Library Podcasts

what is a podcastWe’re approaching summer and for many of us that means vacation time- and sometimes… road trips! If you’re like me, one of the best things about those highway hours is listening to podcasts. I’ve been known to spend a fair chunk of time curating just the right options for a family journey. And I know I’m not alone in my podcast fandom. Their popularity continues to steadily increase. According to the 2018 Infinite Dial Study by Edison Research and Triton Digital, 44% of Americans (age 12 and over) say they have listened to a podcast.

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Libraries not only help people find relevant podcasts, but they can use podcasts for engagement with their communities, too. In her upcoming Infopeople course about Community Engagement, instructor Barbara Alvarez suggests there are countless opportunities for libraries to create podcast series.

Some of her ideas include:

  • Storytelling with community members
    Partner with local historical societies or genealogy groups to interview and record stories from community members, including senior citizens, about memorable occurrences in the community.
  • Entrepreneurs
    Host an entrepreneur series in which you interview local business owners who decided to become their own boss. Ask about their story, what their recommendations are for people who would like to follow in their footsteps, and what the future is for entrepreneurship. (Take a look at an entrepreneur podcast series Barbara created as a Business Librarian).
  • Booktalks
    Encourage local organizations, businesses, and community members to participate in a monthly booktalk podcast in which you discuss a book (or movie or topic), and get a local expert’s (business owner or organization) input into how that theme relates to the community as a whole. (Barbara’s library hosts a monthly book discussion and has a blast doing it! Listen to their episodes).
  • Informational Interviews.
    Curious about a certain field, profession, topic, or theme? Create a podcast series exploring oddities, curiosities, and unknown people, places, and things in your community. (Barbara and a colleague hosted an informational series as part of the virtual conference called The Library OnConference. Listen here.)
  • Local happenings
    Partner with the Park District, Chamber of Commerce, local government, schools, etc. to talk about exciting events going on in the community, and how people can get involved. Interview community members about their participation, too.
  • Creative communities
    Use the podcast as a platform for local writers and creatives to share their poems, songs, stories, and more. Think of it as an “open mic night” on air.
  • Armchair travel
    If there are patrons at your library who enjoy traveling, ask if they are willing to share their experiences so fellow members of the community can travel from the comfort of their home.
  • Job seeker series
    Support the local job seeking network by partnering with job seeker programs or organizations to share best practices, tips and resources that job seekers can utilize during their career transition. This is also a great opportunity to highlight library resources and tools.

Did those examples get your creative juices flowing? We hope so! Using technology for community engagement is all about building new or stronger community relationships using virtual technology, spreading the library’s and the community’s message to a larger audience, particularly those who are unfamiliar with library and community resources, and showcasing aspects of the library and the community that may be overlooked or unknown.

And there’s more good news… you do not need fancy software or expensive equipment to create a podcast series. You can use your smartphone or tablet and free software!

Does your library create podcasts? Can you think of a potential podcast series for your library and community?

In Community Engagement: Building Connections with Technology, Barbara walks learners through process of creating podcasts and videos, too. She also helps learners discover how to broadcast live events, making it possible to share library events virtually. Additional information and registration are available at: https://infopeople.org/civicrm/event/info?id=843.

Check Out These April Webinars

In the spring, a library staff member’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of learning.

Apologies to Tennyson for that very un-poetic appropriation of his verse… but we are excited about these three lovely learning opportunities in April (which is National Poetry Month!).

April 4th: Celebrating Diversity & Multiculturalism through Crafts

createWith presenters Kimberli Buckley and Dunyau Maqsoudi-Moreno on Thursday, April 4, 2019 @noon Pacific Time

Celebrating diversity means being accepting of all people, regardless of their race, culture, or religion. Learning about different cultural aspects offers unique and new experiences for children. Hands-on craft activities provide an interactive and fun way to introduce children to the concept of diversity and multiculturalism.

In this webinar, we will define diversity and multiculturalism, cultural appropriateness, and highlight crafts and activities that will help teach children to respect and celebrate the differences in all people. By merging diversity and equity into our library programming we can build cultural relevance into any craft program.

