I'm Not Kidding - I Am SO Over You, Fines

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Last week, I did a post on why we should put our shoulder to the wheel on eliminating fines in libraries.

This week, serendipitously, a discussion on the alsc-l listserv on increasing circulation of youth materials linked to an important study and white paper. Colorado's wunderkind, Carol Edwards, pointed readers to Removing Barriers to Access: Eliminating Library Fines and Fees on Children's Materials, written by meg DePriest, the result of an IMLS funded SPELL project grant that identified fines and fees for children as a major barrier to service for low-income families.

The clearly written and researched white paper can give all youth librarians the tools they need to push for fine/fee elimination with directors, administration and municipal funders.

Thanks to the Colorado State Library, IMLS and the SPELL advisory board for making this kind of support available not just to CO libraries but to all of us!


Buh-bye Barriers - Stop the Fines

I was struck by the recent Slate article on eliminating fines by Ruth Graham. In it, she not only gives a link-heavy overview of the history of library fines but also some solid data and anecdotal evidence of what happens when fines are eliminated. In general, as expected, revenues from fines go down. At the same time, costs for charge card machines can be eliminated. And access to the library as seen through circ and usage, go up.

Five years ago an ALA white paper on homelessness advocated eliminating fines and fees in order to provide access to libraries for poor.  I bet all of us have heard from teachers, parents, leaders in youth serving organizations - and our consciences - how fines are a true barrier to library use.

Isn't it time we truly open our doors to all our community - including those for whom fines and fees are a daunting barrier to use of our services, collections and programs? Let's truly show what libraries are.


The R/evolution of an SLP

Today, I presented a workshop for the CALL conference on literacy, a collaborative multi-type library event. The presentation was Breaking the Ice: Creating a Successful School/Public Library Winter Literacy Program

While the focus is on the successful years-long winter reading program collaboration, the broader picture is also on how that happy collaboration, begun in 2005, pushed our already evolving experiential SLP further into one that truly became a summer learning experience.

In 1992, in Menasha (WI) Library, we had already begun to morph our SLP from a simple print literacy celebration into one where experiencing the library was added. Kids who checked out books and attended programs could use those activities along with reading and listening to reach their goal.

As the years passed, we added donating food to our food pantry, doing acts of kindness and volunteering for others, and writing book reviews into the mix. We also experimented with kid-friendly formats and weekly cards rather than a summer-long reading log that brought kids in again and again over summer.

When we partnered with our schools in the winter of 2005, we truly discovered how to enfold multiple literacies into our SLP - writing, talking, playing, word games, adventures outside and more. By co-designing the program with our school colleagues, we discovered ways to make our summer library program into a summer learning program that received massive support from our schools. Win-win.

When I came across state to La Crosse, we revamped the library's SLP program to reflect that paradigm and kept growing the experience and the re-formatting of our weekly bookmarks into weekly game cards with more detailed suggested activities for kids to try. We added an early literacy SLP program and let that grow and change as well.

Each and every change brought us closer to creating a summer learning adventure that gave kids multiple pathways to experience the library and its many different literacies. It reminds me how small changes over a long arc of time culminate in an SLP that truly meets the changing needs of our communities.

To find out more, stop here for the slide deck of the presentation!


Tweens/Teens & Libraries - Search Institute's "Relationships First"

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The Search Institute has just published a brief 20 page report titled: Relationships First:Creating Connections that Help Young People Thrive. 

The report gives starting points for organizations and those working with youth to up their game in working with youth in a way that supports and deepen relationships that help youth capitalize on assets. It includes research results, information on growing developmental relationships with youth; promoting strong webs of relationships and ideas for deepening one-on-one relationships. The information is broken down for parents, teachers and youth program leaders (that's us!!)

The report is free to download for a limited time.


Seriously, Libraries ARE for Everyone

Colleague Rebecca McCorkindale, who blogs mightily at Hafuboti, and shakes things up from her home base in Nebraska, is doing some great graphic (and writing) work around diversity and inclusion.  Best of all, she generously shares with people.

