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.

28 Days of Hands-On STEM Activities for February

An ex-engineer and current stay-at-home mom has 28 Days of Hands-On STEM Activities for Kids at her Left Brain Craft Brain blog that you can try in February, or any month of the year you choose.

Anne has organized the activities into four topic areas; here are the categories, with some examples from each:

  1. STEM Goes Green
    • Re-purpose Dryer Lint for Gardening
    • Easy Upcycled Catapult
    • Recycled DIY Can Telephones
  2. STEM Challenges
    • Build a Tower with [candy] Conversation Hearts
    • Paper Bag STEM Challenges
    • Bridge Building STEM Challenge
  3. Coding for Kids
    • Superhero Computer Coding Game Without a Computer
    • Coding Games -Building and Walking an Algorithm
    • Screen-Free Coding for Preschool and Kindergarten
  4. STEM On a Budget
    • 50 Creative Weather Activities
    • How to Create a STEM Cart in 5 Easy Steps
    • Math on a Budget: Learning with Q-Tips

Note: Anne authored the original version of her post in 2016 which was a leap year, so she actually included 29 ideas. :-)

image credit: CERDEC Math and Science Summer Camp, 2013 by U.S. Army CERDEC via Flickr, Creative Commons License (CC BY 2.0)


Middle Earth Walking Challenge Wellness Program

Consider replicating the Middle Earth Walking Challenge Wellness Program at your library, using the tips and resources provided by the Peter White Public Library of Marquette, Michigan.

Participants were challenged to save Middle Earth by walking from the Shire to Mt. Doom, with the goal of destroying the One Ring. Participants kept track of the miles they walked from June until August. The winner received a copy of The Lord of the Rings, and runners-up received a copy of The Hobbit.

Here are some of the program's highlights provided by the library's Programming Coordinator, Carolyn McManis:

  • There was a lot of excitement at the beginning of the program. People really got caught up in the fantasy element; one person commented on Facebook “We’re going to see the elves!”
  • We also got a lot of TV exposure early in the program.
  • In terms of generating excitement about a library event and promoting fitness, I think our goal was achieved.
  • ... the buzz generated at the beginning of the summer and the positive feedback from the people who completed the task was great.
  • The winner walked 963 miles, a little over half-way to Mordor. Collectively, we walked 4,642 miles, thus saving Middle Earth.
  • If I were to do this type of event again, I would make it less labor-intensive for participants. I think keeping track of miles every day over the course of the summer was just too much work. If the challenge lasted just one month, more people may have completed it.
  • We spent money on printing ($.05/color copy) and prizes. The prizes were nine copies of "The Hobbit" and one boxed set of "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, which came to approximately $114.

You can download from the post a mileage Walking Log and a copy of the poster they used to promote the activity. The Walking Log indicates it's 458 miles from Hobbiton to Rivendell, and 920 miles through Moria to Lothlorien.

As seen at Program Model: Middle Earth Walking Challenge on the Programming Librarian blog
Hat tip: Let's Move in Libraries January 2018 Newsletter
Image credit: Lord of the Rings Project Interactive Map of Middle-Earth


3 Grants & Prizes You Can Apply for This Month

These three opportunities are listed in chronological order, soonest deadline first.

Pat Carterette Professional Development Grant
Amount: $1000
Deadline to apply: 11:59pm CST on 15 February 2018
Application form (note: it's just 8 questions)

The grant will be awarded to an individual on an annual basis to provide monetary support (up to $1,000) to participate in continuing educational event(s) to keep current in his/her career field.
Monies may be used to participate in continuing professional development event(s) offered by the American Library Association (ALA), an ALA-related unit or association, State Library Associations, ASTD, the American Management Association (AMA), or any other Learn RT Board approved activity/event. Grant monies will be available to the recipient during a twelve-month period spanning from one ALA Annual Conference to the next.
Grant funds can be used to cover registration, travel, lodging, or other expenses related to the event. Documentation/receipts will be required prior to payment. If the recipient is participating in a ALA or ALA-related event, monies will be transferred internally instead of being paid to the recipient. Recipient must be an active member of the sponsoring organization hosting the conference/event if the registration fee is higher for non-members. Any un-used grant monies can be applied to other events as long as it meets the above criteria - funds un-used funds at the end of the award period will be forfeited.

