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Getting on Board

Posted in Distributions, PA Projects, Services - Consulting, Trustees on January 26, 2012 by Carrie
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Materials from the Office of Commonwealth Libraries are slowly being released throughout the Capital Area Library District for Getting on Board: Tools for Board Development and Assessment.

Each library director will receive a copy of the packet of materials and enough copies to distribute to each of their 2012 trustees.   If you want an electronic copy to download to your computer or digital device, try downloading this file: GettingonBoardDownloadedPDF

Each library location with a board of directors will receive a DVD copy of the supplementary videos.  You can also see them all online on this YouTube channel.

Take a look at this document for more information and some sample discussion questions that may be useful to start a great conversation to further the growth and development of the board of trustees for your library: GettingOnBoardDVDDiscussionQuestionsandNotes

Please contact your district consultant to chat about plans for using these materials and to schedule a visit by the consultant to a board meeting.

Soon, there will also be copies available in the professional collection.

Health Literacy Idea for your Library

Posted in Distributions on August 08, 2011 by Carrie
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Gift of Life participated in PALA’s 2010 Annual Conference as an exhibitor.  In followup, they are encouraging libraries in PA to be partners in the Donate Life Campaign in April 2011.

The Gift of Life Donor Program sent our district library center a packet of resource materials with stickers, bookmarks, and informational handouts.  They have additional materials for distribution and a list of educational speakers who could host a community program (30-45 minutes long with 15 minutes for Q&A) for your library with a long list of suggested topics.  Presenters are often accompanied by an organ transplant recipient or donor family member from your local community who provides an inspirational story.  ”Many in your community have a direct tie to donation and can attest to the success of organ transplantation.” 

Build healthy connections in your community: Point.  Click.  Save Lives.

If your library is interested in an educational outreach initiative to help individuals learn more about organ and tissue donation, contact the senior community outreach coordinator at 215-285-9548 or via email.

Collaborative Summer Library Program voucher for eligible PA public libraries

Posted in Distributions, General, Learn Something, PA Projects, Services - Youth Services on February 09, 2011 by Carrie
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There has been a change to information you received previously regarding the Summer Reading Program vouchers. Find the paperwork you need here. Voucher2011PA

Action Idea: Please make sure the person at your location that is responsible for submitting any orders for the Collaborative Summer Library Program to Highsmith knows to attach the voucher to your order if you want your library to receive the benefit.

Details: Highsmith is offering free shipment for SRP orders for CSLP participating libraries. Each library can use a $20.00 voucher for promotional materials. Note: The voucher is not to be used for reading incentives to give to participants, but for promotional materials like posters, bookmarks, etc. The voucher must be used by April 15. I believe you can use one voucher per library location.

Summer always comes and I know we’re all looking forward to it. :) If you want to share a story about an innovative way or best practice for how your library plans to use the Collaborative Summer Library Program voucher please post it here in the comments area.

Extra Challenge: Did you see the RFP for Administrative Services duties that are performed on behalf of the Collaborative Summer Library Program? You can find it available as a word document download in the middle of the front page of cslpreads.org right now. Think about the organization of the document and the information it provided. Can your library set a goal to improve some of your own documentation that covers many of the areas this paperwork addresses? What is one small thing you can do?

Request CHIP/adultBasic Materials for your Location

Posted in Distributions on June 22, 2010 by Nancy
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Highmark Blue Shield helps to ensure that all Pennsylvania children and adults have access to affordable quality health care coverage. It is through partnerships that more than 310,600 children and 54,000 adults have received health care coverage through CHIP and adultBasic over the past 20 years.

Updated brochures and applications are now available for the CHIP and adultBasic programs. These programs reach those families who are without health insurance because their income is too high for Medical Assistance or who do not have private insurance. Many families are not aware of their potential eligibility for enrollment in CHIP or adultBasic. In addition to these two state programs, Highmark Blue Shield also offers SpecialCare, an income-based program for adults and children.

As of February 1, the Pennsylvania Insurance Department introduced a number of changes to the adultBasic program including increased monthly premiums, increased copayments for certain services, 10 percent coinsurance for some services, and a limit on inpatient stays. Complete eligibility and benefits information is provided in the updated brochures.