Her current series is based on amazing graphics that expand on her original adaptations of the universal library symbol to bring attention to the many, many communities we serve. Here is one of the graphics:

Not only does she provide a beautiful inclusive vision, but she is publishing the graphics in multiple languages and inviting people to use her generously provided graphics to extend our library welcome in our communities. Take some time to browse all the great posts (including a n excellent recent series on really re-thinking holidays) and get to know her.  Stop by her blog, read all about it, SUBSCRIBE, and share.



Lake Superior Library Symposium is...Superior!

I'm stoked to see that LSLS is putting out their annual call for proposals for their amazing multi-state, multitype daylong library conference set for Friday June 9, 2017 in Duluth MN. While organizers hope to bring library staff from states surrounding Lake Superior together as a community, attendees come from all over the neighboring states to this cozy, insightful conference.

Keynoted by Dr. Loriene Roy, this year's focus is on going "Beyond Neutral" and the call for proposals (due March 17) is out:

"This year’s theme, Beyond Neutral, invites attendees to challenge the traditional stance of libraries as neutral spaces. In the current political climate, how do we navigate our institutional restrictions while upholding our professional values? At LSLS17, we will look outward to connect with our community, and inward to reflect on ourselves and our profession.
Possibilities for presentation topics include:
Breaking Barriers, Opening DoorsWhat steps have you taken to make your library welcoming and accessible to your community? How have you connected with community partners or altered the physical space of your library?
Reflecting Our CommunitiesHow have you used programming, collection development, displays, or services to support diversity and inclusion? Within your library, how do your policies and practices work with, or against, these initiatives?
Starting the DialogueHow can we best address challenging questions within our profession, like our lack of professional diversity, the pace of change, and the library’s purpose? How have you facilitated conversations about these issues both within your library and with your community?"
Please stop at this link for details and get those proposals in. I promise you, it's worth the trip (and throw your canoe on top the car or hiking boots in your suitcase and head along Superior's North Shore the weekend after for outstanding relaxation and fun). I'll be there defending my hockey puck trivia prize in one of the delightful social events. Hope to see YOU there!


On My Honor: Creating an Ethical Work Environment

I was honored to present at the 5th annual Wild Wisconsin Winter Web Conference - 2 days of amazing free, hour-long webinars on a great variety of library stuff.  My prezi was on exploring issues involved in being ethical and creating an ethical work environment. While it was on the management/leadership track, it has alot to say to all library staff.

Thanks a million to Jamie Matczak, founder and coordinator of this CE day sponsored by all 17 WI library systems and to Jean Anderson and Leah Langby who ably moderated along with a host of library system folks who assisted in organizing the days. You can find all the archived prezis on the website. They are ALL amazing!

2017-01-26 13.01 WWWC17 On My Honor Creating an Ethical Work Environment from Nicolet Libraries on Vimeo.

Resource List
American Library Association. Code of Ethicshttp://www.ala.org/advocacy/proethics/codeofethics/codeethics

American Library Association. Conflicts of Interest. http://www.ala.org/advocacy/advocacy/proethics/explanatory/conflicts-of-interest

Private Lives. Julie Jurgens. Hi Miss Julie blog. December 30, 2015. https://himissjulie.com/2015/12/30/private-lives/

The Things You Might Be Doing That Will Force Your IT Guy to Start Spying on You. Jake Swearingen. August 26, 2016. New York Magazine http://nymag.com/selectall/2016/08/how-to-be-so-dumb-that-the-it-guy-is-forced-to-spy-on-you.html

Martin Luther King: A True Servant Leader. James Perry. Huffington Post March 20, 2010. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-perry/martin-luther-king-jr-a-t_b_427417.html

Library Ethics in the 21st Century. Sarah Houghton. Librarian in Black blog. November 18, 2015


Monday is a Fun Day

It's been a busy year especially this fall as I got further into my service on the Sibert Committee (best information book for children).

