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.

Apply for the Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces Project

Applications are being accepted from small public libraries (serving communities with fewer than 25,000 people) who are interested in "engaging their communities in a space transformation process to support active learning at the library" in the Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces project.

Read this overview, then submit your 18-question online application (you can preview the application questions as a PDF)
Application deadline: October 21, 2016 at 7:00 p.m. CST

Through this 2-year project, 15 small public libraries serving rural or otherwise remote communities will be selected to participate in an online orientation and community of practice facilitated by WebJunction. They will work with each other and their communities to reimagine and reconfigure their library spaces as hubs of active learning and engagement. Participating libraries will be selected by the end of 2016 through a competitive application process, and begin their learning in early 2017.

Each participating library will begin by reaching out to engage community members in the vision and the plan for the space. Prototypes will be created and tested with patrons, and libraries will create action plans to guide their comprehensive space and service transformations. Libraries will also gather community feedback regarding use of the spaces once they are transformed, and share case studies and resources for the wider library community to learn from. WebJunction staff and collaborating subject matter experts will guide participating libraries as they learn in-depth the many concepts and steps in creating smart spaces, using WebJunction's interactive online learning platform.

OCLC will provide each library with "up to $5,000 in federal grant funds for allowable expenses associated with their space transformation (though libraries may choose to invest more from their own operating budgets.) Allowable expenses generally include items like furniture, décor, computer equipment, lighting, shelving, shipping, etc."

Overall time commitment: the 17-month period spanning February 2017 through June 2018. At a minimum, "you can expect to spend an average of four hours a week over the 17 months, with periods of greater or lesser intensity depending upon the phase of engagement."

As a result of participation in this program, your library will:

  • Engage community members and local partners to create a new, dynamic space at the library that supports active learning;
  • Be better prepared to quickly adapt the use of library space in response to evolving community needs and interests; and
  • Strengthen or deepen relationships with community and local partners to magnify the library’s role in providing active learning opportunities for all.

Launched in July 2016, the Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces two-year program is made possible by a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services and is implemented in partnership by WebJunction and the Association for Rural and Small Libraries.

Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces web page
• Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces: Participant Overview

Photo credit: Dutch Simba via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)


Tips to Create Effective Flyers for Your Library

Improve your library's print marketing efforts by reading these 3 short NoveList blog posts on creating effective flyers:



2 Free Online Conferences to Attend in October

Plan to attend these free continuing education opportunities:

1. Libraries of the Future worldwide virtual conference
Thursday October 6, 2016
2 - 5pm CST
Register here

Attend the full 4-hour session, or just the 30-60 minute presentations that interest you.  Here's the schedule; I've bolded sessions you might find especially useful:

2:00pm: Opening Keynote Panel - "Inspiring the Future - A Conversation with Innovators"
3:00pm: Disruptive Change in Libraries
3:00pm: Information Visualization Meets Libraries: New Opportunities
3:00pm: Libraries in 3D Virtual Spaces
3:00pm: Open Educational Resources: Less Expensive with Measurable Pedagogy Outcomes
3:00pm: Towards a Sustainable Future: Campus Sustainability Through Embedded STEM Librarianship
3:00pm: CRA 24/7 del Siglo XXI [en Español]
3:30pm: Hands-On Coding for Young Programmers
3:30pm: Libraries + Democracy
3:30pm: Three Disruptive Technologies in the Future Library: AI, VR and the Blockchain
3:30pm: Bringing Library Content to the Users with EEXCESS-Extensions and Plugins – Open Source Solutions to Distribute Cultural and Scientific Content
3:30pm: Connecting Students with Digital Learning Through Lightbox
4:00pm: Engaged Partnerships
4:00pm: Trend Scanning for Strategic Planning: Creating the Skokie Public Library 2016-2019 Strategic Plan
4:00pm: Creating a Faculty OER Grant Program
4:00pm: “Library Ladies” Are the True Leaders for Future Ready Libraries & Students
4:30pm: Closing Keynote Panel

Registration will give you access to the live event and to the event recordings.

Conference sponsors: ALA’s Center for the Future of Libraries, and the Learning Revolution Project

2. The Digital Shift: The Service Continuum virtual conference
Wednesday October 19, 2016
9am - 4pm CST
Register here

Here are some presentations you might like to attend:

11:45–12:00 pm: The Ecosystem of a Social Media Post, Or Vine Is Dead, Right?
12:00–12:15 pm: Pokémon GO! What Librarians Need to Know
1:15–1:45 pm: Digitization, Libraries, and the Law: Present Updates to the Road Ahead
1:45–2:00 pm: Digital Community Organizing Around the Library
2:00–2:15 pm: Using Snapchat in Your Library

See the full schedule here.

A Sphero SPRK+ (tiny robot) will be presented to five attendees randomly throughout the day on October 19, 2016.

Registration is free and includes access to the event archives, on-demand, including all presentations, information and handouts from the conference.

Conference sponsors: Library Journal & School Library Journal

Ideas for Participating in Money Smart Week this April

By participating in Money Smart Week, April 22 - 29, 2017, you can join hundreds of other libraries across the country helping people to better manage their personal finances. In 2016, over 900 libraries from 48 states participated.

Your library could participate by offering programs on basic budgeting, managing student debt, retirement planning, home purchasing, saving money through couponing, and how to prevent identity theft.

