Highlighting new INSPIRE databases

In July, the Indiana State Library announced the addition of a new set of databases – and more content – to INSPIRE, Indiana’s virtual library. INSPIRE is a service provided by the Indiana State Library and is free to all Indiana residents. Here’s a brief overview of these exciting new additions:

Legal Information Reference Center
This data base contains more than 310 full-text publications and reference books including the NOLO books. Information is available related to money and financial planning; businesses and corporations; family affairs and divorce; immigration and travel; patents, copyright and trademarks; property and real estate; rights and disputes and wills and estate planning. Legal forms are available and searchable by state.

EBook Collection for K-8, High Schools and Public Libraries
These eBook collections offer unlimited access to over 75,000 eBooks. The books may be downloaded to your reading device or you may print the information you need to take with you. Simultaneous access allows teachers to assign class-wide reading assignments which benefits schools using virtual learning. The eBooks cover a wide variety of topics and are selected by librarians.

Learning Express Library
Learning Express Library offers a variety of resources to help library users meet their personal and professional goals. Includes test prep info as well as practice quizzes. There are resources in the following categories: career preparation, high school equivalency, college admission and test preparation, school center (K-12), college students and adult core skills in English and Spanish. The database also incorporates tutorials and eBook content.

Communications and Mass Media Complete
Communications and Mass Media Complete combines the content of CommSearch and Mass Media Articles Index. The database offers more than 210 full-text, non-open access journals.

Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection
This database offers full-text coverage from 480 journals, with especially strong coverage of child and adolescent psychology and various counseling areas. Useful for psychologists, counselors, researchers and students.

Religion and Philosophy Collection
The Religion and Philosophy Collection is comprised of full-text journals and magazines providing coverage of the last 100 years of theological and philosophical holdings. Topics covered incorporate world religions, religious history, political philosophy, history of philosophy and the philosophy of language.

Databases that were already included in INSPIRE, but have increased coverage are Academic Search Complete, Consumer Health Information (available in 17 languages), MAS Complete and MasterFile Complete.

For tutorials and promotional materials, visit the EBSCO Connect page.

This blog post was written by Kara Cleveland, Professional Development Office supervisor at the Indiana State Library.

The struggle is real: Reaching teens

One of the most common questions I get from library staff is “How do I get teens into the library?” For many libraries, it may seem as if it’s feast or famine – either they are swamped by after school crowds or they never see any teens step foot in the door. The crowds can be dealt with, but how do you get teens into the your library?

My go-to answer for the above question is, “Don’t expect them to,” meaning don’t expect them to come into the library, with expect being the key word here. Why would they come into the library? There’s a lot working against it – whether or not they can get a ride, what their friends are doing, how many after school commitments they have – the list goes on.  Going to the library has to be a conscious decision they make and then they must have the transportation and support to actually get there.

 Photo by Nicole Berro from PexelsSome better questions to ask might be, “Why aren’t the teens in my library?,” “What are the barriers to service?,” “What is structurally in place that stops them from coming in?,” and most importantly, “What can we do to overcome those barriers?”

The answer to these questions will be unique to each system and branch. Start by taking a close look at the culture and atmosphere of your library. Do teens feel welcome there? If no, what is causing them to feel unwelcome? Do your co-workers or administration understand why it’s good to have teen patrons, rather than becoming frustrated by them? I do staff day trainings on this topic and am working with the Young Adult Library Services Association to offer more workshops on teen services. The short version of the message I share in these trainings is that we can help teens gain important life skills through our programs. Well-rounded teens make for well-rounded citizens, and teens with positive library experiences make lifelong library users.

If transportation or busy schedules is a major issue, consider going to them. Where are they gathering? Is school the best place to reach them in a non-pandemic year? Could you reach them during lunch or after school at an extracurricular? Of course, COVID-19 has created an even bigger barrier. The answer to “where are the teens” right now is hopefully “home.” Even schools that are opening this fall will likely limit who can enter their buildings and public library staff may not make the cut. So, what can you do?

Look for other community groups that might help you reach teens. Connect with organizations in your area, such as social justice organizations, church youth groups, YMCAs or Boys & Girls Clubs, to arrange for on-site book pick-up and drop-off services, kit lending or even virtual programming. They may also be able to put you in touch with teens who are interested in particular topics – like gaming or STEM – or those who would make great teen advisory board members.

Figuring out who to partner with in your community is your first step. Take a look around. Drive through your streets and make note of organizations and businesses you might contact. Ask co-workers with teens what their kids do after school. Does your library have teen shelvers or pages? What do they suggest?