For a complete description and to REGISTER: https://infopeople.org/civicrm/event/info?id=830&reset=1

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April 9th: Free Tools for Working with Graphics and the Web

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With presenter Laura Solomon on Tuesday, April 9, 2018 @noon Pacific Time

Does your job involve working with graphics, social media, or websites? Join Laura Solomon as she explores tools to help you make your online content more creative and appealing. Laura will discuss:

  • Tools for working with and creating video and animations
  • Tools for creating social media content
  • Tools to help with fonts and colors
  • Tools that can assist with website-related work

For a complete description and to REGISTER: https://infopeople.org/civicrm/event/info?id=832&reset=1

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April 23rd: New Books for Storytime

ReadWith presenter Penny Peck on Tuesday, April 23, 2019 @noon Pacific Time

Are you looking for new picture books to re-energize your storytimes? This webinar will focus on new picture books that will engage the storytime audience, including books that invite audience participation, books based on songs and nursery rhymes, books that promote preliteracy skills and kindergarten readiness, and websites useful to storytime planning.

For a complete description and to REGISTER: https://infopeople.org/civicrm/event/info?id=834&reset=1

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Webinars are free of charge. You can pre-register by clicking on the Register Now button on the announcement page. If you pre-register, then you will receive an email with login link and a reminder email the day before the event.

If you are unable to attend the live event, you can access the archived version the day following the webinar.  Check out our archive listing at:  http://infopeople.org/training/view/webinar/archived

Ten Tips for Library Grants

Stephanie Gerding, grants expert and an author of the best selling book, Winning Grants: A How-To-Do-It Manual for Librarians from ALA Editions, is teaching an updated version of her popular Infopeople course, Library Grants 101.grant process cycle

As a course preview, Stephanie shared her top ten tips for library grants with us!

  1. Plan Ahead
    Strategic plans are a grant writing time saver and a key to success! There are two major reasons to have a strategic plan. The first is to best serve your community. The second reason is that funders like plans (and some require them). The main components for grant proposals and the inspiration for grant projects are easily found in a well developed strategic plan.  Libraries with plans have much greater prospects for a successful future and are able to contribute to their community’s biggest aspirations, which is what funders are striving for as well. Strategic planning is about being proactive, rather than reactive…not responding to the RFPs, but starting with your library’s mission and vision to create the desired future based on the true needs of your community members. It is important to know what you want to accomplish and who will be helped.
  2. Focus on the People
    Your proposal should tell the story of the people that will be helped. It is never about the “stuff” you will get (money, technology, buildings, etc.) but about the people. Funders want to help people, not buy things. In library work, we are passionate about what we do and we change people’s lives every day through our programs and services. Make it clear to the funder how your library grant project will impact your community members.
  3. Share Your Grant Goals
    Tell everyone you know that you are looking for a grant and discuss your grant project. Make sure your library staff, board members, and volunteers know about your grant goals and can talk about them as well. You never know where a great contact might come from or who might know of a great opportunity.
  4. Develop Relationships
    Funders aren’t ATMs, they are real people, just like you and me (really! I’ve been on the funder side of things!). Contact potential funders to clarify your questions, discuss your project, and determine their interest in your project. Develop relationships with the contact people. If your project is not a match with a particular funder, ask if they know of other potential funders who would be a better match.
  5. Find Library Grant Opportunities
    I started a shortcut to finding library grants on a free website that I have co-authored since 2005 (librarygrants.blogspot.com). I include the deadline, a brief description, and a link to more information. To save you time in your grant seeking, I verify with every grant opportunity that libraries of some type are eligible to apply. In the Infopeople course, I share my top funders for library grants plus another big tip for finding grant opportunities.
  6. Demonstrate Impact
    Build evaluation into your grant planning so that you can demonstrate impact to your funders and to your community. Evaluation of grant projects can help demonstrate how your library supports your community infrastructure and your community’s future.
  7. Save the Best for Last
    The most important part of your grant proposal may be the proposal abstract or summary as it serves as the first impression and can be critical to the success of the proposal. It may be carefully scrutinized to determine if the rest of the proposal should even be considered, so it needs to be able to stand on its own. Even though it is often the first section of a proposal, it should be written last to make sure it contains all elements of your grant proposal.
  8. Balance Facts with Emotional Appeal
    Decisions to give (like most human decisions) are emotional. Facts by themselves are not persuasive, and do not motivate people to give. Provide fact-based, verifiable data, but include the passion you feel for the people you serve. But don’t be afraid to include emotion with your facts and data. After all, you are communicating with people you share values with and you want to persuade them to champion your project while fulfilling their cause. Tell the story of the people who will be helped.
  9. Follow the Guidelines
    When completing grant proposals or award applications, follow the guidelines explicitly and answer all the questions. Make it easy for the grant reviewer to find the information requested by following the same format and headings as the application, and your proposal will be easier to read. The reviewer may have hundreds of applications to read, so don’t let yours be disqualified due to a technicality.
  10. Be Positive
    A positive attitude yields positive results. Some libraries get so mired down by budget, staff, and/or space shortages that their grant applications seem like an airing of grievances rather than evidence of needs with plans for creative solutions. Although you need to demonstrate the reasons your library requires the funding, make sure that the application’s overall message is encouraging and perhaps even inspirational. The funder has a vision how they can help make the world a better place, and your library has the means to help fulfill their vision. Remember to be grateful to the funder, and to all the staff that support the grant. When you’ve received funding, celebrate any success and always give recognition where it is due.

