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.

Star Wars Jedi Training

When “Star Wars Jedi Training” was offered at the Brewer Public Library (Richland Center, WI) Emily Zorea says, "it was a big hit!"

We offered this on Monday evening and again on Tuesday morning! One prep and set-up for two huge program days! And, only one clean up on Tuesday after the program was done! Horray!
The costs were incredibly low and families wanted to stay at the library playing with all the activity stations for about 90 minutes, significantly longer than many parents/kids usually have the patience for with a room filled with excited people! That alone was a great sign!

Participants could "learn how to use the force to wield lightsabers, discover their Star Wars name, design their own ship, shoot down Storm Troopers, assist in a mission to destroy the Death Star and build their own droid."

Emily generously shared details at her Sowing Seeds Librarian blog, where you can get ideas you can use:

  • learn what was offered and see photos of all 8 activity stations
  • see what each of the materials cost

If you're planning events for Star Wars Reads Day or want ideas for space-themed events for 2019 Summer Library Program activities, reading Emily's post is worth your time.

Source: Youth Services Shout-Out: YSS Blog
Image credit: The Conmunity - Pop Culture Geek from Los Angeles, CA, USA (Star Wars Celebration V - Jedi Training Academy) [CC BY 2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons


Fall Themed STEAM Activities for Kids

Take a look at Hands-on Fall STEAM Activities for Kids to find low-cost projects and stealth programs you can provide at your library this autumn.

Categories of activities include:

  • pumpkins
    • one example: Pumpkin Pie Spice Play Dough
  • leaves
    • one example: Leaf Rubbings
  • apples
    • one example: Why Do Apples Turn Brown?
  • Indian corn
    • one example: Pop Indian Corn right on the cob

Source: the Left Brain Craft Brain blog
Image credit: Providence Doucet on Unsplash


Fundraising & Grantseeking Resource

Looking for sources of grant funding for your library's programs and services? You can access the searchable grant and funder databases that are part of a Funding Information Network (FIN) location in Appleton.

Lawrence University has partnered with the Oshkosh Area United Way, Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region, and United Way Fox Cities to bring a Funding Information Network location to northeast Wisconsin.

Funding Information Network resources are available free of charge to the public, but they're only on computers inside the Seeley G. Mudd Library on the Lawrence University campus, located at 113 S Lawe St, in Appleton.

If you want to learn how to use the Funding Information Network databases, you can sign up to attend this workshop:

Introduction to the Funding Information Network Workshop
date: October 19, 2018
time: 11am - 12:30pm
location: Seeley G Mudd Library at Lawrence University, 113 S Lawe St, Appleton, Wisconsin 54911
Registration is required to reserve your seat: register by emailing Svetlana Belova at 

The library is located on the southwest corner of College Avenue and Lawe Street just east of downtown Appleton. The closest parking is next to the Lawrence Memorial Chapel (across College Ave. from the library). This map should help you find it.

Databases available through the Funding Information Network:

  • Foundation Directory Online
    An unprecedented wealth of timely, comprehensive information on grantmakers and their grants. Included is a database of the entire universe of over 108,000 foundations, corporate giving programs, and grantmaking public charities in the U.S., plus a growing number of non-U.S. grantmakers from around the world; a database of over 4,000 sponsoring companies, offering a quick pathway to corporate funders; a database of over 3 million recently awarded grants; and a keyword-searchable database of over 1 million recently filed IRS Forms 990 and 990-PF.
  • Foundation Grants to Individuals
    The premier funding research tool for finding foundations that provide financial support for individual grantseekers. It describes giving for a variety of purposes, including scholarships, student loans, fellowships, program development, internships, professorships, arts and cultural projects, research, awards/grants by nomination only and general welfare. It is intended to be both a grantseeker's guide and a reference tool for those interested in foundation giving to individuals.
  • Foundation Maps
    The Foundation Center's premier data visualization tool and the easiest way to see who is funding what and where around the world. With millions of grants from 2006 to the present, innovative ways to visualize funding data, and the flexibility and precision to tailor research, helps funders and nonprofits access the knowledge they need to make strategic decisions and strengthen their impact.

• Seeley G Mudd Library at Lawrence University's event on Facebook
Funding Information Network page on the Mudd website


Free Webinars in September

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.