If you are from a community so tiny that you don’t have any groups or organizations to work with, might delivery be an option? Come up with a project that will benefit a charity, like making blankets to donate to your county’s Humane Society. Then offer to drop blanket making kits off at the homes of your teens. If that’s not feasible, reach out to your school librarian, or any other teacher with whom you have a relationship, and ask them to recommend teens for the aforementioned teen advisory board. Make it an honor that requires a teacher recommendation and will look good on their college applications! The board can meet via Zoom.

If you already have a pre-COVID established group of teen patrons, this may all be *slightly* easier for you. Zoom meetings and book clubs, YouTube craft tutorials and using Discord for chatting or gaming with your teen crowd have all been common ways to reach out to existing teen patrons. One example of a library using Discord with teens come from the Pendleton Community Public Library. Their teen librarian, Matthew Stephenson, had an established group of teen patrons before the pandemic and has stayed in touch with them using Discord. See my interview with Matthew below and check out this Discord tutorial, recorded by Andrew Laverghetta, a librarian from Eckhart Public Library.

Ultimately, what you do will depend on your unique community and what it needs. What works at one library may not work at yours. This is a time to reevaluate our library services and determine what is essential, and to refocus on quality over quantity. If you can have an impact on the lives of even a few teens in the middle of the pandemic, that’s significant.

**********************

Interview with teen librarian Matthew Stephenson, Pendleton Community Public Library:

How have you been reaching teens during this time?
As we moved our teen programs and services to Discord, the teens who were already using Discord embraced the “new normal.” However, we have a significant portion of teens who rely on places outside of their home for high speed internet that makes Discord, Zoom and other resources possible. Because of that, I think some teens who would enjoy and embrace our virtual services are unable to find a time or place to do so.

Did you already have a pretty solid group of teen patrons?
I had a very solid group of teens who would be in the library multiple times a week. Some have made a similar commitment online since March. Others I haven’t heard from since then.

Have you reached new ones?
A few teens have discovered our virtual programs and services through our summer reading program, which incentivized joining the library’s teen Discord server.

What other methods have you used, besides Discord?
I have used Netflix Party to watch and talk about anime as a group. I’ve had a few teens who want to watch a whole movie that way. I’ve tried to use Zoom, but most of the teens who have attended are leery of being on camera. Lastly, I recently used Kahoot! to make a quiz competition. A few of the teens really enjoyed it, but thought I made the quiz too difficult, which I am, admittedly, prone to do.

Examples of any virtual programs you’ve done?
I’ve converted our in-library video and tabletop game programs to virtual versions done through Discord. They can get five to ten participating teens on a regular basis, but can accommodate up to 50. Our Teen Quiz had several participants and was asynchronous, which seems to be more popular with teens since COVID-19 and our building project began in the spring.

Is the library open to teen patrons yet?
Most of the library is currently closed for renovations, but we are offering essential services, such as copying, faxing and circulation of materials in our community room. All computer sessions are limited to one hour and patrons are encouraged to not linger in the limited areas open to them. We hope to open the library to next phase of reopening, which we call ‘Grab and Go,’ in August.

Thoughts on how you have/might work with schools this fall, pending your area’s school reopening plans?
We are launching our “One Card One Student” initiative at the beginning of the school year, which will give every student in our school system a special library card to use our databases and check out e-books. I believe that will place the library as an even more important complementary element to improve e-learning for our community’s students. This is in addition to offering Tutor.com to our residents and placing our Student Portal front and center on our library’s homepage.

***************************

This blog post was written by Beth Yates, children’s consultant for the Indiana State Library.

 

What is a library roundtable?

Roundtable defined
What comes to mind when you hear the words “library roundtable?” Is it a round table in a library? No, that’s not quite what I’m talking about. Does it have something to do with King Arthur? Not really, but the symbolism of the legend of King Arthur’s famed table could lend itself to our modern idea of a library roundtable.

So, what are library roundtables? Generally, a roundtable is defined as “a conference for discussion or deliberation by several participants.” In the library world, not unlike the table in King Arthur’s court, all members of a roundtable are of equal status and no one is at the head of the table.

Library roundtables have been going on for many years throughout Indiana. Traditionally, library roundtables are discussion groups that meet in person. Members of these groups are comprised of library staff with similar jobs.

