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Mission Recognition Program
Today, January 22, 2007, we conducted our first recognitions. We surprised two of the three by walking into their classrooms much the way the Prize Patrol with Publisher’s Clearing House does. The third recipient, a second grade home schooled young man, was brought into our youth library where a crowd of friends, family, and library employees greeted him with applause and cheers of congratulations. Parents of each of the recipients attended the surprise award ceremonies and each proved to be so much more successful than we had ever hoped for.
Victor Pacini, a youth motivational speaker and performer from Chicago, has been conducting all school assemblies, presenting the program as our spokesperson. He also made our first presentations today. Mr. Pacini has worked with us on many projects from adult programming performance to summer reading performances for the kids to staff development performances for library staff. I am sure he would agree that Mission: Recognition is the most rewarding efforts he has participated in with us.
Please feel free to contact me should you need something more. Our website will soon include new photos of today’s events and you may view our website at www.haynerlibrary.org
“Bow wow Pow wow”: A Therapy Dog Story Hour Program
This program has accomplished many important objectives. Children read to non-judgmental animals – they don’t have to be nervous about stuttering or not know a word, reading becomes fun and reading skills improve dramatically. Children also learn that it is great fun to come to the library. One child wanted to postpone a trip to Disney World because he would have missed a Bow-wow session! The kids learn how to interact with these wonderful animals – they learn that the respect and love they show the dogs is returned ten-fold. We have observed several children who were initially afraid of dogs become avid animal lovers. It is also a great time for parents and grandparents too observe their children and encourage reading. The adults have as much fun as the kids and we encourage cameras for some adorable pictures. We have had up to 15 dogs in the library at one time - all sizes, shapes and breeds. They all must have passed their therapy dog certification trials and they are all insured. Handlers accompany each dog. The number of children attending increased as the program developed and we have, at times, had between 25-30 children at a session. Multiple children may be reading or playing with one dog at the same time and this teaches them to share and cooperate with others.
A favorite anecdote involves one little boy who attended. He was very shy and kept back from the group. He had been burned in a fire and had significant scaring on his face which made him very self conscious. Gradually we found him a corner with a big friendly Great Dane and he started to read. As the session wore on, he moved on to other dogs to share his book. By the end of the hour he was in the middle of the melee have a great time. When he left, with a huge smile on his face, he gave the library staff member a hug and promised to return! This has been an incredibly fun and rewarding project for all involved- the kids, parents, handlers and staff! We also are immensely grateful to the handlers who generously volunteer their time this month and have been instrumental in making this program a success.
Coffee and Chick Lit
How effective is the program?
How it can be translated into pilots at other libraries?
Family Literacy is a Community Concern
We began small, with just a story time presented by a professional storyteller. Soon we came up with the idea of involving our Children’s Literature class, since the students in there are mostly intending to be teachers or child-care professionals. This program is now incorporated into the Children’s Literature syllabus, with the students planning for and presenting a different program in conjunction with our storytelling. We have expanded to holding a program in the spring as well as in the fall when Family Reading Night occurs.
Our commitment to family literacy has continued to grow. Each of our programs now includes a professional storyteller or performer as well as the presentation by the Children’s Literature class. We purchase books from Scholastic in big batches and include a book giveaway as well as cookies and milk after the program. This semester we brought in a man who makes balloon animals – he was the most popular act of all!
Last spring we ran simultaneous programs for parents and children, in adjacent rooms where they could see one another. The trainer for the local office of the Children’s Home and Aid Society of Illinois did a program for the parents on how to foster literacy and pre-literacy skills for young children, and the Children’s Literature students conducted activities with the children that illustrated the principles taught in the parent program.
We advertise the program with (free) press releases in the local papers and with (very inexpensive) fliers and posters on our campus and in local daycares. We have developed a devoted following, and now we get calls every spring and fall asking when our program is to be held.
One semester we targeted especially the Adult Basic Education department students at our campus, and the response was excellent. Parents love the entertainment as well as the educational nature of the programs. I have had comments on the value to young minds of narrative over mere demonstration or entertainment such as magic shows, etc. The programs are, of course, free to all.
Although it is not ordinarily part of the mission of a community college library to put on children's programs, we feel that fostering the literacy skills of our current and future students is very much within our mission. We benefit from the involvement of a very concerned group of teachers and students in the Children's Literature program and the good will created in the community is priceless. And, we love it. To hear the children say "Mommy, I got a BOOK!" makes it well worth all the hard work.
