- Foundation supports purchase of Lego Mindstorm kits for traveling makerspace
- SCLS Foundation announces new library awards
- Member/Staff News
- Register for Adult Programming Unconference on Sept. 10
- It’s not too late to register for Aug. 28 trustee workshop
- Libraries can request ‘Waking in Oak Creek’ DVD screening kit
- ALA, Smithsonian announce ‘Exploring Human Origins’ traveling exhibition opportunity
- Continuing Education Calendar
Foundation supports purchase of Lego Mindstorm kits for traveling makerspace
Makerspaces in libraries are gaining in popularity across the country, and a recent commitment of the SCLS Foundation Board to contribute $3,975 will soon benefit libraries across the South Central Library System.
Makerspaces are most often thought of as a dedicated space within a library for activities that involve creating something. It might be something as high-tech as a 3D printer that lets people bring their designs to life, or it might be instruction about sewing, quilt making, beer brewing, gardening, or any number of crafts or hobbies.
Unfortunately, most public libraries don’t have the option of devoting permanent space to such a use, and that is where a new traveling “makerspace kit” will come into play. The $3,975 will be used to purchase 10 Lego Mindstorm kits that will be available to all member libraries. Leftover funds will be set aside to purchase replacement parts when needed.
Combining the versatility of the LEGO building system with advanced technology, older children and younger teens can create and command Robots that walk, talk, think and do anything they can imagine. Step-by-step 3D building instructions allow for the creation of five different robots -- TRACK3R, R3PTAR, SPIK3R, EV3RSTORM and GRIPP3R -- which are then brought to life with an easy, intuitive and icon-based programming interface. These robotic kits combine the fun of building with Legos while learning about science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The Lego Mindstorms website is a resource to ask questions, get ideas, and compete in online challenges. It is a fully moderated community that is a safe, fun environment for robotic builders and programmers of all ages to share and learn.
This year’s planned purchase is a continuation of the Foundation’s goal of making investment proceeds available to benefit member libraries. For the past two years, and again in 2015, the foundation has made money available to purchase ebook titles for the OverDrive collection (Wisconsin’s Digital Library at http://dbooks.wplc.info).
However, the Foundation Board decided that it wanted to do something in addition to that, so members approached the SCLS Innovation Subcommittee for ideas about how to use the funds, and that body (made up of member library representatives and SCLS staff) recommended the Lego Mindstorms project.
Each of the kits can build five different robots, and Innovation Subcommittee member felt that 10 kits was an ideal number that will allow for creative programming in all participating libraries. SCLS will include a laptop computer with the kit, and students can also use smartphones or tablets to download and use a Mindstorms App with the robots.
Libraries do amazing things as they work to meet the needs and wants of the residents they serve, and in 2014 the South Central Library System Foundation is introducing three new awards to recognize those innovative efforts.
Join us on Thursday, Nov. 20, to find out which libraries will be the recipients of these new awards, which will be presented as part of the 2014 Cornerstone Award fundraising reception from 5:30-7 p.m. at the 5100 Bar, 5100 Erling Avenue in McFarland (www.5100bar.com).
The new awards include:
- Super Awesome Library Award—For the library that was overall awesome in 2014. Maybe they handled a tough situation with grace. Or took a new approach. Or found a lot of money under a rock and did something really cool with it. Or got a lot of local support and kudos because they play well with others. Or are just plain super awesome every day.
- Program Wizard Award—For a super creative, innovative and fun library program created by library staff. In the library or out. For babies or seniors or anyone in between. A one-off or a regular series. If Dumbledore thinks it’s worthy of Wizard status, nominate it!
- What a Great Idea Award—Have you ever heard yourself say “Wow! What a Great Idea” to a fellow library nerd? Then nominate that great idea for a Great Idea Award.
To nominate a library for one of these awards (or multiple awards), visit http://www.sclsfoundation.org/cornerstone/awards.html. All awards will be announced during the 2014 Cornerstone Award fundraising reception, Nov. 20 at the 5100 Bar in McFarland.
Lauren White (at right) is the new director at New Glarus Public Library, effective Monday, Sept. 25. Lauren graduated from Missouri State University in May 2010 with a BA in English Literature, then earned her MLS from Valdosta State University in Georgia in May 2013. From May 2012 until accepting this position she was the teen services librarian at the Mid-Continent Public Library in Independence, MO, and prior to that she served as a substitute library clerk and library page. From January through October 2011 she was an archives assistant volunteer at the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library in Independence, MO, and from July 2010 until present she was an outreach and education volunteer with the Kansas City Anti-Violence Project. Lauren has also served as a member of the Missouri Library Association Intellectual Freedom Committee since January 2012.
The Spring Green Friends group gives away children’s books at the Spring Green Food Pantry, an outreach project that also lets the recipients know that they can get a Library Card very easily. The Food pantry meets once a month (two different sessions) and many, many residents have received gently used books -- and information about the Library. This is a new program started last Spring.
An Adult Programming Unconference will be held Sept. 10 from 9 a.m. until noon at Middleton Public Library. The Unconference, which is an opportunity to talk with peers about adult programming, is being sponsored by the SCLS Library Innovation Subcommittee.
