Roundtables: How to get started

Looking for a way to connect with peers? Roundtables might be the answer. What’s a roundtable? Back in June of 2020, my colleague Paula Newcom wrote a very thorough article answering this question, so I’ll just give you the CliffsNotes version: Roundtables are a chance for peers to gather and to discuss, share and troubleshoot issues they may encounter in their jobs. Called “counterparts” in the Northwest area of the state, these library staff led and organized gatherings are a grassroots way to connect and learn from others in similar jobs. They can be in-person, with regional groups meeting at area libraries, or they can be virtual, utilizing virtual meeting software like Zoom. A few have even begun offering a hybrid of in-person and virtual, although this is not yet common.

Pre-pandemic, Indiana had a relatively robust network of roundtables that met, usually in person, several times a year. While some of those transitioned to virtual and then back to in-person successfully, others seemed to come to a halt, especially with staffing changes, shortages and turnover during these tumultuous years. Recently, I’ve heard a number of people say they wish a roundtable would start in their area. For them, I have excellent news: Anyone can start a roundtable!

While Indiana State Library Professional Development Office staff are happy to support roundtables by attending and even occasionally presenting when available, roundtables are not typically organized by State Library staff, with a few exceptions. Rather, we encourage library staff to start and maintain them. Any library staff member – with permission from their supervisor, of course – can reach out to neighboring libraries or send a callout email to the Listservs, inviting them to meet for a few hours to discuss a relevant topic.

If you’re interested in starting a roundtable on a particular topic in your area, here are some recommended steps:

  1. Make sure your supervisor is okay with you organizing a roundtable.
  2. Email the Listservs – depending on the topic you hope to discuss – asking whether a group in your area already exists; if not, have people contact you directly if they are interested in meeting.
  3. Optional: Gather a list of libraries near you – 30-60 minutes away – and email relevant staff directly to invite them to form a roundtable. Many libraries have staff directories on their websites.
  4. Once you have interested parties, determine who will host the first meeting, and when. Who has a meeting room and when is it available? Typically, roundtables meet for approximately two hours on a morning, but your group can meet whenever works for the majority!
  5. Once your date/time/location are set, email the interested group with the details. You should also consider emailing the relevant listservs once again, this time with the details as an open invitation. Consider contacting either the Indiana State Library’s Children’s Consultant or your Indiana State Library Regional Coordinator to invite them to attend if they’re available.
  6. Determine who would like to be the “leader” of the first meeting. This is often the host library staff, but could be the person who has organized the whole thing. It doesn’t have to be the same person every time, although having one person “in charge” of setting meeting dates can be very helpful.
  7. For the very first meeting, the “leader” should consider developing a loose list of questions to keep the conversation going. Roundtables are very informal discussions, but it’s good to have a few specific topics in mind. For subsequent meetings, the group can work together to decide discussion topics.
  8. Meet! Discuss! Share! Problem solve! Commiserate! Encourage!
  9. If you haven’t already, be sure to gather everyone’s information – name, library, and email address – before ending the meeting so you can easily set up the next one.
  10. After the meeting, the host library can issue an LEU certificate for a maximum of one LEU to attendees following the LEU policy for Professional Roundtable Meetings. Individual attendees should be mindful that they can only claim up to 10 roundtable LEUs per five year certification period, although you can certainly attend more than ten!

Of course, recognizing that desk schedules are tight at many libraries right now, virtual roundtables are still an option. Virtual may also work better with some smaller groups that would benefit from statewide participation in one group, rather than multiple smaller groups across the state. The general steps are the same, with a few exceptions:

  • The host should be able to provide an online meeting platform (Zoom, Teams, etc.).
  • Participants should ideally have cameras and microphones to be able to fully participate.
  • Participants should clearly understand that the roundtable is only helpful if all participants are actively engaged and share. Even those without microphones should come prepared to share via chat.

The Indiana State Library is in the process of updating a 2020 list of virtual roundtables to determine who is still meeting and whether they are in-person or virtual. If your group is not currently on the list and are willing to be added, please email Statewide Services. Likewise, if you are listed as the leader of one of the groups and no longer meet, please contact us at the same address.

Now, go forth and learn from your peers. Good luck!

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

North Manchester Public Library: ‘Fearless, innovative and community focused’

You can clearly see from the positive comments below how much the patrons of the North Manchester Public Library love and appreciate their library. Serving a population of a little over 6,000 in northern Wabash County, this library is doing amazing things for its community.

“Fantastic programming for all ages, staff that remember patrons’ names and interests, a wide range of books, movies, music and periodicals. The North Manchester Public Library is definitely at the heart of the community.”

“Amazing resource for this small community! The mobile hotspots you can check out make those long summer drives great for everyone’s high tech gadgets!”

“It is unusual for a town of our size to have a library of this caliber! The children’s department is second to none! Couldn’t be more proud!”

“I love that kids are allowed to be kids in their section of the library! Fun memories equal children who will love books forever. Keep up the awesome work!”

“One of the best small town libraries in the country.”

Director Diane Randall and her staff have accomplished many great things since she started her tenure in February 2020. Diane was fortunate to step into a library with a staff with many forward thinking ideas. I recently visited Diane to learn about all of the innovative and out of the box programs they are doing. It really takes a special synergy between the library board, director, library staff and community to make a good library an extraordinary library. I love what Diane said to me, “I am fearless, innovative and community focused.” And it shows!

