Leading Big in Small Spaces: Free Online Conference for Small Libraries

Shared at the request of the Library of Michigan.

The Leading Big in Small Spaces mini-conference on Thursday, November 19, has opened for registration! This is a free, virtual conference designed for and presented by leaders in Michigan’s small and rural libraries. Sessions are short and snappy, and the conference is scheduled from 8:00 a.m. to 12:40 p.m. Central time.

Session topics include:

  • Leadership strategies
  • Programming ideas
  • Marketing and communication
  • Skills for working with staff
  • COVID-19 adaptations

Find session details and a link to register at http://bit.ly/leadingbig. This conference is made possible in part by the University of Michigan School of Information, the Library of Michigan, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. This conference is the capstone project of the Next-Level Leadership in Small and Rural Libraries program.

Yes, We’re Open: Talking with the Nueces County Keach Family Library

Nueces County Keach Family Library staff on the front steps of the library.

We have received many questions regarding how libraries throughout the state of Texas are providing services to the public. To help answer these questions, we are continuing a blog post series titled Yes, We’re Open, which will interview library directors and workers throughout the state to provide snapshots in library response. In this third installment of the series, we interviewed Ida Gonzalez-Garza , Director of the Nueces County Keach Family Library in Robstown, Texas.

In Part 1 of this series, we interviewed Marisol Vidales, Director of the Hector P. Garcia Memorial Library in Mercedes. In Part 2, we spoke with Michael Hardrick, director of the Forest Hill Public Library.

In what ways is your library open to the public?

Our librarians and staff are providing virtual online services to our patrons via Facebook Video (Live). We also created Facebook groups for our Summer Reading Program and Family Place families to provide LIVE videos and important information, as well as the Nueces County Public Libraries YouTube page. Our staff has been providing our patrons an online calendar of events for all our virtual programming. Our services and activities include:

  1. Virtual arts and crafts activities
  2. Virtual Storytime
  3. Kahoot!TM online trivia
  4. Virtual Sensory Storytime
  5. “Goodnight” Storytime
  6. Virtual escape room
  7. Nintendo Switch Mario Kart tournaments
  8. Mr. Kippy’s Storytime
  9. Science and Discover online program
  10. Bookmark contests in July and August 
  11. Curbside services – books and audiovisual materials for patrons and free books giveaway 
  12. Conducting inventories at two libraries and weeding library collections
  13. Online book display– Patrons can place these books on hold for curbside delivery 
  14. Book A Librarian – Virtually. Ask a Librarian for help finding books, movies, audiovisual materials; basic technology questions; research guidance for business and finance; legal resources; and more
  15. Nueces County Public Libraries Monthly Newsletter
  16. Free Wi-Fi at both county libraries, accessible from the libraries’ parking lot
  17. Promoting Nueces County Online “Art Gallery”. Patrons are submitting artwork and promote on our library website to the community.
  18. Summer Reading Program virtual: We use READsquared (online reading program) and have great success with our numbers. During this time our librarians’ and staff held virtual events, missions on READsquared, writing prompts on READsquared they submitted to our librarians to request codes, and Zoom programs such as Austin Reptile Show (Registration Required) and held live videos on our Facebook Group with Magician John O’Bryant.
  19. We are promoting our ONLINE database resources. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic we decided to utilize our book and audio-visual materials budget to subscribe to new online database resources. Our county judge is knowledgeable in the services that libraries are providing and the technology we have to offer and wanted us to subscribe to more online databases, making them available to our patrons.
  20. Sesame Street – Ebooks
  21. World Book online (distance learning) Pre-School to High School databases (FY2020)
  22. Hoopla Digital Resources
  23. RB DIGITAL / Hoonuit, Universal Class and Transparent Language (FY2020)
  24. Libby Overdrive
  25. SimplyE
  26. KHAN Academy – 1,800 video tutorials, math, science, history, finance, and test prep.
  27. Ebsco Flipster Online Magazine Subscription
  28. Proquest Ancestry (FY 2020)
  29. READsquared  – Reading program to promote children, teen, and adult programming.
  30. TexShare Databases
Flier advertising that curbside services are available now.

How have your library’s policies and procedures changed?

We did NOT have a pandemic policy in place, so we created one and then revised twice with changes that we did not expect. But I have been fortunate that we have supportive county governing authority and our emergency management department has also been very supportive during this pandemic. Of course, I have a very young staff who have been adaptive to the changes and are trying to cope with the strain of the challenges in the workplace.