National Book Foundation’s Innovations in Reading Prize
Amount: $10,000
Deadline to apply: 10:59pm CST on 28 February 2018
Application form and criteria

Applicants should:

  • Apply for an existing program/project/initiative with evidence of success — as Innovations in Reading is a prize and not a grant, the goal is to reward work already underway, encouraging it to continue and/or expand.
  • Focus on reading, and not exclusively literacy skills
  • Demonstrate innovation in mission, approach, and/or audience/community served
  • Share the National Book Foundation’s mission to expand the audience for literature in America

Ezra Jack Keats Mini-Grant
Amount: $500
Deadline to apply: 10:59pm CST on 31 March 2018
Application form and instructions

Make sure your program follows these guidelines:

  • provides an enriched learning experience
  • is supported solely by the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation
  • costs $500 or less
  • is offered free of charge
  • is implemented during the summer or school year following receipt of the Mini-Grant

Successful programs have included a public story walk … a multicultural portrait project … a school garden … bookmaking … puppetry … and intergenerational storytelling. See more examples in our Great Mini-Grant Programs gallery. Please use these as a starting point: We encourage new ideas.
Approximately 60 grants of up to $500 each will be awarded to qualifying teachers and librarians in public schools and libraries across the country.


Get Ready for Teen Tech Week, March 4 - 10

Teen Tech™ Week is March 4 - 10, 2018, and this year's theme of  "Libraries Are For Creating" encourages teens to take advantage of tools offered by your library to become content creators, and to leverage library resources to share their creations.

Use these free resources to make Teen Tech Week a success at your library:

Teen Tech™ Week is a national initiative sponsored by Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) (a division of the American Library Association) that's aimed at teens, their parents, educators and other concerned adults. It's when libraries can showcase all of the great digital resources and services that are available, to help teens succeed in school and prepare for college and 21st century careers.

Millions of teens do not have access to a home computer and, were it not for libraries, would miss opportunities to gain important digital literacy skills.  Libraries offer a bridge across the digital divide. Libraries also recognize that digital media plays an important part in a teens’ life.  That is why more libraries than ever are helping teens build critical digital literacy skills, which they will use to obtain scholarships, secure jobs, effectively manage their online identity and more. 

Source: Teen Tech Week website
Image credit for Teen Tech™ week logo: YALSA


Summer Library Program Grant Funds Available

Summer Reading Grants from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation provide funding to libraries to help implement or expand summer reading programs.

Eligibility: libraries who...

  • target Pre-K through 12th-grade students who are new readers, below grade level readers, or who are readers with learning disabilities
  • are located within 20 miles of a Dollar General store; use their Store Locator Map to see if your library is eligible to apply

How to apply: begin at their 5-question eligibility quiz to register your library, and then fill out the online application.

Deadline to apply: February 22, 2018 (by 10 pm CST)

Maximum grant amount: $3000

Photo credit: rawpixel on Unsplash


19 Webinars in 3 Days: Wild Wisconsin Winter Web Conference

The 6th 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.

19 one-hour sessions are scheduled over three days: Tuesday, January 23 through Thursday January 25, 2018. In addition to the keynote, there are concurrent sessions in 5 tracks, plus a Kick Starter and a closing session:

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:

Tuesday, January 23:    
Librarians and Bartenders: Why People Need Us (keynote) 1 - 2pm register
Wednesday, January 24:    
Best of the Web 2018 9 - 10am register
Not Just For Kids: After Hours Programming for Adults 9 - 10am register
Sharpening the Bleeding Edge: Four Technologies that Librarians Should Watch 10:30 - 11:30am register
Developing Dynamic Leadership for Your Library 10:30 - 11:30am register
The Wild Introvert: Why Quieter People Are Excellent Leaders 1 - 2pm register
Practical Privacy for Libraries 1 - 2pm register
Ethics in the 21st Century Library 2:30 - 3:30pm register
Strategic Planning When You Can't Afford a Consultant 2:30 - 3:30pm register
Tech Notes from the Field 4 - 5pm register
Managing a Vibrant Volunteer Program 4 - 5pm register
Thursday, January 25:    
How to Become a Great Speaker: A Step By Step Guide 9 - 10am register
Part-Time Employees – Big Time Impact 10:30 - 11:30am register
Is There an App for That? Working With Young People in the Digital Age 10:30 - 11:30am register
Building Respect Inside the Library Walls 1 - 2pm register
Huge Impact, Low Cost 1 - 2pm register
Above and Beyond: Developing a Culture of Organizational Citizenship 2:30 - 3:30pm register
Building Family Engagement Systems Within and Across Library Services 2:30 - 3:30pm register
Trials and Triumphs for a Public Library Facilities Manager 4 - 5pm register

Contact hours for continuing education toward public librarian re-certification: 1 per webinar; some sessions may qualify as technology-related activities.  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 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.


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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