Diane started at the North Manchester Public Library right before the world paused for the pandemic. As many traditional library services were disrupted, such as in person programs and public computer access, new needs in the community became evident. Food insecurity increased as paper and hygiene products became scarce. The library and community came together to fill these needs. Diane has been partnering with many local groups and has been working diligently to obtain grants that will further their vision to meet their community’s needs beyond traditional books.

In Diane’s own words:

“All the collaborations and projects my staff and I develop or create started with the development of the library’s current long range plan. It was very important to gather community and library trustees input as well as all library staff input. I felt it was crucial to include the library management staff of Adult Department manager and marketing coordinator, Jeanna Hann; Children’s Department manager, Sarah Morbitzer; Circulation librarian Cody Goble; and past programming coordinator Heidi Lovett in creating the plan. They not only gained experience in this planning process and understood it on a professional level, but also had creative buy-in and support for it. It was a wonderful team effort from which our full time staff and managers now have greater awareness and foundation as they build the library’s programs, outreach, collections and technology and as they utilize the buildings and grounds spaces. Future projects will include continued development of neurodiverse and sensory collections and spaces in the library; continued development of programming and events utilizing building grounds; and increased focus on collaborations and building of programming with the retirement and senior living communities post COVID pandemic.”

Their teamwork, planning and dedication to the community shines through in what they have accomplished so far.

Non-traditional library services began at NMPL a few years before Diane arrived. One of these services was a seed library, created by former staff member and programming director Heidi Lovett. With these new services, a seed was planted to go beyond the four walls of the library building with these innovative programs. The following list highlights these programs; be sure to click on the links to find out more about each program:

Seed Library – August 2017
Just as libraries have been sharing books for decades, sharing seeds is a natural extension of our culture. It’s a simple premise – take a seed pack, share a seed pack. The packets of seeds can be new or seeds harvested from plants. Novice gardeners get to experiment with new plants and can learn from expert gardeners. This is an all-around winning program for libraries – an efficient way to share seeds; a way to promote botanical literacy and a way to help fight food insecurity. No doubt many gardening books, magazines and videos have been checked out.

Makerspace-2-Go – August 2019
Makerspaces in libraries began around 2005 and grew out of the Maker Movement. Imagine arts and crafts groups, hobbyists, shop classes and science fairs combining in one place. They are spaces within some libraries with resources such as computers, 3D printers, audio and video editing tools and traditional arts and crafts supplies. Makerspaces give patrons the ability to try out technology and tools that they would not normally be able to access. Heidi Lovett, former programming coordinator, and Jeanna Hann, Adult Department manager and marketing coordinator, took it up a notch in 2019 with the ability to check out equipment and tools for home use!

Community Pantry – April 2021
A complementary program to the Seed Library is the Community Pantry. Interested members of the community approached Diane to collaborate to address food insecurity in the community. NMPL partnered with North Manchester Community Pantry to place a large plastic cabinet outside the library entrance. The pantry is stocked with non-perishable food items and paper supplies. The pantry is available 24/7 and community members can take what they need and to leave what they don’t. A local art student was chosen to paint a mural on the outside of the cabinet which lends visibility to the project and sets the tone for its goal. An excellent quote from the library blog sums it up perfectly, “The Community Pantry, a Mutual Aid Space, is where people take responsibility for caring for one another by sharing resources.”

Flat Playground – May 2021
“Social distancing” and “playgrounds closed” – NMPL Children’s Department manager Sarah Morbitzer turned these two phrases into a positive. This playground is like no other one you’ve ever seen. The library staff wanted to promote outdoor activity and intergenerational play with this unique play area. They also wanted to find ways to utilize their spacious library grounds. A blank sidewalk became the canvas for this masterpiece. There are six features on the playground – an eight piece activity track, four square, standing long jump, dart board, twister and snakes and ladders. These activities are great for all ages and mobility levels. This amazing space was made possible by the Bev Westendorf Memorial Fund, the JoAnn Martin Memorial Fund, Friends of the Library, the Tammy Seifert Memorial Fund, EduMarking USA and the NMPL Fun Run.

Pollinator Garden – May 2021
NMPL sits on a beautiful wooded two-acre lot. Members of the local Rotary Club reached out to Diane for a project to refresh the southeast corner of the library landscape through an initial Rotary Club grant. From this initial project, a wonderful collaboration has developed with the Master Gardeners of the North Manchester Rotary Club, the Purdue Extension of Wabash County and the library. A pollinator garden was planned and filled with native pollinator plants with the goal of long term sustainability. The new garden was revitalized entirely by the Rotary Club, volunteers and community members who donated plants and their time. Bonus – related educational programs have been provided by the Purdue Extension Services and also the Master Gardeners. And an extra special group has also sprouted from this – the Dirty Diggers Club run by Children’s Department manager, Sarah Morbitzer. Elementary and middle school-aged youngsters are learning how important pollinators are in relation to the foods that they eat. They are making that connection with their own eyes with their garden. The library is fortunate to be able to use the adjoining grounds of the historic Thomas R. Marshall Home – 28th vice president under Woodrow Wilson – for the Dirty Digger’s garden space through another community collaboration with the North Manchester Center For History.