So coming to midwinter has meant the culmination of lots of reading, reflection, re-reading and nominating titles I thought were especially noteworthy.

Now days later, the discussions are done, the voting is over and I celebrated by eating my look-alike Sibert Award committee so generously provided by committee pal Elisa Gall.

Join me Monday January 23 at 7am CST to hear the results! You don't have to be at midwinter to enjoy the fun!


How Do You Manage THAT?!?! Part Deux

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It's almost class time again!

The four week CE class exploring issues in youth management (personnel, advocacy, difficult patrons and partners) that I'm teaching offered by UW-Madison SLIS starts on Monday Jan 30. This crowd-sourced problem-solving adventure helps you navigate some of the stickier wickets you encounter in running a youth department.

Just a heads up - there is a 10% registration discount if you register by Monday January 16.

This version of the course covers different material from part one - and you don't need to have taken that before heading into part deux.

Hope to see you there!


I Learn Every Day

I've always felt that if I don't learn one new thing every day, it's a wasted day. As I've grown older, I would have to up that learning paradigm to 10 or more new things daily. In the last year, the last few months and weeks, the learning has accelerated even faster.

Learning isn't always joyous. It can also be painful and difficult. But I believe it is a lifelong process and commitment. It is in the smallest of details, the largest of grand schemes and, most importantly, in the everyday work and personal lives of everyone I meet, everyone I read, everyone I hold dear and every stranger who is unknown but knowable.

I have had many opportunities to learn this year - from students in my classes; from librarians on the front line in the small libraries in the system that I serve as youth consultant in; from proteges, peers and mentors in the library field; from those who are struggling - and fighting - to make sense of gross injustice and insensitivity based on their gender, color, beliefs and identity. Learning inevitably leads to action and to constant changes and growth in my world view.

While I teach, mentor and share, I also listen, read and learn from so many others. I will always be a learner and a seeker.

As I reflect on this learning, I also want to express my gratitude for those who teach me. You make me better. Thank you.


Power Up Youth Leadership Conference - Let's Go

Registration has opened for the first ever national youth library leadership conference for youth staff and managers: Power Up: A Conference on Leadership for Youth Services Managers and Staff.

Scheduled for March 30-31, 2017 and sponsored by UW-Madison SLIS Continuing Education Dept, the conference brings together speakers from throughout the country to address aspects of leadership and management for youth librarians at all stages of their careers.

You don't have to have the word "manager" or "supervisor" in your job title to benefit. Anyone who runs or works in a children's or teen area will get a ton of information and networking opportunities at this conference.

The conference kicks off with Gretchen Caserotti's keynote and concludes with an address by Deborah Taylor. Also featured is a reception and tour at the Cooperative Children's Book Center, a short 15 minute walk from the conference center.

Seventeen sessions packed with information from multiple perspectives and voices include: Reflective Leadership
Considering How Managing Your Collections Affects People
Determining if Management is for You
Benefits of Finding Your Programming Style
Developing Leadership Through Book Discussion
Leading a Multigenerational Team to Success
Channeling Passion into Leadership
Unconventional Outreach; Discovering Your Power
Addressing the Need for Confrontation
Leadership for Unofficial Leaders
Reaching Underserved at Small Libraries
Start Anywhere on Your Leadership Path
Managing Media Mentors

If you are a Wisconsin library staffer, ten scholarship s are available for registration.

It looks like a great conference and I hope to see and meet lots of colleagues there!


If You Build It, They Will Come

Today I was in beautiful Madison WI making mischief around the concept of strategizing effective change and building balance in youth programming. And it wouldn't be November in Wisconsin without a look at the summer ahead and quenching the "hair-on-fire" fear we sometimes feel before we realize there are ways to make summer funner!

Below are links to information cited in the presentation.

Happy reading!

