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.

10 Success Stories You May Have Missed in November

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

⇒ Winneconne Public Library is providing Storytime-to-Go Bags. Each of the 12 bags has a different theme, and contains books, a CD, puppet or toy, and an activity folder with coloring pages & activities. A grant from Winneconne Thrift & Gift funded the purchase of supplies to create and fill the bags.

⇒ The game was afoot at the Caestecker Public Library in Green Lake when they invited customers to don a deerstalker cap for their "It's Elementary!" series of events. Attendees were treated to film (and television episode) screenings, 'expert testimony' about Holmes, and "an appearance by the famous detective himself."

⇒ The Pine River Library of Leon and Saxeville Townships received a donation of over 60 new science, math, and picture books from the Libri Foundation Books For Children Program, compliments of the Mr. Wallhagen and Ms. Strawbridge Fund. The Friends of the Pine River Library donated $350 and the Libri Foundation matched their donation on a 2-to-1 ratio, doubling the amount raised.

⇒ Oshkosh Public Library is having Christmas Card Saturdays Nov. 29th through December 6th.  The library provides the setting — "in front of the Christmas trees, on the beautiful marble staircase, or maybe outside in front of the library lions" —  as a great spot to take a photo for Christmas cards or family calendar project

⇒ Nearly 500 people attended Fond du Lac Public Library's Flavors of Wisconsin Gift Fair fundraiser that featured over 20 Wisconsin vendors, included a basket-making station where people could bring their purchases to be assembled into gift baskets, and the library's BookCellar used book store was transformed into The Rathskeller for beer tasting.

⇒ The Mill Pond Library in Kingston started a new scrip fundraising program: if you buy gift cards for the holidays, you can purchase them at the library.  The gift cards are the same as you'd purchase in a store; you get full face value, and the library gets a percentage. Some of the retailers include Kohl's, Kwik Trip, Pick 'N Save, Piggly Wiggly, Mobil, Subway, Walgreens, & Walmart; here's a list of all the vendors whose gift cards are available via the Great Lakes Scrip Center.

⇒ Three libraries held Black Friday events the day after Thanksgiving:

  1. The Caestecker Public LIbrary in Green Lake from 9am to Noon offered half off overdue fines and up to 15 free black and white copies, and temporarily increased the DVD checkout limit to 10 (up from 7) all day long.
  2. In addition to half-off fines from 9am to Noon, the Fond du Lac Public Library offered a free grab bag with the purchase of any regularly priced nonfiction book from their BookCellar used book store.
  3. Neenah Public Library offered 50% off overdue fines, and invited patrons to come to the library to watch movies, and provided a survey where patrons could vote to help decide which movies to play.

⇒ The Noon Kiwanis donated a new batch of toys to Ripon Public Library for their toy lending library.

⇒ Campbellsport Public Library provided a "thankful board" that kids used to write about or to draw the things for which they were thankful. [photo above at right]

⇒ Wautoma Public Library worked with the Wautoma High School Key Club to create a Scooby Doo Boo event on October 30th that included a wide range of activities: a code-breaking activity with extra codes to solve found throughout the library; a "make a disguise" craft where kids could choose to be Scooby, Shaggy, Velma, Fred, or Daphne; a follow the clues ghostly web trail; a ghost catching light game in the dark; a mummy wrap race; and a stun the ghosts marshmallow launching game. To finish off the night, the Key Club performed a mystery theater to help us solve the mystery, "Who Stole the Scooby Snacks" and then children received a treat bag of goodies."  The Winneconne Public Library also partnered with the Winneconne Elementary School's PTA to put on a Halloween Book Bash that included a costume contest, dance party, trick-or-treating, and book sale.

3 Grants You can Apply for in December

ImageHere are three grant opportunities for which you can apply this month.  They're listed in chronological order by application deadline date.

