Monday, March 20, 2017

Effects of cutting funds to the Institute of Museum and Library Services

Just received this email from Ohio State Librarian, Beverly Cain. 
Even if you're not from Ohio, it's worth the read. 
Even if you're not a librarian, it's worth the read. 

The following message is sent on behalf of State Librarian Beverly Cain:

Dear Colleague,

The White House has released its new budget blueprint, an advisory document that proposes increases in spending to military programs and national security, coupled with major decreases to—or the complete elimination of—many programs supporting museum and library services, scientific data and research, human health, and environmental safety; social uplift, education, and protection for the poor; international diplomacy, cooperation, and aid; and the arts, culture, and history. The House and Senate will now begin offering their own budget resolutions, and a long process of negotiation—informed by the will of the people, as expressed to our elected representatives—will ultimately result in Appropriations Committee legislation setting funding levels for agencies and offices.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has been targeted for elimination.  The Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) administered by IMLS provides critically important funding for our nation’s libraries. LSTA Grants to States is the largest grant program run by IMLS and Grants to States appropriations are distributed directly to each state and territory through a population-based formula. Each state identifies the most appropriate uses of these funds for library services and activities to meet their state’s economic, educational, civic, and demographic needs. The return on investment for this program is substantial and is enhanced by each state’s matching contribution. Many of the innovations taking place in America’s libraries today are a direct result of this vital and successful program.

In Ohio, federal LSTA funds are used in ways that touch every community across the state.  The State Library supports the machine lending activities for the Ohio Talking Book program, serving the state’s blind and physically disabled population, with LSTA funding.  Licensing and management fees for the Ohio Digital Library are paid using LSTA dollars.  The SEO Library Consortium is partially subsidized with federal LSTA funding.  A core set of high quality, relevant, and reliable library databases acquired and made freely available through the Ohio Web Library to all Ohioans through a partnership with OPLIN, OhioLINK, and INFOhio rely on substantial LSTA funding made available through the State Library of Ohio.  Many of Ohio’s school libraries were automated through INFOhio with the support of LSTA funds. 

The State Library of Ohio receives an LSTA appropriation of approximately $5 million per year.  If these LSTA dollars were no longer available in Ohio, the negative impact would be far-reaching and the following programs and services would be curtailed or significantly reduced:

  • EBSCO databases would disappear (or would have to be funded at the local level). The lack of LSTA funding to support the library databases jointly provided by the State Library, OPLIN, OhioLINK, and INFOhio would jeopardize the partnership and could potentially lead to elimination of the statewide availability of these resources.
  • Ohio Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled services supported by the State Library would be curtailed.
  • Public libraries would not receive summer reading materials and summer reading workshops would no longer be subsidized.
  • Ohio Digital Library, serving the patrons of 177 public libraries across the state, would no longer receive support from the State Library; member libraries would be required to pay a portion of the yearly software maintenance ($125,000).
  • Data available through the Public Library Survey would be minimal. 
  • Consulting services, such as strategic planning, space design, and youth services would be significantly reduced or eliminated.
  • State Library support for WebJunction would end and library staff would no longer have access to Skillsoft courses.
  • Competitive grants to support innovative initiatives in areas including Data Management and Analytics, Outreach and Partnerships, and STEM/STEAM, would no longer exist. 
  • The SEO Library Center would no longer be partially supported with federal funding, requiring the elimination of some services such as Technology Training on Demand.  Continuation of services would require increased financial support from SEO member libraries.
  • Leadership programs such as Library Leadership Ohio and ILEAD USA-Ohio would be eliminated.
  • The process of establishing the Ohio Digital Network as a service hub for DPLA would be significantly delayed or terminated.
  • Plans to use LSTA funds to support the Guiding Ohio Online digital literacy program once the grant funding from Serve Ohio ends in FY 2018 would be eliminated.
The loss of this critical funding would come at a time when state funding for Ohio’s libraries lacks the stability it needs to ensure that our libraries remain able to innovate, adapt quickly to local needs, and develop programs and services that enable all members of their communities to thrive.