Free Marketing Materials for Library Card Sign-up Month

As honorary chairs of Library Card Sign-up Month, Disney Pixar's superhero family, the Incredibles, are using their superpowers to promote the value of a library card this September.

Library Card Sign-up Month artwork and media tools are free and can be downloaded from ALA's Library Card Sign-up Month webpage. The webpage also includes media tools for libraries to help remind the public of all the resources available with a library card.

The artwork includes:

  • social media graphics, including a Facebook cover image
  • posters
  • customizable library cards
  • billboards.

The media tools include:

  • sample press releases (English and Spanish)
  • proclamations (English and Spanish)
  • radio PSA scripts.(English and Spanish)
  • sample tweets

Posters, stickers and bookmarks "starring" the Incredibles are available for purchase through the ALA Store.

Library Card Sign-up Month is a time to bring attention to the supportive role libraries and librarians play in transforming lives and communities through education. Since 1987, Library Card Sign-up Month has been held each September to mark the beginning of the school year. During the month, the American Library Association and libraries join together in a national effort to ensure every child signs up for their own library card.

“Incredibles 2” was released in theaters on June 15. Helen (voice of Holly Hunter) is in the spotlight, while Bob (voice of Craig T. Nelson) navigates the day-to-day heroics of “normal” life at home when a new villain hatches a brilliant and dangerous plot that only the Incredibles can overcome together. This past May, the new picture book “Incredibles 2: Sweet Dreams: Jack-Jack” was released. It follows the youngest member of the Incredibles – Jack-Jack – as he makes mischief.

Source: Library Card Sign-up Month artwork starring the Incredibles now available


Free 1-Day Online Conference on YA Books, Aug. 15th

You can attend a free, daylong SLJTeen Live online virtual conference on August 15, 2018: it will "... feature high-profile and up-and-coming YA authors talking about their latest titles for teens. You'll also have the chance to get advice from innovative librarians tackling timely issues relevant to your teens and services."

Register here ("Registration includes access to the SLJTeen Live! archives for on-demand viewing at your convenience.")

Schedule (Central Daylight Time):
8:00 – 9:00 AM: Explore the exhibits
9:00 – 10:00 AM: Opening keynote, presented by Elizabeth Acevedo, Author, The Poet X (HarperCollins, 2018)
10:15 AM – 11:15 AM: Two panels running concurrently:
1) Mental Health in YA. #EndTheStigma. Mental health and mental illness are finally getting more attention, but everywhere from healthcare to media still struggle with how to treat, identify, and represent it thoughtfully. These authors will discuss how they craft characters and write stories that present authentic experiences of mental illness that can be validating to readers who share them and eye-opening to readers who do not.
2) Creativity Unbound: The Arts in YA. STEM gets the attention, but the arts are just as valuable for teens' development and future plans. That goes for producing it and loving it. These authors will discuss how they created stories that star teen-aged characters who appreciate or participate (or both) in the arts.
11:15 – 11:40 AM: Break, explore the exhibits
11:40 AM – 12:00 PM: Lunch speaker: Sabaa Tahir, Author, "An Ember in the Ashes" series (Penguin/Razorbill)
12:00 – 1:00 PM: Two panels running concurrently:
1) Stories Retold and Worlds Reimagined: Fantastical YA.
2) Detoxing Masculinity. "Toxic masculinity" is the stringent adherence to gender roles and stereotypes, governing and defining what are "acceptable" emotions and behavior. In the age of #MeToo, school shootings, and incels, how do we redefine what it means to be men and boys? These authors will discuss how they interrogate and unpack masculinity in their work and consider their responsibility as authors for young people of all genders.
1:00 – 2:00 PM: Two panels running concurrently; the afternoon programming panels will feature librarians and professionals sharing trends, tips and practical solutions to engage your YA patrons
2:00 – 2:15 PM: break
2:15 – 3:15 PM: Two panels running concurrently; the afternoon programming panels will feature librarians and professionals sharing trends, tips and practical solutions to engage your YA patrons
3:15 – 3:45 PM: Closing keynote presented by Dhonielle Clayton, Author, The Belles (Disney/Freeform, 2018)

Join thousands of librarians for the seventh annual SLJTeen Live! virtual conference, without leaving the comfort of your home (or desk).

This free, daylong event will feature high-profile and up-and-coming YA authors talking about their latest titles for teens. You'll also have the chance to get advice from innovative librarians tackling timely issues relevant to your teens and services.

