April 2012, Volume 4, Issue 4
Check Your Calendars!!
School Library Month
National Library Week
Money Smart Week
World Book Night
Dia de los Ninos, Dia de los Libros
Children's Book Week
Featured e-Resources of the Month
Support Common Core literacy with electronic resources, part 2
“March Madness… or Not!”
By Daria Bossman, Assistant State Librarian for Development
We are well into March and March is typically the month when South Dakota’s public libraries gather and record their statistics for the previous year. If all 112 public libraries have their data submitted, we will close the 2011 survey on March 30. However, if some libraries need a few extra days or are waiting for important information from their finance officers or someone else, we can hold off and close the survey later in April. However, we must hear from you if you need more time. The important thing is to record the information in a timely and accurate manner.
In previous Board Talk articles I have discussed national, state, and potential local uses of such data in communicating your library’s needs. You are part of an annual national collection of statistics involving over 9,000 public libraries across the U.S. These survey results directly impact federal dollars coming back to South Dakota to fully support our free online statewide electronic resources and other services provided by the SDSL to the local library.
If the Library Board is not familiar with our library webpage, may I encourage you to check out our services, information, calendar of events and electronic resources showcased on our webpage at library.sd.gov.
This can be a stressful time for your librarian. In state code, “the annual report” as it is referred to, is actually the legal responsibility of the library board with assistance from your librarian. So please help your librarian. Offer to assist him/her with tabulating or inputting the data or make sure they have volunteers or an assistant hired to continue with patron assistance while they are working on the survey. When the survey is completed and submitted, the library board president should have final copies available for every board member as well as for the mayor, city council, county commissioners or other local leaders. Take time to distribute and discuss the results. In fact, your librarian can go into the Collect database and select a report that shows both last year’s data and this year’s statistics. That makes for a quick and easy way to compare the increases and decreases in specific areas.
The librarian and your library board president should be prepared to answer questions from others and to discuss the implications. How is our library adapting to the changes in your community’s informational and recreation reading needs? How can you grow and serve the needs of everyone in your community? What new formats are younger folks using to read with? Did you know well over half of all South Dakota public libraries now have Overdrive’s South Dakota Titles to Go, offering thousands of additional audio and e-books to their local citizens? This wildly popular subscription service is very reasonably priced thanks to the negotiating skills of our SDSL staff. We urge you to contact Julie Erickson or Jane Healy, our Electronic Services Coordinators, for more information. Each quarter additional public libraries can join this consortium.
Since the State Library took on the certification and accreditation of our public libraries in 2008, we have seen a steady increase in the number of public libraries which want to become accredited and have staff certified. In fact, many have commented that our tiered standards have helped them communicate their library’s needs and goals with their governing bodies and have assisted them in planning for improvements in their services.
In the coming months, the State Library Accreditation/Certification committee will be reviewing the standards. At the request of many library directors, we will be looking at adding additional requirements to the tiered levels. One in particular is something which most states already require—library board training. With this in mind, I will be offering a workshop at next fall’s SDLA Pre-Conference. Look for the workshop session to be held on the Wednesday preceding the SDLA conference, entitled, “Library Boards 101.” I hope every board member can attend in the next several years. This year SDLA is in Huron and next year it will be in Sioux Falls. Library directors are also encouraged to take this free course along with their library board members. I guarantee you will learn a great deal and come away with more knowledge to serve your community better.
And speaking of training opportunities for board development and training, the nine larger East River libraries will be co-hosting a library board training opportunity in Watertown on May 3 and in Sioux Falls on May 4. Contact Mary Johns at Siouxland Libraries, Mike Mullin at Watertown Regional, or me if you are interested in attending. The registration link is: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/G22M778.
For West River folks, Rapid City is hosting training for library boards on April 17. Here is a link to register https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/C6NFT2Q, or give them or us a call. As food has to be ordered for all three events, please register as soon as possible.
Thank you for serving your community. Library board involvement is increasingly a vital and important local leadership role, especially in small and rural communities where access to information has traditionally been very limited. That is no longer the case, and you all are in a unique position to share that good news with your community and local leaders. Little towns and rural communities that catch the vision and use their local public library to its maximum potential will soon see the economic benefits for their community. And the local public library should be at the heart of all this—a vital, contributing part of those opportunities and growth!