Winter reading program expansion – January 2022
Through building new and renewed relationships with community businesses that are not part of the library’s summer reading sponsorships, Sarah Morbitzer and Molly Magus, programming coordinator, have developed an exciting growing winter reading program. Open to all, this program has its own unique sponsors and themes and is well supported by the community. It’s a great opportunity to continue to encourage and support reading within the community and is efficient to run via use of the Beanstack reading program software.

Sensory-2-Go shelf – March 2022
Developed by Sarah Morbitzer and Molly Magnus, this new collection is intended to reach patrons with neurodiverse needs. According to Merriam-Webster, neurodiverse is defined as “having, relating to, or constituting a type of brain functioning that is not neurotypical.” The five kits serve specific sensory purposes – high energy, calming, texture and touch as well as items to help with day to day activities (i.e., holding a cup) and other items for building cognitive development. This collection is for all ages, for use inside the library or for checkout to take home. This is a great way for patrons to try out the items first to see if they might make a personal investment.

Little Free Library – April 2022
A new beautiful turquoise blue Little Free Library is found just off North Market Street near the entrance of the Flat Playground. Lead by circulation librarian Cody Goble and Jeanna Hann, NMPL has joined the 150,000 Little Free Libraries around the world. Just like the seed library, people are meant to take a book and leave a book. This was made possible through a generous contribution from the Friends of the Library group.

Homeschool Resource Center – March 2022
Sarah Morbitzer and the Children’s Department have taken resource sharing a step further with their new Homeschool Resource Center. This collection can be used by anyone – for either long or short term homeschooling or for enrichment during school breaks. This collection contains homeschool books for teachers, a microscope, games for practicing sight words and much more!

There are even more projects that are in the works, so stay tuned to the North Manchester Public Library’s website, as well as their Instagram and Facebook pages to find out what’s next. Find out about this new project that is coming Fall 2022:

Electronic Message Center – Fall 2022
Diane is currently working on a collaborative project with their incredibly supportive Friends of the Library. The new digital message center will help promote programs and events, and relay library information to the community. The message center will enhance in-the-moment awareness of what is happening at the library, and will enable the library to reach community members who don’t utilize social media or read the local newspapers. The library will also be able to utilize the digital sign to promote their programs and events in Spanish to welcome and support awareness in our minority communities.

If you are in the North Manchester area, be sure to stop by the library and see all of the awesome things that are happening. Now, some final words from director of the North Manchester Public Library, Diana Randall:

“The staff at the North Manchester Public Library are so awesome! They are fantastically creative with such an innovative approach. They all have such a spirit of service to the community, and the community can feel it. I work daily to support this innovation and creativity, and I like to think outside the box to explore possibilities. I have always had a strong team-centered focus and customer service philosophy, and my staff know this. We work to keep up good communication and support each other. I also feel as a library director, I need to keep focus on the needs of my staff and supporting them. I work daily to let them all know this.

We all know that our libraries must continue to evolve as we move toward the future, and we have to keep a laser focus on what our communities’ needs are regarding services, programming and collections. Being open to new ideas and possibilities are crucial to our survival. I believe Indiana has a fantastic public library system with incredible library directors and library staff who are committed to serving their communities, and to supporting each other. I also am so grateful to the staff at the Indiana State Library for their input and support when I reach out to them with questions or for direction. They set a great foundation for all of us!”

This post was written by Northeast regional coordinator Paula Newcom of the Indiana State Library Professional Development Office and Diane Randall, director of the North Manchester Public Library.

New webinar series announced from the Indiana State Library’s Professional Development Office

The Indiana State Library’s Professional Development Office has announced a new series of webinars, What the Research Says, featuring academicians and their research. This series will be irregular, but the hope is to feature at least one per quarter. We invite academic librarians to reach out to us with projects they would like to present or topics they feel would make good additions to this series. Submissions may be directed to George Bergstrom, Southwest regional coordinator in the Professional Development Office.

This spring, we kicked of this new series with “Creating Informed Learners in the Classroom: Librarian Experiences of Developing a Multi-institutional Information Literacy Project,” featuring librarians from Purdue University. In this webinar Clarence Maybee, Rachel Fundator and Amity Saha presented on their three-year research project funded by an IMLS grant.

The Creating Informed Learners in the Classroom project, made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (RE-13-19-0021-19), facilitated librarian-instructor partnerships to integrate information-rich student projects into disciplinary classrooms. The project was a partnership between librarians at Purdue University, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the University of Arizona. Over the course of  four weekly online sessions, the project team trained 15 librarian-instructor teams – five from each university – to use an information literacy framework called Informed Learning Design to design student projects that enable students to use information in new ways in their courses.

In this webinar, the team gave an overview of the principles of Informed Learning design, their specific project, how they had to adapt due to COVID and some great lessons learned from this three-year effort in improving student learning. Anyone who missed this webinar is invited to view the recording on the State Library’s YouTube channel. More details can be found on the archived webinars page of the Continuing Education website.

The Professional Development Office hopes that this series will offer a venue for academic librarians to not only share their work with others in their field, but with the wider library profession. The format will most often be a one-hour panel discussion webinar, but we are open to discussing other options with interested presenters. Anyone who is curious about being a part of this new series is invited to reach out to George Bergstrom.

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

Save the Date: Difference is You Conference!

This year’s Difference is You Conference will be held on Friday, Sept. 23 at the Indiana State Library. The DIY Conference is a training event for support staff and paraprofessionals created by the Indiana State Library’s Professional Development Committee. The theme this year is “Refresh and Recharge.”

