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.

9 Success Stories You May Have Missed

ImageHere are great ideas and good news from around the Winnefox Library System:

⇒ Carter Memorial Library in Omro was able to purchase LEGO blocks to start a Builders Club for children in kindergarten through fifth grade, thanks to a grant from ShopKo and matching funds from the Friends of the Library.

⇒ Endeavor Public Library was selected as one of 10 libraries in Wisconsin to host a special screening of an episode of the new PBS Kids show "Nature Cat".  Attendees watched the episode, had a snack, and then did fun nature-themed activities on an "early release" Friday afternoon.

⇒ The Friends of the Princeton Public Library is planning a Paint Nite at Christiano's fundraiser on February 24th, to raise money for the library expansion project.

⇒ Oxford Public Library is planning a year of programs, and posted a list of topics to get input on which ones people would like to attend.

⇒ Two libraries have joined the trend of showing Academy Award-nominated films during the month of February; both the Mill Pond Library in Kingston and the Princeton Public Library will have a "Road to the Oscars" series. the Caestecker Public Library in Green Lake has been holding this event since at least 2013.

⇒ Neenah Public Library is planning a Prom Dress Swap event, so someone's pre-owned dress can become a new-to-you gown.

⇒ The Oshkosh Public Library has partnered with the Winnebago County Literacy Council to offer a course in basic computer skills designed for job seekers. "The partnership between the library and council capitalizes on complementary strengths of both organizations. The council has developed the curriculum and will provide the lead instructor for the course. A reference librarian with experience teaching adult computer courses will assist. The library's free public Internet computers and Wi-Fi throughout the building offer convenient opportunities for participants to practice what they are learning and conduct online job searches."

⇒ The Oakfield Public Library raised over $400 at their first annual Holiday Silent Auction.  The funds will be used for additional community programs and new materials.

⇒ Both the Neenah Public Library and the Delafield Public Library offered expanded evening hours for Finals Study Nights.  Neenah provided big tables, quiet spaces, study help, and free pizza, soda & coffee from 4-9pm on Sunday & Monday January 10th and 11th; teachers from Neenah High School were also available to answer students' questions. Delafield held their expanded hours Monday & Tuesday January 18th and 19th, and offered "Show your student ID for access to our quiet corners and complimentary refreshments."

Photo credit: Neenah Public Library's Facebook page

DIY Miniature Chocolate Book Favors for Valentine's Day

ImageWith Valentine’s day coming up soon, consider making some miniature book chocolate valentines. All you need is some Hershey’s Nuggets chocolates, red cardstock or poster board, and a hot glue gun.

Meggie Wright provides step-by-step instructions and a free downloadable library book Valentine template at her Dewey belong together? – DIY Library Book Valentine blog post.

Hat tips to:
Tina Davis' post on ALA Think Tank, which was inspired by...
Meggie Wright's post on ALATT
Miniature Chocolate Little Red Riding Hood Book Favor with Free Printable


A Culture of Yes, Hospitality in the Library, and 14 More

ImageIf you missed any of the 16 presentations at last month's Wild Wisconsin Winter Web Conference, you can still watch recordings of the webinars.

Note: if you watch a recorded webinar and want to count it as a continuing education event, it's considered a Self-Directed CE activity and may be counted as a Category C event when filling out your Activity Report form.

Here are links to each of the individual sessions:

Tools to Supercharge Your Early Literacy Practices

ImageIf you're interested in early childhood literacy and storytimes, you can use Supercharged Storytimes to explore early literacy concepts and find specific strategies to reinforce those concepts for kids, parents, and caregivers. 

There is no cost for public library staff and volunteers in Wisconsin to join, and the space will be available through March 31, 2016.

Upon joining the Supercharged learning community, public library staff members and volunteers in Wisconsin will have access to:

  • Recorded webinars that provide an overview of the significance of specific early literacy concepts, and strategies for enhancing interactivity in your practice;
  • Online supporting materials, such as videos, articles, tools and tip sheets;
  • Supercharged discussion forums, offering the ability to share ideas and collaborate with other public library colleagues around the state.

For more information on the learning available in this space, review the Supercharged Storytimes Orientation Outline.

To sign up:

  • Go to and click on “Log in” in the upper right-hand corner.
    • Have a WebJunction account? Simply log in with your username and password.
    • New to WebJunction? Follow the instructions to create a new account.
  • After logging in, enroll in Supercharged Central – Wisconsin by going to the WebJunction Course Catalog and search courses by entering: Supercharged
  • At the enrollment options page, select the Supercharged Central community for Wisconsin, and then click on “Enroll me.”
  • After you select “Enroll me,” you will be see the Supercharged Storytimes community of practice page:

The Wisconsin Division of Libraries and Technology was selected to partner with OCLC’s WebJunction program to bring Supercharged Storytimes to local providers, given the demonstrated leadership and commitment to early learning by libraries in our state.

Hat tip to Tessa Michaelson Schmidt, Public Library Youth and Special Services Consultant, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction


Big Talk From Small Libraries: Free 1-Day Online Conference

ImageThe "Big Talk From Small Libraries 2016" one-day online conference is this month,  Everyone is welcome to attend, regardless of how big or small the library, if your library serves a few hundred or a few thousand, this is the day for you. It's aimed at librarians from small libraries; the smaller the better. Each of the speakers will be from a small library or works directly with small libraries.