Benefits of library roundtables
There are many advantages and benefits of being a part of a library roundtable group. They’re a great way to network with your professional peers. These connections can be beneficial to your current and future career opportunities. These groups are also effective for discussing ideas, problems and plans. They can act as a pseudo support group if you need a sympathetic ear, as sometimes there are private and sensitive issues that you don’t want to put on a public forum. Roundtables should be a no judgement zone where you can hear differing opinions and views. Insights and experiences from your peers are invaluable. They also provide an opportunity, in an informal setting, to share knowledge, ask questions and discuss solutions at a deeper level than in a formal training or conference setting. It’s a wonderful forum for brainstorming, connecting and sharing programming ideas.

An extra bonus of library roundtables are visiting other libraries. This is a wonderful opportunity to see how other libraries are set up and organized. I love visiting libraries to see what furniture they have, what colors they chose, what their displays look like. You can get awesome ideas to take back to your library.

Who can attend a library roundtable?
Pretty much anyone working in a library can attend a library roundtable. There are roundtables for library directors, branch managers, children’s, circulation, IT, reference and teens. Before attending, check with your department head or director first to make sure that your current job could benefit from participating and that attending works with staffing considerations. There are established roundtable groups all over the state of Indiana. The Indiana State Library has a list of most of the roundtable groups that are currently meeting. If you have a question about roundtables, you can contact your regional coordinator or children’s coordinator and they can connect you with a group.

What if I’m not able to leave my library to attend a roundtable?
Many library roundtable groups have been meeting virtually using networking software such as Zoom, GoTo Meeting, Google Meeting or Microsoft Teams. Some networking software is free – with time restrictions – and others are subscription based. Equipment recommended for virtual roundtables include a device with a camera, microphone, keyboard and speaker. The camera and microphone are not entirely necessary, but essentials are a keyboard, to be able to participate in chat and a speaker, to hear what others are saying. Whatever virtual networking software you have access to, you should be able to use them on a tablet, laptop or smartphone. Along with your discussion, maybe think about adding a virtual tour of your library.

There have been quite a few new virtual roundtables established recently: adult services, bookkeepers, children’s, library directors, games and gaming, marketing, programming, teen and a new webmasters group, which is currently in the works. A grievance I’ve often heard is, “I wish I could attend the roundtable that was posted on the Listserv, but it’s at the opposite side of the state.” With the virtual meertings, you no longer have that travel barrier. We have compiled a new list of the virtual roundtable groups.

LEU information
Library Education Units may be earned by attending roundtable discussions. If your library job is classified to earn LEUs, page 12 of the Indiana State Library Certification Manual for Public Library Professionals spells out the parameters:

  • 1 LEU per roundtable attended.
  • LEUs are capped. Earn up to 10 LEUs per five-year certificate period attending professional roundtable meetings.
  • Professional roundtables do not require prior LEU approval from the Indiana State Library.
  • The host library shall create and award LEU certificates for all attending library professionals

Note: Only individuals holding a five-year certificate are eligible to count LEUs from professional roundtable meetings.

Click here for a sample roundtable LEU certificate. If you have further questions about certification, please contact Cheri Harris, certification program director.

Interested in hosting a roundtable?
If you’d like to start or join a roundtable that doesn’t already exist, you can contact your regional coordinator or children’s coordinator from Indiana State Library’s Professional Development Office. They will assist you with getting a roundtable started.

Being a meeting leader does not require a lot of time, and Indiana State Library staff are here to assist with organizing and publicizing the first meeting. Roundtables are usually a collective effort with everyone contributing. Often, attendees take turns hosting.

Your primary responsibilities would include:

  • Setting the first meeting date.
  • Setting up the meeting in your meeting software.
  • Setting a general topic of discussion for the first meeting.

Articles about roundtables
Finally, here are some articles you might find helpful in your roundtable research:

“How to Run a Successful Roundtable Discussion”
“The Roundtable discussion: What, When Why”
“13 Tips for Planning and Hosting Successful Roundtables”

You can also find this information on the newly-created Indiana Roundtable Discussion Groups for Library Staff page on the Indiana State Library website.

This post was written by Northeast Regional Coordinator Paula Newcom, Professional Development Office.

Axis and Allies of uncertainty

Board gaming clubs and events circa 1995 were often a half a dozen kids gathered around an Axis and Allies™ board. I remember these events well. While those gathered were typically my friends, and I enjoyed the social time, I was never a great fan of Axis and Allies™. Aside from never being very good at it, the tediousness of moving the pieces and spending four-ish hours playing just to end up losing was never something I particularly looked forward to doing.