Summer Learning
Get Ready for Endless Summer Reading.
Libraries at the Center of Summer Learning Toolkit

Easing the Stress
Summer Library R/Evolution Pinterest Board - links to many articles and posts that help us re-think how we support kids during the summer.
It's the End (and I Don't Want to Die)
Counting Kids
Going Weekly -Prizeless
Unprogramming webinar and resources

Samples of Summer Learning SLP logs
Weekly cards with experiential choices
Passports to adventure
Summer Reading Booklets
Bingo Cards

Building a Better World Program Ideas
Kids Give Back at Portage Public Library
Food Donations, Adopt an Animal, Charity Challenges
Pinterest Board on Build a Better World Program Ideas - Sharon Goforth
Pinterest Board on Build a Better World - Loch-Wouters

Slide Deck

After our workshop, I hope everyone felt that we got here:


Taming the Youth Management Dragon

How many times do you say, “They didn’t teach me this in school!” as you navigate some portion of your day as a youth librarian and/or manager?  There are so many conversations to be had that we are digging in to re-offer our online CE course How Did You Manage THAT?!?! - the Sequel running January 30 - February 24, 2017

Whether you were in our first class this fall or not, join us to take this hands-on, hearts-out course on youth management issues. We’ll explore the delicate dance of navigating personnel issues (library staff, patrons and partners) as well as discover tips to more effectively balance, advocate for and marshall resources to make smart management decisions. The course will be collaborative as you share your own experiences and ideas that have worked in managing your youth services area.

Registration is now open for this course as well as other amazing courses for youth services librarians through the UW-Madison SLIS CE office. And you get a 10% discount if you register by January 16, so don't delay! Hope to see you next year!



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Tonight I am humbled and so grateful I can hardly find a place for all the feelings.

I am at our annual state library conference. I had the honor of working with all our youth services conference presenters to bring fifteen programs to our members. These programs were extraordinary -  Amy Koester came up for IL to share her thoughts on leadership and involving families. Wisconsin youth librarians shared their expertise on play groups, tangly issues on collection development, shared TABS, service to teen moms, teen college and career planning, service on award committees, transformative partnerships, new SLP paradigms, youth art galleries in libraries and so much more.

We celebrated our award winners - library and librarians of the year and inductees into the Wi Library Hall of Fame.

And more personally, so many colleagues said yes to me over the past few days. I have been elected the president-elect of the WI Library Association. My term as president begins in 2018. Over the past two days, so many colleagues from all types of libraries serving all ages have answered "YES!" when I have asked them to help me in creating an annual conference of consequence in 2018 and to step up to create a strong board, amazing committees and a place where all library staff feel welcome to interact and push library service in our state further and faster. I am humbled by their commitment and their faith.

Our Youth Services Section nurtured  me, my WLA board colleagues of the past six years forged me and the confidence of the members of the association lift me up. I am so lucky to have this support and the guidance of my colleagues. This is the true grace that makes all things possible.


Passive Program Power

Kelsey Johnson-Kaiser, Youth Services Manager at George Latimer Central Library in St. Paul MN, and I presented a session on passive programming at the Minnesota Library Association this week. The following links can lead readers to more information about the programs we talked about - and introduce you to some great bloggers!!

1000 Books Before Kindergarten (origins, facts, research, planning tips and more!)

Craft Cart and Scavenger Hunt 1 (ideas from St. Paul libraries)

Check-Out Clubs (tried and true hits from La Crosse Public Library, WI)

Tabletop Prompts 1  (from La Crosse Public Library, WI)

Tabletop Prompts 2 (from Gretna Public Library, NE)

Exploration Station (from Monroe Public Library, WI)

Scavanger Hunt 2 (from Gretna Public Library, NE)

Scavenger Hunt 3 (from Texas)

Scavenger Hunt 4 (from La Crosse Public Library, WI)

Letter of the Week (from La Crosse Public Library, WI)

Pinterest Passive Program Board (a plethora of ideas from...everywhere!)

Book - DIY Programming and Book Displays - Amanda Struckmeyer and Svetha Hetzler