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.

Paws among the stacks

Libraries and animals have had a longstanding connection for centuries. According to Wikipedia:

“The relationship between cats and libraries is centuries old. Monastic records from the Middle Ages indicate cats were kept in medieval monasteries in order to control rats that might otherwise eat valuable manuscripts.”

While we generally don’t have rat control problems in modern day libraries, animals and libraries still have a symbiotic relationship. Dewey Readmore Books was the library cat at the Spencer Public Library in Iowa who had a book written about him titled “Dewey the Small Town Library Cat Who Touched the World.” Anyone who has attended a library conference has likely brought home a bag with the likeness of cats Baker and Taylor.

Dewey

Baker and Taylor

One modern adaptation for animals and libraries is “Read to the Dogs” programs. Animals are long regarded to be stress relievers, so it’s no surprise that many libraries have added therapy dog programs to their offerings. When kids sit down to read their favorite story to one of these gentle therapy dogs, they don’t realize that they are learning and improving their reading skills in the process. The dogs don’t care if they make a mistake and don’t correct you if you miss a word. Read to the Dogs programs are a fun and secretly-educational activity.

When I was head of the children’s department at the Crown Point Community Library, the Power Paws Read to the Dogs group would visit. It was heartening to see the excitement on the children’s faces when they saw their favorite canine in the library. Some would sit by their favorite dog and read stories, while others would go from dog to dog. There were even some children there who just wanted to pet the dogs. No matter what reason they were there, the animals didn’t care. The dogs were happy to get the attention. I watched the kids and the dogs for several years before getting my Yorkie, Gigi, trained and certified as a therapy dog. We achieved our Canine Good Citizen certification in 2013 and we became members of the Power Paws Read to the Dogs group. We have since relocated and are in the process of joining the Love on a Leash, Heartland Chapter therapy group. Gigi actually barks in excitement when she realizes that we are heading to our local libraries because she gets to hang out with the young patrons. She truly loves it!

Gigi earned her Canine Good Citizen certification

An informal survey conducted in 2018 confirmed that library workers love animals – 90 percent own at least one pet. Survey says that cats and dogs are the most popular but cats are a whisker more popular than dogs by 1 percentage point, doggone it! I am definitely a part of the library worker group that loves animals! Growing up on a farm in southern Indiana, I was surrounded by all kinds of animals: cows, pigs, sheep, goats, ponies, a mule, dogs, cats, chickens, geese, rabbits, noisy guinea fowls, fish, a chameleon, hamsters and a hermit crab. Very idyllic for an animal lover. In 2014, I became the Northeast regional coordinator for the Indiana State Library. Part of my job is to visit the 60 libraries in my region. I have been pleasantly surprised by how many libraries have animal programs. Even more amazing is the amount of libraries that have animals that live in them.

I surveyed a few of the libraries to see what part animals play in their library world.

Libraries with animal programs
Heather Siler from the Swayzee Public Library says that the local Love on a Leash group comes monthly during the school year. Children of all ages come to read to these trained and certified therapy dogs. She says, “Everyone’s mood is brightened by the dogs. Kids are lining up to read to them!” The only downside seems to be, “vacuuming the next day from all of the petting.” The library ends its summer reading program with a visit from Mark’s Ark. He brings in about eight different reptiles, insects, mammals and amphibians; talks to the kids about them; and allows the kids to touch them.

Mark’s Ark program at the Swayzee Public Library

Barbara Dixon, director of The Barton Rees Pogue Memorial Library, says that they’ve had many animal visitors over the years. “We don’t have any animals that live here, but have had many visitors over the years: dogs, cats and assorted other critters when we have had people bring them in for various programs. We had a library program with several animals from the Art in Motion pet store that went over very well. We also have a patron who had a very elderly dog that would stop in once in a while.” She notes a definite bonus is that “animals are great stress relievers.”

Animals that live in the library
Animals with either fur or fins have been living at the Marion Public Library since the 1980s. Mary Eckerle, director, said that the children’s librarian started the trend. “Kids love them. Adults seem to like them, also.” She’s found that there are a few downsides to having animals at the library. “Mess, allergies, dealing with deaths and explaining them. Possible biting incidents.” They also enjoy visits from the Love on a Leash Heartland Chapter group and Silly Safaris.

