Wednesday, August 1, 2012

August 2012 Crossroads - The Engaged Library


The monthly newsletter from WebJunction.

Tech-kno-librarians engage the community
Sarah Washburn and fellow tech-kno-librarians know the power of engaging with the community. Photo by davidsilver on Flickr.

Question of the Month

How is your library engaging the community?

Embracing the Community: the Engaged Library

In this age of library transformation, many libraries are stepping out and engaging with community stakeholders and leaders to improve community life. As trusted centers of the community, they are in a strong position to take bold leadership in helping their communities address challenging issues. As more libraries move out of the comfort zone, WebJunction offers some tools and success stories to encourage them as they translate talk into action.

Resources to explore:

Mississippi Library Commission Logo
Mississippi Library Commission is "growing Mississippi's libraries" on

A Big Welcome to WebJunction-Mississippi!

This month sees the launch of WebJunction-Mississippi as the newest member of the WebJunction state partner community. The Mississippi Library Commission now offers MS library staff a single location to access a wide variety of online continuing education courses to improve their administrative skills and local services for the community. Both experienced e-learners and those new to self-paced course technology will find the space and a special place on to build their skills and comfort with online learning and to stay in touch with new training opportunities.

When the Library and Local Businesses Make a Connection

The Howell Carnegie District Library (HCDL) in Michigan has a good story to share about the success of their Business Resource Center, including the bumps they encountered along the way. Sparked by ideas from the Project Compass Workforce Recovery curriculum* and buoyed by a grassroots group of regional libraries and nonprofits, HCDL is contributing to the economic health of their community by connecting local businesses with quality information and with each other.
Find out more about their strategies, business resources and lessons learned in Economic necessity is the mother of re-invention.
*Project Compass is an IMLS-funded project providing training and resources to library staff to enhance their workforce recovery services to patrons.
Business Resource Center sign
Information Specialist Donna Olson is proud of the library's Business Resource Center. Photo courtesy of HCDL.

An International Leader in Our Midst

The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) recently announced that WebJunction staffer Zola Maddison has been selected as an Associate for the IFLA International Leaders Programme. Zola joins 11 other Associates from around the world who will participate from 2012 to 2014, building knowledge and experience in working with library representatives at the international level. The list of projects that Associates will work on includes open access, copyright exceptions and limitations, models for regional collaboration, libraries as agents for development, and access to digital content.
photo of Zola Maddison
Congratulations to Zola Maddision, 2012-2014 IFLA Associate!

Becoming a Mobile-Friendly Library

According to a recent Pew Internet study, nearly half of adults in the U.S. are now smartphone owners. Although access to technology is still seriously divided, when it comes to smartphone ownership, Hispanics and African-Americans have outpaced the (non-Hispanic) White population 49% to 45%.
Andromeda Yelton, author of an ALA Library Technology Report on library mobile services, discussed the implications of these new findings for libraries in her July webinar on Bridging the Digital Divide with Mobile Services. Read a summary of how new findings emphasize a growing need for mobile services, peruse the abundant helpful resources, or view the archived recording if you missed the session.
Andromeda Yelton
Andromeda Yelton, author of the blog Across Divided Networks, presented our July webinar. Photo by Molly Tomlinson.

Digital Inclusion resources are growing on WebJunction

If you’re interested in digital inclusion--that is, strategies for increasing access to broadband and adoption of digital technologies in your community--keep your eye on the growing collection of articles and links in the Digital Inclusion section of New resources include:
Your contributions of content are always welcome; simply sign into and click the Submit Document link on the Digital Inclusion page.

Results of July Readers' Poll on Digital Literacy Training Outcomes

Looking for the "why" in digital inclusion efforts at the library, we used last month’s poll to find out what your patrons are actually able to do as a result of your digital literacy training. The results indicate a healthy amount of practical application of newfound skills—a testament to a grounded approach to technology training. Making social connections with family and friends (93.8%) has a narrow lead over completing an online job application (89.6%). Even the lowest percentage for the emergency services smartphone apps (20.8%) is impressive.