Board games, clubs and events have come a long way since then, and now many libraries are getting into collecting, lending, programming and promoting with games. In these uncertain times, it’s my hope that board games in libraries don’t suffer. I feel, as I shared in a webinar last year, that they can be a subtle and powerful tool to help players to learn and improve on many of the soft skills that employers covet in new hires. Throughout the history of the profession, public libraries have made materials available to all they serve. As a material type that can be a bit pricey – and where every game does not meet every player’s needs – libraries are uniquely positioned to help introduce games to a wider audience, while helping people find something they can enjoy. At the same time, we are helping improve the employability of those players. Currently, I am unsure when we will be able to get back to using our collections in these ways, so what better time to plan than now?

At a recent Indiana State Library update meeting, Director of Statewide Services Wendy Knapp shared some insights into Amy Webb’s “axes of uncertainty” method for planning for the future as explained Webb’s article “How Futurists Cope with Uncertainty.” While I myself am still digesting this method, I thought it might be fun to try it in relation to my fear – losing support for board games in libraries – and see how we, as a profession, might prepare.

First, what is the fear and uncertainty? Libraries will cut back on, or eliminate, board games from their collections.

Next, what is the opposite of that fear? Libraries will not cut back on, or eliminate, board games from their collections.

To continue the model, a second fear or uncertainty is needed. Here, I’ll use the example from Wendy’s presentation: People will continue social distancing.

Finally, the opposite of the second fear: People will return to libraries in droves.

Here is what we get:

Now we have a grid, or a continuum of possibilities, for these two uncertainties. We just need to figure out how to plan for the four basic quadrant outcomes. Basically, we would plan for the extremes for each possible combination. As an example, if budgets get tight and community pressure builds for libraries to cut back, it seems logical that board game collections wouldn’t grow if you have them, or they wouldn’t get started if you don’t have them. While I would personally love for this to not be the case, it’s a reasonable outcome. If that outcome was paired with continued social distancing, those lucky enough to have an assemblage of games could increase collection promotion to aid circulation, which would be a positive way to combat the negative community pressures. If you don’t already have a collection, then beginning to lay the ground work for the positive outcomes of a possible future collection might be the best use of time and effort.

The top half of the matrix  – the fiscal pressure side – suggests that people will return in droves. Planning for this might be trickier, but I would consider focusing on circulation or focusing on games that require less synchronous action around a table. I would also focus less on game nights and programs and more on collecting your players’ stories that could be shared with non-players. A community bulletin board – either physical or virtual –  to promote the games could be a great idea.

I would love to be in a situation where the bottom half of the matrix is closer to reality and libraries don’t cut back or eliminate board games – and maybe even invest more. One can dream. In this situation, if my community was continuing to social distance, I would look at creating materials about games, gaming and the collection. Maybe create a site to teach the community how to game online, or create marketing materials about existing services around games and gaming. The other extreme is that the people come back and libraries get to keep the collection strong. Here, possibly even more than the social distancing side of the lower half, I would look at ways to promote safe gaming. Maybe increase the number of games to better facilitate circulation or host virtual game discussion groups if you are able.

Here is what my final matrix might look like. Yours, I’m sure, will be different:

This method of planning for uncertainty was helpful to me and has gotten me thinking about games in libraries, especially here in Indiana. As some of you may know, there was a question on this past year’s annual survey to indicate if your library has board games in the collection. It may be a while before I can fully look at that data, but I do know that I want to begin curating more resources to support the libraries in Indiana. If anyone would be interested in a virtual round table for games and gaming in libraries, let me know. My email address can be found below.

This post was written by George Bergstrom, Southwest regional coordinator, Professional Development Office, Indiana State Library.

Working from home? Here are some ideas for librarians

While most of us are working from home during this unprecedented time, it may prove difficult to find enough work to keep librarians and library staff busy without the use of the actual physical library building and materials. Below is a curated list of ideas for librarians and library staff working from home.

