Voting and Election Information in Libraries

With the 2018 elections quickly approaching, libraries may be receiving questions from patrons about how to research voting logistics and candidates.

One resource libraries may want to refer patrons to is information put out by The League of Women Voters of Texas, a nonpartisan organization that has been around since 1919. The League of Women Voters of Texas provides both print and online voting information, including hard copies of the nonpartisan Voters Guide to many libraries across Texas. These libraries are selected based on population as well as the locations of Local Leagues throughout Texas.

If your library does not receive the print version of the Voters Guide, or if you would like an additional online resource, The League of Women Voters of Texas also provides a PDF Voters Guide. The guide, offered in both English and Spanish, provides information on candidates for the state representative level and above, as well as for local races where a Local League exists.

In addition to the PDF Voters Guide, The League of Women Voters of Texas maintains www.VOTE411.org. VOTE411 provides voters with personalized ballot information based on the provided address.  Libraries may want to check out the nonpartisan voter education materials available on the site, including social media graphics, YouTube videos and embedded widgets.

Questions about the Voter Guide or about the League of Women Voters of Texas? Email lwvtexas@lwvtexas.org!

Join the ConnectED Challenge

school children giving the thumbs up photoWhat if every school child in the nation had a library card?  On January 19, library executives, mayors, county executives and school superintendents met with White House officials in Washington, D.C.   to discuss progress on the ConnectED Library Challenge where the goal is just that – get a library card into the hand of every child enrolled in school.

Libraries that participate in the Challenge develop and enhance local partnerships to ensure children have library cards.  And, participating libraries also commit to:

  • support student learning through programming that develops language, reading, and critical thinking
  • provide digital resources, such as e-books
  • provide broadband connectivity and wireless access within libraries

Approximately 60 cities and counties around the country are currently participating. In Texas, Harris County Public Library and San Antonio Public Library are rising to the challenge – with card drives and other activities designed to ensure students have library cards.

Your library can join the Challenge as well! Visit the ConnectED Library Challenge web pages for more details, then send an email to LibraryChallenge@imls.gov to learn how you can get involved.

State of America’s Libraries 2015 Report Released

directional sign for libraryThe American Library Association (ALA) has recently released The State of America’s Libraries report for 2015.  According to this latest report, academic, public and school libraries are experiencing a shift in how they are perceived by their communities and society. Not just places for books, libraries of all types are viewed as community anchors, and centers for academic life and research.  Other key trends detailed in the report include:

  • Digital literacy continues to grow as an important library service.
  • Learning for students is 24/7, and school libraries continue to be invaluable anchors for education environments.
  • Makerspaces are trending and provide evidence that libraries continue to evolve beyond a focus on traditional collections.
  • Many federal government policy and regulatory issues are of importance to libraries and the people who use them. Policies related to personal privacy, library funding, workforce development, and copyright law are just a few of the issues of interest to the library community.

Read about these and other library trends of the past year in the report, available on the ALA website at ala.org/americas-libraries/.

Get to Know New State Library Chief Executive Mark Smith

Mark-SmithIn August the seven-member Texas State Library and Archives Commission selected Mark Smith for the position of Director and Librarian, the agency’s chief executive also known as the Texas State Librarian. Though Mr. Smith’s tenure begins November 1, we reached out to him recently with 10 questions that address his background, perspective, priorities, and even his knowledge of Texas history. We look forward to getting to know more about Mr. Smith in the months and years to come.

Read the full interview  on our website at https://www.tsl.texas.gov/news/2013/get-to-know-mark-smith.

Questions about the interview?  Contact Cesar Garza, Communications Officer, at cgarza@tsl.texas.gov or 512-463-5514.

Get Tips for Great Customer Service at Free Workshop Viewing

customer-service200pxWatch a popular American Library Association (ALA) online workshop on How to Deliver Great Library Customer Service at a library near you on Thursday, June 20, 2013 from 1:30-3:00pm CST.  Find your nearest host site here.

If you would like to attend the webinar showing at one of the listed locations, contact the host library’s site coordinator directly via email to let them know you’re coming and to get details and parking information.  Participants will receive 1.5 hours of continuing education credit for this event:

How to Deliver Great Library Customer Service (ALA online workshop)
A 90-minute workshop, Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 1:30 p.m. CST
Presenter:  Coach and speaker Laurie Brown.  In addition to customer service, she regularly speaks on developing skills in leadership, presentation and sales.  She was a facilitator in the Public Library Association’s Turning the Page 2.0 advocacy training. Brown has worked with culturally diverse audiences at all organizational levels, and her clients have included Fortune 500 companies, government agencies and small family-owned businesses.

