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.

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.

INLLA participant Erin Cataldi strives to improve teen engagement

Every two years, the Indiana State Library hosts the Indiana Library Leadership Academy program for up-and-coming librarians in the field. Librarians across the state, and from a variety of library backgrounds, apply to attend INLLA. Each librarian is chosen based on the responses and project proposals submitted with their application. The participants selected, along with their coaches, spend four days learning about the qualities of leadership and, specifically, how those leadership qualities translate to the library profession. During the most recent INLLA, facilitator and author Cathy Hakala-Ausperk, of Libraries Thrive Consulting, contributed her expertise by sharing aspects of her library experience and talking about what it takes to be a leader.

Beginning with the four-day retreat, INLLA is a two-year commitment culminating in the completion of the projects that the participants designed to improve, enhance or strengthen some aspect of their library or community.

Pictured are Erin Cataldi, Stacey Kern and Raenell Smith at the Kwame Alexander author event held at Clark Pleasant Middle School.

INLLA participant Erin Cataldi, teen and adult reference librarian at the Clark Pleasant branch of the Johnson County Public Library, wanted to increase teen engagement in her library. She realized that reaching teenagers in a mostly residential community can be hard and that there aren’t a lot of spaces for them to congregate and hang out. She wanted to improve the teen “space” in the library to become more inviting and to be used by its intended audience – teens.

One of Erin’s innovative programs: a Harry Potter escape room at Clark Pleasant branch.

Erin wanted to begin this process by offering more innovative programming to get the teens used to coming in to the library. She also wanted to revamp the teen space to make it more appealing to teens. Her approach was to work with local businesses and organizations to offer ongoing passive programs at all times in the teen space. She also decided that working more closely with the local schools to promote the library would be a good way to let teens know that the library is a safe place to meet up, hang out, study and create.

Currently, Erin doesn’t have control over the teen space due to the size of the existing building, but a recent announcement conveyed that by 2020 the library should be breaking ground to build a bigger branch. The proposed plan includes a generous teen area for materials and activities. So, the future is bright!

Erin Cataldi and Annie Sullivan at the Whiteland Community High School author event.

By volunteering to help out at school events, such as an author visit by Annie Sullivan, Erin continued to solidify her already established relationships with the local middle and high schools, which gives the students a closer connection to the library.

Monthly makerspace at Clark Pleasant Middle School.

Additionally, Erin operates a monthly makerspace at Clark Pleasant Middle School and regularly drops off program brochures, library card applications and posters to the schools around the county. She is also launching a teen advisory board this month in order to gather input into programming ideas for teens. She also attended a young adult round table to talk about best practices for teen programming and to get ideas to supplement what she is doing at their branch.

Erin is an example of a library leader who is having an impact on her library and on her community. This process began with INLLA and the project that she created to increase teen engagement in her area. With the idea of increasing teen engagement, Erin has developed a closer relationship with the schools by volunteering at their events and making more school visits. Teens at the Clark Pleasant Branch of the Johnson County Public Library are lucky to have Erin on their side and I can’t wait to see what she does next!

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

The InLLA Leadership Toolkit

When you go to build something or make repairs, you grab a toolkit, right? Toolkits have the basic tools you need to accomplish your goal: Repairing or building things! When you need resources about management, leadership or both, where do you look? Library? Work? Friends? Now you can go into your Leadership Toolkit! This toolkit gives you the tools to help you become the best leader you can be.

The toolkit is the culmination of a project from the Indiana Library Leadership Academy (INLLA).

The Toolkit is free and contains resources such as books, articles and videos about leadership and how to improve or supplement current leadership skills. Have other ideas and resources that should go into the toolkit? Contact us and let us know. We can all lead from where we are; position or title is not a requirement for the toolkit. We look forward to see the growth of leaders in the Indiana library community! It’s time to build.

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