Stephanie adds, “Libraries do change lives, and we need to make sure that funders and supporters know that libraries positively impact communities. There is a saying that luck—and success—is what occurs when preparation meets opportunity. No one is ever 100 percent successful, but libraries have a lot of advantages in the grant world, so keep writing those grants!”

Information and registration for the course are at https://infopeople.org/civicrm/event/info?id=792&reset=1.

Resilience, Mindfulness, and Laughter, too

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Check out these upcoming learning opportunities!

  • Reducing Workplace Stress with Mindfulness
    A one-hour webinar, May 24th at Pacific – 12 Noon, Mountain – 1 PM, Central – 2 PM, Eastern – 3 PM
    Presenter: Katie Scherrer
    Do you sometimes feel distracted at work? Do you feel pulled in too many directions simultaneously? Do you feel stress from your work life creeping into your personal time? Mindfulness is a simple practice that can help all of us reduce stress by connecting to the present moment. It requires no special equipment or prior experience and can be practiced anywhere at any time. This webinar will introduce participants to the practice of mindfulness by presenting basic science about the practice and its benefits, connecting the experience of mindfulness to library work, and by guiding participants through several beginning practices in real time.
  • Workplace Burnout: Bouncing Back with Resilience 
    An online course, starts June 5th and ends July 2nd
    Instructor: Debra Westwood
    Staff who work in public service positions, like libraries, face mental and emotional challenges in their daily work. Budget struggles, trying to make a difference in high need communities, changes in the library’s role, concerns at home, local and national politics – it adds up! When that kind of pressure is coming at you from all directions, it can contribute to a gradual grinding down, loss of joy, a fading enthusiasm that we call burn-out. In this 4-week course, look at the physiology & psychology of burnout, as well as how it manifests itself physically, emotionally and behaviorally. Know the difference between stress and burnout. Learn restorative practices to help restore resiliency and job satisfaction.
  • “I could really use a good laugh!” How to Give a Laughter-as-Therapy Program in Your Library
    A one-hour webinar, June 14th at Pacific – 12 Noon, Mountain – 1 PM, Central – 2 PM, Eastern – 3 PM
    Presenter: William Mongelli
    Stress – good AND bad – is a fact of human existence. As it turns out, laughter IS one of the best medicines! The physiological and psychological benefits of laughter and humor continue to be documented in the scientific study of laughter (gelatology). Even the simple act of smiling has been shown to improve mood and nurture a positive mental outlook. This webinar will give you the skill-sets necessary to teach both your library users and library staff a fun & effective way of managing the stresses of their day. Laughter-as-therapy in the library environment can be offered to library users of all ages.

Privacy Essentials

Many in the library world are working to better understand issues related to privacy. In Key On Computer Shows Privacy Password Or Unlockingthis post, we’ll highlight a few free resources that can help you learn more.

  • ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom will be hosting a free webinar on April 16th. Julie Oborny and Erin Berman from San José Public Library will present “A Practical Guide to Privacy Audits.” Attendees will learn why healthy privacy practices are more critical than ever before and get a step-by-step guide for starting an audit at their libraries.
  • Alison Macrina, director of the Library Freedom Project, recently delivered a webinar for Infopeople, called “Teaching Privacy in Libraries: Strategies and Tools.” At a time when society is facing a new set of challenges around privacy, surveillance, censorship and free speech, library workers, as stewards of information and providers of internet access, are in a prime position to educate patrons about their digital rights. In this free recording, Marcrina demonstrates tools and best practices that can be taught in any library environment, in one-on-one patron interactions or computer classes.
  • Back in November 2017, Laura Solomon presented an Infopeople webinar called, “Protecting Your Online Privacy: Risks and Strategies.” The free recording includes information and examples to help us understand why protecting one’s online privacy is now so critical and what can happen when one doesn’t. The session highlights various concrete methods and tools you can use to help protect online privacy as much as possible.