  1. Read articles and books for professional development. They do not have to be specific to the world of libraries, either. BooklistLibrary Journal, and Publishers Weekly have all recently made their content freely accessible for everyone. Click the links to access the free journals, including online content and fully-digitized print issues. These are great tools for collection development, but there are many professional library articles as well.
  2. Plan a new program or service.
  3. Prepare for a future program. For example, cut out shapes for a future storytime.
  4. Read a book to someone – a child, an isolated elder, a family member in another town – on the phone or through Facetime or Zoom.
  5. Stock up your Goodreads “pantry”. Start a Goodreads, if you do not have one already, and stock up the shelves with books you have read, favorites lists, books you want to read, etc. Encourage your staff to do this, so that your shelves can be used for reader’s advisory with your patrons in the future. This idea originated from the RA for All blog.
  6. Participate in professional development webinars and virtual trainings. The Indiana State Library has an archived webinars page here. This is a great time to earn LEUs and TLEUs. ALCTS also has a substantive amount of archived webinars available here. Not all of them pertain to cataloging.
  7. Create social media posts and blog content for future use.
  8. Create instructional videos to help patrons with various services. For example, how to access digital content, how to place holds online, etc.
  9. Record book trailers or write book reviews to be used on social media or with upcoming programs.
  10. Technical services staff may be able to do some cataloging and metadata work remotely.
  11. Keep in contact with other staff members through video conferencing, using any of the following platforms: Google HangoutsGotoMeetingZoomSlack or Trello.
  12. Collection development for eBooks and digital audiobooks through Overdrive, Hoopla, etc.

Additionally, MCLS has created a handy list of tools and resources to utilize when working from home, which is available here. This is not an exhaustive list of activities. Your library may have come up with some different ideas that have been working well for you. Feel free to share those ideas with us at the Indiana State Library, and we’ll be happy to add them to our list. We would encourage you to be kind to yourself during this stressful and uncertain time. Don’t feel like you need to be watching webinars every waking minute and get completely burnt out or experience technology overload. In the words of the great Theodore Roosevelt, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

Submitted by Laura Jones, Northwest regional coordinator, Indiana State Library.

Check out recent Testing and Education Reference Center updates available via INSPIRE

The Testing and Education Reference Center is made available via INSPIRE through a partnership between Gale and Peterson’s. Recently, great strides have been made in order to expand the career tools available within TERC. The current tools, including the resume writer and assessment in the Career Module, will remain available for at least 30 days.

Below is a comparison between the current tools and the new tools set to debut:

This post was written by Northeast regional coordinator Paula Newcom, Professional Development Office.

Indiana Library Leadership Academy member project recaps

My first year as Professional Development Office supervisor at the Indiana State Library started with me taking over the planning of the 2018-19 Indiana Library Leadership Academy. This past week I sent out the applications for the 2020-21 cohort. With the next academy on the horizon, I would like to highlight some 2018-19 INLLA cohort members’ projects. Below, some of the 2018-19 INLLA members describe their projects.

Jennifer Taylor, Hagerstown Library
“[My goal] was increasing the number of teen workers at the library, and we’ve hired two more teenagers to work in the library. I’ve increased my involvement at our local high school to get more teen programs occurring in the local high school. I also capitalized on International Games Week to increase the game programs in the library at the high school, which met two times there that week. I had 50-54 high school students at each of those programs. Since then, I have been at the high school once a week, and still kept 48-50 students at each game session. There was also a feature about the gaming programs that I have done, including the junior high school program, in a local paper that was then featured in the Indiana Library Federation newsletter in October about “Great Things in Libraries.”

Because of her involvement with the area schools, Jennifer’s library saw a 60% increase in participation in their Summer Reading Program. She is slated to do three webinars related to gaming for the Indiana State Library this year.

Julie Wendorf, Crown Point Community Library
“I wrote and got a grant to fund the TumbleBooks database for the next two years. The use at the schools started in November 2018. I worked with the school’s central office to promote the resource and coordinate adding the database to the school’s integrated one-on-one instruction and content management system. I am thrilled to share that that the use of the database went from 8 views in September, 86 in October and to almost 8,800 views in November. This success will be great as I move forward in the push to get digital library cards for all students in the school system. We will push out staff outreach visits to all the elementary schools during lunch time to issue library cards to all teachers in the district and further share library resources with individual teachers. The successful use of the database will help show the need for more partnerships between school and library. We’re looking at doing targeted visits to the high school to share about INSPIRE when we get those digital cards in place. It would be great to share other databases, too. I’m excited to go to the auto repair class and share Chilton’s. The library also created a bookmark for sensitive teen issues and had the library designated as a Safe Place.”