Read to Lead Grant
Application formImage and details and grant scoring criteria Image
Deadline for applying: December 15, 2014 at 5:00 p.m.
Award: $2,500 up to $40,000

These grants are aimed at improving literacy and early childhood development. Preference will be given to applications that aim to adhere to one or more of the recommendations in the Read to Lead Task Force report, such as:
• Offering a strong, evidence-based summer school program for struggling readers;
• Putting books into the hands of low-income children and support programs, which encourage parents and caregivers to read to children;
• Supporting or establishing programs to provide parents and caregivers with the skills necessary to foster better oral language development in their children;
• Supporting or developing collaborations in the community between adult literacy agencies and K-12 schools, so additional reading, writing, and computer literacy skills can be sought by parents wanting to improve their own literacy skills;
•  Partnering with businesses or organizations to promote the importance of literacy and develop programs to help struggling readers.
Read to Lead’s goal is to ensure students have the necessary reading skills before they reach 4th grade, where they transition from learning to read to reading to learn.

Scholastic Library Publishing National Library Week Grant
Application form and Guidelines
Deadline for applying: December 30, 2014
Award: $3,000 grant

Awarded to the best public awareness campaign that promotes the 2015 National Library Week (April 12-18, 2015) theme "Unlimited possibilities @ your library."
Proposals are judged on the basis of how well they meet the contest criteria, along with other factors including creativity, originality, clarity of planning, and potential for generating widespread public visibility and support for libraries.

Coretta Scott King Book Donation Grants
Application form and criteria
Deadline for applying: applications will be accepted through Jan. 31, 2015
Award: 3 libraries will receive copies of more than 60 titles submitted for consideration for the 2015 awards, including a full set of the winning titles

Awarded by the Coretta Scott King Book Awards Committee, this grant program provides books submitted for consideration for the Coretta Scott King Book Awards to libraries and other organizations to expand their collections. Each year, three organizations are selected that demonstrate need and potential benefit from receiving the collection.
The Coretta Scott King Book Awards are presented annually by the Coretta Scott King Book Awards Committee of the ALA’s Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT) to encourage the artistic expression of the African-American experience via literature and the graphic arts.


Free Webinars in December

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.


10 Success Stories You May Have Missed

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

⇒ The 2nd annual creative auction at Campbellsport Public Library raised $2100, which will be used to purchase materials for the library's collection.  Not only did Stephanie build and maintain interest in the campaign by frequently posting to Facebook photos of donations, but she also created a Pinterest board full of creative ideas to encourage donations of handmade artwork and refurbished furniture.

⇒ Neenah Public Library is circulating Roku players to let patrons stream a select number of movies and TV shows. (A Roku player connects directly to a TV and a high-speed Internet connection to deliver content from sources like Netflix.)  They also hosted a Doctor Who party during Halloween week.

⇒ Oshkosh Public Library has launched a Word of Mouth Marketing (WOMM) campaign featuring people in the community who value the services and resources of the library. "The theme is Are You Library People?  The stories highlight reasons why community members value the library, and are meant to encourage users to tell others about their library experiences. The goal is to generate positive word-of-mouth in the community about OPL, because many experts agree that word-of-mouth is one of the most powerful types of marketing! They plan to post customer stories on the library's website and on the big screen on the 1st floor, share them via social media, and by posters around the library. The stories will also be featured on a billboard (corner of Murdock & Harrison) and on two Go Transit bus boards.

⇒ Fond du Lac County Executive Allen Buechel will receive the Wisconsin Library Association Citation of Merit for his contribution to libraries, an award bestowed upon Wisconsin citizens who have made outstanding contributions to quality library services, but who are neither librarians nor library trustees. Nominated by directors of the 7 Fond du Lac County libraries, the nomination "cited Buechel’s 'unique level of support' for county libraries during a time of financial hardship that included a four-year plan increasing county support for library services to rural residents and a pledge that no library would receive a reduction in funding." Buechel and other award winners will be feted at a celebratory reception at the WLA Conference on Thursday November 6th.

⇒ Spillman Public Library started a Creative Writer's Group which will be a monthly gathering place for aspiring novelists, songwriters, poets, short story writers, and storytellers.

⇒ The Mill Pond Library in Kingston raised $3342 at their fundraising auction at the Dalton Town Hall, which will go towards buying a new photocopier, replacing a pressure tank, and purchasing library materials.  Auctioneer Wayne Yoder of Wautoma donated his skills, and people bid on items ranging from a vintage monkey wrench quilt made and donated by the St. Mary's Quilters, a riding lawn mower, prom dresses, and even 2 Green Bay Packer tickets for the game against the Carolina Panthers.