The keynote speaker will be David Seckman, Jeffersonville Township Public Library director. He’ll be presenting “Build a Better World with Kindness and Gratitude.” Seckman has been researching and studying the effects of kindness and gratitude on well-being and relationships for 15 years and speaking on these topics for the last 12 years. He is especially interested in how kindness and gratitude can transform the culture of an organization to bring a sense of fun and joy to the workplace. With over 10 years of experience as a library administrator and manager, he puts these concepts into practice on a daily basis.

Keynote description
Have you ever wondered why some teams are highly productive, creative and innovative while other teams with similar levels of talent and experience seem to be stuck in neutral? Science has shown that people who practice gratitude in their lives show an increase in enthusiasm towards life, make more progress towards their personal goals, sleep better, show less symptoms of illness and depression and have more energy. In this keynote, presenter David Seckman will discuss how cultivating kindness and gratitude can improve work and personal relationships, as well overall well-being.

Below is the proposed schedule:

2022 DIY Schedule

  • 10:00-10:50 a.m. (50 minutes) Welcome and keynote
  • 10:50-11:00 a.m. (10 minutes) Announce DIY Award winner/Break
  • 11:10 a.m.-12:00 p.m. (50 minutes) Session 1
  • 12:00-1:00 p.m. (60 minutes) Lunch
  • 1:00-1:50 p.m. (50 minutes) Session 2
  • 1:50-2:00 p.m. (10 minutes) Break
  • 2:00-2:50 p.m. (50 minutes) Session 3
  • 2:50-3:00 p.m. (Wrap up and evaluations)

Registration fee is $25 per person. If you have any questions, you can contact Kara Cleveland.

This blog post was written by Courtney Brown, Southeast regional coordinator from the Indiana State Library’s Professional Development Office.

Looking for staff training? Let us help!

Did you know that the Indiana State Library’s Professional Development Office provides free training for library directors and their staff? Continuing education is a vital part of the success of any library professional. There are dozens of ways to earn library education units (LEUs), network with others in the profession, and learn new skills to help advance the field of libraries in Indiana. We encourage you to stay on top of current trends and deepen foundational library knowledge by taking advantage of the free resources on our Continuing Education page.

Our available training spans a wide variety of topics including, but not limited to the following: communication, customer service, difficult situations, challenging coworkers, soft skills, teambuilding and many technology-related trainings. Some examples of technology-centered offerings are Google Drive, Google Apps, Google Docs and INSPIRE training. Another exciting new offering we have are Oculus Quest 2 VR Kits, which can be borrowed for 30 days for library use for staff to test drive and/or use for library programming. To reserve a kit, please contact your regional coordinator. On the Continuing Education page are upcoming webinars, a face-to-face training menu (which can be adapted to virtual), archived webinars, information about the Difference is You Conference for library support staff, information about the Indiana Library Leadership Academy, youth services centered training and so much more.

Maybe you have a staff training day or professional development day set up annually, but you need a few sessions filled at no additional cost to your library. Look no further than your regional coordinator from the Indiana State Library. Your regional coordinator can provide training sessions over a wide range of topics at no charge, either in person (we come to you!) or virtually. Below is a chart showing which regional coordinator you should contact based upon your library location, as well as the coordinator’s contact email.

Northeast Regional Coordinator – Paula Newcom, 317-447-0452, pnewcom@library.in.gov
Acts as liaison for the Indiana State Library and libraries of all types in the following counties of Indiana: Adams, Allen, Blackford, Dekalb, Elkhart, Grant, Hamilton, Howard, Huntington, Jay, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Marion (Speedway), Miami, Noble, Steuben, Tipton, Wabash, Wells and Whitley.

Northwest Regional Coordinator – Laura Jones, 317-691-5884, laujones@library.in.gov
Acts as liaison for the Indiana State Library and libraries of all types in the following counties of Indiana: Benton, Boone, Carroll, Cass, Clinton, Fulton, Jasper, Lake, LaPorte, Marshall, Montgomery, Newton, Porter, Pulaski, St. Joseph, Starke, Tippecanoe and White.

Southeast Regional Coordinator – Courtney Brown, 317-910-5777, cobrown@library.in.gov
Acts as liaison for the Indiana State Library and libraries of all types in the following counties of Indiana: Bartholomew, Brown, Clark, Dearborn, Decatur, Delaware, Fayette, Floyd, Franklin, Hancock, Harrison, Henry, Jackson, Jefferson, Jennings, Johnson, Madison, Ohio, Randolph, Ripley, Rush, Scott, Shelby, Switzerland, Union, Washington and Wayne.

Southwest Regional Coordinator – George Bergstrom, 317-447-2242, gbergstrom@library.in.gov
Acts as liaison for the Indiana State Library and libraries of all types in the following counties of Indiana: Clay, Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Fountain,  Gibson, Greene, Hendricks, Knox, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Morgan, Orange, Owen, Parke, Perry, Pike, Posey, Putnam, Spencer, Sullivan, Vanderburgh, Vermillion, Vigo, Warren and Warrick.

Southwest regional coordinator, George Bergstrom

Additionally, contact information for the PDO supervisor/regional coordinator for the Indianapolis Public Library system and the state children’s services consultant is listed below.

