Category Archives: Articles and Information

News in Brief

Big Talk from Small Libraries Call for Speakers Open
The call for speakers for the 10th annual Big Talk From Small Libraries is now open. This free one-day online conference is aimed at librarians from small libraries — the smaller the better! They are looking for speakers from small libraries or speakers who directly work with small libraries for seven 50-minute presentations and five 10-minute “lightning round” presentations.

Native American Treaties from the U.S. National Archives
Hundreds of Native American treaties have been scanned and are freely available online, for the first time, through the National Archives Catalog. Also, in partnership with The Museum of Indian Arts and Culture (MIAC), these treaties and extensive additional historical and contextual information are available through Treaties Explorer.

REALM Project Toolkit Materials Available
The REALM (REopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums) Project has made available the first in a series of materials to help support the interpretation and use of REALM project resources. These materials include REALM 101 (about COVID-19 and the project), a checklist for decision-making, and visual aids comparing all REALM test results thus far

REALM Webinar Recording: Caring for Your Resources During COVID-19
Amid COVID-19, many archives, libraries, and museums are reopening and expanding access to services in their communities. The challenges of reopening during a pandemic have led to many questions about the handling of materials as well as the management of building operations. From allowing the virus to die naturally, to using disinfectants, to applying UV light or heat treatment—there are many options to consider. This on-demand WebJunction webinar from the REopening Archives, Libraries and Museums (REALM) project shares how some organizations are implementing policies and procedures around the use of these various treatments and considerations that could inform your own local decisions.

ACRL 2021 Conference Going Virtual Due to COVID-19
The Association of College and Research Libraries’ (ACRL) Board of Directors announced today that the face-to-face portion of the ACRL 2021 Conference scheduled for April 14-17, 2021, in Seattle, Washington, has been canceled because of the serious health risks posed by COVID-19 but will continue as a virtual-only event. The virtual ACRL 2021 Conference will be held over approximately the same dates in April 2021. More details about the virtual conference are forthcoming.

Advocacy Survey for Public Library Archives and Special Collections Employees
Public Library Archives and Special Collections Employees are invited to participate in this national survey, created by the Public Library Archives and Special Collections (PLASC) Section of the Society of American Archivists. This survey is being re-released in an effort to reach a larger number of U.S. public libraries. After it closes on Friday, November 20, 2020, aggregated results will be made available on the PLASC website.

Bring Engineering and Engineers to Your Community (Virtually)
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) is partnering with the STAR Library Network (STAR Net) and its Project BUILD engineering program to invite public libraries across the country to participate in an exciting virtual engineering experience this coming November called Dream – Build – Create, an introduction to engineers and engineering for people of all ages, especially families and children. Your patrons will travel the world to see engineering in action, from the Great Wall of China, to solar car races in Australia, and underwater robots in the USA.

K-5 Teaching Resources from the National Archives
Educators often think of the National Archives as a place with resources for teaching the secondary grades or even older students. But elementary age students can work with primary sources too! You can find downloadable worksheets and more to walk elementary students through the steps of analyzing various types of primary sources available online from the National Archives.

10 New DocsTeach Activities Focus on Famous Patent Records
Are you teaching about the Industrial Revolution? Thinking about integrating STEM topics? Or looking for a short document analysis activity that could work for even elementary students in a remote/hybrid learning environment? The National Archives recently published 10 new activities on DocsTeach that focus on some of the most famous patent records from their holdings. The National Archives holds millions of patent drawings from the very founding of our nation through the late 20th century.

2020 YALSA Teens’ Top Ten Titles Announced
The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) has announced the official titles of the 2020 Teens’ Top Ten. The Teens’ Top Ten is a “teen choice” list, where teens nominate and choose their favorite books of the previous year. Teens aged 12-18 can nominate their favorite titles to be considered as a 2021 Teens’ Top Ten nominee via the public nomination form by Dec. 31.

The Ultimate Guide to Virtual Museum Resources, E-Learning, and Online Collections
The potential of online collections, virtual tours, and social media campaigns have always been there, but now the opportunity for impact is incalculable. This list compiled and continually updated by MCN offers access to endless open content, educational resources for e-learning, and virtual retreats to art, culture, and history around the globe.

Mission US Immerses Young People in U.S. History
Mission US engages young people in the study of transformational moments in American history. Each mission consists of an interactive narrative game and curriculum materials aligned to national standards. The games immerse players in rich, historical settings and empower them to make choices that illuminate how ordinary people experienced the past.