Workshop Description:  Drawing on 20 years’ experience as a trainer and coach, Laurie Brown will show you how to create a welcoming, friendly experience for patrons, students and other library users.  Satisfied customers mean good vibes, and happy library users are part of a strong library. In addition to learning how to fulfill the expectations of the people who use your library, you will also get pointers on listening and communications skills to help your conversations with angry, chatty or overly demanding patrons as gracefully as possible.

Topics include:

  • The top three customer service qualities for your library and how to achieve them
  • Defusing conflict with difficult patrons
  • Ensuring that staff makes positive customer experience a priority
  • How to question library users effectively

With thanks to hosting libraries, this webinar is sponsored by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) with grant funding from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services.  Questions about other continuing education opportunities from TSLAC?  Contact Thea Blair at ld@tsl.texas.gov, (512) 463-5465, or (800) 252-9386.

Hosting Opportunity for “Great Library Customer Service” Online Workshop

Learn great tips on how to greet and acknowledge library users, interact smoothly with them to provide the best customer service, and converse gracefully during difficult interactions!  We have a FREE opportunity for Texas libraries to host an upcoming ALA Editions 90-minute online workshop called “How to Deliver Great Library Customer Service.”

Date/Time of Workshop:  Thursday, June 20, 2013 from 1:30 – 3:00pm CST.

Description:   Presenter Laurie Brown will show you how to create a welcoming, friendly experience for library users. In addition to learning how to fulfill expectations, you will also gain listening and communications skills to help you converse with angry, chatty, or overly demanding patrons as gracefully as possible.  Topics Include:

  • The top 3 customer service qualities for your library and how to achieve them
  • Ensuring that staff makes positive customer experience a priority
  • How to question library users effectively

Laurie Brown has more than 20 years’ experience as a trainer, coach and speaker. In addition to customer service, she speaks on developing skills in leadership, presentation, and sales. Brown has worked with culturally diverse audiences at all organizational levels, and her clients have included Fortune 500 companies, government agencies and small family-owned businesses.

Full Description here: http://www.alastore.ala.org/detail.aspx?ID=3735&zbrandid=4634&zidType=CH&zid=16749455&zsubscriberId=1026625764&zbdom=http://ala-publishing.informz.net

What do you need to do to host?

1. Libraries hosting the event must have 3 or more people viewing at one location.

2. Libraries designate one site coordinator for the online workshop.

3. Site coordinator reports back to TSLAC on the total number of library staff that attended the group viewing using our online survey form.  Coordinator also ensures that attendee data is received by TSLAC.

4. Site coordinator fills out a short online evaluation after the event in order for us to gauge the impact of providing this content.

5. Reach out to area libraries to invite them to watch at your library.  A simple email invite to local libraries or colleagues is appreciated.

6. Your site should have reliable and decent access to the internet and you must be willing to set up a computer to run Webex (relatively simple process) to view the live workshop.

Apply to be a host before May 25, 2013!  Interested Host Libraries Sign Up Here:  http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/1251590/Online-Workshop-How-to-Deliver-Great-Library-Customer-Service-Site-Registration-Form-June-20-2013-1-30-Central.

A minimum number of 10 libraries need to be interested in hosting this event in order for us to pursue the purchase of the group license.  When we get our minimum number, we’ll contact the host libraries with additional information.  For those that would like to attend, we’ll also post a list of host sites around the state on our blog.

Questions?  Contact Thea Blair at ld@tsl.texas.gov, (512) 463-5465, or (800) 252-9386.

Hosting Opportunity for LLAMA Change Management Webinar

Rapid change is now a way of life for libraries, and we have a great FREE hosting opportunity for you on the topic.  We are offering libraries in Texas the opportunity to host an upcoming ALA Library Leadership & Management Association (LLAMA) division webinar called “Leading and Communicating Change.”

Date/Time: Monday, May 20, 2013 from 1:30 – 3:00pm CST.

Description:  Nationally-recognized library administrator, author, and speaker Elliott Shore will discuss change management with a focus on leadership and communication.  Participants will learn how to identify organizational changes, change management models, how to lead change, and how to determine the skills necessary to effectively manage rapid change.

Full Description here: http://www.ala.org/llama/llama-webinars-0

What do you need to do to host?

1. Libraries hosting the event must have 5 or more people viewing at one location.

2. Libraries must designate one site coordinator for the webinar.

3. Site coordinator must report back to TSLAC on the total number of library staff that attended the group viewing using our online survey form. Ensure that attendee data is received by TSLAC.

4. Site coordinator must fill out a short online evaluation via email after the event in order for us to gauge the impact of providing this content.