How have you adapted your library space?

The first thing that we did was request plexiglass for our circulation desks. We didn’t have any problems getting this request filled for our libraries. I have also submitted a capital outlay request for permanent glass to be installed at the main branch and small branch areas for aesthetic pleasing purposes, but I know that this is going to be an expensive request. Due to time and funding, I chose to ask for this separately for next year’s budget. The plexiglass is a little flimsy, and it may secure enough to last the whole year. We received distance markers for the floor and our public works department has provided signage for the patrons to see that it is mandatory to wear face masks on premises. We have also moved our furniture and we will NOT be providing seating for patrons to sit and lounge in Phase I-III. We will NOT allow patrons to search for books in the stacks either. We will have all these areas inaccessible to the patrons.  We are using our multi-purpose room to quarantine our books. Our library staff enters the library after picking up the books from the book drop boxes, and they immediately quarantine the materials. We have also removed all our chairs for our seating areas so that when we open to the general public, they do not stay. We do not have any idea when this is going to happen. We still have a high rate of COVID-19 cases being reported and many deaths. We will be ready when this happens. We keep getting messages from patrons who want to know when we are going to open, and we tell them that we don’t know.

What services are you providing to vulnerable populations?

Our libraries are in the rural northwest and south, so we don’t have any homeless population at this time. Our service population is small, but we still communicate with all our school districts and offer our services to them. We have been trying to partner with our county community senior services department that delivers homebound meals to the elderly population, but it has been challenging. We are providing services to rural school districts that do not have the technology for their students. Our county judge had purchased iPads for the libraries to use while providing STEM technology training, and she asked us to allow the students in these rural areas to check them out the latter part of the spring semester. We may have to loan these out at the beginning of the school year to the schools that do not have any iPads.

How are you helping your staff during this time?

Nueces County is COVID-19 testing all of our staff for free, and they are also providing counseling. Our human resources department is very supportive, and they have sent us emails telling us to contact them if anyone needs help coping or referrals. The county is providing incentives to keep up morale, and try to keep a low-stress environment. 

Not all of our staff can work from home because of their job duties, and, since we are still technically open and trying to fill book requests, some of our staff has to stay in the library and work. The Keach Family Library librarians are working from home one or two days out of the week. All our other staff stays here at the library working.

Describe your decision-making process.

Our service population is 31,530, but the rural counties that do not have libraries may receive a free library card with restrictions. Our governing authority has never questioned our decision to allow people from other counties to use our libraries without assessing a service fee. The county judge and commissioners decided to close our libraries. We stayed working at the libraries, conducting inventory of all our materials at both libraries. Our libraries have been closed since March when the pandemic started. We are providing curbside services and virtual Storytime and arts and crafts for patrons. At the end of June, I contacted the emergency management department and asked if we could re-open for enhanced services and they said, “NO.” The numbers at that time were barely going up. At this time, we may be closing in a few weeks and going back to Phase 1 due to a HUGE increase in positive COVID-19 cases in Nueces County. I am very fortunate to have great support from our Commissioners Court administration and our County Judge.

How did you communicate with your governing authority?

I have a great communication with our County Judge and Commissioners, and they listen to our concerns. We receive directives regarding closures and re-opening stages from the Commissioners Court. We also have an emergency management department that is under the directive of the county judge, offering guidance to our department.

This conversation has been lightly edited for clarity.

Nueces County Keach Family library Summer Reading winners sitting outside in front of yard signs that say “a library champion lives here.”

Staff changes at TSLAC

We’ve had some changes going on behind the scenes, and two of our staff have moved into new roles!

Bethany Wilson, Grants Administrator

Bethany Wilson
Photo of Bethany Wilson, Grants Administrator

Bethany stepped into the Grants Administrator role on April 1st. She has transferred skills gained from managing the Family Place Libraries grant program in her former role as Youth Services Consultant. Bethany’s keen eye for detail, excellent analytical skills, and her drive for continuous improvement are already serving her well as she implements the CARES Act grant program. Congratulations Bethany!

Kyla Hunt, Youth Services Consultant

Kyla Hunt
Photo of Kyla Hunt, Youth Services Consultant

Kyla moved to the Youth Services Consultant role on May 11th. This role allows Kyla to return to her roots as a children’s librarian. She’ll transfer the skills she developed as the administrator of the Small Library Management Program, including strong problem-solving and communications skills. She has already made an impact on in this role, collaborating with Inclusive Services Consultant Laura Tadena to create summer reading challenges. These challenges will help library staff provide meaningful learning experiences for families without access to the Internet. Congratulations Kyla!