Hosting an Author Fair
This is something that is much easier to do than it sounds. You do not need a large meeting room to do this; we have authors seated at tables throughout our library, with balloons tied to their chairs so they are easy to spot from a distance. This also puts them right in the middle of the traffic flow of the library, which increases the number of people that stop at their table. This is also a cooperative effort with two other libraries, Plainfield Public Library and New Lenox Public Library. This increases the number of staff we have to help prepare for the event, and the number of staff we have on hand the day of the event.
We contact most of our authors through e-mail, and tell them they can share the information about the Author Fair with other authors. Word spreads quickly, especially once authors start posting it on mailing lists. We have found that the combination of word of mouth and the power of the Internet get the word out quickly and effectively.
Just make sure to set yourself a timeline to contact the authors, finalize your author list, and publicize the event to the public. Pick a good time (we always do ours on a Saturday in the fall), treat your authors well (make sure you have plenty of refreshments for them), and have plenty of staff on hand to answer questions from both authors and patrons.
Internet Express Station
Implementation at Other Libraries: All you need is a cheap, simple PC and printer (or use your networked printer). You can buy a stand (ours is stand-up only) or just install it at a table or desk. We take their first name down on a daily statistics sheet and give them a placard to post while they are checking their email. The staff sets a timer and when it goes off, they inform the user. Usage is limited to 20 minutes once a day.
Migrating Website to a Content Management System
With our new website, we wanted to be able to take advantage of features that would make the site useful to our community – RSS feeds for users to subscribe to that list the new books recently cataloged, blogs for our library gaming groups, and forums for virtual book clubs. We did not want to code this all by hand. We needed a Content Management System (CMS) that did the hard work for us and allowed us to focus on producing and managing the content.
What CMS to choose? We could have chosen to hire a consultant to make a recommendation– but they really would not have known “us” or our “community”. Being a librarian – it was time to do some research. To investigate CMSs on your own, look at listservs such as PUBLIB and WEB4LIB and their archives. Also use sources such as cmsmatrix.org to compare offerings.
If you choose a commercial package, get references not only from the sales rep, but also from listservs to see how functional and friendly the package really is. If choosing an Open Source Software package, ensure that it is well established and has an active development and patch process. Also be sure to investigate support such as the activity on their forums and on their listservs.
Following our research, we choose Drupal (www.drupal.org) as our CMS. We developed an internal committee of a representative from each department to migrate the relevant information from the old site to the new. It took just two months to go from installing the software to launching the new website. Now we have a site that is current, uses new technologies and is easy to maintain
Display Organization Project
How it works:
In addition to the displays created by staff, community groups and residents are invited to use the display cases to showcase their collections.
Effectiveness of the program:
Translating this service to other libraries:
In saying that, the Adult Services staff at the Bloomingdale Public Library is lucky to have a wide array of display props and fabric available. For libraries with a smaller budget, the use of book stands and the ability to make large colorful signs and banners is key to making a display pop. If the budget allows, libraries should also invest a small amount of money in fabric or felt to make the displays colorful. Do not forget to tap into staff and community members as they can bring in their own collections to spruce up the library.
The Itasca Community Library offers travel information from all 50 states and 75 countries to its patrons. This information includes official travel guides, maps and brochures and is contained in heavy-duty hanging pouches. These pouches have a view window and a grommet enabling the packets to be secure. Patrons can check out the packets to do research for their trip or they can take the packet with them on their trip for easy reference. Patrons are encouraged to bring back brochures from their trips for consideration for future travel packs.
The best thing about the travel packets is that they can be checked out so the patron will have the information with them on their trip. Patrons can consult the official travel guide and find out where to stay, where to eat, where to shop and what not to miss. They can pull out the official visitor’s map from the state or country they are in and plan the best route to take. Many travel packs have information sheets that include history, geography, population, location, climate, and interesting facts about the area.
The way in which the travel packets are put together is, each spring letters are sent out to official tourism offices and organizations from all over the world. The addresses can be found at the Tourism Offices Worldwide Directory website located at http://www.towd.com/. Multiple copies are requested of any information the tourism offices can provide. As the information arrives to the library it is immediately put into the appropriate packet so that the packets are always up-to-date and current.
An added plus to putting these packets together is the fact that the library receives many extra copies of travel brochures and a table is set up in the main section of library to hold these extra copies that are offered to the patrons for free. The travel packet program has been a big success at the Itasca Community Library. Both travelers and students use the packets for travel, browsing and research.
