Blogger Renee Grassi

Make it Okay: Mental Health Awareness Month

                            Did you know? One in five children today has a diagnosable mental health condition. One half of all chronic mental illness begins by the age of fourteen. Nearly one in ten children have an anxiety disorder. 37% of students with a mental health condition ages fourteen and older drop out of school–the highest rate of any disability group. Why is mental health important to the work we do in libraries? Mental health is an essential part of children’s overall health and a key indicator for lifelong success. It has a complex relationship with kids’ physical health and their ability to succeed in school, at work and in society. However, if a child is experiencing a mental illness, a person can’t tell just by looking. If mental illness goes untreated, the implications are severe for the a child’s quality of…

Awards & Scholarships

National Medal for Museum and Library Service

It has been a big, huge, enormous, gigantic, week at Rochester (MN) Public Library. After our second year of being named a finalist , we are honored to be a winner of the 2018 National Medal for Museum and Library Service from the Institute of Museum and Library Service! Let that soak in. And then read it again: We are honored to be a winner of the 2018 National Medal for Museum and Library Service from the Institute of Museum and Library Service! That is a great sentence, but it is nowhere near the whole story. This award is the result of years of listening to our community, living our strategic plan & core values, being agile, taking risks, failing, succeeding, measuring outcomes, and listening some more. We strive to increase equity by targeting services to those who have limited access due to language, finances, health, safety, literacy, or other…

Blogger Alyson Feldman-Piltch

Tales from a 6th grade Bookclub

Earlier this year I was lucky enough to obtain a through a private donor for a program with our local Catholic school- St. John’s. After meeting with the Head of School we decided to offer a bookclub to all Upper School students (6,7,8 graders) that would begin in January after winter vacation The club meets once a month on Fridays in the school after classes are done for the day.  Six students signed up and each month I lead them through a conversation and activity based on a book, that they get to keep thanks to the donor funds. My favorite activity was trying to draw portraits using our feet after reading Dusti Bowling’s Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus. Afterwards we looked at the works of different artists born without arms.  Other activities have included choreographing their own dance pieces and 90 second book summary videos. My favorite…

Blogger Building Partnerships committee

Supporting Our Community Through Partnerships: Social Services

My library system in Las Vegas, NV has been extremely fortunate to have found such amazing partnerships over the last couple years to bring services to our community that we would have never have had before.  Two of my favorite are partnering with Three Square (https://www.threesquare.org/), a local food bank, who provides free lunch every day after school for children and teens ages 0-18, and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ (UNLV) America Reads, America Counts (https://www.unlv.edu/finaid/work-programs/america-reads-counts), a free tutoring service also available every day.  Both partners pay for their own staff to facilitate the programs and utilize our branches to host these wonderful services. My branch in particular, the Spring Valley Library, is located in one of the most impoverished areas of Las Vegas.  We host both programs and serve over 50 lunches each day and equally that many students and more are able to take advantage of our…

Blogger Building Partnerships committee

Creating a Conversation with The Seventh Wish

In 2017, Harford County, Maryland has had more than 400 opioid overdoses, compared to 246 last year, 79 of those being fatal. We are not alone in this terrible epidemic that is affecting all parts of our communities. What can a public library do to support the community in the face of this epidemic? The answer came to me last year after reading The Seventh Wish by Kate Messner—create a conversation starter based on the community reading this relevant book.  

Blogger Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers committee

Bilingual Outreach at the Doctor’s Office

One of the most formidable aspects of public library work is reaching out to community members who are not current library users. This challenge can be made more daunting when trying to reach immigrant and non-English speaking populations who may not be present at more typical outreach events like back-to-school nights. Meeting these groups where they are is important as many times they have not previously used libraries and are not sure what services we provide or if they are able to get a library card. To bridge this gap, Alexandria Library staff members have been visiting a local doctor’s office in a low-income Hispanic neighborhood for the last three years. Every Monday morning at 8:30am, Patricia Amaya and Christian Reynolds arrive wearing aprons embroidered with the library logo to engage parents and children while they wait for their appointments. Patricia, a native Spanish speaker, talks with adults about what the…

Blogger Building Partnerships committee

Light, Camera, Action: When libraries make community partnerships, video magic is made!

As a Hip-Hop music fan since I was young it was very exciting to be involved in a project that combined this popular music genre with reading, libraries and families for a true recipe for success!  It all started with Adult Services Librarian Katie Rothley who used her talents to turn the popular rap anthem “All I Do Is Win” by DJ Khaled into “All I Do Is Read”. From there it was decided that young voices were needed to bring the song to life. 

Blogger Alexa Newman

Engaging Your Community : What Does That Mean?

A definition Community engagement is an important emerging trend in public libraries.  What, exactly, is community engagement, you ask? Well, according to Dr. Crispin Butteriss of Bangthetable.com, it can be described as both a process and an outcome.  In other, words it is both a noun and a verb.  Butteriss further describes it as “the process of getting people better connected into the community and for ensuring that the services they were designing me[e]t the specific needs of the people they are working with.” Applying the principles of community engagement specifically to libraries has been the focus of ALA’s Libraries Transforming Communities initiative.  The LTC initiative “seeks to strengthen librarians’ roles as core community leaders and change-agents.” On a regional level, RAILS (Reaching Across Illinois Library System) has formed a community engagement networking group. I am my library’s youth liaison to the community.   I do outreach with several different agencies,…