To reach Bethany, Kyla, or any members of the Library Development and Networking team, please contact us at LD@tsl.texas.gov.

Texas State Library and Archives Commission publishes Reopening Libraries: Resource Guide

In response to the Governor’s recent Executive Order GA-18, Texas State Library and Archives Commission staff have prepared a Resource Guide for libraries considering a return to work. As the Governor’s Report to Open Texas makes clear, libraries must work closely with their local government to determine how to proceed. The resources in the guide include:

  • Sample reopening plans – potential templates for developing a plan that works for your community.
  • Questions and issues to consider with your governing authority – provides a starting point for discussions with your governing authority or local government.
  • Materials and resource list – resources on communications and other needs.
  • General resources for reopening business – includes OSHA guidelines and information about disinfecting materials.

Here’s a direct link to the Resource Guide: https://www.tsl.texas.gov/sites/default/files/public/tslac/ld/ldn/COVID/TSLAC_Return_to_Work_Libraries_Resources_2020.pdf

Thank you all for the work you are doing for your community, your staff and coworkers, and yourselves during this crisis. Please contact us at LD@tsl.texas.gov if there is anything we can do to help.

Census 2020 and Your Library

Census Day is April 1, 2020. What’s new this year?

For the first time, the United States Census will be conducted primarily online. The Census is conducted only once every ten years. It counts every person who is residing in the U.S., regardless of immigration status or citizenship.

How is Census data used?

Census data informs how billions of federal dollars are spent, affecting programs from Medicaid to road construction to County Extension. It’s also an essential planning tool for businesses and local governments and is very useful to anyone researching their family history. Census data will also determine how many United States congressional delegates will represent Texas and will impact redistricting.

Why should the library get involved?

Libraries are trusted information brokers and can play an essential role in ensuring a fair and accurate count in their communities for the upcoming 2020 Census. In addition to providing internet and computer access to individuals unable to complete the census form at their residence, libraries can serve as a source of information and assist with basic questions about completing the Census 2020.

Text: Because Good Decisions Depend on Good Data, #Librariestransform
Text: Because good decisions depend on good data, #Librariestransform.

How can my library support the Census?

Identify hard-to-count populations in your service area using the Census ROAM mapping tool. Examples of these populations include:

  • Children under 5
  • Households without Internet access
  • Renters
  • Households in poverty

Develop partnerships with other groups in your community that are already working on the Census. Groups that may already be working on this include:

Create programs about the Census or incorporate information about the Census into ongoing programs.

Host children’s programs.

Share information about the purpose of the Census with staff, board members, volunteers, and community partners.

Prepare library staff for the Census. Impacts may include:

  • Increased computer use
  • Increased Wi-Fi use
  • Questions from patrons

More information

Libraries & Census 2020

Local governments & Census 2020

Image of a map of the United States comprised of images of people. Text: #Countonlibraries U.S. Census 2020
Image of a map of the United States comprised of images of people. Text: #Countonlibraries U.S. Census 2020.

Unintentional blog posts

Yesterday we received reports that nonworking blog posts were sent out to subscribers from our test server. Thank you for letting us know!

This was an error; we apologize for any confusion this may have caused. It appears that the issue has been resolved. Please disregard those posts.

Typically we post a maximum of two blog posts a day, and active blog posts will always have working links.

Please email us at ld@tsl.texas.gov if you have any questions or concerns.

Libraries and Veterans National Forum – Register to Attend

Posting on behalf of the Institute for Museum and Library Services.

The Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is sponsoring a Libraries and Veterans National Forum in College Station next June.

Fifty library workers from a variety of library types and from around the country will be selected to attend the symposium, with travel and accommodations covered courtesy of the IMLS grant. The Forum is scheduled for June 8-9, 2020 in College Station, Texas.

The Libraries and Veterans National Forum is intended to move forward the conversation about veteran and military-affiliated patrons in libraries.

To that end, we particularly encourage library workers who are actively engaged in working with these communities to apply to attend.  We also want to extend a specific invitation to library workers from traditionally underrepresented groups and those who work with underrepresented groups within the veteran and military communities to apply to attend.

To indicate interest in attending and for more information, visit veterans.libguides.com/home. The Call for Interest in Attending form will close on December 15, 2019, and selected participants will be notified in January 2020.

