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.

4 Success Stories You May Have Missed in May

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

⇒ Endeavor Public Library director Rebecca Pfile wrote a guest post on the Growing Wisconsin Readers blog, about having hosted a New Media Information Table at the community sharing supper at the Endeavor Elementary School. "Along with the info board, I printed out some info sheets that families could take home and also let them know which apps that I had downloaded for training and now have available for them to preview in the library.  I also let families know that I will be showcasing apps during the summer reading program."

⇒ The Mill Pond Public Library in Kingston's Purse-suit of Happiness silent auction fundraiser raised $768.  They "asked for creative 'purse-sons' to dig out their unwanted handbags & fill them with things other people might enjoy. It's like a gift basket only more 'purse-onal. Each tote that has come in has its own "purse-on-ality". We have a bag for baby at the beach, bags for the birds, even a romantic evening bag just to name a few."  The Markesan Public Library also held a silent auction of garden art.

⇒ The Well Drive-In donated 25% of an afternoon's profits (totalling $203) to the Winneconne Public Library, in exchange for the library's Club Winston members having "delivered food and drink to customers, picked up trash and wiped down tables."  And the library is now the repository for a collection of bee & beekeeping books, DVDs, and periodicals that have been purchased by The East Central Wisconsin Beekeepers Association.

⇒ Fond du Lac Public Library director Jon Mark Bolthouse and Children’s and Teen Services Coordinator Sarah Newton presented awards May 14, 2015, in the library’s Langdon Divers Gallery. The gathering celebrated the culmination of two contests for teens held this spring: Upcycled Glam and Teen Photo Contest. Grand prize winners each won $250 Amazon gift cards, and all entries will be on display in the gallery through June 3.

image credit:
Endeavor Public Library, via the GWR Blog


Even More Free and Legal-to-Use Images for Your Website & Social Media

ImageWhen Ben Bizzle and Jeannie Allen created the "Library Facebook Images Dropbox" to store & share images which help libraries increase social media engagement, they didn't imagine that in only two years it would grow to a collection of over 1000 images, with more than 800 librarian members. But because shared Dropbox folders weren't the best platform for that level of collaboration, the collection now lives at a website that's easier to use.

Here's how to use it:

  1. Register for a free account at
  2. Bookmark the page for easy access
  3. Click on an image you want, and download it to use on your library's Facebook page, Pinterest board, flyer, website, etc.
  4. You can even upload your own images to share

Over 1000 images are arranged in categories for browsing:

  • animals
  • banned
  • book love
  • cover photos (sized 851 x 315 pixels to fit your library's Faceook page cover)
  • general
  • memes
  • quotes & musings
  • risky and risqué
  • Someecards
  • vote libraries

These images are intended strictly for non-commercial use by libraries on social media platforms.

Use it, as well as the Winnefox Website Image Gallery and other resources from the April 2015 Sparks post Free and Legal-to-Use Images for Your Website & Social Media to enhance your library's social media and marketing efforts.

Image credit: Library Facebook Images Dropbox Someecards page

Help Your Library "Turn Outward" With This Free Self-Paced Course


Use this free self-paced online course designed to help your library strengthen its role as a core community leader, and to work with residents to bring about positive change: Libraries Transforming Communities.

In bite-sized pieces, the course consists of six webinar recordings of 40 - 90 minutes that link to worksheets, facilitators' guides, and sample materials. Taken together, these resources provide a 90-day plan to help your library "turn outward." 

“Turning outward” emphasizes a shift in orientation from internal (library-focused) to external (community-focused). This change is achieved through practical steps: taking measures to better understand communities; changing processes and thinking to make your library‘s work more community-focused; being proactive to community issues; and putting community aspirations first.

Led by educators from the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation, the webinars explain how to use the “turning outward" approach inside and outside the library. The approach emphasizes taking steps to better understand communities; changing processes and thinking to make conversations more community-focused; becoming more pro ­ active to community issues; and putting community aspirations first.

