Category Archives: Articles and Information

News in Brief

ALA Seeks Applicants for National Policy Corps
The American Library Association (ALA) invites library advocates to apply online to join the ALA Policy Corps before December 11. The Corps’ goals include developing policy experts available to the library community, ALA and the Public Policy and Advocacy Office, creating longevity in expertise and engagement in early to mid-career library and information professionals, and positively impacting national public policy in areas key to ALA’s strategic goals. Deadline to apply is December 11.

AASL Publishes Open Educational Resources (OER) Toolkit
The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) has released a new toolkit to help position school librarians in efforts to create and curate open educational resources (OER) that will extend their role as leaders within their schools. The OER Toolkit is freely available for download at The toolkit was developed to help school librarians who are grappling with how to translate the OER movement to K–12 educational settings.

Newly Digitized Veterans History Project Collection Showcasing Veteran Artists
Researchers, veterans and their families now have access to “Veterans and the Arts,” an online “Experiencing War” website feature highlighting the stories of veterans who pursued the arts during their post-military lives. This new feature includes nine digitized collections from the Library of Congress Veterans History Project (VHP) archive, each of which holds the first-person narrative of a veteran who used artistic endeavors — such as music, creative writing, sculpture, ceramic arts and even the culinary arts — to assist in the transition to civilian life after serving.

New Report: Public Libraries: A Community’s Connection for Career Services
Local public libraries serve an important role in the national workforce development system. Public libraries offer a range of career services, including résumé and cover letter support, job application assistance, interview preparation, training, and referrals to American Job Centers/other support services. A recent study from the Heldrich Center for Workforce Development chronicles the extent to which public libraries across the United States are providing these career services.

Research Confirms Value of School Librarians
The New York State Library has released a new Informational Brief, Roles of the School Librarian: Empowering Student Learning and Success. This compilation of research studies shows that the school librarian’s contributions are consistently shown to be of positive value to students, teachers, and the wider school community.

Share Your Censorship Story with the Office for Intellectual Freedom
The American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) encourages library workers to report censorship incidents and challenges to library or school materials and services that occurred in 2019 using an online form by December 31, 2019. Every submitted report provides crucial information that helps the office raise awareness and respond to censorship threats by creating resources for libraries. OIF is seeking information on challenges and removals of books, online resources, displays and DVDs. It is also seeking information on canceled or challenged programs, and the vandalizing of library materials. All personal and institutional information submitted through the online form is kept confidential.

Love Letters for Computers
Love Letters for Computers is a free, 10-part YouTube series intended for primary school educators, covering the basics of computer science with accompanying classroom materials. The videos cover things like hardware, I/O systems, networks, machine learning, as well as diversity & equity. The website includes 28 classroom worksheets, a teacher journal with prompts to reflect upon learning, and other resources to support professional development.

Free Online Programs on the Presidency Begin January 16
The National Archives and Presidential Libraries, National Park Service, Internet2 community, and cultural and historic organizations nationwide are offering the annual Presidential Primary Sources Project, a series of free, standards-aligned, 45-minute interactive videoconferencing programs aimed at students in grades 4-12. The series will run from January through March 2020. In addition to the interactive video component, each program will also be live-streamed and recorded for on-demand viewing. Free registration is now open.

Library Funding Depends on Census

new analysis released November 18 reveals that more than $1 billion in federal funding for libraries will be allocated to states based on the 2020 Census. Published by Professor Andrew Reamer of the George Washington Institute of Public Policy at George Washington University, the study pinpoints the financial impact the census will have on libraries.

ALA President Wanda Brown said, “This study demonstrates why a complete count in the 2020 Census is so important to libraries. A fair, inclusive and complete count in the 2020 Census means that libraries in each state will receive their fair share of federal funding.”

The population count in the decennial census determines the level of funding allotted to each state through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). The legislation’s Grants to States program provides federal funding to state library agencies to support libraries in their state. The program is one of more than 300 federal programs that allocates funding to local communities based on data derives from the Census.

In fiscal year 2019, Congress provided more than $160 million for LSTA Grants to States. Thus, if Congress provides level or increased funding each year over the next decade, the results of the 2020 Census will determine the allocation of more than $1 billion in funding for libraries.

For information on the impact of federal funds in Wyoming libraries, click here.

The American Library Association (ALA) has been preparing libraries for the impact the decennial census will have on local library resources and staff and is encouraging libraries to partner with community organizations to achieve an accurate count. ALA will hold a free webinar, “Library Programs and Partnerships in the 2020 Census,”on December 16, 2019, at 12:00 p.m. MST.

For more information on ALA efforts to support a fair, inclusive and complete count in the 2020 Census, visit Along with ALA’s Libraries’ Guide to the 2020 Census, the site includes links to webinars and tip sheets on specific topics related to libraries’ role in the census, such as outreach to historically undercounted groups and partnering with state and local Complete Count Committees.