If you have any questions, contact Sarah LaMire, Chair of the Veterans Caucus at slemire@library.tamu.edu.

Grant Opportunities from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine

Posted on behalf of our colleagues at the NNLM South Central Regional Office.

The NNLM South Central Regional Office is announcing three new awards for Public Libraries this week. These awards are intended to help public libraries support the health information needs of their communities.

PLA 2020 Professional Development Award

The All of Us Community Engagement Program is providing funding for public librarians to attend the Public Library Association Conference in Nashville, TN, on February 25 – 29, 2020. This is a cost-reimbursement award for up to $2,000. The deadline to apply is Friday, December 13, 2019, at 6 pm CT.

Health Information Kiosk Award

The Health Information Kiosk is a technology award for a preconfigured kiosk programmed with evidence-based consumer health & wellness resources. KioskPro client software is installed so patrons access pre-selected, evidence-based consumer health information resources. All updates will be managed remotely. The deadline to apply is Friday, November 15, 2019, at 6 pm CT.

Health Program Kits

Libraries can create program kits that can be used for circulation purposes or in direct support of existing health programs. Libraries may purchase multiple program kits as long as it doesn’t exceed $5,000. This is a cost-reimbursement award for up to $5,000. The deadline to apply is Wednesday, January 15, 2020, at 6 pm CT.

Other resources from NNLM SCR

October is Health Literacy Month! Help your patrons navigate health information with these resources:

  • NNLM Reading Club – each title is designed to help patrons make informed choices about finding a compatible health provider, choosing health insurance coverage, or understanding medical terms
  • The Game of Health – This game was developed to provide public libraries with a fun interactive game to introduce patrons to trusted health information resources. Health care is a team effort, and the best way to get the best care possible is to be an active member of your health care team. Patrons will go through five steps of the game to learn ways to prepare, engage, and research health-related information.
    • To request a free copy of The Game of Health from your participating NNLM Regional Medical Library, complete the online application form.

For more information on grants and resourcesprovided by the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, visit: https://nnlm.gov/scr.

Free CE and Training This Week – July 1-5

Weekly listing sourced from Wyoming State Library Training Calendar with free training online, and free Texas workshops, updated as new events are added. See what’s happening on the CE calendar. Confirm the date and time when you register, or follow links for archive information. Events listed in Central Time.

Tuesday, July 2 (11 am – 12 pm)

First Tuesdays: Navigating a Universe of Stories – Readers’ Advisory this Summer (Washington State Library)

A Universe of Stories is an expansive slogan, but you don’t have to be at a loss for what to recommend. Three librarians will offer a selection of titles that you can use while doing readers’ advisory for kids, teens, and adults this summer. Learn about Pierce County Library System’s “My Next Read” service as well.

For more information and to register, visit: https://www.sos.wa.gov/library/libraries/firsttuesdays/default.aspx

Tuesday, July 2 (12-1 pm)

4 Steps to Establish (and Improve) Your Legacy Giving Program (Network for Good)

Participants will learn legacy giving concepts and then a step by step process to build their bequest program, identify gaps and finds areas of potential growth. We will review best practices for the marketing of bequests and we will discuss systems, policies, and procedures to implement to make your program run seamlessly.

For more information and to register, visit: https://www.networkforgood.com/webinars/

Tuesday, July 2 (1:30-2:30 pm)

Social Media 101 for Nonprofits (Firespring)

This session includes practical tips and tools for extending your cause and mission via social media. We cover the basics of using social media for your nonprofit organization and give you handy tips for the “big 3:” Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

For more information and to register, visit: https://www.firespring.com/resources/webinars/

Wednesday, July 3 (10-11 am)

Pretty Sweet Tech: Enhance Your Online Security with Password Management Tools (Nebraska Library Commission)

Password Management Tools can help you keep your passwords straight, develop strong passwords, and make it infinitely more difficult for hackers to get ahold of your sensitive information. This session will cover the following topics: What are the main threats to my online security?; How can I prevent this from happening?; Examples of good online password security; A demonstration/ overview of LastPass Password Manager. You’ll also have access to a handout with lots of handy information to keep patrons informed about their online security options.

For more information and to register, visit: http://www.nlc.state.ne.us/scripts/calendar/eventlist.asp?Mode=ALL

Free CE and Training This Week – June 24-28

Weekly listing sourced from Wyoming State Library Training Calendar with free training online, and free Texas workshops, updated as new events are added. See what’s happening on the CE calendar. Confirm the date and time when you register, or follow links for archive information. Events listed in Central Time.