People who do not qualify for income-based programs may benefit from an individual plan from Highmark Blue Shield. Information about Highmark individual health insurance programs is available at:

Use the attached Materials Request Form HBS Materials Request Form 3-10 to order additional materials or visit our website for more information about income-based programs: socialMissionPages.do?type=chip.

Please contact me directly at lisa.bellito@highmark.com if you have additional questions.

Art of Community

Posted in Distributions, Learn Something, Technology on April 13, 2010 by Carrie
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Libraries are information centers in their community. Here’s a resource that helps you see how your library can build and lead the community with some focus on stories of how technology can help: artofcommunityonline.org

Check out this book, a Creative Commons free to download in pdf format online Read right now here or available for purchase via Amazon (for you or your library collection: buy Art of Community at Amazon ) that dicusses building and leading a community.

What happens when DLC and System Adms. across PA get together?: District Library Center Meeting Notes

Posted in Advocacy, Distributions, Funding, ILS, State Aid on March 25, 2010 by Carrie
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Below, find notes, updates, and handouts from the DLC meeting that took place on March 18 and 19th at the Holiday Inn in Grantville.

R. David Lankes, Director of the Information Institute of Syracuse, gave a live presentation on New Librarianship.

See more of what he has done online: Use Online Presentations
· In the field of content (music, books, journals, movies, etc), there is a shift from ownership to rental: You own nothing except the right to use it.
· Libraries have biases!
· What is your library’s mission? What is your mission? Does it answer why?
· “The mission of librarians is to improve society (through facilitating knowledge creation in our communities)”
· What is your favorite book and WHY? It is usually what you learned that helps you be a better you is usually the reason.
· Librarians are often obsessed with process…we rarely ask WHY. Ask why and why not?
· To question something is to determine its value and its strength. It is not to criticize.
· Why get more stuff if you have less staff to make it useful?
· Artifacts (like contracts) are not the result of the conversation. Stop worrying about archiving old conversations and start worrying about starting the new conversations.
· A roomful of books is not a library. An empty closet with a librarian could be called a librarian.
· Route of things/artifacts is not the way to always go.
· What should we change about our ILS? Should libraries be the host for everything else?
· How can you share your library shelves with your community?
· Who loves to “read”? Most people love to learn, imagine, escape, enjoy. It is not the act of reading that people love.
· Librarians have an obligation to tell the community: “[this] is what you need to know.”
· “Take away my people, but leave my factories, and soon grass will grow on the factory floors. Take away my factories, but leave my people, and soon we will have a new and better factory.” Carnegie
· Don’t rally on the steps with librarians because that looks like self-preservation. The people need to speak.
· Ask users: What problem are you trying to solve when they come to the library? That should answer the question of what resources are most valuable.

Libraries are not “natural”. There’s no theory. We, as people, built libraries—we are powerful.
Librarians should be radical change agents.
Policy should be rare, vague, and only what you need to apply.

David Lankes suggests that the best days of librarianship are ahead of us since libraries are positioned to lead in knowledge trends. Libraries are:
o Focused on knowledge and conversation
o Dedicated to social action, leadership, and innovation
o Dedicated to serving the people

Lankes shared two very unusual examples of lending. A library employee’s dog was “bark coded” and loaned! At another library, sections of a garden were bar coded and loaned to library users for seasonal use.

Lankes recommends that we consider the collection, the community, the library facility in our planning and “thought experiments”. He views public librarians as being intellectually honest and neutral, but not unbiased.

What is the mission of the library and libraries? He reminds us that people do things, not the library. The mission of librarians is to improve Society through facilitating knowledge creation in their communities. Those who recommend greater collection size but fewer staff fail to recognize that staff will be far less useful to them as a result of such change.

Lankes compared the customer’s experience at the traditional tall reference desk to the experience of meeting the Wizard of Oz.

Take away the materials, the facades, and we are still libraries, the blood of the community. A cut in libraries is a slash in the community. People need to show scars from budget cuts. The public needs to stand up and defend us, and we need to serve them well.

We need to be “of the community” instead of “for the community”, and we need to ask what problems people are trying to solve, not what they want. The next step is to map out successes.

Make two assessments:
* Where will you have the greatest impact?
* Where do you need to make an impact? How will you be part of that conversation?

