An overview of the federal E-rate program

The federal E-rate program began over 20 years ago with a focus on providing low-income areas, schools, libraries and healthcare providers with telecommunications services, internet access and internal connections, including installation and maintenance at discounted rates. It is overseen by the Federal Communications Commission and administered by the Universal Service Administrative Company. Within USAC, there is a division specifically for E-rate in schools and libraries.

While the Telecommunications Act that established the E-rate program was passed in 1996, it really grew out of the Communications Act of 1934 that established the FCC and aimed to make telephone service universal, bringing it to rural communities across the nation. E-rate originally focused on both telephone and internet service, but in 2014 the E-rate modernization order was given in an attempt to close the Wi-Fi gap by providing only broadband funding. I guess they figured everyone had telephone service at this point, so yay for us!

The E-rate funding year runs from July 1 through June 30, but libraries actually start the process of applying for funds in the previous year. Right now, folks are starting to join the consortium or notifying vendors that they are seeking services for the funding year 2020, which won’t start until July 1, 2020. So, they’re always thinking at least six months ahead and usually an entire year.

This is the general timeline of the filing windows for the various forms, but the exact dates are announced through USAC’s website.

The State has our own State Technology Grant Fund that we use to help reimburse public libraries for a portion of their internet bills. This is allocated from the Build Indiana Fund and is a completely separate program from E-rate. We do, however, take into account the amount of money a library would be reimbursed by E-rate whether or not they actually file for it. So, if a library received a 90% discount from E-rate, we would only look at that 10% left when determining how much to reimburse the library from the State Technology Grant Fund.

Something that we aren’t involved with here at the State Library, but which may be useful to residents, would be the Lifeline program, which is also administered by USAC. The Lifeline program provides discounted phone and internet rates for those whose income is 135% or less than the federal poverty guidelines, as well as those who participate in federal assistance programs like SNAP, Medicaid, SSI, Federal Public Housing Assistance, Veterans Pension and Survivors Benefit and certain Tribal programs. They may also qualify if their child or dependent participates in any of these programs.

This post was written by Hayley Trefun, public library consultant, Library Development Office, Indiana State Library.

Library service to immigrant communities: Then and now

According to the Pew Research Center, there were more than 40 million foreign-born people living in the United States in 2017, comprising approximately 13.6% of the overall population[1]. However, over a hundred years ago that number was even higher. The United States saw the largest waves of immigration occur during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, with the peak occurring around 1890 when 14.8% of people were foreign-born.

Then as now, libraries in the United States strove to provide effective library service to immigrant communities. Numerous publications were created to help librarians with this and the Indiana State Library still retains several of these in our collection. According to one 1919 booklet titled “Making Americans: How the Library Helps” (ISLM 21.28 G722m), libraries were well situated to assist recently-arrived immigrants because “The Library… is unbiased and unprejudiced. It seeks to represent all types of thought, culture, or religion, and is unexploited by any one agency. It is one American institution which can preserve the native heritage of all peoples and exclude the literature of none. For this reason, it has an initial point of contact that no other one agency can have.”

A class of Italians at the Fairmount Branch of the St. Louis Public Library in 1919

Of primary concern to libraries was providing reading materials to immigrant communities in their respective native languages. To this end, the American Library Association compiled a series of booklets with foreign language bibliographies.

An excerpt from “The German Immigrant and His Reading” (1929) (ISLM Z711.8 .P47)

Other books in this series included bibliographies for Italian (ISLM 21.28 S974i), Polish (ISLM 21.28 L472p) and Greek (ISLM 21.28 A372g) immigrant groups.

While stressing the importance of curating foreign-language collections, the authors of these booklets acknowledged the concern that such practices would inherently hamper immigrants from acquiring English language skills. In the booklet “Bridging the Gulf: Work with the Russian Jews and Other Newcomers,” (ISLM 21.28 R795b) the author states that “Definitely and emphatically it is our experience that increases in the circulation of foreign books are always accompanied by increases in English book circulation, particularly in books on learning English, on citizenship and American history and biography.”

Almost a hundred years have passed since these booklets were published and librarians continue to produce guides on providing excellent library service to immigrant groups. In addition to the publications created in response to the large wave of immigrants arriving in the United States at the turn of the 19th century, the State Library has plenty of newer titles concerning outreach to more recent immigrant groups.

Some recent titles from the ISL collection:

Additionally, ALA maintains an extensive list of resources for modern librarians which can be accessed here.

This blog post was written by Jocelyn Lewis, Catalog Division supervisor, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana State Library at 317-232-3678 or “Ask-A-Librarian.”

