January 2012, Volume 4, Issue 1
Check Your Calendars!!
SDLA Legislative Day
ALA Midwinter Meeting
Digital Learning Day
Read Across America Day
Teen Tech Week
PLA Annual Conference
National Library Week
World Book Night
Featured e-Resources of the Month
Find Your "A-ha!" Moment
2012 Public Library Survey opens Wednesday, Feb. 1
By Daria Bossman, Asst. State Librarian for Development Services
It's that time of year again. It's time to start thinking about the Public Library Survey. The survey will open Wednesday, Feb. 1 and close Friday, March 31. Look for our online training RACE webinars in February and early March.
In the meantime, here are a few new things about the survey:
- There is more embedded information. Call us if it has changed or is incorrect.
- This year we will be calling those who have not logged in and at least started the survey by the end of February.
- Branch information must be entered including total hours open and square footage.
- This year we will be much more exacting on "Income" and "Expenditures". Please allow time to check with your city finance folks to get correct/exact calendar year figures that balance out. Income is exactly what you received; not what you were promised in a proposed, beginning of the year "budget."
- The new print certificate needs an additional signature. State Code requires that you give a copy of the survey to your governing body as well as to library board members. Signatures will confirm that they have your library's final survey in hand. You have 30 days after the closing of the survey to send this signed form to the SDSL. Incomplete certificates will be returned to the library.
Libraries, a great return on investment
How much is your library worth in terms of dollars-and-cents? Other states have done return on investment (ROI) studies that give a library a valuation. Why? Because governing bodies like to see concrete numbers instead of just hearing a statement that libraries are valuable to their communities. Of course, we know this already, but the local libraries' value is not a given from everyone's perspective. We must constantly educate and not assume others are seeing what we see.
A study published in Colorado in 2009 found that, on average, Colorado libraries came out with a ratio of about five to one, meaning that for every one dollar invested in public libraries, the community realizes about five dollars in value. That's a pretty good return on investment! Read the full report at www.lrs.org/ (PDF). A similar study in Wisconsin published in 2008 showed a $4.06 ROI for Wisconsin libraries. Although a study has not been done in South Dakota, other state studies and calculators can be used for estimation. Colorado and Wyoming have both used ROI calculators to gather information. Visit www.lrs.org or www.wyla.org, plug in a few numbers, and test them out. These calculators would be used by patrons to help them determine how much money is saved when they use the library as opposed to purchasing books, movies, or other services. It can be a real eye-opener when they see the bottom line. You can create your own library savings calculator at engagedpatrons.org.
The State Library Public Libraries Data Digests, available at library.sd.gov provide information that compares SD public library data to regional and national public library statistics. Librarians can figure the local per capita expense every year by dividing the overall library expenditures by the service area population. You have all of this information in the annual SD Public Library Survey you submit each year. You can access your current and past year's reports by going to: collect.btol.com Call us if you have misplaced your login and password. This is all good information to pass along to your citizens, governing boards, and local council or commissioners on a yearly basis.
E-Rate and your library: dos, don'ts and maybes
If your library or school receives federally discounted telecommunications and/or Internet access (E-Rate), here are some things to keep in mind:
Your library or school must filter public computers to comply with the Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA). Filtering is not necessary if your school or library receives discounted phone (telecommunications) service only.
- New Requirements for Schools
The Broadband Data Services Improvement Act requires schools to teach appropriate online behavior (Pub. Law 110-385, enacted 10/10/08). To comply, schools must have an Internet Safety Policy that educates minors about appropriate online behavior, including interacting with others on social networking sites and chat rooms and cyber bullying awareness and response.
A new CIPA requirement for FY2012 echoes the Broadband Data Services Improvement Act. Your school's Internet Safety Policy must be amended one time to include education of minors about appropriate online behavior, including interacting with other individuals on social networking websites and in chat rooms and cyber bullying awareness and response. The policy must be school board approved. Policy implementation is a local decision, including instructional method, curriculum, number of hours, and grades. No specific substantive requirements were added beyond the statute. FCC Order directs implementation not later than 7/1/2012. Your school must establish and follow the policy and document implementation by telling what you did. This is recorded and kept on file each year. Your school must also keep documentation showing public access to the meeting where the Internet Safety Policy was considered and voted upon.
These free online resources may be used to fulfill the education requirement:
- National Cyber Security Alliance www.staysafeonline.org
- Media Awareness Network (Canadian) www.media-awareness.ca
- Free curriculum endorsed by the National School Boards Association and others www.cybersmartcurriculum.org
E-Rate and e-readers
The use of e-readers poses new questions with regard to CIPA, and thus, E-Rate, compliance. Debra Kriete, state E-Rate coordinator for South Dakota, said at an October meeting that this area is very murky. She considered these questions:
- Q: If you receive E-Rate discounts, can your school or library send an e-reader home without a filter?
A: The FCC is considering the question, but has not answered it.
- Q: If you receive E-Rate discounts, can your school or library use a school or library e-reader in school without a filter?
A: If the school or library owns the device and it accesses your filtered school or library E-Rate funded Internet, the device is filtered. CIPA would not be part of the E-Rate application, but violations would show up during an audit.
- Q: If you receive E-Rate discounts, are devices themselves eligible for E-Rate discounts?
A: "Blackberry-like Internet and e-mail services" are. By extension, though not specified, Kreite thinks e-readers would fall into this category. To claim E-Rate on devices, the devices MUST be used in school or on school property. Exemptions exist, such as cell phone use on field trips or for bus drivers. Filtering software or remote access to internet outside school property is not eligible for an e-rate discount.
- Q: If you receive E-Rate discounts and your school or library allows students and patrons to bring their own devices, must those devices be filtered?