Three panelists participated in Lankes’ presentation: Trish Calvani, Mary Frances Cooper, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, and Dan Parker, Oil City DLC,
-Trish emphasized the importance of getting out, seeing what’s important in the community, and looking ahead.
-Mary Frances shared that a library board thought elected officials would be seen as the enemy when cuts were made to the library. Eventually that board received funds needed to keep the library open for one year.
-Dan commented that poor communications are part of poorly performing libraries, and that we need to respond to pressure from staff and our community for innovation.

Lankes commented that virtually every component of a public library is a service. We give power to our communities through what we do. Question something to make sure it is good. He recommends that “policies be rare, vague, and employed only where needed.”

If you seek to serve everyone you end up serving no one.

Lankes gave an example of a central library frequented by the homeless who were destroying the bathrooms. The librarians hired the homeless to work as bathroom attendants and in this way resolved much of the problem that existed.

His final recommendation: You must prioritize services with communities. Librarians can be the mediators.

A Regionalized Approach to Library Services, presented by M Clare Zales, Commissioner for Libraries.
Here’s the handout: Regions PowerPoint

Basics: Commonwealth Libraries is redrawing the Pennsylvania Library Map based on the need to partner in library development across the state. We need to start thinking about how to use district funds differently.

Please contact me with any input, questions or comments after you have reviewed Clare’s handout related to this new regionalization. Feedback on regional planning will be included at the September 2010 DLC/System meeting.

Important note: Anne Kruger will no longer be our district’s advisor. We now have a team of advisors with Bonnie Young, Connie Cardillo, and BJ Urling as the primary contacts to work with our region, which includes the district centers of York (York and Adams), Lancaster, Lebanon, Chambersburg (Franklin, Fulton), and Capital Area (Cumberland, Dauphin, and Perry.)

LSTA focus groups took place as a part of the LSTA funding process for the state and IMLS to understand what makes grants most effective.

A discussion of a possible statewide CMS (content management system) for library websites took place. Drupal, Joomla, and WordPress were discussed as options for a platform to make website creation easier and possibly more to a standard. Stay tuned for where ideas on this project go. The discussions were exciting for libraries who aren’t yet on an advanced CMS.

At the District Consultant’s Session:
Anne Kruger, Youth Services Advisor, announced that 9/1/10 is the deadline for statistics for the One Book, Every Young Child Trunk usage. The trunks were received on Friday, March 19, at the DLC meeting and will be available to libraries soon.
Two trunks are provided for our district. CCLS gets one. DCLS processes the other and will soon release instructions for its reservation through June Weaver at ESA-ill.

Diana Megdad, Bureau of Library Development, recommends that you join WebJunction if you have not already done so!
Sign up at webjunction.org
Pennsylvania has its own site:
* Continuing education and sharing of information in a community is the primary benefit.
* Many courses cost only $5.00. Some are free.
* Fund raising resources are listed.
* ACCESS PA training is offered at no charge.
* Library news is welcome. Consider Web Junction the “communications place.”
* Library Spotlight for special recognition

Mary Maguire, Montgomery County, Norristown Public Library, shared POWER Library news. Unfortunately some libraries purchased databases before realizing they would be part of the “new” POWER Library. She advises that libraries be patient and wait to see what is funded in the next state budget. One consideration is to get EBSCOhost on a regional basis.

Eileen Kocher, State Aid and Statistics, is working on an “accounting for dummies” manual that’s based on the kinds of questions arriving from libraries. She suggested that contracting on a regional basis for audits could save money. For cost savings, libraries also might go to a public accountant (PA) for audits instead of a CPA.

Eileen stated that a library can withhold providing special requests (holds and ILLs) for library materials from people outside the library’s service area. A vigorous discussion on this topic took place.

For cost savings it’s recommended that any system or district collaborate with others and plan to purchase OverDrive as a larger group and not as an individual system/district. OverDrive is open to this. Their customer service and tech support are superior to that of NetLibrary (which was just bought by EBSCO from OCLC.) There is discussion that a statewide OverDrive group could help us to reduce costs and increase service.

State-wide Integrated Library System (ILS) Task Force presented by Susan Pannebaker, Director, Bureau of Library Development, and Lisa Rives Collens, Schlow Centre Region Library.

Here are the handouts from that presentation:


Briefly, the ILS Task Force launched its work 5 months ago. The goals include statewide resource sharing and delivery. This is about the customer. Please see the handout for important details.