Tuesday, June 25 (9-10 am)

Libraries and the 2020 Census (Indiana State Library)

Civic engagement matters! As librarians, our role in the 2020 Census is amplified this time around. In March of 2020, U.S. residents will not only receive traditional paper forms from the Census Bureau, but they will also have the option of online response. Patrons can fill out the census using their home computers, their smartphones, or by stopping by the local library and using a public computer. How can we properly prepare our library communities for this new option? Librarians can learn and review the basic facts about the census; we can provide informed outreach to our library communities; and we can know where to go for assistance outside of our libraries. Tune in to this webinar to find out more!

For more information and to register, visit: http://indianastatelibrary.evanced.info/signup/Calendar?ln=ALL

Tuesday, June 25 (12-1 pm)

Funding Information Network (FIN) Information Session (GrantSpace)

Join Brian Schultz, manager of the Funding Information Network at Foundation Center by Candid, to learn how the Funding Information Network program can help your nonprofit resource center, community foundation, or library support your local nonprofit and small business economy. You’ll learn about the key components of the program package, including Foundation Directory Online, grantseeking training guides, and our upcoming certification modules.

For more information and to register, visit: https://grantspace.org/training/search/format/live/location/online/

Tuesday, June 25 (1:30-2:30 pm)

Tools Every Nonprofit Needs to Simplify Their Life (Firespring)

Every day you learn about a new mobile app or piece of software that will “change your life.” There’s so much coming at you, it sometimes feels like you’re drinking through a fire hose. In this session, we will help you make technology your friend.

For more information and to register, visit: https://www.firespring.com/resources/webinars/

Tuesday, June 25 (2-3 pm)

5 Weirdly Easy “Life Hacks” That Will Make Your Fundraising Work MUCH Better (CharityHowTo)

How many times have you learned something new about improving your fundraising, and then suddenly realized, “This is going to take a lot more time than I have!” Here’s some much-needed relief from “Fundraising Is Hard and It Keeps Getting Harder” Syndrome:  5 “tricks” that will make your fundraising tasks just a bit easier and less time-consuming … and more effective. Collected from a 30-year career of hands-on fundraising, these hacks are practical, easy, and they work! They’ll help you start your projects on the right foot, align your thinking and strategy with donor motivations, write stronger copy, stay on target — and raise more money.

For more information and to register, visit: https://www.charityhowto.com/nonprofit-live-webinars/free

Wednesday, June 26 (1-2 pm)

DAP Learning Series: Agency Analytics Governance (Digital Gov)

In this webinar, we’ll talk to members of various agencies to find out how analytics programs and tools are governed at that agency. Each agency has its own way of determining which tools are used, methods of implementation, which personnel get access, how deployment and support are handled, and where responsibilities lie.

For more information and to register, visit: https://digital.gov/events/

Wednesday, June 26 (1-2 pm)

How to Have Critical Conversations (GovLoop)

It’s impossible to avoid difficult conversations at work. How many times have you run into a conflict with a colleague? In a one-on-one meeting with your supervisor? Working as a team with your peers? Or even publicly questioned? Join this webinar to learn from our expert how to have these sometimes-painful conversations.

For more information and to register, visit: https://www.govloop.com/training/

Thursday, June 27 (2-3 pm)

Check It Out! New Books for Ages 0-18 (State Library of Iowa)

Join us on the last Thursday of each month for a review of brand new titles published for ages 0-18. You’ll hear short booktalks of new titles (and new entries in ongoing series) from major and Indie publishers and get ideas on how to keep up with the endless tide of what’s new in kidlit and young adult literature.

For more information and to register, visit: https://bit.ly/2WttAmQ

Thursday, June 27 (2-3 pm)

Success with Multicultural Newcomers and English Learners (Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development)

Through their longitudinal studies and work with hundreds of schools, Margarita Calderón and Shawn Slakk, authors of the book Success with Multicultural Newcomers and English Learners: Proven Practices for School Leadership Teams, have found the best way to teach vocabulary, discourse, basic reading comprehension, and text-based writing integrated with content areas and texts. The authors will share how not only ESL teachers, but also all core content teachers in a school can easily integrate vocabulary, reading comprehension, and writing into every subject. Establishing a whole-school climate for Newcomers and all students entails training all teachers, counselors, coaches, staff and administrators in the school.

For more information and to register, visit: http://www.ascd.org/professional-development/webinars.aspx