[1] Data from: https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/06/17/key-findings-about-u-s-immigrants/

 

Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch to chair Indiana 2020 Census Complete Count Committee

Here at the Indiana State Library, our Indiana State Data Center Program has had an official partnership with the U.S. Census Bureau since 1978. We share statistical information and talk about the importance of access to good public data on a daily basis. Each decade, however, our efforts with the Census Bureau ramp up and we help “count everyone once, only once, in the right place” as of Census Day, April 1. The State of Indiana includes multiple stakeholders who take part in this effort.

On Monday, Aug. 5, 2019, Gov. Eric J. Holcomb announced that Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch will lead Indiana’s statewide Complete Count Committee for the 2020 Census. The goal of the committee is to encourage all Hoosiers to answer the census. Indiana’s CCC kick-off meeting will be Monday, Aug. 19, 2019, at 1 p.m. Eastern in the Indiana Government Center South Auditorium. You are invited. Register for the meeting here

The 2020 Census will be the very first census that provides online response. People can answer via their smartphones, use their home computers and laptops or go to their local library and use a public computer terminal. Because of this, libraries will see increased traffic next year during March and April. Indiana librarians will receive questions about what the census does and why the Census Bureau counts people. We will need to provide help with how it’s done.

This May, the American Library Association released its Libraries’ Guide to the 2020 Census. It explains the importance of the 2020 Census and also addresses the risks that we face if groups of people are undercounted in 2020. This is the reason that CCCs and promotional campaigns carry weight. Our efforts will impact the accuracy and completeness of next year’s count. Libraries are trusted voices, and librarians can make efforts to prepare ourselves to inform our communities.

Start learning about the census with Census Bureau’s Shape Your Future. Start Here website. Get details about promoting the census locally on the 2020 Census in Indiana website. Register and attend the CCC kick-off on Monday, Aug. 19 to learn more!

This blog post by Katie Springer, reference librarian. For more information, contact the Reference and Government Services Division at 317-232-3678 or submit an Ask-A-Librarian request.

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.

Whistleblowing in Indiana

The following blog article is general information and should not be construed as legal advice. The article reflects Indiana law at the time the article was written, but may not include every detail or nuance and may not reflect the law in other jurisdictions. Additionally, laws frequently change. The reader should not act on the information contained above but rather should act on the advice of his/her own legal counsel or other appropriate professional.

Reports to State Board of Accounts
This past legislative session, the Indiana General Assembly made a lot of little changes to Indiana laws that largely went unnoticed. One of the changes was related to reporting misfeasance, malfeasance or nonfeasance on the part of a public officer to the Indiana State Board of Accounts. SBOA is the state agency responsible for monitoring the financial integrity of Indiana’s state and local government entities. As of July 1, 2019, statute IC 5-11-1-9.5 language broadens to allow reporting to SBOA wrongdoing committed by not just public officials but also by any individual who has responsibility for administering public funds on behalf of an entity. The law provides some job protection, at least in theory, when the report is made by a state or local government employee. However, a report could be made by anyone. The law states that the public office, officer or institution may not retaliate against an employee of the state or local government entity for making such a report to SBOA alleging wrongdoing. The law also provides that an individual who has been terminated, demoted, suspended, threatened, harassed or otherwise discriminated against by the individual’s employer as a result of the individual’s good faith report is entitled to all relief necessary to make them whole again. “Relief” may include reinstatement to their job, two times the amount of back pay owed to the individual, interest on the back pay owed to the individual, compensation for any special damages suffered by the individual including litigation expenses or reasonable attorney’s fees.

Reports made by state employees
Indiana law includes several other whistle blowing statutes. In addition to the above law, there is a whistleblower law that specifically applies to employees of Indiana state agencies. IC 4-15-10-4 provides that a state agency employee may report in writing to a supervisor or the Inspector General a violation of a federal law or regulation, a state law or rule, an ordinance of a political subdivision or the misuse of public resources. This law, like the one previously discussed, also includes some protection for the employee making the report. As long as the employee made a reasonable attempt to determine the information reported is correct, the employee may not be terminated, demoted, transferred or reassigned, have salary increases or employment related benefits withheld or be denied a promotion the employee would have otherwise received just for having made the report. However, the employee can be subject to disciplinary action, including termination, in the event the employee knowingly provided false information. Additionally, employers who violate this law are subject to possible criminal prosecution.