John Houser shared information on Evergreen, the open source software that will be at the heart of the state-wide ILS we are striving for. Almost the entire state of Georgia uses Evergreen for its ILS. Currently Houser and associates are working with a pilot for the new system. A statewide ILS should allow for:
* Greater functionality
* Ability to customize the interface

We will share customers and bibliographic records statewide when this ILS is in place. Libraries will not be able to see data from other libraries unless needed. Evergreen will allow:
* Emailing a citation
* Creating private or public lists and tagging materials
* Adding comments to an individual’s record
* Including reviews

Holds will be managed by Evergreen. Reports are created centrally and made available to libraries. We don’t yet have a cost model that can help recognize potential cost savings for state-wide Evergreen usage. Acquisitions are currently not part of the Evergreen model under consideration.

Clare Zales reported that a good portion of PA will be involved with Evergreen in 4 years. Houser predicts that current Millenium Libraries will be offered to make the switch this fall.

PaLA Next Generation Progress Report,
presented by Jonelle Darr, Director of the Cumberland County Library System.

Here’s the handout: LiteraciesfromPALA

The vision document has been approved and the task force is developing funding options. Meetings were held with 4 gubernatorial candidates.

State Budget Advocacy
Glenn Miller provided a state budget update. Pennsylvania’s 8.9% unemployment rate for February 2010 was the highest since the 1980’s. Glenn’s message: “Libraries are seeing the very people who need us the most. Don’t close us out. Help us restore more access to libraries for our constituents.”

Glen highly recommends person-to-person communication in sharing these messages.

If you have further questions about the DLC meeting happenings, or input to share, please comment or start a conversation.

District Library Meeting notes and summary

Posted in Distributions, Services - Consulting, Services - Delivery, Services - Interlibrary Loan, Services - Reference, Statistics on February 24, 2010 by Carrie
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Here is a copy of the packet that was distributed at the February district library meeting: Handout Packet Feb 2010

Read the notes here: February 2010 District Meeting

Next District Library meeting will be on May 19th at SIM–not ESA as was previously mentioned.

Tax Forms at your Library

Posted in Distributions, Services - Reference on January 26, 2010 by Carrie
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Does your library have a great display of Tax Forms? Many public libraries keep a large stock of the basic printed forms, and also offer a place to access a public computer for online entry or printing of more complex forms.

Do you take advantage of the opportunity to share quick information about library services while they run in to grab the papers they need?

Libraries can also print and post this flyer near the tax forms. Your library can offer this FREE extra help for your low to moderate income patrons.
Free Tax Preparation Dates and Locations

Resources for low/no-cost health insurance

Posted in Distributions on June 10, 2009 by Carrie
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If you want to showcase information about low/no-cost health insurance in PA to your patrons, use this form to request materials related to CHIP (Children’s Health Insurance Program), adultBasic, and SpecialCare. highmark-blue-shield-materials-request-form

And share Highmark’s update if you’d like: highmarknewsletter06-02-09

In times of tight economies, public libraries are the place where people go to ask questions and research their options for making health care choices. Libraries can help by distributing information about these programs.

February District Library Meeting Notes

Posted in Distributions, General on February 28, 2008 by Carrie
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If you missed the District Library Meeting last week, never fear, your chance to read the notes and participate virtually is here.

Read the detailed notes from the meeting here: dlmnotesonagenda22008her.doc

This is YOUR CHANCE for easy input into the district negotiation process. If you DID NOT attend, please fill out the same survey that those in attendance took time to do here: Link to Negotation Survey. The results will be used in annual district negotiations. It is a chance, as well, to give your feedback about Netlibrary/Recorded Books e-audio and other electronic resources the district purchases.

These are attachments about live search that were distributed at the meeting:

To print a copy of the district library directory: Directory Link.

Get a FREE Toolkit for U.S. Citizenship

Posted in Distributions on October 05, 2007 by Carrie
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Request 1 copy of a free Civics and Citizenship Toolkit, with educational materials that will help permanent residents learn about the United States and prepare for the naturalization process, from  the Task Force on New Americans, a federal partnership that includes the Institute of Museum and Library Services.   Public libraries can visit http://www.citizenshiptoolkit.gov to register for 1 free copy of the toolkit.

 As your district library center, I have requested one copy of the toolkit.  When it arrives, I’ll display it for all so you can decide if you want to request it for your library too!