Love on a Leash group for Read to the Dogs program

Arlene the guinea pig

I was blown away when I first visited the Carnegie Public Library of Steuben County; not only by the beautiful building, but by all of the animals who visit and live there. It’s an animal lover’s paradise. Birds, frogs, a rabbit and a hedgehog, as well as staff members’ dogs, can be found in the library. Cats even stop by periodically from the local shelter. According to Director Sonja Dintaman, their menagerie “started with fish, then grew from there. Pets are stress relievers for everyone. The kids love them. There is some extra work for staff, but no complaints from patrons.” Just so you know how important animals are to their community, Dintaman related an unfortunate incident that occurred once. “A kid broke into the library and stole our hedgehog. It was front-page news locally and she was returned in a couple days. She sadly passed away later, but a patron donated another one.”

Shelter cat making itself at home

Pickles the hedgehog

Miss Bookster the rabbit

Karen and Rags are working hard today! Rags is our special worker in charge of security. Children love this gentle pup when they come in for story time.

I’ve found that, concerning animals, most librarians have huge hearts. Last year the staff at the Noble County Public Library rescued a kitten who was in crisis. Director Sandy Petrie recounts the story of Mr. Kitty. “We found him in a storm drain by our staff door when he was about 6 weeks old. He was in 3 inches of water and covered in fleas. The staff took him in, cared for him, fell in love and he is here to stay. We keep him in the staff area due to potential allergies of our patrons. He is a huge morale boost for staff. It is very hard to be upset with a cuddly kitty purring at your desk. And he has a huge personality.” According to Petrie, “some of the kids know he is here and come up to the staff door windows to try and play with him. He plays with them under the door frames.” The library recently adopted another kitten, named “CC,” short for carbon copy, since the little one looks exactly like Mr. Kitty.

Mr. Kitty

Carbon Copy

The Huntington City-Township Public Library has some not-so-cuddly animals, but loveable nonetheless. They have Russian and Greek Tortoises named Ace, Zed and Bob. According to director Rebecca Lemons, “Staff were asking for cats and birds and fish, but I wanted something that was easy to maintain and not too messy. I am not sure why they decided they wanted an animal, but we moved ahead with it. The patrons are absolutely in love with our tortoises. Of course, the kids love them, but we have so many adults who are invested as well. We have one gentleman who regularly checks on them and makes sure they are doing okay. It is a great learning opportunity for the kids to be able to see them as well. Our staff has really taken to them as well and several have taken on the added responsibility of keeping them fed and clean. I think that it gives them a little bit more ownership in what is happening in the library. It also makes a great start to the day when you can stop and say good morning to ‘the boys’ and see what they are up to. Food is a bit of a pain, as we have to buy and prep fresh vegetables for them every day. We have a system worked out to prep once a week and our Friends group pays for the food. Keeping their house clean is also a little bit of an added duty, but it isn’t too bad. I think the only drawback for patrons is that they want to play with them but they can’t due to the salmonella risk and the fact that tortoises get anxious with too much activity. We always say that we had no idea how much personality a tortoise could have but they really do. You can tell when they are grumpy or happy or sleepy and watching them eat is the most adorable thing ever. The best story I have is that when we first got Ace we would take him outside every other day or so to run around in the grass. He quickly figured out that I took the cover off of the tank when it was time to go outside. Before long he was climbing his decorative tree and trying to push the screen off the tank. Yes, a tortoise can climb a tree and yes, I have pictures of it.”

Tortoise in a library

While I was waiting to set up a virtual reality kit training at the Bristol Public Library – I hadn’t visited for a for a couple of years – I spied something unusual on the wing chair across from the circulation desk. It was a beautiful grey cat! I learned from the director, Carol Anderson, that the library adopted her from the local shelter. Anderson said that the cat, aptly named Page Turner, has been an absolute hit with the community. Community members go out of their way to stop by the library just to see how Page is doing. Page has also inspired young artists to draw her likeness and crown her queen of the library!

Page Turner

She has also made the newspapers, both local and national!

Along with Page, they have a bearded dragon named Shakesbeard who resides on a desk near the children’s area.

Shakesbeard, the bearded dragon

Last, but not least, is Arlo the Gecko, that lives in the Children and Youth Services Department at the service desk at the Carmel Clay Public Library. Director Bob Swaynay says, “Our library had other smaller animals before Arlo; hamsters and guinea pigs. We switched to a gecko because it has a longer lifespan. The kids love Arlo! He is a regular spotlight attraction. There is some extra maintenance of the animal’s health and environment and costs associated with staff time and materials, but it’s well worth it.”

Arlo

Animals are definitely a lot of work, with the continual feeding, cleaning and grooming. I think that the benefits far outweigh the extra work that comes with animal ownership. Animals are conducive to building relationships between staff and patrons of all ages. As I was taking a picture of Arlo the Gecko at the Carmel Clay Public Library, an older gentleman came up to me. He told me that he always stops by to check on Arlo and then proceeded to talk about wanting to help with the upcoming library book sale. Children have a natural affinity toward animals. According to Carol Anderson at the Bristol Public Library, she has seen kids coming to the library multiple times during the week to check on Page and Shakesbeard! I’m sure those kids have begged their parents to take them to the library to visit the animals. So, whether a library offers animal programs, or if animals have taken up residence in a library, the library will become a must visit destination in your community.