To connect on social media, follow @ALALibrary#CountOnLibraries#2020Census.

Govinfo Tutorials and Handouts

From govinfo

Two of the many useful resources available on the govinfo help pages are tutorials and handouts.

The video tutorials offer guidance in navigating GPO’s govinfo for both novice and advanced users. Learn how to perform various types of searches, narrow search results, browse, and more. Recordings are brief—most under 10 minutes in length. Suggest a tutorial or handout!

Many other useful resources are available in the help section of the site, including a resource list, search tips, using search operators, URL structure, and detailed information on each collection.

ALA Launches Community Engagement Initiative

From the American Library Association

Community engagement — the process of working collaboratively with community members — provides a roadmap to creating sustainable, resilient organizations and communities. Small, rural libraries are nimble, responsive organizations that can work with their communities to create powerful community-led change.

Specially designed for the needs of small and rural libraries, Libraries Transforming Communities: Facilitation Skills for Small and Rural Libraries, a new learning series from the American Library Association (ALA), will help library workers develop facilitation skills to engage with their communities.

Through Libraries Transforming Communities: Facilitation Skills for Small and Rural Libraries, ALA and its project partners will release a suite of facilitation resources in 2020, including:

  • A five-part asynchronous online course, open to all library workers, free of charge. Sign up to be notified when each course module is available.
  • In-person training at the 2020 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago with follow-up coaching support; space is limited. Registration and travel stipends will be granted through a competitive, peer-reviewed application process. Apply now.
  • A step-by-step facilitation guide.

The online course, in-person workshop and coaching support are open to library employees who work in small/rural communities — i.e., communities outside of U.S. Census-defined urban areas that have a legal service area population of 25,000 or less, in accordance with the Institute of Museum and Library Service (IMLS) definitions.

All library types (e.g., public, college/academic, K-12) are welcome, and no facilitation or community engagement experience is required.

News in Brief

New Edition of Financial Assistance for Library and Information Studies Directory Available
Need financial assistance to attend library school or know of someone who does? Take a look at the 2019 Financial Assistance for Library and Information Studies (FALIS) Directory. It is an annual directory of awards from state library agencies, national and state library associations, local libraries, academic institutions and foundations that give some form of financial assistance for undergraduate and/or graduate education programs in library and information studies.

Advice on Updating Your Disaster Plan
Do you have a plan in place for when disaster happens? When thousands of gallons of water poured overnight from a mechanical room at the Rochester Public Library, staff opened the doors and found their auditorium had turned into a lake. In this blog post, they share the lessons learned from their experience and many pointers for other libraries.

Auditing the First Amendment at Your Public Library
According to the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom, individuals and groups are now targeting public libraries with self-described “First Amendment audits,” claiming a right to film in any space accessible to the public, arguing that they’re entitled to do so as taxpayers and citizen journalists. Do you have policies in place to address situations like this? Read the article to learn more.

ARSL Conference Handouts Now Available
The Association for Rural and Small Libraries has posted handouts and presentation materials from many of their 2019 conference sessions on their website. Topics include programming, displays, community engagement, fundraising, and more.

Pew Survey Released on Americans and Digital Knowledge
A new Pew Research Center survey finds that Americans’ understanding of technology-related issues varies greatly depending on the topic, term or concept. While a majority of U.S. adults can correctly answer questions about phishing scams or website cookies, other items are more challenging.

ALA receives Grant to Develop Library Entrepreneurship Centers
A new $2 million grant will enable the American Library Association to fund a cohort of 10 libraries with proven models to increase the number of business creators they serve from low-income and underrepresented backgrounds. Participating libraries will work to establish new partnerships with community-based organizations and further develop innovative models to bring their library’s resources out in the community.

Free STEM Curricula for Your Library
The National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center (NICERC) focuses on STEM curriculum design, computer science curriculum design, cyber curriculum, professional development, and collaboration in K-12 education. If your library is looking for a way to expand your current STEM offerings (or even if you are looking for a place to start), check out the free resources from NICRC.

Writing Boxes: The Reading/Writing Connection in Libraries
Writing Boxes: The Reading/Writing Connection in Libraries is a guidebook and source of programming inspiration for all librarians working with early to young adult readers. Librarians will find thematic, easy to implement, hour-long writing workshops that require only paper, markers, and excited young writers. Free as a PDF download; print copies available for purchase.

