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.

Gorgeous Free Photos for Websites, Flyers & Social Media Posts

When you need a photo for your website or a Facebook post, or want to illustrate a promotional flyer or newsletter, I recommend checking Unsplash.

There are many websites where you can find photos, but the quality isn't always the best, stock photography sites charge a fee, and images at Flickr often come with licenses that restrict how you use an image. Here's how Unsplash is different:

Over 300,000 free (do whatever you want) high-resolution photos brought to you by the world’s most generous community of photographers.
All photos published on Unsplash can be used for free. You can use them for commercial and noncommercial purposes. You do not need to ask permission from or provide credit to the photographer or Unsplash, although it is appreciated when possible.
More precisely, Unsplash grants you an irrevocable, nonexclusive copyright license to download, copy, modify, distribute, perform, and use photos from Unsplash for free, including for commercial purposes, without permission from or attributing the photographer or Unsplash.
Even though credit isn't required, Unsplash photographers appreciate a credit as it provides exposure to their work and encourages them to continue sharing. A credit can be as simple as adding their name with a link to their profile or photo ...

Unsplash images have a Creative Commons Zero license that lets a person download, copy, alter, and distribute a photo for free ("no rights reserved".)

Take a look at these sample search results for...

Hat tip: Association for Rural & Small Libraries (ARSL) and The Web's Premier Free Photo Library Opens Up Its Vaults
Photo credit: Photo by Daniela Rey on Unsplash

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Holiday Marketing Kit

OverDrive has lots of ready-to-post graphics you can use this holiday season to promote your digital collection. Their Holiday Marketing Kit includes:

  • Use the "Tablet under the tree? Start reading — it's free!" image accompanied by details or a link to how patrons can start using the Libby app to get ebooks, audiobooks, music and video on their new gadgets
  • When you post that your library will be closed for the holidays or because of a snowstorm, include "The library is closed, but digital collection is always open" image
  • After the holidays, edit the "How does this thing work" document to add your library's name, dates & times they can come in for help, and customize the link to your library's digital collection (see screenshot below)
  • There's a "New Year's Resolutions" image you can use, and you can list some titles on topics like eating healthy, getting organized, starting an exercise plan, and saving money that you think patrons would like
  • In January, for patrons who may be traveling to tropical climes to avoid the Wisconsin winter weather, use the "Going on a holiday? Carry a whole series in your carry-on" photo

Some of the images are specially-sized to look good on your library's digital display, as well as on your website, in print, and on social media.

When you use the images, make sure to use some explanatory text with info and links to your digital collection; here are sample phrases you can copy and paste.

Apply for Books from the Coretta Scott King Book Awards Committee

Every year, in the process of choosing the Coretta Scott King Book Award winners and honor books, the Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table of the American Library Association receives multiple copies of approximately 60-100 titles by African American authors and illustrators, including a full set of the year's winning and honor titles.

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.

Criteria and details and online application form
Deadline: January 31, 2018
Award: 3 libraries will receive copies of more than 60 titles submitted for consideration for the 2017 awards, including a full set of the winning titles

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 to encourage the artistic expression of the African-American experience via literature and the graphic arts.

Here's a list of all the award-winning books from 1970 to 2017.

Free Webinars in December

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.

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Librarians of the Galaxy: Recharge!

The short film Librarians of the Galaxy is a paean to all librarians who are the unsung heroes in our communities, and had its debut during the Wednesday keynote presentation at the 2017 Wisconsin Library Association conference. Watch, and feel recharged!

Note from Grace Lim, editor, Humans of Oshkosh: I am an unabashed fan of the public library and the librarians who protect, preserve and share the wealth of information and knowledge for all. My students and I spent a day at the Oshkosh Public Library collecting HOO stories, and we know how privileged we are to have access to a public library. This week the Wisconsin Library Association held its annual conference in Baraboo, Wisconsin, and I was humbled to have been asked to be the opening keynote speaker. I shared the stories of the Humans of Oshkosh Storytelling Project and spoke on the power of storytelling. I grew up among the stacks in Ayers Branch Library in Akron, Ohio. There I explored fantastical worlds and grew a love of reading and stories in all forms. Thank you, librarians. Thank you, people who support the public library. You are truly the real-life superheroes in our midst. This fun “movie” trailer, directed by Steven Heil, debuted at the conference. Mean Ol’ Beatty O’Brien is a mash of the names of characters from two books. First one to come up with the names in the comments will get a copy of a Humans of Oshkosh book. #WLA17 #SupportPublicLibraries

The Humans of Oshkosh storytelling blog is inspired by the Humans of New York. Humans of Oshkosh is produced by students at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh who are enrolled in Grace Lim's "Telling Stories for Fun, Profit and World Peace" class.. Lim is also a contributor to the blog, which highlights the people of Oshkosh & surrounding areas and the stories they tell.

You can find Humans of Oshkosh on Facebook.

STEM Activity Clearinghouse

STEM Activity Clearinghouse logoLooking for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) program ideas to try at your library? Make sure to check the STEM Activity Clearinghouse — it's full of high-quality STEM activities that are appropriate for library use.

You can search the Clearinghouse for activities that have these attributes:

  • mess level (low, medium, or high)
  • cost of materials ($0 as in "found" items; $1-$5, $5-$10, $10-$20, and $20 and up)
  • age group (ages 0-2, pre-K, early elementary, upper elementary, tweens, teens, adults, all ages, and family)
  • time to complete an activity (under 10 minutes, 10-20 minutes, 20-40 minutes, 40 minutes to 1 hour, and upwards)
  • prep time needed (under 5 minutes, 5-10 minutes, 10-20 minutes, 20-40 minutes, 40 minutes to 1 hour)
  • difficulty (easy, medium, or Rocket Scientist)
  • content area (engineering, physics, math, technology & computing, chemistry, astronomy & space, earth science)

Nearly all the activities in the Clearinghouse have videos or photos of library staff doing hands-on programs with their patrons of all ages. Activities developed outside the STAR_Net Project will include tips and tricks for implementing in your library, and will link you back to the original source content so you can explore more.

This resource is provided by STAR_Net (Science-Technology Activities & Resources For Libraries) and Cornerstones of Science, and was made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

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Military Museum Artifacts Available to Borrow

The Wisconsin Veterans Museum's Travel Trunk program allows you to borrow pieces of the Museum to display at your library.

Each trunk contains uniforms, artifacts, multi-media, lesson plans and activities that illustrate the Wisconsin soldier's experience in one of the following conflicts:

  • Civil War
  • World War I
  • WWII: European Theater 
  • WWII: Pacific Theater
  • Korea
  • Vietnam
  • Gulf War

Travel Trunks may be rented for two weeks, and may be picked up at the Wisconsin Veterans Museum in Madison or shipped directly to your library.

The cost to rent a travel trunk is $25 (shipping costs are extra).

Hat tip to Linda Denell at Casestecker Public Library in Green Lake
Photo credit: Michael Kappel via Flickr, Creative Commons license CC BY-NC 2.0

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