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.

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).


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


Create Science Kits to Lend @ Your Library With This Grant

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) is offering up to $2000 to public libraries in Wisconsin and Michigan for the development of circulating math and science collections for K-12 students.

Because not all children have access to a high-quality science education, the Science Kits for Public Libraries Grant project raises money to provide grants to public libraries to purchase science kit collections that can be borrowed by anyone in the community, just like a book.

Grant amount: $2000
Deadline: November 15, 2017

Excerpts from the Guidelines:

  • Grant funds will be used to purchase science kits and support materials, and develop/promote science programs for K-12 students.
  • Libraries awarded funding will:
    • Create or purchase science kits, each of which consists of equipment, instructions for prepared experiments, and workbooks.
    • Include the science kits in their circulating collection.
    • Add materials to the circulating collection which support the topics featured in the kits.
    • Develop programming for K-12 students which promotes the study of science and the use of the science kits.
    • Plan for continuation of the project after grant funding is concluded.
    • Plan for other public libraries to replicate the results and for teaching best practices to others.
    • Identify a certified librarian who will lead the development and implementation of the collection.
  • Participating libraries must be willing to cooperate with IEEE on publicity and promotion.
  • Participating libraries must be willing to label the science kits stating that funding is provided by the IEEE - Chicago Section.  
  • Community need and creativity of the proposal are given high priority by the reviewers.

Past grants have allowed Midwestern libraries to develop science kit circulating collections and to give students access to prepared experiments & science materials that they might not encounter in the traditional classroom.

The IEEE Science Kits for Public Libraries Grant is made possible by the generosity of the members of IEEE- Region 4.

Photo credit: National Science Foundation via Flickr, usage license: U.S. Government Work


Bring Guest Speakers to Your Library Via the Working Lives Project

It's free to bring a ShopTalk presenter to speak at your library — you can choose from a variety of speakers who are ready to share personal stories and explore what influences work today.

Here's how it works:

  1. Pick a talk from over 40 choices
  2. Contact your chosen ShopTalk presenter
  3. Plan your event with the presenter
  4. Book it with the online form so ShopTalk can pay the presenter and publicize your event
  5. Use the ShopTalk PR kit to promote your event
  6. Tell ShopTalk how how it went

Your library may host up to two free ShopTalk events per calendar year.

ShopTalk themes:

• Working People: Life Paths – Meet a brewmaster, a TV sportscaster, an illustrator, and others. Personal stories skillfully told by our presenters illuminate different ways people experience work and invite sharing from the audience.
• Work in Context: The Big Picture – Explore the dynamic forces that have made work what it is today and consider what work might look like tomorrow. Historians and other scholars shed light on complex questions as part of open-ended conversations.
• Pulitzer Winners: Working the Story – Pulitzer Prize-winners from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel share what it’s like to report a great story. Invite them to give a talk and hear how they became reporters and photojournalists with honors.

ShopTalk is a free program of the Working Lives Project, funded by the Wisconsin Humanities Council.

Thanks to Linda Denell at the Caestecker Public Library in Green Lake, WI for suggesting this topic!


Money to Fund Programs for Those Who Have Autism

Apply for an "Autism Welcome Here: Library Programs, Services and More" grant for the opportunity to fund projects and services, for any age group.

Amount: $5000
• Depending on the applications received, one grant for the full amount or multiple grants for smaller amounts totaling $5000 may be awarded.
Deadline: December 1, 2017
Criteria, sample budget, and application form

You may propose to...

  • initiate a new, creative program or service, or
  • bring an already-existing, successful program or service to your library for the first time, or
  • enhance a program or service you already offer.

Funds may be used to hire a trainer to present a workshop, to buy program materials, to pay for staff, etc.

All programs or services proposed must benefit people with autism or their families, directly or indirectly.

The "Autism Welcome Here: Library Programs, Services and More" grant is sponsored by Libraries and Autism: We're Connected.

Libraries Ready to Code Grant from ALA

Application for the Libraries Ready to Code Grant from ALA is open, now through August 31, 2017.

A total of 25-50 grants up to $25,000 each are available.
Application deadline August 31, 2017.
Application form

Libraries chosen to join the cohort of public and school libraries will:
1. Implement computer science or computational thinking programming for & with youth via their library, and
2. Collaboratively develop a Ready to Code toolkit, with the goal of enabling any library — regardless of geography, expertise, or affluence — to deliver programming that promotes computer science and computational thinking among youth.

A webinar about the grant program and application process will be held August 1, 2017 at 1:30pm CST — register here.  Update: An informational webinar was held on August 1, 2017; a recording of the webinar and the slides from the webinar presentation are available now.

Grant application selection criteria is aligned with the Ready to Code vision, that libraries play a critical role in ...
• increasing access and exposure to computer science opportunity
• changing perceptions of who can code, and
• inspiring all youth to pursue computer science education by connecting coding to individual interests.
Read more about the grant criteria

Find additional resources at the grant FAQ, and resource and examples of computer science and computational thinking programs.

Libraries Ready to Code is an initiative of the American Library Association, sponsored by Google, which aims to ensure libraries have the resources, capacity, and inspiration to embrace activities that promote computational thinking and computer science among our nation’s youth.  This project is a collaboration between ALA's Office for Information Technology Policy and ALA's three youth divisions: the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), the Association for Library Services to Children (ALSC), and the American Association of School Librarians (AASL).

This $500,000 pilot program is part of Phase III of Libraries Ready to Code, an ongoing collaboration between ALA and Google to ensure expert library professionals are prepared to develop and deliver programming that promotes computer science and computational thinking among youth, two skills that will be required for challenges and jobs of the future.

25 to 50 participating libraries will receive funding from ALA, along with consulting expertise and operational support from Google. Individual libraries may use funding for devices, staffing, marketing and other costs associated with piloting an educational toolkit developed in partnership, by libraries, for libraries.

The toolkit, set to release in conjunction with National Library Week in April 2018, will consist of computer science resources that libraries find most useful for designing and implementing youth computer science programming. This cohort of libraries will also initiate a community of practice to sustain momentum and build expertise across thousands of school and public U.S. libraries.

Phase III of Libraries Ready to Code builds upon the research in Phase I to provide a landscape of computer science education activity in U.S. libraries, and the Phase II support for masters-level Library and Information Science faculty.

Source: Libraries Ready to Code
Photo credit: StartupStockPhotos via Pixabay, Creative Commons CC0

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