Graphic Novels & Comics Round Table Announces New Best Graphic Novels for Adults Reading List
ALA’s Graphic Novels & Comics Round Table (GNCRT) is pleased to announce the new Best Graphic Novels for Adults Reading List. The inaugural year of the reading list will highlight the best graphic novels for adults published in late 2019 and throughout 2020, increase awareness of the graphic novel medium, raise voices of diverse comics creators, and aid library staff in the development of graphic novel collections. The first list will be announced at the ALA Midwinter Meeting in January 2021. List selection will be determined by a committee of GNCRT members with a background in graphic novel selection and use for adults.

GPO & DPLA Partnering to Make Government eBooks More Accessible
GPO and the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) are partnering to make Government eBooks more accessible. Currently, GPO does not have an e-reader platform for its users to view the various formats of eBooks. DPLA Exchange, in addition to selling copyrighted materials, has a venue called Open Bookshelf. It provides a platform where openly-licensed eBooks are available for the general public. Through Open Bookshelf, GPO can provide a service model to meet the needs of modern-day users. There are over 500 eBooks available on the Catalog of Government Publications (CGP); partnering with the DPLA eBook program will help GPO to continue to achieve its goals.

Bullying Prevention Resource from STEPS
Student Training and Education in Public Service (STEPS) provides an easy-to-navigate website that includes advice about identifying and helping someone who is being bullied. It also has some helpful career information for those who’d like to work in public service industries. (Wyoming librarians take note: Learning Express Library in GoWYLD has test preparation for career exams. Find it at

Read Across America book calendar helps students find common ground
Every year Read Across America produces a calendar filled with diverse books and correlating teaching guides and makes this calendar available for free. Books and discussion can help to break down preconceived ideas and stereotypes. Get students reading, talking, laughing, and sharing to build a community where they all feel seen, heard, and validated.

An Hour of Code™ for Computer Science Education Week

The Hour of Code™ is a one-hour introduction to computer science, designed to demystify code and show that anybody can learn the basics through self-guided one-hour tutorials.

The Hour of Code takes place each year during Computer Science Education Week. The 2019 Computer Science Education Week will be December 9-15, but you can host an Hour of Code all year-round. Computer Science Education Week is held annually in recognition of the birthday of computing pioneer Admiral Grace Murray Hopper (December 9, 1906).

Instructions, planning resources and promotional materials are all available. The Hour of Code is organized by, a public 501c3 non-profit dedicated to expanding participation in computer science by making it available in more schools, and increasing participation by women and underrepresented students of color.

Learn more at

Communication Tips for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Patrons

Jo Otterholt

By Jo Otterholt, Resource Specialist
Wyoming Services for the Deaf Library

Our communities are becoming more aware of the diversity of the people that make-up their neighborhood. Libraries are a natural gathering place for neighbors, friends, and family members to greet each other and share resources. But how do libraries make sure that the person who does not hear well feels welcomed to share the same resources, when it is difficult for them to communicate? Libraries can make this person feel welcomed with a simple greeting wave and smile. But what else can you do to enhance this relationship?

  • Speak to the individual and not their interpreter or companion.
  • A deaf person may have preference for communication: interpreter, speech-read, pen/paper, mobile device, sign language, speaking for themselves, and maybe even gestures.
  • What worked for the last deaf patron, may not work for the next one.
  • Remember the deaf person is working hard to understand you, be patient and flexible to follow their lead of communication mode.
  • Don’t throw things at the deaf person to get their attention, a light tap or two on the shoulder will work. Or a gentle wave works too. If you need to get a group of deaf people’s attention, slowly turn off and on a light switch; fast toggling of the switch means there is an emergency situation.
  • Make sure you are fully engaged in the conversation: by facing each other, having adequate lighting, and be sure your mouth-lips-and-eyes area is not covered.
  • Don’t cover your mouth with finger or hand, chew gum or food, smoke, or even chew on a toothpick when conversing with a deaf person who is trying to speech-read.
  • A good speech-reader is only able to see 30% or fewer words or syllables of English words on the mouth. The other 70% of utterances, are unseen sounds made in the throat area. A good speech-reader is usually very knowledgeable of spoken language, and a good guesser from the context of the topic.
  • Be aware of what the rest of your body language is doing while a deaf person is communicating with you — jiggling your leg, hands in pockets, eyes focused somewhere else. Don’t fake it — be a natural listener. Your eyes and body are more honest of your sincerity than your ‘talk.’
  • If the deaf person asks for you to repeat something, do so. However, after repeating the same phrase 2-3 times, rephrase what you are saying. (“That dog is fast”, rephrased to, “That’s a fast dog.”)
  • Don’t shout! It looks aggressive and sometimes is scary. Speak in a clearly enunciated, normal-paced manner of your usual speaking voice. Only increase the volume of your voice, if you are asked to.
  • Be aware of noises and lighting around you. You may need to move to a quieter place, or away from a dark area and flashing lights.
  • Deaf people like to laugh, even if you have to repeat, share your jokes or teasing with them.
  • Don’t use inappropriate slang gestures or words, unless you explain their meaning first.
  • If you should suddenly need to move or leave, tell the deaf person what is happening or where you are going. Remember they didn’t/can’t hear that you were paged on the intercom, or that the fire alarm just went off.
  • Make sure areas in your environment are clearly marked with signs, so the deaf person doesn’t have to ask directions and can maintain their independence. The sign should have a simple icon on it in addition to the printed word.
  • Use two pencils and a notepad or paper for communicating in writing. Sharing paper AND a pencil can be cumbersome, whereas it is easy to pass the paper back and forth, while keeping the pencil in your hand.
  • Mobile devices are increasingly being used as a communication tool. If a deaf person prefers to speak, s/he may use a mobile app that provides text from speech on the screen via Live Transcript or Otter apps. Or they may use the mobile device to connect to an interpreter, who is signing what you are saying and providing audio for what the deaf person signs. Follow their lead. After all, the deaf person communicates everyday with hearing people, whereas this may be your only deaf person to communicate with today or week.
  • Have a sign language dictionary handy for the deaf person to use should they ask for one. (See a list of recommended dictionaries below.)
  • If you have a TV playing, make sure that closed captioning is on. Consider playing a sign language DVD.
  • Consider designating a computer with Google Hangouts with closed caption turned on, or adding a captioned phone in your library for your deaf clients use.
  • If you have a public meeting planned in the library that you know your deaf patron would like to attend, contract for an sign language interpreter, or provide a mobile device/or laptop for the deaf person to read the transcription on. Ask the deaf person their preference. You will need to download a reliable app such as Live Transcribe or Otter. If you plan to record from this transcription app, let all attendees know at beginning of meeting. You may opt to provide a print-out of the transcription to all attendees.