New Toolkit to Help Youth Experiencing Financial Insecurity and Homelessness
The Library Service to Underserved Children and Their Caregivers (LSUCTC) committee is devoting the 2020-2021 calendar year to creating a vibrant, dynamic toolkit that provides ALSC members with up-to-date resources for working with marginalized populations.  Each toolkit page will provide professional and leisure reading recommendations, support for programming, and materials for families. October’s LSUCTC Toolkit focuses on youth and families experiencing homelessness and financial insecurity.


Veterans History Project Celebrates 20 Years

20th Anniversary of Veterans History Project flyerFrom the Library of Congress

From November 6-14, the Library of Congress Veterans History Project will host a series of musical performances and discussion panels to inspire conversations around the collection as both an archival resource and a diverse repository of veterans’ experiences — a mission it has met for the past 20 years. The events will premiere on the Veterans History Project’s Facebook page.

See the schedule of events.

Congress created the Veterans History Project in 2000 to collect, preserve and make accessible the firsthand remembrances of United States war veterans from World War I through the more recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war.


The Logic Model: One Step at a Time

Reposted from Library Research Service

When your organization designs a program, service or experience, it’s helpful to think intentionally. What do you hope happens? How would you know if it did? Identifying outcomes is an important first step in planning and evaluating a program, service or experience. What do you need to do after you’ve identified outcomes? It’s helpful to have a model to guide you through your questions, what you hope will happen, how to best collect data, and how it all connects.

There are different types of guides for this process in the evaluation world. The logic model is the one most frequently used in nonprofits and libraries. The key to this process, no matter the model, is to think carefully about the outcomes you have specified, how those outcomes will be achieved, and how success will be measured.

The logic model outlines each component of a program, service, or experience. This article will discuss each component of the logic model using storytime programming as an example, which is shown below. Keep in mind that terminology and some of the components vary in different versions of the logic model, so what is shared here is not the definitive, one and only way to create a logic model. It’s one example.

Example of Logic Model

Inputs are the resources that go into making programs, services, and experiences possible. Almost anything we do in libraries requires staff time, funding or supplies. Staff training or background research could also be inputs.

Activities include the events, services, or experiences that you hope will achieve the outcome. One of the most important steps of this process is making sure the activities could realistically lead to the outcome. For example, in this logic model the outcome is “Caregivers and children learn early literacy skills.” What activities would make it possible for this outcome to happen? The storytime would need to include instruction on early literacy skills for children and parents to be able to learn them. Logical, right?

Outputs are the concrete results of the activities. They are usually things we can count, like the number of attendees at a storytime or circulation statistics.

Outcomes are how the participants are affected by their participation. Does something change for them? Do they know, believe or can they do something differently from before they participated? Many logic models distinguish between short-term, medium-term and long-term outcomes (also called impacts). In our example, a short-term outcome is the one shown in the diagram: caregivers and children learn early literacy skills. A medium-term outcome would be that caregivers and children enjoy reading together more. A long-term outcome or impact would be that children’s literacy skills improve. The outcomes build on each other over time.

Assumptions & External Factors
The programs, experiences, and services libraries provide exist within the complicated context that is our world. Assumptions and external factors are a place to capture some of that context. Assumptions are just that — the underlying ideas and values that come with us wherever we go. How do we think things work? We often share assumptions as a profession and questioning them can be uncomfortable. It is still important to explicitly discuss our assumptions because the project could go very differently than we planned due to a faulty assumption. External factors are those elements of the world that may play a big role in how the program, experience, or service works in real life. You can think of this as the environment where the project lives. In our case, right now the pandemic has an impact on all our projects.

Using a guide like the logic model can help you identify each component of the process and how it leads to the next step. Looking at everything sequentially helps you ensure that each piece works together to achieve your outcomes.

Further reading
Several sources informed this post. Refer you to them for more information:

Upcoming Webinar on Accessible Voting

Wyoming Assistive Technology Resources (WATR) is holding an Open Lab virtually on Wednesday, October 14, from 2 – 3 p.m. MDT to help those with disabilities learn about their voting rights. This free, online session will cover:

  • What accessible voting machines are available at your local polling place
  • What kinds of technology you can bring with you when you vote
  • Who can come with you to help you vote

From 3-4 p.m. feel free to stay on after the presentation ask questions of WATR staff about assistive technology WATR has available for short term loan to assist citizens at the voting booth.