PDO Supervisor – Kara Cleveland, 317-232-3718, kcleveland@library.in.gov
Oversees the work of the Professional Development Office. Acts as the regional coordinator for the Indianapolis Public Library.

Children’s Services Consultant – Beth Yates, 317-517-1738, byates@library.in.gov
Provides consulting and programming support in the area of children’s and young adult services.

Again, our trainings can be completed either in person or virtual,  and they all qualify for pre-approved LEUs. Whether your staff size is small or large, we can accommodate all your training needs. If you have a small staff, you might even consider partnering up with a similar sized library in your area to host training with a few more individuals together. All offered free training opportunities, including upcoming webinars as well as many archived past webinars and trainings can be found on our Continuing Education page here.

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

Indiana Library Leadership Academy project recap

The Professional Development Office of the Indiana State Library conducted the Indiana Library Leadership Academy in the spring and summer of 2021 after postponing it from its original date in 2020. One of the aspects of involvement in INLLA is the completion of a project by participants that will enrich their library and community. Sadie Borkowski, branch manager at the Tutt Branch of the St. Joseph County Public Library, shared the following write-up at the conclusion of her INLLA project. It illustrates the amazing ways that INLLA participants contribute to their libraries and communities after completing the program:

The Tutt Branch of the St. Joseph County Public Library is located on the Southeast side of South Bend and serves residents who find themselves on the other side of the digital divide. The average household income of our neighborhood residents is around $38,000 and the area has some of the lowest graduation rates in the city. There are very few after school tutoring programs available. The few free options that were available before COVID were on the other side of the city, making transportation an issue for the neighborhood youth. Our library chose to focus on an afterschool tutoring program to help bridge the educational gap for our neighborhood youth. We had initially planned to host it at our library, but when COVID caused us to shut down temporarily, it put a hold on our project. Since our library would be cautious about slowly reopening in stages, we were unable to do programming inside of our building due to a lack of space when social distancing was a high priority. As the schools changed to e-learning only, the students found themselves at an even greater disadvantage due to a lack of internet access. The school offered Wi-Fi hotspots on roving school buses that would park around the city at very limited times, but transportation issues and inclement weather made using these outdoor parking lot spots ineffective for our students who were trying to keep up. The need for our program was growing and we had to get creative to meet the needs of our community.

With every crisis comes opportunity. A local nonprofit mentoring group called Free Your Wings approached my library asking to do a mask giveaway pop-up program outdoors in our library parking lot. We were able to develop a great partnership with this nonprofit and included them in our discussions about ways to help bring tutoring services to our neighborhood youth.

Aja Ellington, who founded the organization with her daughter and son, turned out to be just the missing component we needed to make the tutoring program work. She approached me about the need for tutoring and we mentioned the issues we were having, with a lack of space being our stumbling block. She was also interning at a local church we worked with called Christian Broadway Parish, just a few blocks away from our library. She brought up the idea that they had a considerable amount of space at the church. We approached pastor Carl Hetler with the program idea and he was excited to get involved. Students from elementary through high school seniors came for the weekly program. It was really heartwarming to see all the neighborhood volunteers, including some of our librarians and local teachers help with hands-on tutoring so students did not have to fall even further behind and repeat the year.

For students who needed help with advanced subjects – but were unable to come on the days the tutoring was offered or needed bilingual services to help with their tutoring experience – the library was able to supplement the program with our online tutoring service called Brainfuse. It was a service the library paid for, and I would highly recommend it to any public libraries wanting to offer tutoring services to their community. We gave out handouts with step-by-step instructions on how to use the service both at the church site and as handouts at the library. It was also useful to have the one-on-one online tutoring service available if we had an overflow of students coming in. Since our library had donated extra computers to the church just a few months earlier, it gave us additional workstations for the students who didn’t have the equipment or were waiting for their laptops to get fixed so that no one fell behind. It was great to see the donated computers in action.

Broadway Christian Parish ended up being the perfect space, not only due to having socially distanced workstations, but because of their full working kitchen and cafeteria in the basement that they used to serve community members in need with their free breakfast program. Aja was able to use her connections in the community to get local restaurant owners to donate time and materials to prepare evening meals for students, which was a big draw to bring in the demographic we were hoping to serve since they were able to enjoy a free dinner after we worked on their assignments for the day. This meant more parents were willing to drop off their kids to the church as they got home from work, and we saw a much higher rate of attendance than what we would have anticipated just having it at the library alone. It was really the best way to have bad luck.

The weekly program series also gave the kids who were isolated during e-learning a chance to reconnect with old friends and make new ones. I hadn’t really considered how important that social element was to learning before seeing it in action. As the program series ended, we were able to have an outdoor neighborhood gaming event at the church for students to enjoy playing Nerf games with our library programming equipment. When COVID began, it was hard not to feel isolated from the people we were trying to help. The program helped us reconnect with our neighborhood youth who needed us now more than ever. The most important lesson I learned was that libraries are a part of a larger community, and that there’s no shame in asking for help. In fact, when we work together with community partners we are able to create things even bigger and better than we had initially planned.

This blog post was submitted by Kara Cleveland, Professional Development Office supervisor at the Indiana State Library, on behalf of Sadie Borkowski, branch manager at the Tutt Branch of the St. Joseph County Public Library. 

