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.

6 Success Stories You May Have Missed in December

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

⇒ Winneconne Public Library revised their winter preschool storytime format to turn it into stealth programming with "Make 'N' Take Storytime" — themed storybooks and coordinating crafts are available all day, and patrons can enjoy the books and crafts at their convenience. They also collaborated with the Winneconne HIgh School Student Council to host a Scholastic Book Fair to raise funds for the library's 2015 Summer Reading Program.

⇒ Princeton Public Library held a "homemade by locals, organized by the Friends" Cookie Walk Fundraiser, and the Mill Pond Library in Kingston raised $1246 from their 16th Annual Cookie Walk.

⇒ Caestecker Public Library in Green Lake promoted Giving Tuesday by encouraging people to "consider donating your time, talent, or treasure to a local group working to better your community. Whether you choose to give to the animal shelter or Downtown Renewal, the food pantry or the Opera House, the library, or the Angel Tree program is immaterial. Just give, if you can."  Giving Tuesday is observed on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, and began in 2012 as a response to commercialization and consumerism in the post-Thanksgiving season.

⇒ The Fond du Lac Public Library partnered with Mountain Dog Media and Taco Bell of Fond du Lac to provide Christmas story radio broadcasts, as Sarah Newton (head of the Children’s and Teen Services Department) read aloud from the book When Santa Fell to Earth.  The 21-chapter story was read aloud on local radio stations K107.1-FM and KFIZ-AM each weekday at 7:15am, and was posted daily at where the whole broadcast can be heard.  "Newton said the radio broadcasts are a great opportunity for families and young readers to read along; several copies of When Santa Fell to Earth are available at the library for checkout."

⇒ Campbellsport Public Library created an Awesome Box that was soon overflowing with suggestions of good reads suggested by patrons. Here's how it works: "Anytime you read something particularly awesome, entertaining, inspirational or valuable when you return it to the library drop it in the Awesome Box on the counter. It lets other patrons know what Campbellsport readers are finding awesome, and those returned books are then available for checkout."  They also had a Pampered Chef fundraiser at which 20% of all proceeds from sales were donated to the library.

⇒ The "Oshkosh Today" television  program featured Oshkosh Public Library's High Hopes Early Literacy program with an interview with librarians Marie Boleman and Adeline Miller.  You can watch the 7-minute segment below:

photo credit: Winneconne Public LIbrary's Facebook album


Free Webinars in January

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.


Top 10 Best Practices for Raising the Visibility of Your Library

ImageLast fall WiLS collaborated with WLA to hold 6 regional meetings, to gather staff from all kinds of libraries and discuss how each works to raise the visibility of their library in the community.

Learn from the collective wisdom gathered at all 6 meetings by reading WiLS' distillation of the ideas at Best Practices for Raising Visibility for the Library to see what you can put into practice at your library.

WILS is a non-profit membership organization that facilitates collaborative projects and services to save their members time and money and to advance library service, primarily in the state of Wisconsin.

Photo credit: WiLS


10 Webinars in 2 Days: Wild Wisconsin Winter Web Conference

ImageThe Wild Wisconsin Winter Web Conference is full of great stuff, and you don't need to drive anywhere to attend it — watch from your office, home, or on the go.

Ten one-hour sessions are scheduled over two days: Wednesday January 21 and Thursday January 22, 2015. You can attend one, five, or all ten presentations.

The topics this year are:

Wednesday, January 21:    
Creating Exceptional Patron Experiences 9 - 10am register here
Creating Welcoming and Accessible Libraries for Children with Special Needs 10:30 - 11:30am register here
Using Tablets to Improve Customer Service 1 - 2pm register here
Marketing Outside the Library 2:30 - 3:30pm register here
Real Conversations about Love in Libraries 4 - 5pm register here
Thursday, January 22:    
Stop the Whining: How to Complain Effectively 9 - 10am register here
What You Need to Know About Library Technology 10:30 - 11:30am register here
Listening to the Future of Libraries 1 - 2pm register here
Six Essential Skills for One-on-One Tech Instruction 2:30 - 3:30pm register here
Trigger Talks: 6, six-minute presentations on a variety of topics, by 6 presenters 4 - 5pm register here

Contact hours for continuing education toward public librarian re-certification: 1 per webinar; some sessions may qualify as technology-related activities.  All sessions will be recorded, and will be available for viewing soon after each session.

To participate: all you need for the visual is either...
• an internet-connected computer; you can test your computer & connection ahead of time, or
• an iPhone®, iPad® or Android® device; just download the free GoToWebinar app ahead of time
For the audio, either...
• headphones, earbuds, or speakers connected to your computer, or
• use a telephone or speakerphone to call in (long distance rates apply)

New to webinars? 
• Download an Attendee Quick Reference Guide so you'll know what to expect. 
•  As soon as you register for a webinar, a confirmation email will be sent to you from Jamie Matczak at customercare @
• You'll receive an email reminder prior to each webinar, which will have a link which reads, "Click here to join" — this is the link you'll click to connect to a session.
• Before joining a webinar session, please turn off any other software or processes on your computer that would compete with your Internet bandwidth. (Programs like automatic updates, instant messaging, email, etc., if running during the webinar, may degrade the quality of the webinar's audio and video.)

The Wild Wisconsin Winter Web Conference was developed by the Nicolet Federated Library System, and the 2015 conference is sponsored by 14 other library systems: Arrowhead, Eastern Shores, Indianhead, Manitowoc-Calumet, Mid-Wisconsin, Milwaukee County, Northern Waters, Outagamie Waupaca, South Central, Southwest, Waukesha County, Winding Rivers, Winnefox, and Wisconsin Valley. Because of this collaboration, all sessions are available to you without cost.


StoryCorps @ Your Library

ImageStoryCorps wants to help public libraries create a local audio collection, to produce high-quality library programming that will expand a library's influence and engagement in the community.

You have a chance to be part of the project! Apply now for the "StoryCorps @ your library" grant offered by StoryCorps, in partnership with the American Library Association Public Programs Office with support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

Deadline for applying: 6 Feb 2015, 11:59pm CST
Apply here:

Ten selected libraries will receive equipment, training, promotional materials and other resources to help them develop community documentation projects using the popular and unique facilitated StoryCorps interview model.
As part of the StoryCorps approach, each interview participant receives a copy of their recording. With participant permission and based upon a written agreement with StoryCorps, local libraries will retain copies of fully released interviews. Copies of fully released interviews will also be deposited with the Library of Congress.
If you have questions about the application, please refer to the guidelines, or contact the ALA Public Programs Office at 312-280-5045, or

StoryCorps' mission is "to provide people of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, preserve and share their stories. Each week, millions of Americans listen to StoryCorps' award-winning broadcasts on NPR's Morning Edition. StoryCorps has published three books: Listening Is an Act of Love, Mom: A Celebration of Mothers from StoryCorps, and All There Is: Love Stories from StoryCorps - all of which are New York Times bestsellers. For more information, or to listen to stories online, visit"

Hat tip to @ALALibrary and PubLib

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.

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