Register here. Those who register prior to the session, will receive the link to join and handouts with resources related to accessible voting and voting rights for individuals with disabilities. Captioning will be provided.

Presenters will be Lori Regnier, Senior Program Administrator, and Robert Walters, Staff Attorney from Protection and Advocacy Systems, Inc.

Contact WATR staff with any questions at (307) 766-6187 or

October is Health Literacy Month

October is Health Literacy Month, a time for organizations and individuals to promote the importance of understandable health information. Your library is a great source for reliable, authoritative health information — here are some resources to help you spread the word.

  • The Public Library Association has compiled a list of items on how to observe Health Literacy Month, awareness and prevention for patrons, and professional development for library staff.
  • The Network of the National Library of Medicine has a webinar, program kit, ready-to-print promotional materials, social media graphics, and more on its National Health Observances page.
  • WebJunction has helpful information and an archived webinar, Health Literacy Begins at Your Library, with numerous related links and resources.

Do you know of other good Health Literacy Month resources? Please feel free to share in the comments.

News in Brief

Wyoming Game and Fish Department Offering Free Resources for Teachers
As schools come back in session this fall, whether that be in person or remotely, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department is reorganizing their Expo at Home webpage to serve as a resource for educators. Expo at Home features a webpage packed with years of online stories, videos and activities from the Department and partner organizations for all ages to expand their knowledge and skills important to Wyoming’s outdoor resources

Living Through a Pandemic: The AHC’s COVID-19 Project
The American Heritage Center’s COVID-19 Collection Project began in April 2020 as an effort to collect stories, photographs, poems, and other creative works that show the impact coronavirus has had on Wyoming. On their blog, they review what has happened in the eight months they’ve been collecting materials.

United for Libraries to Coordinate 15th Annual National Friends of Libraries Week
Friends of the Library groups and libraries across the country will be celebrating the 15th annual National Friends of Libraries Week Oct. 18-24, 2020. National Friends of Libraries Week offers a two-fold opportunity to celebrate Friends – promoting the group in the community, raising awareness and increasing membership, and giving libraries and boards of trustees the opportunity to recognize the Friends for their help and support of the library.

Resources for Teaching Westward Expansion
If you’re teaching about Westward Expansion this fall, the U.S. National Archives has a variety of primary sources and online teaching activities to add to your toolkit. You can find a variety of primary sources related to Westward Expansion before and after the Civil War on DocsTeach, our online tool for teaching with documents.

ALA Report on How Libraries Help the Formerly Incarcerated
The American Library Association (ALA) has released a new policy perspective report, Libraries & Reentry: The Importance of Public Spaces, Technologies, and Community to Formerly Incarcerated Patrons. The paper explores the role of libraries in the reentry process, focusing on how library services help reduce the probability of recidivism and ease some of the burdens associated with exiting prison or jail.

Celebrate International Games Week this November
Despite COVID-19, International Games Week (IGW) will take place from November 8-14, 2020.  Libraries of all stripes around the world are encouraged to sign up between now and October 24 to be eligible for a drawing for one of three special GameRT Loot Boxes.  This year will spotlight freely available print-and-play games and listing resources available for libraries to use to set up gaming events online.

Library of Congress Launches New Tool to Search Historical Newspaper Images
The public can now explore more than 1.5 million historical newspaper images online and free of charge. The latest machine learning experience from Library of Congress Labs, Newspaper Navigator allows users to search visual content in American newspapers dating  1789-1963.

Latinx KidLit Book Festival Online in December
The Latinx KidLit Book Festival is a virtual celebration of Latinx KidLit authors, illustrators, and books for all readers and educators. The festival will open its virtual doors from December 4-5, 2020, and present two free days of keynote sessions, Q&A events, and panels with your favorite Latinx authors and illustrators of picture books, middle grade, young adult, graphic novel, and poetry. The sessions are geared towards readers and educators everywhere.

Common Sense Media Offers Young Voters’ Guide to Social Media and News
Millions of young voters are gearing up to vote in November—many for the first time—but feeling overwhelmed by the constant barrage of information on social media. Commonsense Media has launched the Young Voter’s Guide to Social Media and the News: to help give all voters, and especially young voters, the resources and tools necessary to separate fact from fiction and make sense of election news and social media coverage.