Melissa Hunt, Morrisson-Reeves Library
“My senior library card [project] is going well. I am established at three senior living facilities. The card gives seniors a slightly longer checkout. Staff at the facilities are working with this project and are trained to help the residents place holds so that they are getting items ready ahead of time and between myself and the staff we are getting the books to the members. One facility has declined to participate in the program, but we were able to take some weeded materials and our Friend’s group is allowing me to take some materials from their donations to that center as well. Because of this project, the senior center asked me to give a presentation about Morrison-Reeves Library and its resources. They would also like to set a book club or library help time. We are working out those details. Maybe I will train some senior center volunteers to run the club and a few staff at Morrison-Reeve Library are willing to go and help at a scheduled time about every 4 to 6 weeks at the center. I am also running two book clubs at two of the senior facilities. Going to the senior center sparked a youth services staff member to visit preschools and elementary schools to promote library cards and do story times.”

Leslie Sutherlin, South Dearborn School District
“My schools, the middle school and high school in South Dearborn, are hosting author Alan Gratz. I’ve created a packet of resources for teachers on Alan. We are also having a few guest speakers and possibly a panel. I have been in contact with an immigration lawyer as one of the guest speakers. We are also having someone from the Holocaust and Humanities Center in Cincinnati speak. When Alan comes, we may have him present in the evening at our local public library.”

Becca Neel, David L. Rice Library, University of Southern Indiana
“The overall goal of my project was to expand online library instruction and research support for students and instructors in Indiana high schools offering dual credit through USI’s College Achievement Program. To accomplish this goal, I’ve been working closely with our infinitely helpful and supportive CAP administrative team on campus to collaborate on training, communication and promotional efforts. This partnership has afforded me a myriad of opportunities to exchange ideas and to share resources and services with a diverse group high school CAP instructors via LibGuides and Zoom instruction sessions. A list of CAP LibGuides resulting from recent instructor collaborations can be found here.

“More recently, this project has connected me with some incredibly innovative and energetic media specialists from CAP partner high schools who have been instrumental in providing me with both a context for approaching information literacy in a non-university environment and an audience willing to listen to incessant gushing over INSPIRE database content and navigation.

“As the result of these various partnerships, and with the support and supreme event-planning expertise of the USI Rice Library’s head of public services, library support for the CAP community will continue its expansion through a day-long Linking Information Literacy Across CAP workshop aimed at bringing together USI librarians, media specialists and public librarians connected with the CAP high schools.

“This workshop is intended to foster long-term network of collaboration among librarians and media specialists, and will feature info-sharing and brainstorming sessions, as well as resource and technology training to provide school librarians with editor privileges for school-specific LibGuides. An example of one such collaborative LibGuide can be found here.”

Carrie Vrabel, Allen County Public Library
“My project became the creation and promotion of a free, web-based resume generator especially designed for patrons with beginner-level computer skills.

“This resume generator creates a formatted, printable and saveable resume. There are instructions for printing at the top of the page. Many of the fields auto-capitalize for patrons with beginner-level computer skills and there are examples of wording that can be used in the qualifications and skills fields.

“I sent the link to ALA’s ThinkTank on Facebook and received overwhelmingly positive feedback. I also presented this new resource at the ILF Regional Conference in Mishawaka on Monday, April 22, 2019. To my knowledge, Resume Generator is the only free web-based resume generator on the internet, so I hope to get the word out to as many librarians as possible!”

Jenna Anderson, Kendallville Public Library
“Following an inspirational conference session on a STEM program for teens in 2017, as the Kendallville Public Library Marketing specialist I thought, ‘What if I took some of these ideas, added more topics, put the program online and expanded it to everyone?’

“In June 2018, the Kendallville Public Library unveiled Design Your Climb, an online, points-based system for learning and fun. At the time, the challenges included library skills, makerspace experiences, robot programming and other library-related activities. It generated some excitement in the community, especially because participants could win prizes as they earned points.

“Once again, that ‘what if’ question took over. What if the library expanded Design Your Climb so people could not only experience the library, but experience the community? Through the Indiana Library Leadership Academy, I learned valuable leadership skills and developed a plan of attack for involving the community in Design Your Climb.

“I approached local organizations and nonprofits, offering them the benefits of the library’s exposure at no cost to them. In exchange for working with the library to develop a challenge track specifically for them and promoting it through their own marketing channels, the library would support the challenge on its online system, promote the challenges as well and award prizes. Many recognized a win-win when they saw it, and took the library up on the offer. To date, three organizations have four on-going challenges among them, while several more are developing their challenges. The number of Design Your Climb participants continues to grow, while the awareness of the services in the community increases, as well.

“Design Your Climb is a partnership between the Kendallville Public Library and the East Noble School Corporation. KPL handles the Personal Growth portion of the initiative, while East Noble is unveiling the Educational Growth portion of Design Your Climb to its second grade students. Design Your Climb Personal Growth can be found here.”

