OLOS Columns ALA's Office for Literacy and Outreach Services

2Oct/14Off

ABOS Conference in San Diego to explore innovation beyond library walls, doing more with less

Submitted by: Marianne Thompson, Fountaindale Public Library, Bolingbrook, Ill.; Board Member, Association for Bookmobile and Outreach Services (ABOS)

ABOS logoThere is still time to join us in sunny San Diego, CA for the annual ABOS conference! Each year, the conference brings together library staff from across the country to meet and collaborate on how we provide Outreach library service to our library patrons. The programs are awesome and informative! Networking opportunities with colleagues are the best of any conference!

Conference sessions this year include:

• The Keynote Address by Dr. Derek Attig: “Here Comes the Bookmobile!”
• Featured author is T. Jefferson Parker, author of the “Charlie Hood” series. His latest novel, Full Measure will be published in October.
• (Never stop) Rethinking Service
• Sharing memories: Using Reminiscence Activities with Senior
• Configuring a Great Outreach Vehicle
• Why Don’t We Make It on the Road: Translating Maker Spaces into Library Outreach
• Children’s Program Ideas for Outreach from your Bookmobile

Local area bookmobiles will be on display during the conference. Conference attendees can visit the vehicles and talk with staff about their Outreach service.

Vendors include: Summit Bodyworks, OBS Specialty Vehicles, Farber Specialty Vehicles, LDV, and TriVan Truck Body.

To attend the conference please send an email to Eletha Davis, President of ABOS at: abospresident@gmail.com or Pattie Johnson, Vice President of ABOS at: abosvicepresident@gmail.com.

Cost of the conference is: $200 for a single day registration; $300 for the full conference for ABOS members; $400 for non-members. Hotel accommodations can be made at: Bahai Resort / 998 W Mission Bay Dr, San Diego, CA 92109 / 800-916-4339.

11Sep/14Off

Award-winning New Orleans “Book Lady” dreams of a bookmobile

copel

Laurence Copel

Submitted by Laurence Copel, Lower Ninth Ward Street Library, New Orleans, LA

New Orleans has a problem.

Actually one could say it has many: one of the worst high school drop out rate in the nation, the highest level of crime per capita in the U.S., the highest number of people incarcerated in the world and … no bookmobile!

While these things may not seem related, those of us who promote library outreach know better. They know that research shows that children thrive when exposed to play and literacy at an early age, and that parents and caregivers of young children who themselves lack literacy skills feel powerless in giving their children and early start with books.

Which is why Laurence Copel, youth librarian, founder of the Lower Ninth Ward Street Library and the first-ever recipient of the Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced with Adversity, is looking to upgrade her bookmobile.

Ms. Copel moved to New Orleans in 2010 but her career in library outreach began in 2000 in New York City, where she worked for 10 years as a youth outreach librarian for the New York Public Library, and started early childhood literacy and teen outreach programs at the city’s Rikers Island jail.

trike

The book trike

When she arrived in New Orleans, a city still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Katrina, she saw a critical need to provide books to the children of her community through library outreach services. She went to the management of the local public library, but was told there was no budget for outreach. So in 2011, while working part time as a school librarian and as a storyteller for the Prime Time Family reading time program, she founded the Lower Ninth Ward Street Library. In 2013 she bought a house, which she converted in part, into a children’s library. She also acquired a front loading tricycle, which is currently the only operating bookmobile in Orleans parish and she held the first annual krewe of Ex Libris book parade.

Since 2011 she has donated close to eight thousand books to the children of New Orleans.

In 2014, Ms. Copel’s efforts were recognized during the 2014 ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas, where she received plaudits from the leaders of America’s oldest and largest library association.

However, there is still much to be done.  The tricycle, while adequate to serve most of the lower Ninth Ward, cannot travel over the bridges spanning the industrial canal.