Save the date – 2022 online learning, conferences and webinar opportunities

The Professional Development Office at the Indiana State Library is in the process of developing our 2022 webinar offerings. The What’s Up Wednesday webinar training series will continue to be held on the last Wednesday of each month. Additionally, the What’s Up Wednesday – Get INSPIRED webinar series will be held on the second Wednesday of each month.

Many of our webinar topics are still in the process of being scheduled and will be noted with TBD. Some of the topics that are in development include – onboarding and offboarding staff, going through a disaster at your library, website accessibility and cybersecurity at the library. Be sure to check back on the Indiana State Library calendar for updates and registration links.

Additional training can be found on the Indiana State Library’s website on these pages:
Monthly Upcoming Free Training list
Indiana State Library Continuing Education Toolkit
Evergreen Indiana Training calendar
Indiana State Library’s Online Training

Below, you will find dates for the Indiana State Library’s training and professional development events as well as notable national conferences.

January 2022

February2022

  • Feb. 3 – “In Conversation with the Little Free Library Organization”
  • Feb. 9 - ”What’s Up Wednesday – Get INSPIRED” with EBSCO trainer Lisa Jones
  • Feb. 23 - What’s Up Wednesday (TBD)
  • Feb. 25 – Big Talk from Small Libraries

March2022

  • March 9 - “What’s Up Wednesday – Get INSPIRED: Health and Medicine Databases”
  • March 16 Indiana 211 & Libraries
  • March 23-25 – Public Library Association Conference – Portland, Oregon
  • March 30 – What’s Up Wednesday (TBD)

April 2022

  • April 13 - “What’s Up Wednesday – Get INSPIRED” with EBSCO trainer Lisa Jones
  • April 27 - What’s Up Wednesday (TBD)

May 2022

  • May 11 - What’s Up Wednesday – Get INSPIRED
  • May 25 - “What’s Up Wednesday: Library Reads and Your Library”

June 2022

  • June 8 - “What’s Up Wednesday – Get INSPIRED: I See a Library! Making Libraries More Accessible to the Visually Impaired”
  • June 23-28 – American Library Association Annual Conference & Exhibition – Washington, DC
  • June 29 - “What’s Up Wednesday: NetGalley for Libraries: Live Demo and Overview”

July 2022

  • July 13 – What’s Up Wednesday – Get INSPIRED
  • July 27 - What’s Up Wednesday (TBD)

August 2022

September 2022

  • Sept. 14 - What’s Up Wednesday – Get INSPIRED
  • Sept. 14-17 – ARSL – Association for Rural & Small Libraries – Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • Sept. 23 - The DIY – Difference is You Conference
  • Sept. 28 - What’s Up Wednesday (TBD)

October 2022

  • Oct. 12 - What’s Up Wednesday – Get INSPIRED
  • Oct. 26 - What’s Up Wednesday (TBD)

November 2022

December 2022

Happy Holidays from the Professional Development Office!

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

‘Oceans of Possibilities’ – Summer reading 2022 news

As we head into the last few months of the year, it’s time to start planning for 2022 summer reading programs! The Collaborative Summer Library Program has chosen “Oceans of Possibilities” as its 2022 summer reading theme.

CSLP Membership
All Indiana public libraries are members of CSLP because the Indiana State Library pays the membership fee for the entire state using LSTA/IMLS funding. That means the slogan and artwork are available for libraries to use; however, individual libraries may decide whether they want to use the CSLP theme each year. The State Library also purchases access to the CSLP online catalog for all Indiana public libraries. The online catalog contains both the artwork for 2022 and program ideas that work with the “oceans” theme.

The online manual access code was sent to directors via email on Sept.15. If your director did not receive the code, please have them or their designee to contact me, Beth Yates, via email. View a tutorial here on how to access the manual. Currently available incentive items can be viewed in the online store.

The Theme
The oceanography theme creates, well, “Oceans of Possibilities” for programming. Here’s just a few general topics to get you started:

  • Ocean life – General ocean plants and animals, endangered animals, conservation.
  • History – Shipwrecks like the Titanic, explorers.
  • Geography – Maps, bodies of water.
  • Astronomy – Navigation/wayfinding, moon and tides.
  • Beaches – Summer fun, beach parties, sand and sandcastles, swimming and safety, the sun.
  • Geology/Paleontology – The fossil record shows Indiana was once underwater!
  • Weather – The water cycle connects us to oceans even in landlocked Indiana.
  • Jobs – Marine biologist, diving/SCUBA, ecologist, fishing, ship captain, lifeguard, geo scientist.

Don’t be afraid to include Indiana’s own lakes, rivers and parks. While they are certainly not oceans, the water cycle connects it all. And as always, it’s more important to offer programs your patrons will be interested in than it is to connect every program to the theme.

Indiana Training Opportunities
This year, I will be offering one webinar that contains news, updates and resources for the summer 2022 program. This webinar will be recorded and posted on the Indiana State Library’s Archived Training page within two weeks of the live session on Dec. 9, and it will be available there through the summer. Unlike in past years, this training will NOT include a roundtable discussion of program ideas. Roundtables will take place separately; all dates and times are listed below.

REGISTER:

National Training Opportunity
As the Collaborative Summer Library Program president-elect, membership committee chair and Indiana’s state representative, I am thrilled to announce that CSLP is offering our very first national, virtual summer reading conference!