Here's the course structure:

  1. First 30 Days: Getting Started
    Begin to talk to your library team about their hopes and goals
    Put in place the thought processes that will lead to long-term change
  2. 30-60 Days: Going into the Community
    Begin facilitating conversations with your community
  3. 60-90 Days: Sharing What You Learn
    Share knowledge and evaluate team progress
  4. 90 Days and Beyond: Taking Action

Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC) — an initiative of the American Library Association — seeks to strengthen librarians’ roles as core community leaders and change-agents. LTC is made possible through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Free Leadership Course Now Online, American Libraries. May 2015, Vol. 46 Issue 5, p15
Libraries Transforming Communities, American Library Association

Apply for the Best Small Library in America Award to Win $20,000

ImageYour library may be eligible to apply for Library Journal‘s annual award for the Best Small Library in America, which honors the U.S. public library that demonstrates outstanding service to communities of 25,000 or less (see their guidelines for details on this criterion.)

Award: Best Small Library in America
Deadline for application: September 9, 2015
Send your application:
  • via email to Meredith Schwartz at if it's in electronic format (Word or PDF)
  • via USPS mail to: Best Small Library in America Award / Library Journal / 123 William St. Suite 802 / New York, NY 10038
Award: $20,000 cash, and  membership & conference costs for two library representatives to attend the 2016 PLA conference in Denver. Two finalist libraries will be awarded $10,000 cash, and membership & conference costs for two library representatives to attend the 2016 PLA conference.

Use your nomination application to tell LJ how you've raised the profile of the library in your community, reached out to new users and remote users, and used technology to support and grow patron access to materials and information over the last two years,

Get all the details at the Best Small Library in America Award Nomination Guidelines on the Library Journal website.

Image credit: Billy Alexander via FreeImages



Free Webinars in June

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.


4 Success Stories You May Have Missed in April

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

⇒ The Pine River Library of Leon and Saxeville Townships celebrated their 55th anniversary with an afternoon of sharing stories & photos. It all began in 1960 when Darlene Hempel "took a little red wagon around to collect books to get the library started."

⇒ The Preschool Players Theater Group is a "three-week theater experience for kids ages 4 or 5 who are ready to be on their own and in a play" at the Menasha Public Library.  Rehearsals began in April, and include "a Gala Performance (with cast party at the end)" at the last rehearsal for parents and other family members; the play will be performed on May 19th.

⇒ Neenah Public Library threw a "Game of Thrones" party called An Evening of Fire & Ice, and used their green screen to take portraits of attendees sitting on the Iron Throne.

⇒ Oshkosh Public Library is collaborating with the Time Community Theater for the Page to Screen program, "where we take a look at some of the great films based on books" playing at the movie theater. "We’ll be looking at the source material as well as diving deeper" into items related to the films.  April's movies included "Planet of the Apes" and "Psycho".  The public is invited to play the library's Page to Screen Movie Trivia for the chance to earn prizes at the theater, at the library or online.

image credit:
Neenah Public Library's Facebook photos


Money to Attend Conferences: Apply by Mid-June

ImageHoping to attend a workshop, conference or other library continuing education program within or outside Wisconsin? Going back to school for a master’s degree?

→ The Wisconsin Library Association Foundation supports several annual scholarships for library education (approximately $900 - $1600) and continuing education (approximately $800 - $1100) for WLA members and prospective or continuing students.

Application forms and eligibility requirements are at the WLA Scholarships & Grants page.

Deadlines vary, but the first are due June 15, 2015.

→ The Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL) is offering three conference scholarships for first-time attendees to attend the 2015 conference in Little Rock, Arkansas October 1st-3rd. The scholarships vary, but provide for conference membership, a travel stipend, and hotel accommodations. 

All are welcome to apply including students, paraprofessionals, and those with an MLS. The application form and details are at the ARSL Conference Scholarships page.

Applications must be received by 5:00 pm CST on June 19, 2015 to be considered.

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