She is currently looking for a vehicle, customized golf cart, scooter, horse and buggy or even a real motorized bookmobile to go to other parts of town where the need is still greater. Ms. Copel has been blessed with many generous book donations and seek to expand her outreach to other New Orleans neighborhoods that have high levels of poverty and crime, low levels of literacy, and little to no access to library services.

To learn more about the Lower Ninth Ward Street Library, and to donate to help make Ms. Copel’s bookmobile dream a reality, please visit the library’s website at http://www.lower9streetlibrary.org/ or it’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/LowerNinthWardStreetLibrary.

28Oct/13Off

On the Road with The American Dream Starts @ your library: Berwyn Pubilc Library

By John Amundsen, OLOS Program Officer

The American Dream Starts @ your library blog header

Exclusive OLOS Columns Series

On Tuesday, Oct. 22,  OLOS visited its second library as part of our On The Road series, this time to Berwyn Public Library in Chicago's West suburbs. Over half of population in the area served by BPL  speaks English as a second language. To meet this need, BPL applied and received funding from The American Dream Starts @ your library initiative, which it in turn used to increase its adult literacy collection, purchase technology including iPads and a smart screen, and provide citizenship courses in the library.

On the day of our visit, BPL hosted a mock citizenship interview with Amy Stern with the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service for both students and tutors, in order to provide a better idea of what to expect during the interview and how best to prepare.

The newest American Dream libraries join a cohort of 100 previously funded programs in Dollar General communities. These American Dream libraries built easily replicable programs, developed coalition-building strategies and provided annotated lists of proven resources for libraries across the country serving adult English language learners.

15Oct/13Off

On the Road with The American Dream Starts @ your library: Schaumburg Township District Library

by John Amundsen, OLOS Program Officer

The American Dream Starts @ your library blog header

Exclusive OLOS Columns Feature

On Friday, September 20th, the OLOS team had the honor of attending the third Naturalization Ceremony held at the Schaumburg Township District Library in Chicago's Northwest Suburbs.  STDL is a two-time recipient of The American Dream Starts @ your library, a grant initiative from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation and ALA geared towards the improvement and promotion of library service to English language learners in areas served by Dollar General stores.  In 2013, ALA selected 44 public libraries in 21 states to receive one-time grants of $5,000 to $15,000 to add or expand literacy services for the adult English language learners in their communities. This funding will help libraries build their print and digital ESL collections, increase computer access and raise the visibility of library services for immigrant populations.

The newest American Dream libraries join a cohort of 100 previously funded programs in Dollar General communities. These American Dream libraries built easily replicable programs, developed coalition-building strategies and provided annotated lists of proven resources for libraries across the country serving adult English language learners.

During our visit, Michelle, Zina, and I saw first hand the amazing things that STDL is doing for English language learners in their communities. Here's a video outlining our visit, as well as an overview of all the ELL services STDL provides, with literacy coordinator Pat Barch.

The American Dream Starts @ your library(r) is made possible through generous funding from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. 

Books_DG_Litfinal

8Aug/13Off

Seek the Unknown @ your library during Teen Read Week 2013!

Join the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) in celebrating Teen Read Week 2013 by becoming an online community member of the official Teen Read Week website www.ala.org/teenread. This year, Teen Read Week takes place Oct. 13- 19 with a theme that encourages teens to ‘Seek the Unknown @ the library’ by reading for the fun of it.

Teen Read Week (TRW) is a time to celebrate reading for fun while encouraging teens to take advantage of reading in all its forms — books, magazines, e-books, audiobooks and more. It is also a great opportunity to encourage teens to become regular library users.

Visitors can now sign up to become members for free and access a variety of resources that will help them encourage teens to celebrate reading. These include:

  • Planning tools: Activity and planning ideas, publicity tools, checklists;
  • 2013 theme logo: Members can download a low-res version of the Seek the Unknown logo;
  • Showcase: Share your TRW events and ideas while also adding your library to the Google map;
  • Products: Find official TRW themed products such as posters, bookmarks, the Teen Read Week manual and more at the ALA Store;
  • Forums: Talk to others and share ideas, plans and resources for Teen Read Week.