The CSLP Summer Symposium will take place on Thursday, Dec. 2 from 11:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Eastern time. Session topics include program ideas, outreach ideas/community asset mapping and publicity ideas. You can attend any or all of the sessions FREE of charge using just one link, which you will be sent after you register. While “Oceans of Possibilities” will be a focus, all libraries are welcome, even if you don’t plan to use the 2022 CSLP theme. Sessions will be recorded and made available and will also be eligible for LEUs.

View the full session line up and descriptions on the CSLP Summer Symposium website. You can register from there, or via this link.

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

Indiana’s Carnegie libraries

“There is not such a cradle of democracy upon this earth as the free public library.” -Andrew Carnegie

One of my favorite parts of my job as a regional coordinator at the Indiana State Library is traveling around to the public libraries of Northwest Indiana. Though I value and appreciate each and every unique library, Carnegie libraries have always been my favorite. It is for this reason that I chose to research Carnegie libraries of Indiana as one of my projects for my library master’s program. I hope you’ll appreciate the interesting history which I discovered during my research.

The state of Indiana received the greatest number of Carnegie library grants of any state. Between the years of 1901 to 1918, Indiana received a total of 156 Carnegie library grants, which allowed for the creation of 165 library buildings. Indiana received a total of over $2.6 million from the Carnegie Corporation. These library buildings were constructed from 1901 to 1922. Goshen received the first grant in 1901, and Lowell received the final grant in 1918. Additionally, Indiana was provided two academic libraries funded by Carnegie, at DePauw and Earlham. Indiana also has their own “Carnegie Hall” located at Moores Hill College. The Carnegie grants received by Indiana ranged in size from $5,000 given to Monterey – a community of under 1,000 residents – to $100,000 given to Indianapolis to construct five library branches. The year that the most Indiana Carnegie grants were given was 1913, wherein 19 grants totaling $202,500 were awarded. One thing Indiana can be proud of is that none of the communities receiving a Carnegie grant defaulted on their pledge to provide for the library building once it was initially constructed.1

Goshen Carnegie Library sign. Courtesy of Groundspeak, Inc.

“A. Carnegie.” 19 October 1912. Bain News Service. Courtesy of Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Prior to receiving grants from Andrew Carnegie, the public-funded township and county libraries in Indiana were “limited in literary selection, poorly housed and often meagerly staffed.”1 However, libraries were in high demand by literate, reading Hoosiers. The only public book collections in the state before 1880 were William Maclure funded Mechanic and Workingmen’s Libraries, and most Indiana counties had one. William Maclure was the first library philanthropist in Indiana, providing for 146 libraries in 89 counties by the year 1855.1 However, it is believed that without Andrew Carnegie’s philanthropy, many of the smaller Indiana communities would have experienced long delays in establishing public libraries, or not even have had a public library at all. Andrew Carnegie was invited to many of the library building dedications in the state of Indiana, but he never attended any. Carnegie’s library grants ended the day that the United States entered World War I, on Nov. 7, 1917.1 The last Carnegie building to be completed in the state of Indiana was in 1922 at North Judson.1

While researching this topic, I came to wonder why the state of Indiana had so many Carnegie grants; more than any other state. Part of the reason is due to the variations in branch donations. Many communities, including Indianapolis, Gary, East Chicago and Evansville, received grants to divide up among multiple branches. Also, once Goshen received the first library grant – and the General Assembly passed the Mummert Library Law which permitted “local units of government to levy tax for the perpetuation and maintenance of all libraries built in Indiana by Mr. Carnegie”2 – other Indiana communities were able to secure Carnegie grants, while meeting Mr. Carnegie’s stipulations, with not as much tedious effort as Goshen. As more and more communities received Carnegie grants and constructed public library buildings, neighboring towns would take notice and then start the application process for their own Carnegie library grant. From the time period of 1900 to 1929, “a strong public library fervor rolled across Indiana.”1 At this time, Indiana became “culturally ready and geographically positioned for more libraries.”1 The Indiana Library Association began in 1891. Later, in 1899, a legislative act permitted towns to levy taxes for library purposes and also established the Public Library Commission.1 The Public Library Commission, in operation from 1899 to 1925, was paramount in assisting Indiana communities to apply for and secure library funding from Andrew Carnegie during what was known as the Carnegie Era. McPherson writes that “libraries were landmarks of public and private achievement and pride.” Hoosiers especially cherished libraries as “intellectual and democratic institutions that were ‘free to all.'” Women’s literary clubs also played an invaluable role in the amount of Carnegie libraries established in Indiana.1

Very few of the towns requesting grants from Andrew Carnegie were refused, as long as they agreed to his terms. However, there were still some Carnegie grant requests that were denied, and usually for administrative reasons. For example, Greenfield requested a Carnegie grant and received a response from James Bertam, Andrew Carnegie’s private secretary, stating that “A request for $30,000 to erect a library building for 5,000 people is so preposterous that Mr. Carnegie cannot give it any consideration.3