Jenna was so inspired by INLLA, and specifically speaker Cathy Hakala-Ausperk, that she says it literally changed her life. Her approach to her job has expanded, she has pursued additional leadership training and is now moving herself and her library in new and exciting directions. She was also recently promoted to support services manager.

Charles Rude, Kewanna-Union Township Public Library
“I am attempting to digitize a collection of my home town newspapers. I have the library’s support with some budget funds, legal ownership of the papers for the library and a loose commitment of funds from the community foundation. At this point, I am still hoping to get other local organizations on board and expand my scope. I am in discussions with the historical society and my library neighbors and towns. I am asking them for contributions or whatever they can do to support the project and they seem very positive. I still feel strongly that we need to preserve our history for future generations so I will be working with these organizations to get the ball rolling.”

Katie Lehman, Muncie Public Library
“My educational resource boxes are being built by a local Eagle Scout and will be installed at our south side branch and at a partnering location. Inside the boxes there will be educational tools and supplies that anyone can take and utilize. This will include things like crayons, glue sticks and different educational activities assembled by Ready Readers staff. I am looking at partnering with either the YWCA or YMCA as the second location for a box.

“Many of the children in my program talk about not having items such as crayons, markers, glue, dice, etc. at home. While many locations give these things out at the beginning of the school year, the supplies often must stay at school. Even when they do go home, they are used up quickly, lost or thrown out in a quick move.

“While it is not specific to my INLLA project, I did want to share that since INLLA, I have secured two grants for Muncie Public Library’s Ready Readers Program. One through Psi Iota XI to update the furniture in the room to make sessions more comfortable and one through Delta Kappa Gamma for teaching supplies to use with students in sessions.

“I feel that I gained a lot out of my INLLA experience. One thing that really stuck with me was a response from one of the panel members who said, ‘Keep your head down and do the work. I’ve kept that mantra and it’s paid off! I was recently promoted to director of academic enrichment and now supervise 10 staff and more than 85 kids.”

If you would like to apply to be a part of the 2020-21 INLLA Cohort, click here for the application. The application is due Friday, Feb. 28. If you have any questions, please contact Kara Cleveland at 317-232-3718 or via email.

This blog post was written by Kara Cleveland, Professional Development Office supervisor at the Indiana State Library.

Professional development in the new year

The Professional Development Office is excited about the new year and all of the things we will be offering to Indiana librarians. We are starting a new series of webinars called What’s Up Wednesday?, which are scheduled for the last Wednesday of every month – except December – at 10 a.m. EST. The first one will feature one of our own Indiana librarians, Jennifer Taylor, from Hagerstown Public Library and the webinar is called “Quick Play Gaming for Teen Outreach.”

The next thing we are doing is offering the first Indiana online conference, “Hot Topics for a Cold Winter’s Day.” It will take place online Monday, Feb. 17 from 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. EST. Our keynote speaker will be Julius Jefferson, Jr., ALA’s 2020-2021 president-elect. Also speaking will be Cyndee Landrum of IMLS, Pam Seabolt of MCLS, ILF President Susie Highley and Kelly Krieg-Sigman, retired director of the LaCrosse Public Library in Wisconsin. Stay tuned for registration information.

The Difference is You conference is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 18 at the Indiana State Library and is in the early planning stages. This year we will also present our 2020 Indiana Library Leadership Academy on Oct. 28-30. Participants are selected through an application process so keep your eye out for the application. This opportunity is open to librarians from all types of libraries – public, academic, school, special and institutional.

We are also happy to announce that we have hired a new Northwest regional coordinator, Laura Jones. She will be working remotely from Argos. Laura has experience in both public and school libraries.

We have updated and added to our Face to Face Training options. There are several new options: “Teambuilding 101,” “Soft Skills for Librarians,” “Developing Community Partnerships” and some new subject-specific INSPIRE trainings. We are excited that we have been able to redo our tech kits with new choices and we will have three kits now instead of two. We have added the littleBits Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit, Squishy Circuits, Dash Challenge cards and the Code and Go Robot Mouse Activity set. Checkout for the updated tech kits will begin in February. Please talk to your regional coordinator if you would like to reserve one. In addition, we purchased two Breakout EDU kits which we will also be circulating this year.

Of course, we will continue offering webinars at various times throughout the year so please check our calendar so you don’t miss out. I hope you are as excited about 2020 as I am! It’s going to be a great year!