Visitors are highly recommended to sign up and become members of the site as it is the best way to utilize all the resources made available for Teen Read Week.

Furthermore, registered members of the Teen Read Week website are offered an array of great opportunities such as participating in a free webinar and winning one of four sets of books, courtesy of our 2013 TRW sponsors.

Teen Read Week™ is a national adolescent literacy initiative created by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). It began in 1998 and is held annually during the third week of October. Its purpose is to encourage teens to be regular readers and library users.

15Mar/13Off

Affiliate Notes: ABOS president reflects on the value of library outreach

Martha Buckner

Martha A. Buckner, President
Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services

For the past decade I have been actively involved in the Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services (ABOS), an affiliate of ALA.  In that time, I have met hundreds of outreach enthusiasts, but I’ve never met two that “do outreach” the same way! 

Bookmobile service in the United States dates back to 1905 when the first horse-drawn library book wagon was introduced in Hagerstown, Maryland. However, library outreach service was already being offered by libraries that placed deposits of books in post offices, schools, and general stores.

Perhaps the most extreme case of mobile library outreach service was the Pack Horse Library Project of 1935.  Women riding horses or mules traveled through remote areas of Eastern Kentucky delivering library materials to homes and schools.  (Makes my modern bookmobile seem positively luxurious in comparison!)

In 21st century America, library outreach can mean serving the disenfranchised, the under-served, the physically and mentally disabled, and the incarcerated.  Libraries offer outreach service to persons physically distanced from the library, persons who lack access to transportation, and persons who are homebound.

Ashland PL's Bookmobile

Some libraries do outreach with modern coach-style bookmobiles.  Other libraries use box trucks or vans.  And some librarians use their own personal vehicle to deliver library service to members of their community who are unable to visit the brick-and-mortar library.  Mobile libraries offer more than just books - they provide:

  • Storytimes for preschool children.
  • A safe place to for kids who may not have any safe spaces in their lives. 
  • An air-conditioned respite on a scorching hot day.
  • A librarian with a sympathetic ear who will listen to the heartache and disappointment voiced by a single parent, raising a grandchild and caring for an elderly parent at the same time.

But outreach can mean much more than the delivery of books and other materials.  Outreach by definition means “the act of extending services, benefits, etc., to a wider section of the population.”  Libraries can reach out to persons who come to the building by providing: 

  • Programs offered in a language other than English.
  • A stop on the transit bus line.
  • A hitching rail for a horse and buggy.
  • A haven for the homeless who must leave shelters during the day.
  • Resume and job-search skills for the newly unemployed.
  • Those who are vulnerable, on the fringes of society and may have few places to turn to. 

Like other library services, library outreach has its challenges of budget restraints and the escalating cost of resources.  Outreach is also challenged with getting the word out to the very people they want to reach. 

Those of us working in outreach do have a few things in common.  We all work tirelessly to find new people to reach, new ways to reach them, and new services to offer them when we do! 

Join us on April 17 as we celebrate outreach services and the men and women who provide them every day on National Bookmobile Day! 

http://www.whilbr.org/bookmobile/index.aspx

http://www.appalachianhistory.net/2011/01/pack-horse-librarians.html

Martha Buckner is the Supervisor for Bookmobile and Outreach at the Ashland Public Library in Ashland, Ohio. 

 

8Mar/13Off

New 2013 National Bookmobile Day Resources Available!

By John L. Amundsen, ALA Office for Literacy and Outreach Services

The fourth annual celebration of National Bookmobile Day is just around the corner, on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 – prompting libraries nationwide to begin their preparations!

