Looking for practical & free learning that you can participate in right at your desk? Please join us for one, two, three, or all four of these webinars in November!
Libraries and the people working in them help in so many ways. Join us for these upcoming webinars and discover useful resources and strategies.
Thursday – November 1, 2018
“Free Online U.S. Citizenship Course” Does your library provide support to adult immigrants who want to pursue U.S. citizenship and need help studying for the naturalization interview? USA Learns Citizenship is a free course that helps immigrants prepare for all aspects of the naturalization interview. Learn how your library can use the course to help immigrants prepare for their citizenship test.For more information and to register: https://infopeople.org/civicrm/event/info?id=799&reset=1.
Wednesday – November 14, 2018
“Free Online English as a Second Language Courses”
Is your library looking for ways to help people learn beginning and intermediate English as a second language (ESL)? USA Learns has three ESL courses that incorporate video lessons and thousands of learning activities to teach English in an effective and interactive way. Learn how your library can utilize the courses to help immigrants improve basic language skills.For more information and to register: https://infopeople.org/civicrm/event/info?id=800&reset=1.
Thursday – Nov 15, 2018 “Encore Career Search Strategies: Help Your Patrons Find Their Way to Meaningful Work”
As library staff it can be very rewarding to help your patrons on the challenging path of (re)entering the job market as a “mature worker.” We can help older patrons compete successfully for jobs by steering them toward resources that match their needs, and by helping them find (economical) ways to develop new job search skill. This webinar will give you information and resources to help patrons bridge the gap in knowledge and skills. For a complete description and to register go to: https://infopeople.org/civicrm/event/info?id=805&reset=1.
Wednesday – Nov 28, 2018 “How to Write More Effective Email and Web Content”
Communication connects us to one another and is at the heart of everything we do. In this webinar, we’ll offer specific guidelines that will help you communicate more effectively in an age in which we read most of our content on a screen. We’ll look at before and after examples, and attendees will receive a list of resources for learning more. For a complete description and to register go to: https://infopeople.org/civicrm/event/info?id=798&reset=1.
Webinars are free of charge. Pre-register by clicking on the Register Now button on the announcement page. If you pre-register, you will receive an email with the login link and a reminder email the day before the event. If you are unable to attend a live event, you can access the recorded version the day following the webinar. Check out our archive listing at: http://infopeople.org/training/view/webinar/archived.
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.
As a course preview, Stephanie shared her top ten tips for library grants with us!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
We’re approaching a long weekend and for many of us that means – road trip! 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.
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.
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).
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=785&reset=1.
The San Francisco Public Library is primarily funded through a voter-initiated proposition called the Library Preservation Fund, which requires a comprehensive assessment of library location open hours every five years. How does SFPL assess the best hours to for each of their locations to be open? By using data! Read more about their Open Hours Assessment in a Case Study created as part of the California Data Informed Public Library initiative.
Earlier this summer, Lawrence (KS) Public Library contributed to a case study describing their community needs assessment: Assessing the Hopes and Needs of the Community We Serve.
Has your library used data to make plans, decisions, and changes? We’re seeking additional Case Studies to share! Contact brenda (at) infopeople.org if interested in sharing your library’s data story.
Many libraries are working to demonstrate the effectiveness of their activities by initiating and completing outcome-based evaluation of projects. Using a logic model can enhance planning, implementation, and dissemination activities. When you use a logic model, you become aware of the assumptions underlying what you are doing.
During her June 12, 2018 webinar delivered as part of the Data Informed Public Library initiative, Demonstrating Library Value with Data, presenter Amanda Standerfer discussed the value of using a logic model to guide your library’s data collection and to set targets to show your success and inform learning when using data to demonstrate impact.
Want to learn more?
- The webinar with Amanda Standerfer was recorded/archived.
- See also the library logic model template shared as a webinar resource.
The Data Informed Public Library initiative is funded by the California State Library and implemented by Infopeople. The project is supported in part by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act.