Poll results in graph form

Other patron activities not on the list include:
  • Skyped a videoconference visit with family in Asia
  • downloaded free software to run a business, placed advertisements, built a website
  • learned how to create and compose documents, spreadsheets, and slideshows
  • downloaded and printed coupons for prescriptions, food, health products, free bowling!
"There is nothing like the look on a patron's face when they realize that they CAN use the computer and accomplish things that they previously thought were not achievable."
In the poll, we asked you to share stories about patrons who have been positively and practically impacted by the digital literacy training offered at your library. Scroll to the end of the Yellow Brick Road article to read the contributions from our readers.

Register for Free WebJunction Webinars

Librarians are Wikipedians Too

August 2, 2012
Wikipedia is an increasingly prominent player in the web search environment, and more people are finding it "a good place to start research." Despite open questions regarding quality, Wikipedia shares common goals with libraries in ensuring free accessibility to information and relying on authoritative sources. Max Klein, Wikipedian in Residence at OCLC Research, will discuss past efforts and future potential of librarians working with Wikipedia, including strategies to drive web and foot traffic to libraries through the use of Wikipedia. Max also reveals powerful tips and tricks into the software and policies of Wikipedia, helping librarians to critically address quality for themselves.

Telling the Library Story

August 23, 2012
As a blogger and chair of the committee that created The Big Hairy Audacious Goal advocacy project, Jamie LaRue (director, Douglas County Libraries, CO) knows how to tell a succinct, powerful story about the value of libraries. Based on OCLC’s “From Awareness to Funding” and on the latest findings of brain research, this session focuses on turning the evidence of our daily patron encounters into short, compelling, and memorable messages that build support.

Engaging Your Whole Community: Principles and Practice to Influence Policy

September 6, 2012
AmericaSpeaks is a U.S. nonprofit that wants to increase citizen engagement and participation in government decision-making by bringing together diverse participant groups to represent broader community interests. Learn how to create community engagement around library-led initiatives such as digital inclusion and gain facilitation skills to help build healthy, prosperous and cohesive communities. Facilitators Steve Brigham, president, and David Stern, director of online engagement, will provide examples of effective tactics for reaching even those who often do not participate because of limited access to and familiarity with new technologies.

Best Small Library in America 2012

September 11, 2012
Meet the winners of Library Journal's 2012 Best Small Library in America: Independence Public Library, Kansas. The multi-award-winning library’s staff of eight serves a population of 13,420 through innovative programs and partnerships, leveraging social media and the Geek the Library campaign for sustained marketing and advocacy efforts. Using participatory management and community collaborations, IPL has reached out to individuals and partners to deliver programs and services that bring the community into the library. Presented by Julie Hildebrand, IPL director; Lily Morgan, director, Learning Resource Center at Independence Community College; and Francine Fialkoff, editor-in-chief, LJ. Hosted in collaboration with the Association for Rural and Small Libraries and LJ.

New Webinar Archives

If you missed these recent live programs, you can view and listen to the recording at any time on WebJunction.

Thanks to our Partners

Through the generous support of the following state library agencies, WebJunction offers webinar programs for free to all who wish to attend:
  • Connecticut
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Maine
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Texas
  • Virginia
  • Washington
Read more about our Partner Program.
Drexel University Online

Spotlight on WebJunction Partners

Spotlight on WebJunction-Pennsylvania

WebJunction-Pennsylvania provides a simple way to connect library staff in PA to a wide array of professional development opportunities, technology training, and to each other. Pennsylvania's Office of Commonwealth Libraries and HSLC/Access PA have collaborated to help staff connect with the latest news in Pennsylvania through PA Programs & Services, Related Topics, Training and Resources.

Spotlight on WebJunction-Idaho

The Idaho Commission for Libraries has partnered with WebJunction to provide access to workshops, courses and conferences focusing on professional development. Through staff development and heightened awareness of current and evolving practices, Idaho librarians will enrich their customers' library experience. Take a look at WebJunction-Idaho today and learn more about Idaho's latest initiative— online @ your library.

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