ALA’s Office for Literacy and Outreach Services, the Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services (ABOS) and the Association for Rural & Small Libraries (ARSL) collaborate every year to assemble free downloadable and customizable resources to aid libraries as they plan their National Bookmobile Day activities and events.

We’d like to share with you some ways that you can make the most out of the free National Bookmobile Day resources available at www.ala.org/bookmobiles. This post will be the first in a weekly series that explains all of these resources and highlights notable examples of how they’ve been used in the past. This week, we’ll focus on the press release, proclamation, and letter-to-the-editor templates.

Marketing your NBD Events

As mentioned above, we've developed templates for libraries to issue a press release, letter-to-the-editor, and proclamation. All three of these documents are ready-made, meaning all you need to do is to add information about designated contact, library name, quote from local dignitary/library representative/etc., and any additional information you wish to include.

Before you move forward, you should ask yourself these questions:

  • Does your library have a PR department or designated publicity staffer?
  • Does your library have an established procedure for approving news items?
  • Do you have a designated spokesperson who can answer questions about the event, the bookmobile, and the library?
  • What local media outlets do you want to target?

Once you’ve answered these questions, you can move forward and develop an outreach plan which will outline deadlines and tactics.

Press Release Template – A press release is one of the basic tools you can use to reach out to local media and communicate news from your library. Once completed, the National Bookmobile Day release template is ready to be disseminated to local media outlets as news items.
In the event that your library system already has a PR department or designated publicity staffer, you can submit your release with them and take advantage of any pre-existing relationships that the department or staffer already has with the local media. Be sure that the department or staffer and spokesperson have talking points and information about the event – which can be downloaded at www.ala.org/bookmobiles.

Here are some examples of placed press release templates from previous NBD celebrations:

If your library lacks a PR department or designated staffer, you can do a quick scan of what outlets are there in your community. Once you’ve identified your local news outlets, look up the contact information for either the city or news desks and call the editor(s) and call them, introducing yourself as a representative of the library, apprising them of your library, your bookmobile, and the upcoming National Bookmobile Day festivities in your town. Building such relationships with local media can prove to be very valuable down the road.

Letter-to-the-Editor Template -  We’ve prepared a National Bookmobile Day Op-ed template for libraries to submit on behalf of a library or community leader that speaks to the occasion. Much like the press release template, the Op-ed template only needs designated contact information, an author to attribute it to, and any other information that you wish to include.

The procedures for placing an op-ed vary from outlet to outlet; you can either consult with your PR department or staffer if you have one, or contact the outlet directly – either through the city or news desk – and ask for information on submitting an op-ed article.

Proclamation Template - Want to make your National Bookmobile Day celebrations truly official? Consider approaching your local government officials and request that they proclaim National Bookmobile Day! We’ve developed a proclamation template which is ready to download at www.ala.org/bookmboiles.

Here are some examples of proclamations from past NBD events:

Additional Publicity Resources

Advocacy University

http://www.ala.org/advocacy/advleg/advocacyuniversity

Advocacy Clearinghouse – Media & Messaging

http://www.ala.org/advocacy/advleg/advocacyuniversity/advclearinghouse/mediaandmessaging

Library Advocate’s Handbook

http://www.ala.org/offices/ola/libraryadvocateshandbook

ALA Communications Handbook for Libraries

http://www.ala.org/advocacy/sites/ala.org.advocacy/files/content/advleg/advocacyuniversity/advclearinghouse/commhandbook.pdf

Share your Story!
Be sure to share your National Bookmobile Day stories, including programming ideas, media placements, and anything else of interest – either on the ABOS list, through the National Bookmobile Day Facebook fan page, Twitter (@bookmobileday, hashtag: #NBD2013), and the National Bookmobile Day Wiki on www.ala.org/bookmobiles.

Questions?
Questions? Comments? Concerns? For assistance, please contact the ALA Office for Literacy and Outreach Services at 1-800-545-2433, ext. 4294 between 9:00am and 5:00pm Central Time, or email olos@ala.org.