Here are ways you can get ready:

Financial literacy is important to all communities, and libraries can be part of the solution.

Money Smart Week is a partnership between ALA and the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, through which libraries of all types provide financial literacy programming for all stages of life.

Free Webinars in October

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 in July

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

⇒ The Pine River Library of Leon-Saxeville had a full-page article about their new StoryWalk in the July 8th issue of the Central Wisconsin Resorter. The StoryWalk project has spread to 47 states, and the Pine River Library StoryWalk project is the first in Waushara County. Library director Collette collaborated with the Waushara County Parks department to choose a park and locate an appropriate trail. "Board member Gary Sorenson designed the book page frames, while board member and Wild Rose Elementary Principal Matt Wilbert got the Wild Rose High School technical education department to make them. High school senior Robbie Jansen dedicated himself to the project, making all of the book page frames, with some small “tweeks” from Sorenson to make sure the book pages would stay secure in the frames. 'We got funding to purchase the wood and metal stakes from the Waushara Prevention CouncilHealthy Communities/Healthy Youth and from some private donors, said Ross."

⇒ The Friends of the Winneconne Public Library partnered with local microbrewery Bare Bones Brewery to serve two kinds of craft beer as a library fundraiser at the Artisan Fair during Winneconne's Sovereign State Days. This partnership got great coverage in the July 12, 2016 issue of Women magazine (pp. 32-33.)

⇒ The 8th Annual Taste of Wautoma raised $8,327.50 for the Wautoma Public Library. Fourteen local restaurants and grocery stores donated food, 34 local businesses donated items to the silent auction, and 11 local businesses made monetary donations. Tickets sold for $25 each, and each ticket-holder could sample food from the participating restaurants and bid on items at the silent auction. "The proceeds from ticket sales and the silent auction will be applied on the loan that paid for the library 2009 remodeling."

⇒ Every Friday morning this summer is Fresh Fridays! Gardening at the Ripon Public Library, at which the public is invited to achieve health and fitness goals (a.k.a. weeding) while helping to help raise & harvest wholesome, free, organic veggies.

⇒ New in the Children's Room at Menasha Public Library: Grab n' Go Craft Kits. "Everything you need for a simple craft all tucked in a bag ready to check out."

⇒ The Neenah Public Library is partnering with Heid Music to offer ukuleles for checkout. The ukes have a 4-week loan period, and a hold can be placed on them in the shared catalog. The ukulele kits put together by Heid Music include a Kala soprano ukulele, a gig bag, an electronic tuner, and an instruction booklet with access to online learning tools. The Neenah Public Library/Heid Music Ukulele Collection launch will kick off at the Neenah Downtown Farmers’ Market on July 30th. The event will include a performance by the advanced members of the Green Bay Ukulele Club, an open jam session/workshop at the Library, and Heid Music will have a variety of ukuleles in different sizes on hand for attendees to try on for size. And this fall, the library will offer a weekly Saturday morning open jam session for uke players at all levels, and a weekly group class for beginning students of any age.

⇒ Montello Public Library is offering the ABCmouse educational website for in-library use. ABCmouse's "goal is to help children build a strong foundation for future academic success by providing a comprehensive and engaging online curriculum to greatly assist early learners to succeed in pre-k, kindergarten, and early elementary school programs. is subscription-based, with no advertising, pop-up ads, or links to other sites. Children can learn and explore with their parents, or on their own (depending on age and ability), in a safe and secure online educational environment."

⇒ A "battle" was fought between directors of the Patterson Memorial Library and the Wautoma Public Library, to see who would get the most dunks in the Wild Rose Days dunk tank.

⇒ Oshkosh Public Library joined the Pokémon Go craze, and their first Pokémon Battle Party brought in 60 people. "As part of the game, the library is a PokéStop and a gym - both of which draw people to our location."  The library also participated in a Pokémon Go Scavenger Hunt held in downtown Oshkosh: "We are promoting our free Wi-Fi, we’ll provide charging stations for players’ phones, set lures, and offer a special task for players to complete to earn a ticket for a Downtown prize drawing." The scavenger hunt ran from 2 to 6pm, with an all-ages After Party at the Grand Opera House from 6 to 8pm.

⇒ Fond du Lac Public Library's new Idea Studio had its grand opening on July 23rd; it's a makerspace that's "a permanent do-it-yourself zone where people can gather to create, invent and learn. It includes work tables, equipment to use, display cases, a projector and screen, a demonstration kitchen and a digital recording studio. It will have space for DIY programs. New equipment is being added all the time."

Image credit: Friends of the Winneconne Public Library's photo on Facebook

Fresh-eyed Perceptions of the New Employee

When your library hires a new staff member, you can use this as an opportunity to gain their perspective on your library and its services.  They may notice the things you've gotten used to, like tattered signs, policies that are restrictive or out of date, or a workflow that could be streamlined.

Read 10 Questions to Ask Every New Employee by Peter Bromberg to get ideas for things you could ask of your new hires; their perceptions of your library may prove helpful to improve the inside & outside of the library and customer service.

"For a short period of time our new employees can literally see things that we can't see -- and that short period is, unfortunately, the same period of time when they are most likely to keep their mouths shut as they try to get the lay of the land and not accidentally offend their new coworkers."

Image source: Xray Specs by roberlan via Deviant Art (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 US)

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