 7-minute song and video featuring Michael, David, and a huge cast of characters from libraries around the globe. Around the office, we all have the chorus “101 our parts make a sum that will be the key to what is to come. 101’s how we get the job done! Evolve and make your Library 101!” totally stuck in our heads.
Michael and David are hoping that you will help build the project by adding your comments to the essays, to answer the question, What do you think librarians need to know to succeed?
A new group sprouted this week on WebJunction focused on Green Libraries. It looks like WJ members Tara Matsuzaki and Sue Kent got the ball rolling! Sue posted an outstanding list of green accomplishments that she and her West Vancouver Memorial Library colleagues shared at the recent BC Library Conference.
I’d like to also take the opportunity to welcome to the WJ fold the brand new WebJunction-British Columbia community, the first WebJunction learning community created for libraries outside the United States!
I know, it’s a solemn reminder for the day after, but I wanted to check in with folks who were hoping for the passage of library bonds yesterday.
I’ve heard both good news and bad about library bonds passing. I’m hoping folks will share their stories here as a comment or in a WJ discussion. Because we’re getting ready to launch our Virtual Town Hall in December these types of conversations will also be useful in helping the WJ community build a solid foundation for the series.
Virtual Town Hall: Focus on Tough Economic Times
This December, WebJunction is hosting a series of three webinars on the topic of Libraries in Tough Economic Times. Join us in a new Virtual Town Hall format designed engage all attendees with questions, brainstorms, stories, and to collect practical strategies. We’ve picked 3 different days and times to accommodate as many schedules as possible, but you’re encouraged to join us for as many of the sessions as you are able.
I’ve started a Town Hall discussion to get the conversation rolling and to get input as we decide on topics for focus. I think that library bonds are certainly worthy of focus. Other ideas include:
Please plan on bringing your questions and strategies to the events. All attendees will be encouraged to participate, but if you’ve got something meaty to share, let us know so we can get your slides or pictures into the Virtual Town Hall before the session begins.
I’ve been itchin’ to use the Wimba Classroom for more informal virtual gatherings like this and look forward to the series. With your participation, we as a community can begin to tackle many of the challenges that lie ahead for our libraries.
In case you missed the news, American Libraries, ALA’s monthly publication and American Libraries Direct, its companion weekly e-newsletter are now open to all via the web. The resources were formally accessible only to those with an ALA membership. AL Direct is a real gem, always packed with timely news and reminders. This week’s edition reminded me to highlight these two opportunities:
You’ve got one week (November 7) to submit valuable input to the Public Library Funding and Technology Access Study. Data from the library internet survey will be used for peer comparison, budget requests, media outreach, and testimony before legislative bodies.
And I mentioned this a few weeks ago, but now is the time to apply for a $3000 grant for your 2009 National Library Week efforts. The deadline for the Scholastic Library Publishing National Library Week Grant has been extended to November 14.
Our Library of the Month spotlight addresses an issue that many in the library world have faced: how can we continue to provide our services in the face of shrinking budgets? While none of us (normally) seek out organizational crises, the outcome of such pain can sometimes spark true innovation.
Bonnie McKewon, administrator of Northwest Iowa Library Services (NWILS) tells WebJunction how an ongoing slide in funding helped the organization to change how they delivered consultancy services. As budget and staffing shortfalls made clear the impossibility of their current model, they embraced an opportunity to develop an innovative, sustainable virtual-team/consulting model!
The spotlight provides insight into their successful program.
Bonnie is also presenting the WebJunction webinar this week on Thursday January 24, 2008 on the topic of Let’s Collaborate in 2008. She’ll provide suggestions on how to reinvigorate cooperation amongst libraries. Please join us for the webinar or stay tuned for the archive and associated resources.
edit: An archive of Bonnie’s webinar is now available for viewing at your convenience.
December Webinar – Funding for Programs and Services to the Latino Community
Join us for a free, one-hour webinar on December 11th from 10:00-11:00 AM Pacific Time.
This is the best time in the fiscal year to find sources of funding and collaboration. It’s the Holiday season, thoughts turn to human-interest stories and families are gathering to enjoy good times and special memories.
If you have a great program or service you want to implement that will serve the Latino community, and have not secured funding for it yet–we have an opportunity for you! Dr. Camila Alire, my co-author and I will present ideas and tips on how to find funding for programs and services to the Latino community.
In times of challenges to services for the underserved, lack of culturally competent workers, and too often persons in decision making positions that will not support or encourage outreach, one needs a resource that will provide a realistic approach to serving Latinos. If you have read Serving Latino Communities: A How-To-Do-It Manual then you know that Camila and I are sharing our research and passing it on to assist all those willing to reach a most rewarding destination.