This year's theme is Speaking Truth to Power. The youth of Generation Z have shown themselves to be powerful agents of change who won't tolerate silence, indifference, or oppression. Today's young adult literature and youth services librarians must rise to meet their needs and passions.

The conference's author panels and library programming sessions will give you tools and ideas on how to engage teens and support them as they continue to make their mark on the world. Trends in publishing are beginning to acknowledge Gen Z's unique positioning in today's fast-paced and highly politicized society, and even evergreen topics in library services deserve a second look to see how they can support teens coming of age in this era. These panels will equip you with the tools, information, and book savvy you need to re-energize your programming and collections.

Explore the virtual exhibit hall, download materials, enter contests, hear directly from publishers about their newest books as well as live chat with staff, authors and peers.

Source: SLJTeen Live!


Nominate a Person, a Group, or Library for a 2018 WLA Award

The Wisconsin Library Association is accepting applications and nomiations for WLA Awards for 2018, so you can nominate innovative and exceptional library services, staff, trustees, and supporters in Wisconsin. Winners will be honored at the 2018 WLA Conference during the Awards and Honors Reception.

Go to WLS's Awards & Honors page for details, criteria, forms, and instructions to apply.  Applications are due September 1, 2018.

Here is a list the WLA 2018 Awards:

  • Citation of Merit: Conferred upon Wisconsin citizens who are neither librarians nor library trustees, who have made outstanding contributions to quality library services. This award may be given to a group of people or an individual.
  • Library of the Year Award: Presented to any type of Wisconsin library, library system or library network for distinguished achievement in service. The staff, library board or administering body, and the community or people served shall all be involved in the work for which recognition is sought.
  • WLA/DEMCO Librarian of the Year Award: In recognition of a librarian's outstanding leadership and accomplishment in library service. The librarian must be currently employed, at the time of selection, in any field of librarianship in Wisconsin and must be a current member of the WLA.
  • Trustee of the Year Award: Conferred upon an outstanding Wisconsin library trustee. The trustee must be in actual service during all or part of the year in which he or she is honored.
  • SSCS Paralibrarian Award: The Wisconsin Library Association’s Support Staff and Circulation Services (SSCS) Paralibrarian of the Year Award recognizes the essential role of paralibrarians (a.k.a. paraprofessionals), including all library support staff who do not currently have an MLIS, in providing excellent library service in Wisconsin. This award places special emphasis on efforts to further the role of paralibrarians and library support staff in the library profession.
  • The Muriel Fuller Award: Conferred upon a library professional or paraprofessional in recognition of outstanding accomplishments which have significantly improved and benefited library services.
  • Programming Innovation Award: Presented in recognition of programming leadership in providing innovative and excellent library programming in Wisconsin libraries. Nominated programs may be stand-alone programs, series, passive or cooperative. Programs for all age groups are eligible.
  • Special Service Award: Presented to a group of people or an individual for noteworthy achievement as evidenced by substantial activities and exceptional service to the library profession. The Wisconsin recipient or recipients shall have influence and reputation beyond the local community.
  • Wisconsin Distinguished Document Award: Presented to an excellent Wisconsin state or local government document that contributes significantly to the expansion of knowledge and the understanding of government agencies, among other criteria.
  • Literary Awards: The Literary Awards Committee of the Readers' Section selects outstanding books by Wisconsin-connected authors: the WLA Literary Award, Outstanding Books of the Year, and Notable Wisconsin Authors.
  • WLA/WEMTA Intellectual Freedom Award: Administered by the WLA/WEMTA Intellectual Freedom Award Committee, with funding from and the Center for Information Policy Research and the School of Information Studies, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Recognizes the contribution of an individual or group who has actively promoted intellectual freedom in Wisconsin.
  • Elizabeth Burr/Worzalla Award and Children's Book Awards: The Children's Book Awards Committee of the WLA Youth Services Section selects outstanding books for youth by Wisconsin-connected authors: the Elizabeth Burr/Worzalla Award, Outstanding Books of the Year, and Notable Wisconsin Authors/Illustrators.
  • WAAL Information Literacy Award: Presented to an individual or group activity that promotes effective instruction, learning and/or collaboration relating to the Wisconsin Association of Academic Librarians (WAAL) information literacy competencies.
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