⇒ Patrons can now check out rubber stamps to use with Patterson Memorial Library's Card Creators Kit to create unique greeting cards.

⇒ As part of the Green Lake Association’s "Urban Education Initiative," the new Ripon Public Library Rain Garden "serves both an educational and functional purpose, increasing awareness about the impact of water runoff in urban areas, while also effectively mitigating the impact through sustainable landscaping."  The library will soon be installing a kiosk that explains the function of a rain garden, as well as identifying the specific plants and materials used for this project.

⇒ The Leon-Saxeville Library in Pine River held a Chocolate Frenzy Event at the Saxeville Town Hall that "received heavy attendance" gathered to taste-test and vote on entries that included chocolate-covered bacon.  (Insert Homer Simpson drool sound-effect here.)

⇒ Brandon Public Library has purchased a 3D printer and is hosting workshops to educate patrons on "how 3D printing works, what it is, how to use it, what the potential is, and what to expect in the future", and has had articles featured in area newspapers.

image credit: Photo Art by Sharon Olk's Facebook Page

Your Library's Amazon Wish List: How to Start One or Enhance the One You've Got

ImageDoes your library have an Amazon Wish List?  It's an easy way for people to add to your library's collection!

Here's help for setting up an Amazon Wish List for your library:

You can even add items to your Wish List from any website; here's how to add the Amazon Universal Wish List Button to your web browser:

  1. Follow the easy directions at the Amazon Universal Wish List Button page to add the button to your web browser
  2. Then go to any online store, and when you see something you want, click the "Add to Wish List" button in your Bookmark Toolbar.

Then let people know about your Wish List with Facebook posts, tweets, and Pins — and use the #WishListWednesday hashtag!

Once you add an item to your Wish List, enhance it with info why the item would enhance your library and your customers.  The article An Unexpected Nonprofit Fundraising Story by Debra Askanase tells the story of how The Center for Great Apes uses their Wish List to "hit on a brilliant merge of fundraising and storytelling" that has "all the elements of a great fundraising appeal":

  • A specific ask (Quantity needed: 10. Has: 1.)
  • Clear statement of benefit (“The orangutans are partial to Fruit Punch Gatorade. It helps keep them cool in the summer, especially when it is frozen in a boomer ball.”)
  • Connection to the organization (Center for Great Apes intro is at the top of the wish list.)
  • Sharing a personal story (“Murray and his group love ‘blue​’ Gatorade, especially in the hot summer months.“)

Debra goes on to note that The Center for Great Apes follows up on donations with posts on their Facebook page of "small moment stories" and photos to share how apes use their new gifts, as a way to thank donors and "continue to personally connect donors with the organization after a gift has been made."

You could also register to receive donations through the Amazon Smile program where Amazon donates a portion of an item's purchase price to your Friends of the Library group.  Here's the Friends Of The Muehl Public Library's Amazon Smile page as a sample.

If you'd like to view some libraries' Wish Lists, here are some examples:

Shopping cart Image credit: Poem via

Apply for These 11 Grants & Awards

ImageUse November to apply for these grants & awards; ten of the eleven grants listed have a deadline date of December 1st.

ALA Excellence in Library Programming Award
Award: $5000
Deadline date: December 1, 2014
Apply here: ALA Excellence in Library Programming Award Nomination Form
Details & criteria:

... a library that demonstrates excellence in library programming by creating a cultural/thematic program type or program series, presented during the preceding year (September 1 - August 31), that engages the community in planning, sponsorship and/or active participation, addresses an identified community need, and has a measurable impact.

ALA/Information Today Library of the Future Award
Award: $1500
Deadline date: December 1, 2014
Apply here: Library of the Future Award Application
Details & criteria:

... to honor an individual library, library consortium, group of librarians, or support organization for innovative planning for, applications of, or development of patron training programs about information technology in a library setting.

Baker & Taylor Entertainment Audio Music/Video Product Award
Award: $2500 of audio music or video products ordered through Baker & Taylor
Deadline date: December 1, 2014
Apply here:  PLA Awards Online Application
Details & criteria:

The purpose of the Baker & Taylor Entertainment Audio Music/Video Product Award is to promote the development of a circulating audio music/video product collection in public libraries and increase the exposure of the format within the community.