Following are some free apps that your patron may be using, or you may want to check out for yourself:

  • Live Transcribe – free from Google Play (voice to print)
  • Otter – free for both Apple and Google Play (voice to print)
  • InnoCaption – both Apple and Google Play (voice to print)
  • Skype – Video + audio calls on mobile device from both Apple and Google Play
  • P3 Mobile for Androids – make phone calls with help from signing and voice interpreters
  • Convo Mobile – free video relay services for Apple and Android
  • Speech2RTT – free from Google Play (voice to print)
  • Connect by BeWarned – speech to text from Google Play only


  • Gordon, Jean. The Gallaudet Children’s Dictionary of American Sign Language,
  • Valli, Clayton. The Gallaudet Dictionary of American Sign Language
  • Sternberg, Martin L.A. American Sign Language: A Comprehensive Dictionary.

Jo Otterholt and her twin were born with bi-lateral profound hearing loss, which was not discovered until they were four-years-old. They were educated in the days before Special Education was available in schools. Now they both wear cochlear implants. Jo works for the Wyoming Department of Education at the Wyoming Services for the Deaf Library in Casper.

Library of Congress Launches Constitution Annotated

The Library of Congress launched a new website — — for the Constitution Annotated, the authoritative source for how the Supreme Court has interpreted the Nation’s governing document.

With advanced search tools and a modern user-friendly interface, the new website makes the 3,000 pages of the Constitution Annotated fully searchable and accessible for the first time to online audiences, including Congress, legal scholars, law students, and anyone interested in U.S. constitutional law. Learn more.

Download Women’s Suffrage Posters

Last month, Rightfully Hers pop-up displays from the National Archives began arriving at schools and cultural institutions nationwide. The display contains simple messages about the expansion of the vote to millions of women, before and after the 19th amendment, and its impact today.

If you didn’t receive one, you can download the high-resolution posters for your school or institution from the U.S. National Archives website.

The ratification of the 19th Amendment was a landmark moment in American history that dramatically changed the electorate. It enshrined in the United States Constitution fuller citizenship for women and a more expansive democracy for the nation.

More Than 100,000 Sign Petition Against eBooks Embargo

You may have heard news lately about library ebook lending. Beginning November 1, 2019, Macmillan Publishers plans to restrict library access to ebooks. The publisher will limit libraries to purchasing only one copy of each new ebook title for the first eight weeks after its release. Additional copies will then be available for two years of access at library pricing, which is considerably more expensive than consumer pricing. Public Libraries Online recently posted an article that details the potential impacts to libraries.

Because this is a publisher-level restriction, it will affect any ebook or audiobook platform. For Wyoming libraries, this means patrons could experience long waits for the latest MacMillan titles in CloudLibrary, RBDigital, and OverDrive.

The latest press release from the American Library Association (ALA) notes that in just one month, their #eBooksForAll campaign has garnered more than 100,000 signatures from readers, authors, library staff and patrons from all 50 states to condemn Macmillan Publishers’ plan to restrict library access to eBooks.