Running a Virtual Event

Illustration: Couple meet up virtually by tablet to enjoy online partyReposted from Library Strategies
By Wendy Werdin

Somehow, it is the end of August. Somehow, I am still working in my spare room. I don’t even want to say “under normal circumstances” anymore, so I won’t. Fall is a busy season for The Friends and Library Strategies. At this point, I think it is understood that when I say: “we’re busy gearing up for our annual fundraising gala, Opus & Olives,” that what I mean is “We’re getting ready for another night of watching people present as the Roman-bust screen versions of themselves that we’ve all grown used to in the past six months.”

We’ve learned quite a bit about what it means to put together a virtual event, whether that event is an award ceremony for 900 or an intimate, moderated conversation between three authors that might have previously gathered 25-60 people in a library meeting room.

While we also continue to learn from our fellow nonprofit orgs as they roll out their own fundraising events –  things are changing all the time –  there are some things we’ve learned that I hope can be useful across the board.

DON’T try to replicate your in-person event.
We have found that shorter is better. Trying to contain the event to an hour seems to be a useful guidepost. To encourage this, we have found that some degree of pre-production is useful. That way, if you say five minutes for a speech, you can mean five minutes. Some spontaneity is lost, but the polish gained is worth it.

DO try to replicate the togetherness of your in-person event.
Togetherness can mean a lively (monitored) chat going at the same time, so everyone can react in the moment. We’ve found this to be a pretty incredible tool for audiences to feel as though they are all in the same space. Community can also be created with “value-added” items, like goodie bags given with ticket sales. Also encourage guests to post photos on social media. Your audience should see that they are “connected” with a group of other invested folks, especially in cases where people are rather familiar with each other. “Look at Emily wearing her I HEART the Library tee-shirt with a silly party hat on?! Isn’t it great?”

DO find a host or emcee with broadcast experience.
In another life, I did some voice-over work. Speaking into the void and reacting is bizarre. It is not at all like standing in front of a crowd and reading the room. Hiring someone who is used to broadcasting gets you the power of connection in a different way. Lean into the weirdness when it is appropriate. When we ran our Book Awards event last spring, we decided to just give in to the strangeness and “telethon” like atmosphere from time to time. It helped that our hosts were actors. (Trust me.)

And remember, when these virtual events go well, you have evergreen content that is an illustration of the kind of work your organization can do which should serve as outreach all on its own.

Good luck!

Resources to Help Your Library Create a Diverse Collection

Community, Connecting, Cultivating & Constructing Conversations Through Literacy Reading list document coverFrom the Idaho Commission for Libraries Scoop newsletter, Vol. 16, No. 9

Disability in Kidlit is dedicated to discussing the portrayal of disability in middle grade and young adult literature. Kidlit publishes articles, reviews, interviews, and discussions examining this topic from various angles — and always from the disabled perspective.

Diverse BookFinder is a comprehensive collection of children’s picture books featuring Black and Indigenous people and People of Color (BIPOC). They’ve cataloged and analyzed trade picture books fitting these criteria, published since 2002, to surface and create a unique circulating collection, a search tool, and a source of critical data.

Picture the Dream is the first exhibition of its kind to delve into the events, people, and themes of the civil rights movement through children’s picture books. The online portion of the exhibit includes teacher resources, a family discussion guide, and a book list and bibliography.

Seedlings Braille Books for Children contributes to literacy by providing visually impaired children equal opportunity to develop the love of reading. At this time, less than 20% of the 50,000 blind children in the United States are proficient in Braille. All too often, the written word has been inaccessible to them, and this is what Seedlings is working to change, by increasing the availability and lowering the cost of Braille books for

The American Sign Language (ASL) Stories Directory makes it easy to find hundreds of free videos of ASL retellings of favorite children’s books. Research shows that reading and signing stories together helps promote essential literacy skills for ALL children: deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing. Use the ASL Stories Directory to quickly find stories by a child’s age or by a book’s title.

Community, Connecting, Cultivating & Constructing Conversations through Literacy is a list developed by members of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA) and the Association for Library Service to Children’s (ALSC) Quicklists Consulting Committee. This list is intended to support conversations about dismantling systems of racial injustice.

Embracing Gender Identities is a booklist created to help support conversations about gender identity and expression. This list includes recommended informational picture books, as well as works of fiction and nonfiction, that challenge gender norms and explore the wide spectrum of gender identity. It includes additional resources for parents.

