Ideas to Make Your Library Shine

Sharing ideas from around the system & around the country, on programming, fundraising, grants, free stuff, and more.
Brought to you by the Winnefox Library System.

Your Patrons Will Appreciate This: 6 Tips to Avoid Overdues

you can get this book bag at Café PressWe all know library patrons who have trouble returning library materials by the due date. Here are 2 of the 6 tips you could share with customers — via your website, Twitter, Pinterest, or Facebook page — to stop the overdue cycle and help get materials back on time:

1. Designate a special library bag. We have a specific bag that we always use for the library. It's big and bright and you can't miss it. Phee can go dig it out of the closet herself. When we're finished with a particular book, sometimes it goes right back into the bag for the next trip. If you always use the same bag, then any family member going to the library will know what to take. No more books left behind!

Hmmm...does your library or Friends group sell tote bags decorated your library's logo?  If so, you could set up a "point of purchase" display at your circulation desk to make it easy for patrons to buy one with this use in mind!  You could market them as "Make it Easy to Return Your Books on Time" bags.  :-)

3. Set a due date reminder on your phone/calendar. I'm terrible at this. I even get emails reminders that books will be due in a couple days and I still can't get them returned on time. I make it a point to enter the due date and set a reminder in my phone as soon as we get to the car. You could also make a big note on your paper calendar. Whatever it takes so that you see, and heed, the reminder!

To get the rest of the 6 tips, read Helen's post at her Life in Random Bits blog.

• Hat tip to Kimberly-Little Chute Public Library who shared the blog post on their Facebook page
• You can buy or design your own "Library Books" tote bag like the one in the photo at Café Press


7 Success Stories You May Have Missed in July

Oshkosh Public Library's Discovery TablesHere are great ideas and good news from around the Winnefox Library System:

Open Mic Night at Princeton Public Library is "a monthly program where patrons are encouraged to bring their stories, poetry, and music to share with the group" in a casual and fun atmosphere.  Here's a photo album showing recent participants, which includes an accordion & banjo duo.

⇒ The Fond du Lac chapter of Women in Management presented Fond du Lac Public Library support services coordinator Lori Burgess with their 2014 Woman Manager of the Year award. Dorothy Bliskey, Women in Management’s 2014 president, said, "Lori is a wonderful example of the women who make our organization what it is. Her leadership is an asset to our community."  And the Fond du Lac City Council honored Circulation Supervisor Nancy Groff for her 25 years of service at the library.

⇒ Oshkosh Public Library's children's & teen services department set up Discovery Tables to offer fun and hands-on science activities for kids.  The theme in early July was Exploring with Microscopes & Magnifying Glasses; "Kids will look at real insects, prepared slides of textile fibers, plants, pollen & spores." The tables were set up in the KidSpace area on weekday afternoons.  In the same vein, the Wautoma Public Library had a scanning electron microscope on loan from UW-Madison, and invited people to bring objects like butterfly wings to view at a magnification rarely seen first-hand.

⇒ Ripon Public Library held a "Minute To Win It" program that was "a laugh-out-loud evening of fun and camaraderie."  Staff worked with area businesses that helped sponsor the event by providing prizes.

⇒ Three libraries increased their visibility this summer by being part of parades and community events: Campbellsport Public Library particpated in the 4th of July parade with kids dressed up as robots (children were invited to make their costumes at the library); Winneconne Public Library's "Club Winston" marched in the parade and had a lemonade stand at Sovereign State Days; and Patterson Memorial Library was part of the Wild Rose Days: Party on the Pond parade and celebration.

⇒ The Taste of Wautoma is an annual library fundraiser that "features area restaurants highlighting their most delicious dishes. It's a great opportunity to enjoy an evening out and mingle with old and new friends while helping the library at the same time." All proceeds from the event go toward payment of the 2009 Wautoma Public Library remodel project.

⇒ Caestecker Library in Green Lake is slated to have a new elevator installed in their building, thanks to a pledge from Thomas Caestecker, for whom the library is named.

Did I miss your library's success story? Use this form to tell me about it!

Photo credit: Oshkosh Public Library's Facebook page


A Librarian’s Guide to Homelessness

A welcoming and respectful attitude is one of the most important things that makes a library accessible to people who are homeless and/or living in poverty.

For practical suggestions on working with library users who are homeless, living in poverty, or suffering from mental illness, watch the video A Librarian’s Guide to Homelessness, presented by Ryan Dowd of Hesed House, a shelter in Aurora, IL.

Get more resources at DPI's Serving Special Populations > Homelessness and Poverty; note especially Library Service to the Homeless which covers the ethical and legal issues of “poverty profiling" policies that address body odor, detail the use of restrooms, and ban bulky bags.