Presented by the Public Library Association and Baker & Taylor.

EBSCO Excellence in Small and/or Rural Public Library Service Award
Award: $1000
Deadline date: December 1, 2014
Apply here:  PLA Awards Online Application
Details & criteria:

The EBSCO Excellence in Small and/or Rural Public Library Service Award provides recognition and a $1000 honorarium to a public library serving a population of 10,000 or less that demonstrates excellence of service to its community as exemplified by an overall service program or a special program of significant accomplishment.  The award honors a public library for all or any of the following:
  • Uniqueness of service of program
  • Impact of program or service on community
  • How the service or program will affect the future of the library and its community

Sponsored by the Public Library Association and EBSCO Information Services.

Equality Award
Award: $1000
Deadline date: December 1, 2014
Apply here:  Equality Award Nomination Form
Details & criteria:

... given to an individual or group for outstanding contribution toward promoting equality in the library profession. The contribution may be either a sustained one or a single outstanding accomplishment. The award may be given for an activist or scholarly contribution in such areas as pay equity, affirmative action, legislative work and non-sexist education.

H.W. Wilson Library Staff Development Grant
Award: $3500
Deadline date: December 1, 2014
Apply here:  H.W. Wilson Library Staff Development Grant Application
Details & criteria:

... given to a library organization whose application demonstrates greatest merit for a program of learning activities that is developed by the library organization and develops the on-the-job staff capability and improves the abilities of personnel to contribute to the overall effectiveness of the library organization.

Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced With Adversity
Award: "a generous amount of cash from Mr. Snicket's disreputable gains ($3,000 check + $1,000 travel), along with an odd, symbolic object from his private stash, and a certificate, which may or may not be suitable for framing"
Deadline date: December 1, 2014
Apply here:  Lemony Snicket Prize application
Details & criteria:

... honoring a librarian who has faced adversity with integrity and dignity intact.
Lemony Snicket is the pen name of American novelist Daniel Handler, who has written several highly acclaimed children’s books. The books often feature the author appearing as a fictional character, a writer falsely accused of crimes and sought by his enemies as well as the police. Snicket himself believes that, in much the same spirit, librarians have suffered enough. Therefore, he has established the annual prize honoring a librarian who has overcome adversity. According to Snicket, it is his hope that, “The Snicket Prize will remind readers everywhere of the joyous importance of librarians and the trouble that is all too frequently unleashed upon them.” About his sponsorship of the award, Snicket said, "This seems like a better way to channel money to librarians than my previous strategy, which was incurring exorbitant late fees."

Romance Writers of America Library Grant
Award: $4500
Deadline date: December 1, 2014
Apply here:  PLA Awards Online Application
Details & criteria:

... to provide a public library the opportunity to build or expand its romance fiction collection and/or host romance fiction programming. The grant consists of $4,500 to be used toward the purchase of romance fiction, author honorariums and travel expenses, and other applicable program expenses.

Scholastic Library Publishing Award
Award: $1000
Deadline date: December 1, 2014
Apply here:  Scholastic Library Publishing Award Nomination Form
Details & criteria:

... presented to a librarian whose "unusual contribution to the stimulation and guidance of reading by children and young people" exemplifies outstanding achievement in the profession.

Upstart Innovation Award
Award: $2000
Deadline date: December 1, 2014
Apply here:  PLA Awards Online Application
Details & criteria:

... recognizes a public library's innovative and creative service program to the community. Any innovative, cutting-edge program, activity or service will be considered. Has your library developed a dynamic solution to a problem? Have you been able to reach a special population through a unique program? Has your special marketing campaign brought dramatic, measurable results? If so, you're eligible to apply.

Loleta D. Fyan Grant
Award: up to $5000 total for one or more projects
Deadline date: December 19, 2014
Apply here:  PLA Awards Online Application
Details & criteria:

Loleta D. Fyan, for twenty years State Librarian of Michigan, believed that every individual, regardless of residence, is equally entitled to high quality library service and that librarians must be adept in using the political process to acquire this "right of citizenship". A pioneer in extending library service to rural areas and small communities and a proponent of library cooperation, Fyan was a driving force behind LSCA funding.

Attend These Free Webinars in November

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.

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