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.

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.


8 Success Stories You May Have Missed in November

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

Renovations to the lower level of the Caestecker Public Library in Green Lake are underway: improvements include a larger program/meeting room with a screen & projector, a hearing loop, restrooms, and an upgrade to the book sale area. The Caestecker Library Foundation is paying for the bulk of the renovations, and the Friends of the Library and the Library Board have also contributed funds.  Because this renovated space will need furniture (90 chairs and 25 tables), they set up a donaton page at Crowdwise and kicked off a "Save a Seat For Me!" fundraising campaign they hope will raise $25,000 by the end of 2016; it must be working, because in just 2 weeks they reached 18% ($4500) of their $25,000 goal.

⇒ In honor of No-Shave November and the gun deer hunting season, Winneconne Public Library partnered with the Winneconne Mens Club to host a Beard & Moustache Contest. Local celebrity judges chose winners in the categories of beard artistry, moustache artistry, "Santa, Is that You?", "Go Big or Go Home", celebrity lookalike, and people's choice award. The library also partnered with Bare Bones Brewery to provide a "Beer Barrel Little Free Library that will be located in the brewery. Library Staff member Tracy Aerts' husband Dave graciously agreed to craft book shelving inside a large barrel from Bare Bones Brewery." After the Beard & Moustache Contest judging on November 19th, the completed Beer Barrel Little Free Library was officially placed in the brewery.

⇒ Pillar & Vine, a foster care agency in Brandon, donated 2 laptop computers to the Brandon Public Library. "One of the two donated laptops will be used by staff for workshops, projects and mobile work, while the other will be added to the public stations." Pillar & Vine has been a supporter of the library since the foster care agency was establishment in 2014. In addition, the library received a grant through the Fond du Lac Area Foundation in a partnership through Marian University to purchase two more laptops for public use.

⇒ The Endeavor Library hosted a book talk and signing for local author Kristin Oakley. She's writing a series of novels set in a fictional rural town of Endeavor, which is is loosely based on the real Endeavor, "and there are some references to Endeavor that you will recognize" as you read her latest book.

⇒ The first time the Carter Memorial Library in Omro hosted "The Story of the Foote Mansion" presentation by local historian & former Eureka resident Dan Butkiewicz, it was standing room only in the library's meeting room. Back by popular demand, the library's encore presentation was again filled to capacity with attendees!

⇒ As part of fundraising for Princeton Public Library's expansion project, they've set up a GoFundMe page to collect donations online. To spread the word, they will forgive up to $10 in fines for those who share the link on Facebook.

Bilingual storytimes and crafts at the Wautoma Public Library are "accessible to patrons who speak Spanish, English, or a little of both."  The Elisha D. Smith Public Library in Menasha is offering bilingual storytimes as well.

⇒ Oshkosh Public Library is conducting a 3-month social media hashtag campaign called #myOshkoshLibrary, which encourages library users to post photos of themselves using the library in the building, at home, work or anywhere in the community. People are invited to 1) take a photo that shows how the library fits into your life; 2) like OPL's Facebook page or follow OPL on Twitter; 3) upload to Twitter with the #myOshkoshLibrary hashtag; 4) or post photos to OPL's Facebook page with #myOshkoshLibrary and @oshkoshlibrary. The goals for the campaign include "increasing engagement with the public via Twitter and Facebook, highlighting the different ways that people use the library (supporting our vision: A Library in Every Life), and fostering a feeling of ownership

Image credit: Wautoma Public Library's Harry Potter Party photo album on Facebook

Free Paper Snowflake Patterns: Star Wars, Frozen, and Guardians of the Galaxy

Because nothing says Christmas quite like R2D2, BB8, and Chewbacca, you can download free snowflake patterns as a craft your tweens and teens can make.

Each snowflake portrays a different character or spaceship from "Star Wars", "Frozen", or "Guardians of the Galaxy". You can download a set of patterns as one zip file, or get just the PDFs you want.

Here's where to get them:

Anthony provides a How To Fold and Cut the Snowflakes video tutorial you and your crafting patrons can watch.  Supplies needed: paper, scissors, a sharp X-ACTO knife, a good cutting surface, and patience.

You can share your tweens' and teens' snowflake creations on your library's Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter accounts using the hashtag #starwarssnowflakes.

These designs are provided FREE to everyone to use to make themselves snowflakes. You may NOT use any of these designs for resale purposes, including producing other types of products using these designs.

Hat tip: DIY ‘Rogue One: A Star Wars Story’ Paper Snowflake Patterns for the 2016 Christmas Season at Laughing Squid

BB8 snowflake image from Star Wars Snowflakes 2015

Dance & Movement Activities Paired with Picture Books

If you're looking for new ideas for dance and movement activities to include in your preschool storytimes, check Book to Boogie, a monthly series that pairs picture books with activities.

Here are a few examples:

The Book to Boogie posts at the Library As Incubator Project are written by a different guest writer each month.


Gifts for Book Lovers in Your LIfe

Just in time for holiday gift-giving, Buzzfeed has complied a listicle of 29 Gifts Any Book Lover Should Add To Their Wish List.

Here are a few items on their list:

  • A pillow to squeeze when you’re concerned about your favorite character making it to the end of the book.
  • A five-year journal that’s filled with witticisms and quotes from Jane Austen to cheer your day.
  • A bookmark that’ll comfort your books when you have to leave them for short periods of time.
  • A collection of literary cocktail recipes and snacks.
  • Wall decals that will turn any room into the library of your dreams.

hat tip to Neenah Public Library for sharing it on their Facebook page


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:


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