25Feb/13Off

(CANCELLED) EMIERT launches quarterly webinar series: 2/28 session to focus on library services for refugees

PLEASE NOTE: THIS WEBINAR HAS BEEN CANCELLED! WE WILL ANNOUNCE A NEW DATE VERY SOON. 

The ALA Ethnic and Multicultural Information Exchange Round Table (EMIERT) will be launching its new quarterly webinar series this Thursday, Feb. 28 from 1-2pm CT with an hour-long session focusing on library service to refugee populations. This special group of immigrants encounters many challenges as they adjust to their new life in the United States. Join Homa Naficy, Hartford Public Library, Director of Multicultural Services, and Sanja Bebic, Center for Applied Linguistics, Director, Cultural Orientation Resource Center as they lead a discussion on how libraries can help ease the transition of refugees and become a home away from home for new arrivals in your community.

Registration: $20 for ALA Members, $25 for non-members, and $120 for groups.

Click here to register.

11Jan/13Off

Engage with USCIS @ ALA Midwinter

by Dale P. Lipschultz, Ph.D., Literacy Officer, ALA OLOS

Mary Herrmann, the chief of USCIS’ Public Engagement division will facilitate a discussion on digital access to immigration resources and benefits at ALA's Midwinter Meeting in Seattle.

What: USCIS Engagement on Digital Access
When: Sunday, January 27, 2013, 3-4pm
Where: Washington State Conv. Ctr, Room 205

Click here to add it to your MW 2013 Schedule

In the very early years of the 20th century, my grandparents fled czarist Russia, traveled through Europe, sailed across the Atlantic Ocean, and ended up in Chicago. Their immigrant stories shaped and colored my childhood. I was always surrounded by adults who spoke many languages and told remarkable stories about their early years in ‘the old country’ and their harrowing voyage to America. Every family dinner ended with my uncle raising a glass and declaring in heavily accented English, “America, I love you!”

When my grandparents arrived in Chicago, they went to work, they went to school, and they went to the nearest public library. It’s been a hundred years since my grandparents came to the United State and more than 60 years since I heard these stories. Times have changed and the world has changed. One thing remains the constant…immigrants still rely on our public libraries for assistance, education, and at times, solace.

Our public libraries continue to provide information and resources for an increasingly diverse and steadily growing immigrant population. In large and small communities across the country public libraries have diverse collections in a myriad of languages. I know that the many branches of the large, urban Queens Borough (NY) Public Library has collections in every language from “Arabic to Urdu”… and that’s to be expected. Surprisingly, the Jackson County Library in small, rural Newport, Arkansas is expanding their ESL collections to meet the demands of their growing population of English language learners.

In addition, public libraries offer free and equitable access to technology. We know, that if you can get to the library you can get to a computer. Immigrants use library computers to write to family members scattered across the globe, read the online editions of their hometown newsletters, search for employment, access naturalization information and apply for citizenship.

As librarians, you’ve helped countless immigrants locate the resources they need to live, work, and thrive in America. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is profoundly aware of the essential and expanding role libraries play in the immigrant integration process. In fact, USCIS is developing an electronic system to accept more benefit requests online. They fully expect the public library to be a primary source of access to this online system. USCIS is interested in talking with librarians about the future of immigrants’ access to immigration services and benefits at ALA's Midwinter Meeting, in a discussion group called "USCIS Engagement on Digital Access," to be held on Sunday, Jan. 27 in room 205 of the Washington State Convention Center. The session will be facilitated by Mary Herrmann, chief of USCIS' Public Engagement Division.

Hosted by the ALA Committee on Literacy, ALA Office for Literacy and Outreach Services, and USCIS, this hour-long session will also be an opportunity for attendees to discuss potential citizenship education partnerships between USCIS and public libraries.