Reports made by local government employees
There is a corresponding whistleblower law, IC 36-1-8-8, that specifically applies to employees of political subdivisions. Political subdivisions are local government entities such as public libraries, schools, cities, towns, townships, counties and more. Just like state employees, local government employees may report in writing a violation of a federal law or regulation, a state law or rule, an ordinance of a political subdivision or the misuse of public resources. However, the report must first be made to the employee’s supervisor or appointing authority unless the supervisor or appointing authority is the person about whom the report is being made. If the report is about the employee’s supervisor or appointing authority, then the statute points to the State Ethics Commission laws to determine to whom the report should be made. It appears a report could be made to the prosecuting attorney of each county in which the violation occurred, SBOA, the attorney general, a state officer or the governor, among others. If a good faith effort is not made to resolve the problem, then the employee may make a report to any person, agency or organization. IC 36-1-8-8 contains similar job protections as its state employee counterpart for good faith reports made by local employees. The state and local laws are also similar in that disciplinary action can be taken against the employee for making a false report. Local government employers who violate this law and who take adverse employment action against an employee who made a good faith report of wrongdoing commit a Class A infraction.

Reports made by private sector employees
There is also a whistleblower law that covers private sector employees whose companies are doing work pursuant to a contract with a public agency. IC 22-5-3-3 is very similar to the whistleblower laws that cover state and local government employees.

This blog post was written by Sylvia Watson, library law consultant and legal counsel, Indiana State Library. For more information, email Sylvia.

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.

Dr. E. J. Josey: A library leader

Dr. E.J. Josey was a librarian, activist, professor and the founder of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association.

Born in 1924, Josey grew up in Portsmouth, Virginia. He received his undergraduate education at Howard University in Washington, D.C. He then went on to earn a master’s degree in history from Columbia University. Josey later earned his master’s in library science at the State University of New York in Albany, New York.

Josey held several librarian positions in New York, Delaware, and Georgia. He was very active in the civil rights movement and was a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He authored a resolution during the 1964 American Library Association Conference forbidding the organization’s staff and officials from participating in state library associations that discriminated against African-American librarians. This action led to the desegregation of library associations across the Southern United States. In addition, Josey became the Georgia Library Association’s first African-American member.

In 1970, Josey founded the Black Caucus of the American Librarian Association during the ALA Midwinter Conference. He was the association’s first president, serving from 1970 to 1971. He also served as president of the ALA from 1984-85. In addition, Josey was a library science professor at the University of Pittsburgh from 1986 to 1995.

Josey authored numerous articles and books during his lifetime. The Indiana State Library has several of his books in its collection:

 

In April of 1998, Josey delivered an address at the National Sankofa Council on Educating Black Children Conference in Merrillville, Indiana. You can read the text of his speech here.

On July 3, 2009, Josey passed away at the age of 85. ALA issued a statement mourning his loss.

In 2012, in honor of Josey and his work, a collection of essays, “The 21st Century Black Librarian in America: Issues and Challenges,” written by and about African-American librarians and the services they provide to the African-American community was published.

This book is also in the Indiana State Library’s collection. Members of BCALA served as editors and contributors; two of the book’s essays were authored by three Indiana librarians.

As an additional honor to Josey, BCALA offers the E.J. Josey Scholarship Award for African-American library science students. The scholarship is offered each year.

In 2020, BCALA will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its founding by Josey. It will also mark the commencement of its 11th National Conference of African-American Librarians in Tulsa, Oklahoma. To learn more about BCALA, you can visit its website.

BCALA also has affiliate chapters across the country. In Indiana, the BCALA affiliate is the Indiana Black Librarians Network. Founded in 2001, IBLN is an organization for African-American librarians and support staff to network, share ideas, work together on projects and to invest in professional development, research and scholarship to better serve the communities and organizations in which they work.

To learn more about Josey and his work, there is a video from YouTube.

This blog post was written by Michele Fenton, monographs and federal documents catalog librarian.

Fun and games or secret career-building tool?

When an employee starts a new job, the amount of information that they must digest, learn and assimilate into their professional practices can be overwhelming. Learning all of the new employer’s policies and procedures, the flow of the new job, all of your co-workers’ names and a myriad of other details can seem overwhelming. Dealing with this information overload takes skills that are often times called soft skills; for example, communications, critical thinking, leadership, problem solving and teamwork to name just a few. The Society for Human Resource Management, and human resource managers themselves, often rank a lack of these soft skills as a deficiency in their new hires.1

It should therefore come as little surprise that academia has been struggling for the last few years to find ways to teach these soft skills.

Board games can be a great sneaky way to help with fostering these skills. In many modern games, especially Euro-games, the players must take in information, process it and make decisions based on the rules of the game and the information about the game at that moment. Players also must talk to each other, sometimes even working together to beat the game as a team, and often solve problems that the game presents to them. Whether players know each other or are strangers, the social interactions that are created can help those players improve their social skills. In some parts of the world they are even being used to help with loneliness and mental health problems.2 Games are now even being used as a replacement for golf in corporate America.3

Whether it’s students in a class picking up on the concepts of conflict management while playing a collective game like Pandemic or children practicing scope and sequence by playing a game like Leo Goes to the Barber, board games can help all of our patrons with the skills that many employers are desperately seeking, thus preparing them for the future. If you are an academic librarian who would like to learn more about how to implement these ideas in an instructional session or an outreach event; a public librarian who has already been using games and would like additional advice or one who is unsure of where to start; or a school librarian looking for ideas for an after school program I am here to assist you! Please feel free to send me you thoughts, ideas or questions.