As part of the planning for the Unconference, and the Innovation Subcommittee’s current focus on Adult Programming, SCLS has created a new Programming Resources Page that is a work in progress. In support of the Sept. 10 Unconference, we have also created a page where more information will be posted.
You can register for the Adult Programming Unconference by visiting the SCLS Continuing Education Calendar.
The South Central Library System (SCLS) Board of Trustees has scheduled a special Aug. 28 program titled “How to improve Library Visibility in Your Community.” It is open to all library trustees serving SCLS member libraries.
Public libraries bring value to our communities through educational programs, and free access to a wealth of resources including books, media computer technology, and expertise of our library staff. Libraries also provide public space for people to gather for learning, community projects, and contemplation. Yet public officials continue to ask if the public library has a future “now that everything is available on the Internet.”
Library trustees must be proactive in telling their story to those who can help keep our libraries strong and vibrant for our communities. This workshop will cover topics such as:
- Improving your visibility in the community
- Being an effective advocate for your library in your community
- Influencing your primary donors: municipal, town, and village officials who fund your library
Presenter Kathy Pletcher serves as Chair of Wisconsin Library Trustees and Friends (WLTF), is President of the Brown County Library Board, is a trustee of the Nicolet Federated Library System, and is co-chair of the Wisconsin Library Association’s Library Development and Legislation (LD&L) Committee.
To register for this special program, visit the SCLS Continuing Education Calendar. There is no cost to attend, and the program will run from 2-4 p.m. at SCLS Headquarters, 4610 S. Biltmore Lane, Madison.
The Not in Our Town (NIOT) movement has been an inspiration to me long before I entered libraryland. NIOT’s first effort nearly 20 years ago -- a PBS film about a town’s response to hate crimes - not only showcased Billings, MT, as an open-minded and forward-thinking community, but it made everyone who encountered the film realize that they, too, possess the power to right wrongs in their neighborhoods.
Two years ago, Oak Creek, WI, experienced the unthinkable: a shooting at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin. On a quiet Sunday morning, a man filled with hate, a man who presumably knew little, if anything, about the Sikh religion, entered the temple. He shot and killed five men and one woman, presumably just because he perceived the Sikhs as different.
Not in Our Town tells the story of this horrific hate crime in a 34-minute film called "Waking in Oak Creek." The film records not only what happened that awful day, but also the way the Sikh community and Oak Creek are recovering. As said in the film, what we want are “safe, inclusive communities.”
Many libraries, like my own Franklin Public Library in Franklin, WI, a Milwaukee County neighbor of Oak Creek, see ourselves as community centers. We strive to be safe, inclusive sanctuaries in our communities. We seek to build inclusive collections. To paraphrase the late Judith Krug, former director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom at the American Library Association, everyone should be able to find themselves on our shelves. And we strive to make those collections available to everyone, without opinion, without judgment.
NIOT helps us do that by providing programming resources like "Waking in Oak Creek," often at no charge (a price much appreciated by ever-strapped-for-cash librarians), as well as materials we can add to our collections. We are proud to be able to promote NIOT’s focus -- "inspiring and empowering communities to create a world where residents stand together to stop hate and promote safety and inclusion for all" -- in our libraries, which strive to create not only a welcoming and respectful space for everyone, but access to information that opens minds, and maybe even hearts.
"Waking in Oak Creek" is available free to libraries and other groups for community screenings and discussions, training workshops, and other outreach and engagement activities.
--by Rachel Muchin Young, Director, Franklin Public Library, Franklin, WI
"Waking in Oak Creek" was produced in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services through the Working Together for Safe, Inclusive Communities project. Not In Our Town is a movement to stop hate, address bullying, and build safe, inclusive communities for all. NIOT films, new media, and organizing tools help local leaders build vibrant, diverse cities and towns, where everyone can participate. Learn more at http://www.NIOT.org.
The American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office, in collaboration with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) Human Origins Program, is accepting applications for the traveling exhibition Exploring Human Origins. The exhibition seeks to create an opportunity for a wide spectrum of audiences to engage the complex field of human evolution research in ways that are understandable, fulfilling, captivating, and relevant.
The opportunity is open to public libraries, and 19 sites will be selected to host the 40-panel, 1,200-square-foot exhibition for four weeks each between April 2015 and April 2017. The exhibition will include at least two interactive kiosks, a display of skulls, and two DVDs.
Full guidelines and an online application are available at http://apply.ala.org/humanorigins. The application deadline is Nov. 19. Exploring Human Origins is made possible through the support of a grant from the John Templeton Foundation.
Through panels, interactive kiosks, hands-on displays, and videos, Exploring Human Origins invites audiences to explore milestones in the evolutionary journey of becoming human -- from walking upright, creating technology and eating new foods, to brain enlargement and the development of symbolic language and complex societies -- milestones that define the unique position of humans in the history of life.
In addition to the traveling exhibition and all shipping costs, selected sites will receive a $500 programming support grant; presentation of three or four programs by members of the Human Origins Program and its Broader Social Impacts Committee; and a variety of educational materials and support.
Sites will be required to host several related public programs, including an exhibition opening and community conversations. Sites must also convene a panel of community members to serve as advisors for developing local programs.
The traveling exhibition is based on the Smithsonian exhibition “What Does It Mean to Be Human?”which opened in 2010; over 20 million people have visited the Hall of Human Origins exhibition since its opening.