Resources of all kinds are necessary to serve any target population. If your aim is to provide the best services to Latinos in your community, the funds to do so will be critical. As you draft your performance goals for work or formulate new year’s resolutions, plan to join us as we share our knowledge and experience. Then take some of these tips and work toward results.
Registration is optional, but if you choose to register and attendthe webinar, you will be entered to win one of two copies we are giving away of Serving Latino Communities: A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians. Participants who register AND attend the webinar will also be eligible for a 10% discount on the book from Neal-Schuman Publishers. Select chapters of the book are now available in the Management for Outreacharea of the WebJunction website.
For more information visit Spanish Outreach – In Depth where you’ll find instructions for joining the webinar. I hope you will join us tomorrow. Feel free to post your thoughts, ideas, and comments here before or after the webinar.
San Diego County Library
What does the phrase “library as place” mean to you? How does it differ from “experience library” or “destination library”? What do these concepts have in common? At the next Rural Webinar, we’ll explore these concepts and share our strategies for making our library spaces inviting and useful to our “inhouse” visitors.
Please join Rural Webinar moderator, Brenda Hough and me, Cindi Hickey on Thursday in Live Space at WebJunction. Here are the meeting details:
Thursday, October 25, 2007
11:00 am PT/ 2:00 pm ET
For connection instructions, please visit:
Bring your ideas and success stories! We’ll see you there.
P.S. Want a preview? Check out Library As Place, posted by Peter Bromberg at the Library Garden blog.
Posted by Cindi Hickey
One of the best things about my job is that I have my own librarian. Ok, she’s not ‘my’ librarian. Her name is Tam and she’s more OCLC’s librarian. But it still feels like I have my own personal librarian because I email her questions and she just, like, answers them. Rright away. It’s amazing! I’m such a happy patron right now.
Anyway, one of the projects I’m working on (with my colleagues here at the WJ, including ‘my’ librarian) is gathering some basic info about librarians in the US. Who are we? What do we do? Where do we work? How many of us are there? Frankly, though I don’t often come right out and say it, I’m generally not all that interested in numbers, but this project proved to be pretty interesting and so I thought I’d share some of our findings:
Two ideas emerge from these stats. First, if the bulk of retiring librarians is at the director level, who will the profession promote to those positions? Even if the post-MLIS force keeps up with retirees, will they be ready for the positions they’re asked to fill? Second, if MLIS students are increasingly moving into non-traditional environments instead of taking traditional positions in public, school, academic or other types of libraries, where does that leave us institutionally?
I’d like to append to these facts and figures with an impression that has developed for me through conversation with colleagues over the last several years. Some of my friends in LibraryLand, many of whom are extremely innovative, ambitious, and eager to contribute to the profession, are often struggling in their library jobs. They seem unsupported by their institutions, sometimes specifically by their library directors and senior colleagues. Age, along with tech savvy or advocacy and a shift towards community-based authority or expertise layers in additional divisive factors, sometimes widening the gap between ‘us’ and ‘them’. I have personally benefited from relationships and mentoring with elders in our field – I won’t call them traditionalists! – as well as from very strong institutional support from my employer for my work. But I’m wondering if there’s a way to shift our culture as a profession so that my experiences along these lines are more of a norm, rather than an exception.
And so, how can we bridge these gaps in our daily work? Can we create inter-generational or inter-experiential dialog and (two-way) mentoring so that the library profession, and our institutions, can thrive (not just survive) in the midst of this particular change?
I’ve been thinking a lot about how to approach this. At least two projects in the works so far! Stay tuned…
Join us on August 23, 11:00 am PT/ 2:00 pm ET for You can do it! Practical techniques for supporting public computing. How are your peers meeting the challenges of providing access to public computers? Pooling resources, developing technology plans, and staff training are three things that can help. In this month’s Rural In Focus webinar, we will take a look at The Joy of Computing Cookbook for small and rural libraries at www.maintainitproject.org. Join a lively discussion around best practices that will include three of the libraries who contributed to the cookbook. Bring your success stories as well as your nightmares, and let’s find solutions together! Find information on joining the webinar and see archives of past webinars at Rural In Focus.
I know that competencies are a hot topic when 160 people show up for one of WJ’s Learning Webinars. If you missed Core Competencies for Library Staff, the archive is available for viewing. Launch the recording, type your name in the box and click Enter. (If the login window doesn’t pop up, click the “Participant Login” button.) If you’ve used Wimba on your computer before, there’s no need to run the wizard again; just use the “click here” link. The movable table of contents window allows you to jump forward and back through the slides.
Many thanks again to Sarah and Karen for sharing their expertise!