Wyoming on the ‘Roadmap to Reading’

National Book Festival 2020 posterReposted and adapted from the Indiana State Library

Like most things in 2020, the National Book Festival looks nothing like it has in the past. Last year, tens of thousands of attendees crammed themselves into long lines to meet their favorite authors. They joined hundreds of other literary buffs in giant halls at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. to watch interviews with Pulitzer Prize-winning writers and famous politicians. They snaked their way through the crowded vendor hall, picking up free bookmarks, posters, and other swag from the hundreds of booths and stages, all catering to the book-loving public who swarmed the festival in droves.

None of that is possible in this year’s COVID-19 reality. Instead, the festival has gone virtual. One thing that has always been true of the festival is that it is a free event, open to the public. This year, the public does not only include the people who can make it to Washington, it includes anyone with access to a computer. Virtual attendees will be able to explore nine author “stages” where more than 120 authors will be featured, including many who will be participating in live events where participants can interact with the presenters in real time.

In addition, the 2020 festival will include the Roadmap to Reading feature, a virtual iteration of the beloved Pavilion of the States attraction from years past. In past years, the Pavilion of the States was one of the most crowded areas of the festival. Each state and territory of the U.S. had a booth where they’d feature a special book, highlight local authors, and give away more swag than you could fit in one literary-themed tote bag. This year, each state will be presenting virtual content, including videos and poetry, at their virtual booths.

You can visit Wyoming at the 2020 National Book Festival by navigating to the National Book Festival’s website. Register to attend the festival, and once you are on the landing page, click on Discover Great Reads to explore as many states as you like, including Wyoming.

Wyoming’s booth will feature an interview with our 2020 Great Read author Cheryl O’Brien, as well as a state map and state firsts and our Digital Collection Suite of historical resources specific to the Equality State.

The 20th annual Library of Congress National Book Festival will be held online Sept. 25-27. For news and updates, follow the festival blog and subscribe to latest updates.

What’s Your Goal Here?

Wooden blocks form the words 'goal, plan, action, result'Reposted from Library Research Service

Every day we assess the world around us. We ask ourselves whether that decision we made was a good idea, what makes that person trustworthy, why we should or should not change something. We form a question in our head, collect data, analyze the information, and come to a conclusion. In short, we are all experienced evaluators!

However, that doesn’t mean setting up an outcome-based evaluation is a cake walk. It’s important to apply structure to the subconscious process occurring in our head. So where should you start? At the end. That might sound counterintuitive, but the first step in an outcome-based evaluation is figuring out how you define success for your program or service—what do you hope to achieve?

Think of a program or service you want to evaluate. It could be something already being offered in your library, or something new. What do you want your users to know/do/understand/believe after participating in the program or experiencing the service? Remember that outcomes are goals framed around your users. It’s the impact you hope your service or program has on the people participating—the big “why” of your work.

I’m going to ask you to take a few minutes to think through some potential outcomes, but before I do, we need to talk briefly about outputs. Outputs are the tangible and intangible products that result from program/service activities. If we were talking about summer reading, an example of an output is the number of children who complete the program. So, we may aim to increase the number of completions this year by 20 percent. That’s a great goal right? Yes, but be careful not to confuse it for an outcome. Increasing completions, even though it’s addressing users, does not capture the impact we hope summer reading has on children who participate in the program.

So what would be a good outcome for a summer reading program? Here are some potential ideas:

  • Children choose to engage in a reading activity every day.
  • Children believe that reading is an important part of their daily routine
  • Children return to school without exhibiting effects of “summer slide”

In each example, the “who” is the user (children) and the “what” is the impact we hope the experience has on them.

Now it’s your turn! Take a few minutes to write down some potential outcomes for the program or service you’re thinking about. As you’re doing it, remember to ask yourself:

  1. Is it achievable? It’s great to have aspirational goals, but we want to choose something that can be achieved by the program, service, or experience you are offering. We all want to alleviate poverty, but a much more achievable goal might be to create economic opportunity or increase wage-earning potential for a certain target group.
  2. Is it framed around the user? Think about who you want to have an effect on. Be as specific as possible.
  3. Does it capture impact? Make sure to be clear in your outcome about what you want your user to know, do, believe, or understand by the end of your program or service.

Congrats! You’re on your way to being an expert evaluator. Having clear and defined outcomes is the first step to designing your evaluation plan.