A: The FCC has not answered this question. Kriete thinks this may be more a policy question than a legal one, similar to current policies regarding cell phone use. She gave an example of a student viewing objectionable material on his personal device at school and showing it to other kids. What happens when one of those kids goes home and tells his parent, and the parent angrily calls the school? School policy should be in place to deal with these kinds of issues.
For more information on E-Rate, see the Universal Service Administrative Company's website, www.usac.org.
Board Talk: IMLS releases new report 'Creating a Nation of Learners'
By Daria Bossman, Asst. State Librarian for Development Services
Let me quote a portion of the opening remarks of the newly released publication entitled, "Creating a Nation of Learners," written by our federal counterpart, The Institute of Museum and Library Services. (www.imls.gov/about/strategic_plan.aspx)
Museums and libraries in the United States "are at the forefront in the movement to create a nation of learners. As stewards of cultural heritage with rich, authentic content they provide learning experiences for everyone. With built-in infrastructure in nearly every community in the nation, robust online networks, and dedicated, knowledgeable staff, they connect people to one another… The nation's… 123,000 libraries are trusted in their communities, inspire people throughout their lifetimes and contribute to the civic life of our nation. Rapid changes in the economy, demographic shifts, and new technologies are creating demands for new library services.
IMLS's strategic plan creates a roadmap for carrying out our federal mandate to help America create 21st century institutions that provide the essential educational and cultural opportunities that we need for a competitive future. Economic strains are causing reductions in all sources of public (state and local) and private (corporate, foundation, and individual) funding for libraries and museums. At the same time, public demand for (these) services is increasing. As stressed public agencies cut back on services, communities are more fully leveraging (their library's) assets and calling on them to fill the gaps by providing workforce services, afterschool programming, teacher training and (Internet) broadband access. Libraries help to level the playing field and provide opportunities that some individuals might not otherwise be able to access. Without libraries, it would be more difficult and potentially impossible for many people to pursue their education, seek employment, and lead healthier lives. Libraries are fundamental to supporting the civic life and wellbeing of our nation. We are living at a time when the strategic use of resources could not be more important and IMLS's role, to provide leadership, funding, data and policy analysis is essential to help libraries and museums navigate change and continue to evolve their services.
In 2010, Congress passed … the reauthorization of the Museum and Library Services Act, giving IMLS unique federal responsibilities for the 'development and implementation of policy to ensure the availability of museum, library and information services adequate to meet the essential information, education, research, economic, cultural and civic needs of the people of the United States.' The law… recognizes that U.S. libraries and museums are powerful national assets with capacity that must be developed and fully used to enhance economic development and lifelong learning. The law recognizes IMLS's role as a partner with other federal agencies to enlist libraries and museums in achieving important policy outcomes in education, cultural preservation, early learning and workforce development.
The result is a new strategic plan that envisions a democratic society where communities and individuals thrive with broad public access to knowledge, cultural heritage and lifelong learning… The new plan builds on IMLS's solid foundation and targets five strategic goals focused on positive public outcomes for communities and individuals. The goals support the unique role of museums and libraries in preserving and providing access to collections and content, and promoting library, museum and information service policies that ensure access to information for all Americans… "
In a nutshell these five goals are 1) The learner (otherwise called our patrons or students) is at the center, 2) Libraries are "strong community anchors" that "enhance civic engagement, cultural opportunities and economic vitality", 3) Libraries promote the "use of technology to facilitate discovery of knowledge," 4) IMLS supports libraries' efforts to "sustain and increase public access to information and access," and 5) IMLS will achieve excellence in public management for maximum value for the American public.
Let's just pick a few of these apart and see how something written in Washington, DC can affect us way out here in SD in any way, shape or form. Well, for starters, the nearly $1 million we receive annually in federal support pays for the 38 statewide databases we all enjoy. The uniformity of access statewide and the unprecedented access to quality health information, current data and statistics, news, educational resources, articles, genealogy, history, and a world of ideas is stunning. Only about half the states use their federal funding in such an economical and efficient manner. We also use our federal funding for interlibrary resource sharing and services and we fund the Braille and Talking Book program here at the State Library. These services mean a great deal to the citizens of SD and save us from spending local state funds on such services.
These five goals can be benchmarks for us as we strive to model ourselves after the best of library services. Do we see our patrons and those students who come through our door or call us on the phone or email us a question as learners… as consumers of knowledge? How might that alter our attitude or the way we respond to them? Do we see our "little library" as an ANCHOR institution? Do we see ourselves as essential, important, even necessary to the community in which we serve? Would our community notice if we vanished tomorrow? Would they care? Would they suffer a loss of services and resources? Do we offer programming or facilitate programs in our library which promote civic engagement or cultural opportunities? Do we help people in need of a job? Do we have the technology (i.e. computers) available so that folks can get logged on and search for a job, fill-out an online application or write/update their resume? Do we have printers, a scanner, wireless access, downloadable e-books and other technology available to assist those local learners whether they are eight years old or 88 years of age? Do we promote access to information beyond our four walls? Do we promote and use the subject specific databases provided for us or do we turn folks away with a "don't ask me now… I don't know" attitude? Our community needs us and like our federal counterparts recognize, we are all very important to the communities we serve.
I'll leave you with just one more thought to chew on. In this federal report they state that 99.3 percent of all US public libraries offer free access to the Internet. Of those 99.3 percent, over 64 percent are the only source of free Internet access in their communities. Do you know that in SD that number is much higher? It is 78 percent! (www.plinternetsurvey.org). Yes, in 2011, over three-fourths of SD public libraries are the sole free provider of Internet access in their communities. So you see, our libraries are very important. One last comment, if you haven't already read the article "Libraries, a great return on investment," do read it. Our libraries are not just a good value— they are a great value for even the poorest of communities. Read the article and see why!