March 2011, Volume 3, Issue 3
Check Your Calendars!!
Read Across America Day
Teen Tech Week
PLA Virtual Spring Symposium
Public Library Survey, closes March 31
March 30-April 2
School Library Month
National Poetry Month
School Library Survey, April 1- May 18
Money Smart Week®
South Dakota Library Week, April 10-16
National Library Week
National Preservation Week
Featured e-Resources of the Month
Resources to help you celebrate the holidays
Money Smart Week @ Your Library is April 2-9
Let your library cash in on participation in Money Smart Week, April 2-9.
Money Smart Week, sponsored by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, seeks to promote financial literacy with special programs one week during April, Financial Literacy Month.
Examples of easy programming include sponsoring a Shredding Day, where the library provides a shredder (or several) for patron use or a Coupon Trade Day, where patrons bring in coupons to swap with others. More elaborate program examples are hosting speakers on identity theft prevention, budgeting, saving and other financial topics.
For more information on Money Smart Week, see Money Smart Week® @ Your Library.
Research services keep pace with legislative session
Have you ever wondered what happens during legislative session in the state documents department at the State Library? Every day around 11:00 a.m., staff makes a trip over to the State Capitol to the mailroom on the third floor. This is where the offices of the Legislative Research Council are, and the LRC staff produces many copies of every House and Senate bill, as well as House and Senate daily journals. Documents staff pick up 13 copies of these items every day that the legislature meets.
Upon returning to the library, bills and journals are separated and packaged for shipment to eight state documents depository libraries throughout the state. These are sent via courier on the same day that we pick them up from the Capitol. The State Library keeps two copies for our collections. More information about the process can be found on our website at SD State & Federal Government Publication Depositories.
Many of us in the research department also try to listen to the committee hearings in the mornings, and full House and Senate broadcasts in the afternoons as the various bills are debated. It is a great opportunity to learn about the process of how the proposed bills may or may not become law. But more importantly, it keeps us informed of the subject matter in case we get a request for research assistance related to one of the bills.
The State Library maintains a documents discussion list SDDOCS for information about South Dakota and U.S. government publications. Information on joining this list, or any of the lists maintained by the State Library, can be found at SD State Library LISTSERVs.
We always encourage legislators to stop in at the library, sign up for a library card, and hear about the collections, services and electronic resources the State Library offers.
Board Talk: Orientation benefits new board members
By Daria Bossman, Asst. State Librarian for Development Services
Do you remember the first library board meeting you attended? I sure do! I had been a librarian for decades and been on other boards, but I felt lost. I was appointed to a large regional library system. Simply put, I was lost in the jargon and adrift amidst very different and complex issues. I was handed a pile of files and welcomed to the group. That was the beginning and end of my “orientation.” I just hoped no one would discover my ignorance before I could hurry home to read and ask the director some questions in private. Still, it was months before I felt any degree of comfort and as I said, I was a professional librarian. I wondered how other folks managed. It was enough to make any well-meaning citizen run away screaming.
Have you ever thought about having an orientation for your new board members? I would strongly recommend you incorporate an orientation month in your normal procedures. It is a difficult task to minimize the reading materials a new board member will have to sort through. However, it is helpful if it is organized and consistent with the working knowledge other board members have.
Certainly a leisurely time to tour the library and introduce staff should be arranged. You might invite your current board members to come along. Most need a refresher course form time to time. Copies of the library’s mission, goals and strategic plan are helpful. Copies of your bylaws, library policies and procedures, a schedule of board meetings, copies of the most current budget accounting, recent annual reports or the latest monthly report should also be included in an orientation packet. The minutes of the last two meetings will assist the new board member in getting up to speed on current and pending issues. He or she should already have a copy of the list of expectations for a board member. This expectation list can be used in the interview and recruiting process. Board members need to be fully aware of what they have agreed to do. Serving on a library board can be a bit more demanding than many community boards.
Not everyone is a statistic buff, but current community statistics are something every board member should be briefed on at least once a year. I won’t quickly forget the board member who replied in shock to the librarian’s statement about serving the growing Hispanic population in the community. He replied in utter disbelief, “What minorities? Who are you talking about?” Until he was confronted with the statistics, he was “blind” and “deaf” to the needs of that growing group. Simply put, libraries and boards cannot serve their community’s needs if they are unfamiliar with the situation. Sometimes we make assumptions based on the community we knew years ago. Programming suggestions or resources purchased may seem inappropriate or unnecessary if we are not up-to-date on the current environment, needs and issues. Having new board members gives us an opportunity to enlighten and update our entire board so that a lively discussion can ensue and no one feels singled out or uncomfortable.
Next month we’ll discuss issues to which all board members need to become acquainted. Board members can respond to opportunities and understand where their library needs to go if they understand the larger context of technological and cultural changes. Even in the smallest of towns, there are huge needs and wonderful opportunities to effectively use the public library as a community resource for the benefit of the entire population.