As a federal government agency, IMLS cannot engage in any form of advocacy. However, they will continue to actively educate about the important role of IMLS and LSTA in serving our nation’s communities as they work closely with the Office of Management and Budget as the budget process continues.  I encourage you to sign up through the ALA Action Center to receive advocacy alerts, background information, and talking points about this important issue. Ongoing funding and policy updates from the ALA Washington Office also are available at the District Dispatch blog.  If you would like information about the amount of LSTA grant funding your library has received in recent years, please contact Missy Lodge or Cindy Boyden at the State Library of Ohio.


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

job hunting in 2017

The last time I was job hunting was 2012, and while that wasn't that long ago, it seems it.

I am a firm believer that you should update your resume every 4-6 months, including every speaking engagement, lecture, paper published, etc., so that when you are ready to job hunt you won't be stuck scratching your head about the details of what you've done since *insert year here.

On the other hand it's the cover letters--I've sent out at least 25-30 since I began my job search in September--that are giving me grief. I found some interesting articles this weekend and thought I would pass them along in case you are too!

12 Great Cover Letter Examples for 2017

31 Attention-Grabbing Cover Letter Examples

Saturday, February 25, 2017

the dead cat, or thoughts on leaving

A patron walked into our Library Tuesday and announced, "there's a dead cat in your front yard. Just thought you should know."

PrairieDawn and I walked out front, me wearing gloves and carrying a garbage bag, PrairieDawn with the shovel. We finally found the poor animal, laying seemingly asleep, under our front hedges. I thought I could be tough and just scoop the thing into a garbage bag and be done with it, but I started to cry, thinking of my own sweet cat probably asleep on my couch...These are the moments when I wish we had a maintenance man, or anyone else more capable than me, on staff.

We went back inside and thought about who we could call. I was for calling the local vet, when PD suggested we call one of our patrons who's a vet in the next city over,  but who lives in Sticks. He wasn't able to come by, but sent someone else to retrieve the poor animal later that afternoon.

I've been thinking about that exchange all week, our patron's kindness in offering to do the deed we couldn't; that it didn't seem odd to ask someone in town for that favor. I've been thinking about how working in a small town has been a blessing in so many ways, and how my time here has been filled with many challenges and yet so much joy.

My time (4.5 years!) at Sticks Library is drawing to a close. At our January Board meeting I announced both my engagement, and my intention to move to Chicagoland; at the February Board meeting I suggested they post my job by April which will give them ample time to find a replacement. We're still working on the particulars of my exit, and with so much in limbo I don't even know the details.

It's going to be hard to leave this job, to see an end to this time of my life. I came here not knowing how to run a library, and have managed to learn so much and have grown to appreciate this community, and how it's rallied behind our little library. I have made dear friends, who I will have to say goodbye to soon. I will have to say goodbye to my single life too. I am so excited to finally marry the man of my dreams, and begin the next chapter of my life, but there's a strange sadness in that too--the letting go of a life where I can do as I please with little accountability.

These are the thoughts swirling in my head this morning as the snow swirls outside...

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

multicultural reads

A friend just asked for a list of multicultural reads for 6th graders, and since reading multicultural books is so important I thought I would share it here.

Multicultural Reads for 6th Graders:

The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963, Christopher Paul Curtis
Esperanza Rising, Pam Munoz Ryan
Brown Girl Dreaming, J. Woodson (LOVED this book)
One Crazy Summer, Williams-Garcia
Inside Out and Back Again, Lai
The Cay, T. Taylor
Ties That Bind, Ties That Break, Lensey Namioka
Witch of Blackbird Pond, Speare
Chains (Book #1, The Seeds of America Trilogy), Anderson
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
Birchbark House, Erdich
Starry River of the Sky, Lin
Threads, Polonsky
Dancing, Alma Flor Ada
Tiger Boy, Perkins
Ninth Ward, Rhodes
Star in the Forest (story about illegal immigrants--timely), Resau
Boys Without Names, Sheth
How I Became a Ghost, Tingle

Thursday, January 12, 2017

So much yes

“You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going. What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.”
-Thomas Merton

Monday, December 26, 2016

It really happened...

So we got engaged on Christmas Eve.
During a walk in our favorite park, ChicagoBoy took me to a beautiful overlook and proposed. And of course, I said, "yes." 
And now I am in that golden glow of just not believing I really get to spend the rest of my life with this man. This wonderful, wonderful man. I am stunned. And overwhelmed. And so so happy.