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

Resources
“Are Dogs the new library cat?”
Baker and Taylor cats
“Cat Named Page Turner now roams Bristol Public Library”
“Dogs and Pigs and Birds, Oh My!”
“Helping Hands (Uh, Paws)”
Love on a Leash
Power Paws Read to the Dogs
Mark’s Ark
Silly Safaris 
Wikipedia

 

Indiana Library Leadership Academy participants put skills to use

The 2018-19 Indiana Library Leadership Academy has wrapped up and class members are doing some pretty amazing things in libraries throughout Indiana.

Alisa Burch, Harrison County Public Library director, set up the library’s first ever pop-up library at the Friends of the Harrison County’s “Youth Chicken BBQ Fundraiser.” The pop-up library included a canopy, sign, tables, hot spot, laptop and card scanner so they could issue library cards and register children and adults for the 2019 Summer Reading Program. As teams played exhibition games and got their pictures taken, the library issued 15 new library cards and renewed five others. While registering children and adults for the upcoming summer reading program, they also gave away donated books and promoted programs and services with people of all ages.

Nathan Watson, director of operations at the Bedford Public Library, created Elevate, a program that teaches employability soft skills to all sophomores at Bedford North Lawrence High School in an effort to help fulfill part of the Graduation Pathways requirement. Elevate is a six-session program that uses project-based learning to define, explore and master soft skills through the art of interviewing applicants for a local job. The interviews happened during the sixth session and the Hoosier Hills Credit Union sent a representative who explained that the credit union wanted to hire a teller and that the class was going to “hire” that person.

Watson also partnered with the Jobs for America’s Graduates program. The JAG students were tasked with acting like real job applicants and exhibiting certain soft skills during the interview. The Elevate student had to submit who they hired, what soft skills were displayed and the importance of the skills.

Watson’s program will continue and become a part of a new class titled Preparation for College and Careers which will fulfill a graduation requirement under the new Indiana Department of Education Graduation Pathways.

The Indiana Library Leadership Academy teaches librarians the leadership skills they need to thrive and flourish in their library careers. Planning for the next Indiana Library Leadership Academy to be held in summer 2020 is now underway.

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

The Difference is You conference is back! Registration begins May 13th.

Support staff from all over the state of Indiana, it’s time to begin looking for the initials DIY; not “do it yourself,” but the Difference is You. This year’s theme is “We are Community!” The conference will be held on Friday, Sept. 13, 2019 at the historic Indiana State Library. Registration opens Monday, May 13, 2019 at 8 a.m. As you know, this is a full day of learning and networking specifically geared toward library support staff, but everyone is welcome.

This year comes with a bit of a twist: you can preregister for your sessions. There will also be an early-bird registration rate of $25 until Aug. 1, 2019. After that date, the rate increases by $5. Registration closes on Aug. 16, 2019. Please be on the lookout for information on the DIY website, Listservs and social media. We look forward to seeing returning participants as well as new attendees. Remember, the Difference is You!

This blog post was written by Kimberly Brown-Harden, northwest regional coordinator, Indiana State Library. For more information, email Kim.

On-demand webinar recordings available

Did you know the Indiana State Library has over 130 archived webinars that you can access at any time? Earn LEUs on your own time, in the comfort of your own library! Archived training videos cover a wide range of topics including: admin/management, collection management, director training, facilities/security, genealogy, intellectual freedom, leadership, marketing, populations, programming, reference/research, staff development, trends, youth services and TLEUs. There’s something for everyone!

How do you document your LEUs? Any time you watch an Indiana State Library archived webinar recording, or any online event produced by an organization on the list of pre-approved training providers, your library’s designee in an administrative or human resources roll can create and award LEU certificates in-house. Certificates generated in-house may be formatted any way you choose, as long as they contain the following elements:

  • Participant’s name
  • Event/workshop provider’s name
  • Event/workshop name, date and number of LEUs obtained
  • Proctor/supervisor’s written name, professional title and signature – in the case of a library director, the HR manager or the president of the board of trustees should sign the certificate

LEUs are awarded hour-for-hour for eligible sessions lasting longer than 30 minutes. LEUs round up to two after 90 minutes. LEUs round up to three after 2.5 hours and so forth.

If you have any questions about archived webinar recordings, contact your regional coordinator!

Resources
Archived webinars
Pre-approved training providers
Regional coordinator

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