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.

Space & Astronomy Hands-on STEM Activities

If you're looking for another source of hands-on STEM activities, try Science Snacks from Exploratorium, a website full of activities that use inexpensive and readily-available materials. Each "Snack" includes a materials list, step-by-step directions, and an explanation of the science at work in the activity; some also include video demos.

Because the 2019 Summer Library Program theme is space, here's a sample of activities they provide on the topics of astronomy, space sciences and exploration, and planetary science that you could try at your library this summer:

  • Blue Sky: discover why the sky is blue and the sunset is red
  • CD Spectroscope: turn an old CD into a tool to reveal the wavelengths of light that mix together to create the colors you see
  • Earth and Moon: create a scale model of the earth-moon system using spheres of different sizes
  • Glue Stick Sunset: model the scattering of light by the atmosphere, which makes the sky appear blue and our sunsets red
  • Handy Measuring Tool: use just your hand and a ratio to estimate sizes or distance
  • Height Sight: build an inclinometer to measure the height of a distant object, like a flying paper rocket or the North Star
  • Self-Centered Globe: make the pattern of sunlight and shadow on an Earth globe match the pattern of day and night on our planet
  • Size and Distance: trick your brain into thinking that two similar objects of different sizes are really the same size, by removing clues to the actual size and distance of an object
  • Tide-O-Matic: build a simple model to explore the influence of the sun and moon on our tides

Hat tip: Three Good Places to Find Hands-on STEM Activities
Image source: Pixabay


Storytime Goes On, Despite Snowy Weather

During the recent Polar Vortex weather event that brought days of sub-zero temperatures to the Midwest, some public libraries were closed and storytimes were cancelled. To help prevent parents and kids from coming down with "Cabin Fever", children's librarian Ms. Dana at the La Crosse (WI) Public Library recorded her storytime while the library was closed to the cold. Ms. Dana says to her viewers, "Stay snuggly and warm and enjoy!"

Your staff could give this a try! Using the Facebook app on a tablet or phone, while logged to an account that's connected to your library's Facebook account, you could do a Facebook Live session that would be recorded and available to watch from your library's Facebook page anytime.

Big Talk From Small Libraries Free 1-Day Online Conference

ImageThe Big Talk From Small Libraries 2019 one-day online conference is this month,  Everyone is welcome to attend, regardless of how big or small the library, if your library serves a few hundred or a few thousand, this is the day for you. It's aimed at librarians from small libraries; the smaller the better. Each of the speakers will be from a small library or works directly with small libraries.

Friday February 22, 2019
8:45am - 5pm CST (register once to attend any or all of the sessions)
Register here
GoToWebinar login instructions will be e-mailed to registered attendees the day before the conference

You can see full descriptions of each session and presenter bios, and here in brief is the day's schedule:

8:45-9:00am Welcome to the Conference & Introductions
9:00-9:50am Accreditation, Grants, and Seed Library all in One Year!
10:00-10:50am Teaching iPad and iPhone to Seniors
11:00-11:50am Best Small Library in America 2018: Madison County Public Libraries
12:00-12:50pm – Lightning Round:
   12:00 – Library @ the Theater
   12:10 – Marketing Out Loud: How Small Libraries Can Make Marketing Fun & Interactive
   12:20 – Building New Services from Scratch: Lessons Learned from Startup Library Cultures
   12:30 – SAT Bootcamp
   12:40 – Tiny Library Inside Small Library
1:00-1:50pm Make a Mini Makerspace
2:00-2:50pm Small Library, Big Partnerships
3:00-3:50pm But We Don’t Have an OA Librarian: Open Education with No Budget
4:00-4:50pm Improving Graphics Workflow for Efficient, Consistent Service: SRSU Case Study

You are welcome to watch as an individual or to host a group viewing of the conference. If several staff members from the same library want to attend, you can just register for one seat and have staff members view/listen together via one workstation. You can also host a viewing party this same way and invite staff from other libraries. For any group viewings, if you know who will be there, you can list your Additional Attendees on your one registration.

This conference is organized and hosted by the Nebraska Library Commission, and is co-sponsored by the Association for Rural & Small Libraries.