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

From the desk of the children’s consultant

If you stopped by my cubicle in the Professional Development Office of the Indiana State Library, you might notice a number of items on my desk related to upcoming trainings and projects relevant to youth services. You’d see:

  • Materials for my Collaborative Summer Library Program trainings and roundtables, which began on Dec. 3, 2018 and will continue through Feb. 1, 2019. By the way, for those of you who cannot attend an in-person workshop, don’t forget the webinar on Jan. 9, 2019. See the full list of dates and locations, along with the description, on ISL’s calendar of events

 
  • The outline for two-day long YALSA “Teen Services with Impact” training sessions for teen librarians. These sessions are slated to take place on March 26, 2019 at the Brown County Public Library and March 27, 2019 at Kokomo Public Library.  While the locations may require travel time for many librarians, these otherwise free workshops will be an amazing opportunity for teen librarians in Indiana to gather and discuss the future of teen services while gaining valuable training from an instructor who works for the Young Adult Library Services Association. These trainings are still in the process of being finalized; more details should be announced in early 2019. Until then, be sure to mark your calendars.

  • A press release announcing the Indiana State Library’s acceptance into the NASA @ My Library program’s Cohort 2. Along with 13 other state library agencies, ISL will receive resources, training and support, which we will use to assist public libraries in increasing and enhancing their STEM learning opportunities. We will also be given kits for circulation among public libraries; details on these kits and how to borrow them will be forthcoming. Read more about the NASA @ My Library program here.
  • A travel request to attend the National Learning Institute in Philadelphia in February. The Indiana State Library, along with the Indiana State Museum, Terre Haute Children’s Museum and Early Learning Indiana, was accepted to be a State Leader for the Franklin Institute’s Leap into Science program Cohort 2. Together, representatives from those four organizations, with me representing ISL, will be trained at the institute to offer train-the-trainer sessions to Indiana librarians, museum workers, early childhood programmers and other out-of-school time educators periodically over the next three years. These sessions will discuss how to integrate open-ended science activities with children’s books during programs designed for children ages three to 10 and their families. More details on how this will roll out in Indiana will be announced in spring or summer 2019. Read more about Leap into Science here.  
  • A map of the seven 2019 Every Child Ready to Read training locations – these locations were announced last month. The trainings will take place in March, April, May, August and October and are great for those new to doing story time, and for those looking for a refresher. You can register for them via ISL’s calendar of events.   

There is definitely a lot going on, and I look forward to sharing these trainings and projects with you in 2019!

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

 

Reading is healthy: Introducing the National Network of Libraries of Medicine Reading Club

Book clubs and reading groups are staples of library outreach and literacy efforts. In these groups, people gather to discuss Oprah’s picks or the New York Times’ best-sellers in an effort to socially engage with literature and current events.

To help grow health-related literacy, the National Network of Libraries of Medicine’s NNLM All of Us Community Engagement Network has announced the launch of the NNLM Reading Club. The goal is to support libraries’ health literacy efforts and address local communities’ health information needs by celebrating important National Health Observances through the fun and intimacy of a book club.

Screen cap from https://nnlm.gov/all-of-us

Screen cap from https://nnlm.gov/all-of-us

The NNLM Reading Club offers a selection of three different book titles along with corresponding free, ready-to-use materials designed to help promote and facilitate a book club discussion on a health issue or topic. It’s easy to download the discussion materials and direct patrons to the library’s book holdings. However, the NNLM is offering an added benefit.

Beginning Nov. 1, 2018, participating NNLM libraries are making the quarterly reading club picks available in a free, handy and portable book club kit. This program-in-a-box format includes eight copies of each of the following items: the selected book, discussion guide, MedlinePlus.gov flier, NIH MedlinePlus Magazine, NIH All of Us Research Program brochure and additional materials in support of the selected health topic. All of these materials are tucked inside a handy library book bag and shipped to the requesting library.

Any U.S. library that is an organizational member of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine is eligible to apply and to receive one NNLM Reading Club book kit from Nov. 1, 2018 through April 30, 2019. The good news is membership to the NNLM is free.  Due to the limited supply of federally-sponsored NNLM Reading Club book kits, libraries that support outreach to vulnerable populations receive priority status.

Click here to browse the November selections and download the ready-to-use materials or to order an NNLM Book Club kit from a participating region.

This post was submitted by Professional Development Office Supervisor Kara Cleveland.