Friday February 26, 2016
8:45am - 5pm CST (attend one or all the sessions)
Register here
GoToWebinar login instructions will be e-mailed to registered attendees the day before the conference

You may attend one or all of the sessions. Come for the programs on what you’re dealing with now, or maybe try something new. 

Here's the schedule of presentations:

Welcome to the Conference & Introductions

Transforming our Library from Lovely to Lively!

Best Small Library in America 2016: Albert Wisner Public Library

Dig Into Your History

12:00-12:50pm – Lightning Round:
12:00 – Leveraging the Power of Little
12:10 – The John G. Neihardt State Historic Site
12:20 – Easy Group Calendars
12:30 – To the Big Stage on a Small Budget: From Special Collections to Archive 2.0
12:40 – Kicking up our Heels

Learn More, Pay Less
Have you always wanted to learn about the latest technology, how to create a disaster plan, updates on children’s programming or how to host a comic con? Join me to learn about free and low cost webinar and training opportunities available to everyone. Keep you, your staff and your board up to date on all the newest information without breaking the budget. Topics range from grants to RDA to programming ideas and much more. Please feel free to bring your favorite training websites to share!

Honoring the Past, Moving Into the Future
The Park City Library recently underwent renovation on our historic high school, circa 1928, to develop a 21st Century library. The building’s history was preserved with reveals of historic brick, metal beams, and windows – while adding a coffee shop, digital media lab, high-tech community gathering spaces, increased youth services areas (including gaming), bookstore browsing displays, roving reference, and expanded study areas. Along the way, a commitment to preserving the history of the building allowed it to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places – blending the old and the new to create an innovative amenity and town treasure.

Reach Them, Teach Them: Having a Lifelong Learning Series in YOUR Library
Regardless of your library and town size, you can help with your adult patrons’ ongoing learning. There is a wide variety of ways in which we can accomplish this effort. Attend this workshop to learn about putting together a Lifelong Learning Lecture Series at your library – it doesn’t have to require a lot of staff time, effort, or money. Learn some tips and tricks to make it work at YOUR library.

Flip The Script: Changing the Direction of the Library
Learn how the rural library dramatically changed focus in the last 5 years—from book depository to community hub, and how they’ve turned outward to build relationships and try new ideas. Being at the fortunate point in time that the library was running out of money and volunteers, with no tax dollar support, created freedom to experiment without fear of failure. Successful leaders need to paint a compelling and inspiring picture of what that future will look like. This requires developing your own clear vision of where you want to go and providing meaningful guidance regarding how to move forward.

This conference is organized and hosted by the Nebraska Library Commission, and is co-sponsored by the Association for Rural & Small Libraries.

Reference: Big Talk From Small Libraries website
Photo credit: building previously used by the Mill Pond Public Library in Kingston, WI

Free Webinars in February

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.


7 Success Stories You May Have Missed

ImageHere are great ideas and good news from around the Winnefox Library System:

⇒ Brandon Public Library set up a YouTube channel to share time-lapse videos of their 3D printer in action.

⇒ Caestecker Public Library in Green Lake hosted a 2½ hour animation workshop for ages 11 and up, "showing how you can make your own animated movies using objects that are in your home."

⇒ Neenah Public Library is the latest to add baking pans to their collection.  They join Patterson Memorial Library in Wild Rose and Wautoma Public Library in circulating them (find them all in the catalog), and offer 5 heart-shaped pans just in time for Valentine's Day baking.

⇒ Oshkosh Public Library's board approved the Strategic Plan and Action Plan for 2016 - 2018. OPL director Jeff wrote, "The road to get here kicked off with our Staff Development Day back on February 13. The process of conversing with members of the community about their hopes and wishes for a good life in Oshkosh was shepherded by Lisa Voss and Brenda Haines of Blue Door Consulting.  Working together as a staff, we came up with an inspiring new vision statement for where we hope the library to be in ten years --  'A Library In Every Life'." "By early October, Brenda had translated the thoughts and themes into a draft with a solid vision, four major goals, and a number of major strategies with attached tactics to achieve them. Since October, the management team has been specifying and prioritizing work projects necessary to pursue the various tactics." "It is my intention to place the vision and the plan at the very core of our organization. If we mobilize our energy and our resources to reach this vision and accomplish the goals in this plan, we can make the library a central place for learning, creating and enjoying life for new generations of Oshkosh residents." Starting in 2016, there will be regular communication to staff about the plan, its goals and projects, so that everyone in the organization has the opportunity to stay informed, better understand and participate as the plan is carried out.

⇒ The Oakfield Public Library's outdoor sign was updated with a new logo, signboard, and a coat of paint; it was paid for in part by family and friends in memory of Gudrun Kenyon, a long-time library board member.

⇒ The Friends of the Montello Public Library are on track to exceed last year's silent auction sales of $1500. "The support of our community for the Montello Public Library is overwhelming."

⇒ Thanks to a donation from the family of Cindy Barden, a native of Fond du Lac and prolific author of educational books for children, the Cindy Casetta Barden Teachers’ Resource Center has opened inside the Children’s Room of the Fond du Lac Public Library.  It includes "a growing collection of materials for teachers, homeschoolers and parents and includes book club kits, musical instrument kits, classroom kits, big books for storytelling and much more." The center is open to all, and materials can be checked out by anyone with a valid library account.

Photo credit: Oxford Public Library/s Facebook photo album

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