Reference: Big Talk From Small Libraries website
Photo credit: building previously used by the Mill Pond Public Library in Kingston, WI

Free Webinars in February

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.


Travel Posters Based On Famous Novels

You can create a book display around any of the Travel Posters Based On Famous Novels, courtesy of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) from their Great American Read project.

Click on any of the images on their downloadables page to get printable 18x24 posters to use at your library..

Also included are downloadable images of book quotes, facts, and memes like the one below that you coud use on Facebook or other social media::

Source: Buzzfeed, with a hat tip to Mark Arend


14 Webinars in 2 Days: Wild Wisconsin Winter Web Conference

The annual Wild Wisconsin Winter Web Conference is full of great info, and you don't need to drive anywhere to attend it — participate from your desk, home, or on the go.

Fourteen one-hour sessions are scheduled over two days: Wednesday, January 23 and Thursday January 24, 2019. There are concurrent sessions in 4 tracks, plus opening and closing sessions:

Attend as many sessions as you'd like; they'll all be recorded so you can watch any that you miss. Here's the schedule:

Wednesday, January 23    
Pull Your Shelf Together: Community Organizing in Libraries (Opening Session) 9 - 10am register  
A Step-by-Step Guide to Library Hiring (Library Leadership) 10:30 - 11:30am   register
60 Teen Programs in 60 Minutes (Youth Services) 10:30 - 11:30am register
Great Expectations: Customer Service and the Future of Libraries (Library Leadership) 1 - 2pm register
What Makes a Great Children’s Librarian? (Youth Services) 1 - 2pm register
Silos No More: Harness Library Wide Teams for Success 2:30 - 3:30pm register
Let’s Talk About Race (Youth Services) 2:30 - 3:30pm register
Thursday, January 24    
What They Didn’t Teach in Library School: The Cycle of True Marketing (Marketing) 9 - 10am register
WHY-brarian (Small and Mighty) 9 - 10am register
How to Better Leverage Library Resources for Marketing Success (Marketing) 10:30 - 11:30am register
Big Programs, Little Budget (Small and Mighty) 10:30 - 11:30am register
Step Up Your Library Signage (Marketing) 12 - 1pm register
Size Doesn't Matter: Transforming Big Ideas Into Small Library Environments (Small & Mighty) 12 - 1pm register
Self Care: Preventing Burn Out 2 - 3pm register

Contact hours for continuing education toward public librarian re-certification: 1 per webinar.  All sessions will be recorded, and will be available for viewing here soon after each session.

To participate: all you need for the visual is either...
• an internet-connected computer; you can run the system check ahead of time, or
• an iOS®, Android®, or Windows® mobile 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?
• Read the How to Join guide or watch the 4-minute Attendee Quick Start video so you'll know what to expect.
• As soon as you register for a webinar, a confirmation email will be sent to you that contains a link to join the webinar at the appointed date and time.
• 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 is a state-wide virtual conference developed by the Nicolet Federated Library System and supported by 15 other library systems and the DPI in Wisconsin. Because of this collaboration, all sessions are available to you at no cost.


Applications are Open: Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces Project

WebJunction, in partnership with the Association for Rural and Small Libraries, is expanding its Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces project, making it available to 15 more small libraries.

They're accepting applications from small public libraries (serving communities with fewer than 25,000 people) that are interested in engaging their communities in a process to transform physical space and to support active learning at the library.

  • Submit an application by 7pm CST on Friday, January 18, 2019.
  • You may downloadn a PDF of the application in order to preview the questions before beginning the application process.
  • Read the Small Libraries Create Smart Spaces FAQ and overview

The selected libraries will ...

  • receive $5,000 for project materials
  • collaborate with their communities to transform a space in their library to encourage more hands-on, participatory active learning.
  • engage in online learning with the WebJunction team

During the first round of the project, 15 small public libraries serving rural or remote communities were chosen to participate. In addition to receiving funding support, participants attended webinars, received coaching from the WebJunction team, and were supported by fellow participants as they learned to transform cramped or underutilized spaces into vibrant, dynamic, active learning places. Take a look at the transformations from the first round of participants to see how they created smart spaces in their libraries.

source:Transform Your Library with WebJunction

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