This blog post was written by Kara Cleveland, Professional Development Office supervisor at the Indiana State Library.

What does the children’s consultant do, exactly?  A year in review

In my role as children’s consultant in the Professional Development Office of the Indiana State Library, it’s my mission to offer training opportunities, best practices advice and general support to youth services library staff across the entire state. Out of my three years in this position, this year has been the busiest so far. I’ve been lucky to be involved in a number of exciting projects!

NASA @ My Library: The year began with the good news that the Indiana State Library would be part of the NASA @ My Library program. This program came with a grant that allowed us to create and circulate 13 kits that contained the materials to do a number of space-centric programs in libraries. These kits went to public libraries this summer to support their A Universe of Stories programs. And, you can continue to borrow them even though summer is over! Learn more about the kits here.

Leap Into Science: In February, I attended a training in Philadelphia for the Franklin Institute’s Leap into Science program along with my fellow Indiana Leadership Team members Nicole Rife from the Indiana State Museum, Renee Henry from the Terre Haute Children’s Museum and Sarah Reynolds from Early Learning Indiana. Through the training, we learned how to integrate open-ended science activities with children’s books during programs designed for children ages 3-10 and their families. We brought the program back to Indiana and offered four workshops for librarians and other out of school informal educators in August of 2019; we also plan to offer four more sessions in spring of 2020. Watch for those trainings to be announced early in the year. Read more about Leap into Science here.

YALSA “Teen Services with Impact”: In March, we brought in Linda Braun of YALSA to provide day-long trainings to teen services librarians and administrators about the impact libraries can have on the lives of teens. The sessions discussed how teen librarians can describe the value of what they do for and with teens, and built an understanding of how social emotional learning fits into the work they do for and with teens.

Collaborative Summer Library Program: In September, Indianapolis was thrilled to host representatives from every state, along with several US Territories and island nations, for the CSLP Annual Meeting. At the meeting, we voted to use Oceanography as our general theme in 2023; the slogan will be voted on in 2020. The artist in 2023 will be Frank Morrison. In November, I began traveling the state to offer 11 CSLP training/roundtables on the 2020 program, Imagine Your Story. Dates and locations for the remaining trainings can be found on ISL’s Calendar of Events.

YALSA Connected Learning & Computational Thinking for Teens: At the end of September, I was excited to go to Seattle to be trained by the excellent folks at YALSA on how to incorporate Connected Learning and Computational Thinking into programming for teens. Youth Services Consultants like me from across the US attended these trainings, and we’ll all be rolling out various workshops for teen librarians in early 2020. Watch for Connected Learning trainings in March!

Every Child Ready to Read: As always, I offered a number of ECRR trainings across the state this year. I’m currently in the process of planning another batch for 2020, and hope to announce those by the end of 2019.

In addition to all of that, I continue to offer a set list of trainings, which I can do by-request for library staff days and round tables. I intend to add one or two new trainings to that list in 2020, so keep an eye out.

I hope the upcoming new year is an excellent one for you, your library and the youth you serve!

This blog post was written by Beth Yates, children’s consultant for the Indiana State Library.

Gaming in the library; soft skills webinar announced

On Friday, Nov. 8, the Indiana State Library held a small gaming demonstration for library employees. The event was designed to help librarians and library employees begin to explore the use of board games in a library setting; especially the games’ ability to help promote the development of soft skills. It was held in conjunction with the American Library Association’s International Games Week. In the future, we hope to bring this type of discussion to library communities as a training opportunity.

In 2007, two librarians whom I consider pioneers in the use of games in libraries, Jenny Levine and Scott Nicholson, had the idea to attempt to set a world’s record for the number of people playing the same game at the same time at libraries. This day became National Games Day and libraries around the United States were encouraged to hold events to promote and play games and, if possible, help set this record. Five years later it was re-branded International Games Day and five years after that, on the tenth anniversary, it was expanded and re-branded again to International Games Week. For a full history, check out their website.

As I wrote about in my last blog entry, “Fun and games or secret career-building tool?,” games of all types can help the players learn and practice skills that are coveted by many employers. The participants at this event got a chance to discover and discuss these concepts and the consensus was to bring this discussion to the larger Indiana librarian community. Join me on Wednesday, Nov. 27 at 10 a.m. for a webinar on this topic: “Engagement with soft skills – using board games at the library to engage patrons and improve career readiness.” Please see our calendar for this event and for other training opportunities.

This post was written by George Bergstrom, Southwest regional coordinator, Professional Development Office, Indiana State Library.