Most of the Carnegie funded libraries were designed to have a community meeting space on the main floor and the library’s book collection on the upper floor. In 1908, the Carnegie Corporation circulated a pamphlet called “Notes on the Erection of Library Buildings,” which standardized the design of Carnegie buildings “in order to prevent costly design errors.”1 Therefore, prior to 1908 when library boards had more leeway on building design and spending, “the more grandiose and elegant building were constructed.”1 Carnegie emphasized simplicity, functionality and practicality in order “to reduce wasteful spending of the earlier years” and in turn had the final sign-off on any architectural plans.1 An Indianapolis architect, Wilson B. Parker, designed over 20 of the Carnegie funded libraries in Indiana, more than any architect of Carnegie libraries in the state. The most widely used architectural styles of the Indiana Carnegie library buildings were the Neoclassic Greek and Roman style and the Craftsman-Prairie Tradition style. The buildings were normally constructed along or near the main street of town, where community members were likely to gather. Intentionally built with steps, Carnegie libraries encouraged “patrons to ‘step up’ intellectually when they walked up the main entryway, entering ‘higher ground’ through the temple like portal into the rooms of knowledge.”1 Once a Carnegie building was completed, the community would hold a dedication, especially around a holiday. Many of Indiana’s Carnegie library buildings have been added to The National Register of Historic Places, as well as the Indiana State Register of Historic Sites and Structures.

Corydon Carnegie Library, 2006. Courtesy of Indiana Landmarks. Accessed through Indiana Memory Database.

As a strong testament to the lasting legacy of Andrew Carnegie, 100 of the original 164 buildings are still in use as libraries today. Many have been renovated or have additions, but continue to serve the community out of at least some part of or all of the original Carnegie funded library building. The buildings not currently serving as libraries have a wide array of purposes, including two restaurants, six town or city halls, museums, three historical societies, four art galleries, condos, a police station, a fraternity headquarters, courthouse, a church, private residences and various commercial offices such as real estate, law and an architectural firm. Sadly, 18 of the original Carnegie library buildings in Indiana have been destroyed through the years; one by the tornado of 1948, three by fire and the rest demolished or razed. Click here to see a list of Indiana’s Carnegie libraries and their current status.

Coatesville Library Destruction from 1948 Tornado. Courtesy of Coatesville-Clay Township Public Library.

Woody’s Library Restaurant, present day. Courtesy of Woody’s Library Restaurant.

Sources
1. McPherson, Alan. “Temples of Knowledge: Andrew Carnegie’s Gift To Indiana.” Indiana: Hoosier’s Nest Press, 2003.

2.Goshen Public Library Beginnings,” retrieved form the Goshen Public Library website.

3. Bobinski, George S. “Carnegie Libraries: Their History and Impact on American Public Library Development”. ALA Bulletin, 62.11 (1968):1361-1367.

Carnegies 2009 Update.” Indiana State Library. 6 June 2012.

Indiana’s Carnegie Libraries website, created by Laura Jones.

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

‘The Biggest Little Library Conference’ is almost here! 

The 2021 Association for Rural and Small Libraries conference, themed “The Biggest Little Library Conference,” is almost here!

When:  Oct. 20-23, 2021
Where:  Nugget Resort in Reno/Sparks, Nevada

This year’s conference will be a combination of in-person and select virtual sessions.  The ARSL Conference Committee is in the process of building the schedule and selecting keynotes. Be sure to check the official 2021 ARSL Conference page for the most up-to-date conference information.

Early bird registration begins on Wednesday, July 7

Registration rates are very affordable. If you are not able to attend in person, the virtual price is a bargain. Check out the schedules and program descriptions below:

When I attended in 2018, there were so many presentations I wanted to see and, despite a few being repeated, I ran out of time to see them all. Looking at the preliminary schedule for 2021, there is something for everyone. You might have the same problem of not being able to attend every session you want to attend, because there are so many great ones. The pre-conference workshops look fantastic. They include planning library space; what will be different in a post pandemic library; and effective staff development on any budget. This year’s presentations look to be practical and reflect what libraries are doing and what obstacles they are facing. Topics include: telehealth visits in the library; mental health and libraries; tweens and STEAM; and re-thinking summer reading. There is also a leadership institute track during every session.

If you have a chance to attend in-person, it’s an awesome time to network with other librarians. There are libraries out there that only have one staff person, which is why this group is so important. It can be very lonely working by yourself, but having the support and guidance of this group is amazing. There are many informal times to gather including a welcome reception, dine-arounds and roundtables. When I went in 2018, the dine-arounds were a wonderful time to try out local restaurants along with fellow attendees. I met some very cool librarians from states all over the country, including Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, New York, North Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin. There was such an overwhelming feeling of camaraderie among attendees who shared successes, encouraged each other and learned new things from passionate professionals.

In 2020, the ARSL conference was entirely virtual. I was able to attend virtually last year and found the conference app, Whova, to be very nice. You could watch the sessions either on your computer through the Whova website or on your mobile device through the conference app. On this year’s schedule, there are a few sessions which are both virtual and in-person and some are virtual only. A new feature called Spark Talks is included this year. All of the topics look amazing and very relevant. Last year, attendees were able to view the sessions they missed. Hopefully, this will be an option as well for this year.

Whether you can attend virtually or in-person, this is one of the very best library conferences I have attended. I highly recommend attending this conference; you will not be sorry you went. Hope to “see” you there!

In case you want to start planning, the location for 2022 is to be decided, but 2023 will be in Wichita, Kansas.

The Association for Rural and Small Library organization is approved for LEU/TLEUs. Which means their conference is automatically approved for LEU/TLEU credit. If you need further information, please consult the state library’s Approved Training Provider page or contact certification program director at the Indiana State Library, Cheri Harris.

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