5. Reach out to area libraries to invite them to watch at your library.  A simple email invite to local libraries or colleagues is appreciated.

6. Your site must have reliable and decent access to the internet and you must be willing to set up a computer to run Webex (relatively simple process) to view the live webinar.

Apply to be a host before May 2, 2013!  Interested Host Libraries Sign Up Here: http://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/1229689/Webinar-Leading-and-Communicating-Change-Site-Registration-Form-May-20-2013-1-30-Central.

A minimum number of 5 libraries must be interested in hosting this event in order for us to pursue the purchase of the group license.  When we get our minimum number, we’ll contact the host libraries with additional information.  For those that would like to attend, we’ll also post a list of host sites around the state on our blog.

Questions?  Contact Thea Blair at ld@tsl.texas.gov, (512) 463-5465, or (800) 252-9386.

EveryoneOn Digitial Literacy Campaign Launches

On March 21, 2013, a 3-year national public service campaign to promote digital literacy will launch.  The campaign is called EveryoneOn.  The key message is to encourage people who are limited or non-Internet users, to learn how to do “one thing better online”.

Connect2Compete, the organization leading the campaign efforts, has more information that you are encouraged to review on their website. There are several resources currently available:

  1. Program brief: Explains more about EveryoneOn and what to expect in the next few months and during the campaign.
  2. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): As questions arise, the document will be updated.
  3. Instructions to add your library information to the Training Locator tool: The goal is to have all public libraries note the technology training and equipment they provide.

Public libraries are key to the success of this effort because of your demonstrated commitment to providing free access to the Internet as well as to improving people’s skills (e.g. using a mouse, applying for jobs online, or creating email accounts).

The first call to action is to update information about your library in the training locator tool to help people looking for digital literacy training or public access computers to see the library as a provider in their area.

EveryoneOn is designed to raise awareness of the importance of digital literacy skills – which libraries have embraced for years. This is a great opportunity to promote public libraries as a trusted and valuable provider of free public access technology and training as we strive to build stronger communities.

Visit the TSLAC Digital Literacy pages to learn more about several national digital literacy and access initiatives of interest to libraries.  Questions?  Contact Henry Stokes or Thea Blair at ld@tsl.texas.gov, (512) 463-5465, or (800) 252-9386 (Toll free for Texas only).

 

Free Dia De Los Niños Programming Tips

Get tips for developing your best Dia de los Niños programming ever!  The Texas State Library and Archives Commission is sponsoring a FREE TLA webinar, Best Practices for Dia de los Niños, on Tuesday, March 19 at 4:30pm CST.

Community programming librarian Dawn Reyes and educator Julie Vela will reveal their secrets for planning, partnering, and publicizing to create successful Dia de los Niños events.  Learn strategies for funding, marketing, and execution in addition to learning about community and online resources that can help support your programs.

Click here to register for this hour-long webinar, or visit www.txla.org/CE and click on the “CE Registration and Credit Certificates” button at the top of the left-hand menu.  This webinar can earn you one hour of Continuing Education credit. The program will be recorded, and all registrants will receive a link to the archived version.

This program is funded by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services through a grant to the Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Questions?  Contact Ted Wanner of the Texas Library Association at tedw@txla.org, or (800) 580-2852.

SXSWi Trends: Wear Your Tech!

I have been hearing a lot at 2013 South By Southwest Interactive (SXSWi) about the use of tech to create wearable art, and also hearing about the use of computers, sensors and data gathering in wearable technology.  Here are just some of the hot items being talked about:

On the SXSWi personal health front, there has been a lot of discussion about physical activity monitors like the Nike FuelBand, Jawbone’s UP monitor and, in particular, the newly-released Basis health tracker.  The Basis wrist band is intriguing – it looks like a wristwatch, but is part pedometer, part heart rate and skin temperature monitor, part sleep tracker, and more.  The large amount of new sensor technology in the Basis band offers a step beyond basic physical activity trackers, and allows users to analyze their personal data patterns. Basis users can leverage their detailed personal profile data, gathered continuously, to make a series of small lifestyle changes that could improve their individual health.

Google Glass is a wearable computer that looks similar to a pair of lens-less glasses, with a head-mounted display (HMD).  The wearable computer is being developed by Google as part of their Project Glass research and development push.  Users issue voice commands by first saying “ok glass”, then their command, or they can scroll through the options using a finger along the side of the device.

For fashionistas in love with the new desktop 3D printing movement, Ping Fu of Geomagic showed off a pair of red shoes, designed by Janne Kyttanen of 3D Systems, and printed off/manufactured on a desktop 3D printer.  The shoes were designed to include a pocket for an iPhone.

More to come from 2013 SXSWi!