27Aug/12Off

REFORMA Book Donation Spreads Joy in 4 Countries

The recent donation of 500+ books by Hector Marino was a bigger gift than even he could have imagined.  The books were first brought to René Bue, Bilingual Outreach Coordinator at Hedberg Public Library in Janesville Wisconsin by Armando Trejo, then president of the REFORMA Midwest Chapter.  With René’s connections to international libraries, the books were about to take a journey to 3 different countries, where they would bring smiles to many children.

The first group to receive some of the books was the Friends of Emiliano Zapata in Emiliano Zapata, Chiapas, Mexico.  As noted on their Facebook page, the “Friends of Emiliano Zapata began with 14 people from the United States traveling to Chiapas, Mexico after Christmas 2010, to learn about the long-time work of our United Church of Christ among the Maya people of Chiapas, Mexico's poorest state. In 2012 we will return to complete a comprehensive assessment of health, nutrition, and resources, in order to start a process to promote sustainable wellness for the beautiful people of this rural community of Emiliano Zapata.”  According to member,  Shirley DiFrancesco, “A small group just returned from a trip down there and the books were greatly appreciated.”

             

 
 
(Pictures from the Friends of Emiliano Zapata Facebook page)

The Wisconsin/Nicaragua Partners of the Americas (W/NP) Lending Library program in Nicaragua also received a box of books.  These books will be sent to Nicaragua via cargo ship in the near future to use in some of the more than 17 lending libraries.

From the W/NP website (www.wisnic.org): “According to the World Bank, Nicaragua is listed among the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. Education efforts have improved over the years, yet at the present time, there are still approximately 300,000 children outside the educational system. The ability to read, write and understand printed material is a fundamental skill necessary for academic success, most employment and daily life in general. Access to quality reading material is nearly non-existent for many children.  The Lending Library project meets the acute need for accessible quality reading materials in rural and urban communities. The primary goal is to offer reading opportunities for children and adults in selected communities of Nicaragua. Being able to check out books and take them home encourage leisure reading and parental involvement in various reading environments (home, school and library.)”

 

 

 

(Pictures from Amy Wiza, W/NP)

The next program to receive books was Weave Hope Inc. in Santa Catarina Palopó in Guatemala.  Weave Hope’s founder, Erin Conway, came to Hedberg Public Library to pick up 2 boxes of boxes of books when she was home for a week in July.

According to the Weave Hope Facebook page, “Weave Hope Inc. is a non-profit founded to directly support literacy promotion in the community library Ru K'ux Na'oj in Santa Catarina Palopo, Guatemala.  Weave. Hope. Inc.'s mission is to promote a local and sustainable economic and educational circle in order to enhance the opportunities for academic advancement in the student and youth population for the Mayan village of Santa Catarina Palopó, Guatemala by providing support of traditional artisan crafts and the circulation of informational resources and learning support programs in a local library/community center that aids all levels of educational and community development.”

Weave Hope  Inc.  fills two specific needs in the village. It seeks to adapt and provide a market for these artisan creations as a means to increase a market for the women involved and provide an economic boost to the community as well as reinvesting the profit made on the sales into the support of the community library project. As a result, reinvesting in the village through educational resources and programs.

Since 2010 activities have centered on promotion of the library resources through reading contests, professional development provided by non profit literacy organizations working in Guatemala, principally Child Aid, workshops focusing on literacy instruction for teachers in the local primary school and community outreach. Weave. Hope. Inc. also officially formed in 2010, seeking primarily to solicit funds for a full time librarian, a larger space and the necessary furniture, tables, chairs, and bookshelves to house the growing student use.

 

 

 

 

(Photos from Erin Conway)

Ms. Bue was also able to keep some of the books to add to the Children’s Spanish collection at Hedberg Public Library and some to use as give-aways at their annual Día de los niños program in April.  This was a very generous gift that will change a lot of lives for children in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Mexico and locally in Janesville, Wisconsin.  ¡Muchísimas gracias Señor Marino!