• Hat tip to Tessa Michaelson Schmidt (DPI Public Library Youth and Special Services Consultant) and Leah Langby (Library Development and Youth Services Coordinator at Indianhead Federated Library System)


3 Events Coming in October: Now's a Good Time to Get Ready

ImageIt's not too early to start planning these library's programs and events for October:

Star Wars Reads Day
October 11, 2014 (schools and school libraries are encouraged to hold their events on Friday, October 10th)
• Download a free official Star Wars event kit, that includes reproducible activity sheets and trivia; it's available as a printable PDF in color and black and white.
• Sign up for the free newsletter which will put you on the official mailing list, and will keep you in-the-know about exclusive access to giveaways and marketing, promotional, and activity ideas that will help enhance your event.
• Two months beforehand they'll provide you with a downloadable activity kit with trivia, crafts, and event suggestions. The publishers sponsoring the event are also offering free giveaways (while supplies last) to anyone holding a Star Wars Reads Day event.
• Consider holding a costume contest, cosplay event, comic con, or requesting costumed volunteers

Teen Read Week
October 12-18, 2014
• Use these free resources to promote it at your library: activity ideas, publicity toolkit, book & media lists, and planning checklist.
Teen Read Week is a "national adolescent literacy initiative created by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). Its purpose is to encourage teens to be regular readers and library users."

National Friends of Libraries Week
October 19-25, 2014
• Get their free PR and Marketing Materials, which includes a sample press release that can be customized for your library and/or Friends group.
It's a great time to promote your Friends group, to raise awareness, and to promote membership. It's also an excellent opportunity for your library and Board of Trustees to recognize the Friends for their help and support of the library.

Attend These Free Webinars in August

ImagePlan to attend these free webinars; all you need is your computer & speakers or headphones (no microphone needed.) If you attend a live webinar, it may be counted as a Category B continuing education activity towards renewing librarian certification.

Webinars with a ★ are the ones I think you'll find most useful.


5 Success Stories You May Have Missed in June

ImageHere are recent success stories from around the Winnefox Library System you may have missed:

Leon Saxeville Library in Pine River received a Geraldine Hartford Waushara County Fund grant through the Community Foundation of Central Wisconsin. "The library was able to purchase 2 new computers for the Public Computer stations in addition to 3 new larger monitors with the generosity of the Community Foundation.  Just last week the final technology upgrade was completed with the purchase of a Tablet for staff use and patron training opportunities.  The Mobile piece of the Library System Software was being tested and now that it is available so we could finalize our purchases the Grant allowed us to afford." If your library is in Waushara County, the Community Foundation of Central Wisconsin is accepting applications for its Community Grants Program through August 15, 2014; here's where to get the Grant Policies & Procedures and application form.

⇒ The Winneconne Public Library was featured in the School Library Journal Teen Newsletter because of a blog post authored by Children's Librarian Amanda O'Neal that got the attention of School Library Journal; Marketing Specialist Kelly Nelson wrote the piece for national publication.

⇒ The Mill Pond Library Photography Club in Kingston had its first exhibition, and — through sales of prints and a prize drawing — the Club raised $330 which was donated to the library.

Fond du Lac Public Library was the 2014 winner of the CitizensFirst Walleye Weekend Grand Giveback.  (The Grand Giveback is an opportunity for non-profits to tell their unique stories and earn a chance to win $1,000 to further their mission.)  In addition, FDLPL was BadgerLink's Library of the Month.

⇒ Affecting all Green Lake County libraries, "After months of debate, Green Lake County Board Supervisors have voted unanimously to keep library funding at 100%, which will maintain the current level of funding for the five-year plan through 2016." [shared by Berlin Public Library]

Did I miss your library's success story? Use this form to tell me about it!

Photo credit: Montello Public Library's Facebook page

Readalikes Display: What to Read While You're Waiting For ...

ImageHere's a display idea that...

  • is self-serve instant-gratification readers advisory
  • increases circulation
  • can ease the "pain" customers feel while waiting on a long holds list

Oshkosh Public Library used this display of readalikes for recent bestsellers that have 30+ holds:


They created a list of titles to re-stock the display as books get checked out, and they're happy to share the list with you.  It's a Word document, so you can edit and adapt it to use at your library.

Tip: if you promote these readalikes on your library's website, make sure to turn each title into a link to the item's bibliographic record in the catalog. And consider creating some Pinterest boards of readalikes, like this one by Salt Lake County Library.

You can see what the Seattle Public Library does with this idea at Movie Mondays: While you’re waiting… and What to Read While Waiting for A Game of Thrones.

Subscribe to Front page feed