I Am an American Diversity Program
Realizing the need for dialogue among people from different cultures and backgrounds, and the importance of understanding cultures and beliefs that are different from our own, LTLS adopted several methods to build community bridges. One of the ways for reaching out and for laying the foundations for dialogue is accomplished through the I Am An American Program. The idea is simple, affordable and is an effective way to reach out and bring communities together.
The "I Am An American" program is a two-hour session that features immigrants who came to the United States and made this country their home. Immigrants from different countries are asked to participate in a panel discussion. Panelists tell their stories of making the decision to immigrate to the United States and share details of their journey. They speak of the challenges of being an immigrant and how libraries can help. This model is perfect for bridging the gaps and laying a foundation of understanding based on shared values. The stories are always heart warming and fascinating. It is a great way to discover the richness of our communities.
Using READ Posters
Last fall, we invited the three mayors and our state and national representatives to attend a program and speak about freedom.
We took their photos and made READ posters using the ALA CD.
Each of our elected officials received their framed READ poster, delivered personally by board members, providing an additional opportunity to interact with the official. Their offices and lobbies now have very visual, personal reminders of how important libraries are and our board has made the personal connection they sought.
Displayed throughout our library are framed posters of Burr Ridge Mayor Gary Grasso, Darien Mayor Kathleen Weaver, Willowbrook Village President Gary Pretzer, Congresswoman Judy Biggert, and Representative Patricia R. Bellock.
The program was very effective in creating good will and personal connections. We continue to add posters to our collection and have offered a chance to be featured on a READ poster as a prize during National Library Card Month.
Other libraries could feature any combination of local “celebrities” in their READ gallery depending on their situation – perhaps a town council or school officials.
The ALA READ CD is easy to use and we worked with the Prairie Area Library System to have posters produced at a reasonable cost.
WHAT: Our team meeting brings together all staff working in the building at a given time. Each person can participate to say what they are currently working on or share something else. Each meeting is about 5 minutes in length and is held in the Lobby with visibility lines to all public service desks and adjacent to phone.
WHEN: Twice a day, Monday through Thursday 9am and 2:30pm Friday and Saturday 9am
WHY: To facilitate better communication among all departments, help familiarize employees with staff from other departments and to make special announcements.
EXPERIENCE: Not disruptive to the public or to the employee’s workday
NOTE: We adopted this idea from retail, seeing it in practice at Walmart and Target. We’ve been using this practice for a little over two years. This is in addition to weekly meetings with the managers and twice per year in-service workshops for staff.
Any library patron high school age and above can make an appointment for an hour of one-on-one help from a professional information specialist – an “InfoPro” at the Des Plaines Public Library. The new InfoPro service supplements the telephone, walk-in, and electronic reference services already offered by the library. Individuals and small groups may also make appointments with an InfoPro for personalized tours to learn more about library materials and services.
At a scheduled session, an InfoPro will spend about an hour with a patron suggesting useful library materials and databases based on individual research requirements. An individual will learn how to conduct successful searches on a chosen topic and how to use the catalog and printed materials more effectively.
In addition, the patron will receive a customized research guide tailored to his or her specific needs. The guide will list suggested books, databases, Web sites, and other resources on a particular topic. The website of InfoPro is www.dppl.org/reference/InfoPro.html.
Mentoring and Learning from Each Other. Inviting Former Staff Members to Attend All Staff Days.
Yes, they leave us. But that’s what they are supposed to do. They come here, learn, grow and move on. They learn what to do and sometime what not to do. We don’t always get it right every time, but when they leave, they have had a range of experiences and decision making opportunities they wouldn’t have gotten as quickly in a larger environment – We invite all former staff members to particpatie in our staff days. By keeping the relationship, we maintain a mutual benefit. We have enlarged our network of resources by having former staff in new environments and can continue to offer support as their careers develop.
We learn from each other. I am continually amazed by what our new professionals bring to this library. Let me be clear and say that I am not speaking of young people exclusively; I am speaking of people regardless of age who are new to libraries or to management. It seems to me that as professionals we have an obligation to teach, to blend the experienced with the new and to give growth opportunities to the next batch. That doesn’t end, just because they are in a different place. And we can’t wait for somebody else to do it for us. We can’t just send our promising up-and-comers off to a leadership institute or a conference. Professional development and mentoring is everyday. It’s homegrown. Not always glamorous, not always recognized, but necessary and important to our communities.