ideas

Because a Million Dollars More for Internet Connectivity Goes a Long Way

For the many Indiana residents who lack broadband access at home, schools and public libraries are an essential lifeline to internet connectivity. When the Indiana Senate approved a version of the state budget without allocating much-needed additional funds for internet connectivity, the Indiana Library Federation (ILF) doubled down with ALA’s Libraries Transform campaign as part of their efforts to build legislative support. ILF, which represents nearly 2,000 libraries and library professionals in Indiana, took the popular Libraries Transform statement “Because more than a quarter of U.S. households don’t have a computer with an internet connection” and customized it to fit local data: “Because 1 in 6 Hoosiers lives in an area without access to broadband.” The ILF team shared the statement widely, including in newsletters, social media and their 2017 Policy Priority Agenda (PDF).

Because Libraries Make Leaders

As the 2017-2018 American Library Association president, Jim Neal is bringing a new focus to the Libraries Transform campaign: the important role libraries and library workers play as leaders in their communities. In the Q&A below, Neal discusses how his “Libraries Lead” presidential initiative will contribute to the vital work of Libraries Transform in the coming year.

Q: Why do you think the Libraries Transform campaign resonates with people?

Because All Libraries Can Make the Campaign Their Own

Like most nonprofit organizations, the Catholic Library Association (CLA) has a unique set of concerns when it comes to marketing. How do you best promote what you do? How do you reach audiences, especially new ones?

Sigrid Kelsey, who advises the association on its marketing efforts and is the general editor of “Catholic Library World,” said she had been thinking about these very questions when the former president of the CLA forwarded her information on the ALA’s Libraries Transform campaign.

Because College Is Just the Beginning

DePaul University (Chicago) Librarian Scott Walter remembers what he was thinking when he heard ALA President Julie Todaro announce her “expert in the library” focus for the Libraries Transform campaign, “It struck me as a perfect platform for deepening academic library engagement.” Around the same time, Walter’s colleague, Ashley McMullin, assessment and marketing librarian at DePaul, and her team were working on a plan to share more information about librarians with the campus through a new initiative called “library spotlights,” which shows how individual librarians are transforming the university. After learning about the Libraries Transform’s “expert in the library” theme, Walter asked McMullin to combine these ideas together in a campaign to highlight the expertise of academic librarians and all they bring to the DePaul community.

Because the Best Ideas Are Generated over Lunch

That’s what staff from the Huntley Area Public Library in Illinois discovered. As they were enjoying their midday meal, they began talking about the potential of using the Libraries Transform campaign.

“At that point, we were not using the Libraries Transform campaign,” said Doug Cataldo, marketing and media developer, Huntley Area Public Library. Cataldo continued, “But during lunch we brought up the possibility of incorporating the Libraries Transform theme for National Library Week and tossed around ideas that could show not only how libraries transform people but also how people transform libraries.”

Because You Never Know Whose Life You Might Transform

Touger Vang had no previous experience with libraries before coming to the United States as a refugee from Laos in 1982 at the age of 10. Today he is a public services coordinator for the Yolo County Library in West Sacramento, California, where he manages early literacy programs and adult services program and outreach activities. In his role, he also looks for opportunities to collaborate with local schools and nonprofit organizations on partnership activities. He credits his high school librarian, Eileen L. Brewer, for being a role model. He says, “Ms. Brewer’s influence during my early years inspired and instilled in me what a librarian should be. She showed me that a librarian is someone who is kind, humble and puts the mission of helping others at the forefront. We still keep in touch.”

The Sky is the Limit for One Library in Big Sky Country

It is no coincidence that the Missoula Public Library recently received overwhelming voter approval for a $30 million referendum for a new library; library patrons are well acquainted with the many ways the library reaches out to the community. The new library will triple its circulation from 200,000 items to around 600,000. Given its transformative nature, the library has adopted the Libraries Transform campaign. Library Director Honore Bray said the Libraries Transform campaign is a perfect fit for her library. The Libraries Transform Because statements played a part in the library’s push for a new building – one Because statement informed the public “Because 1 in 4 Missoulans doesn't have access to a utility called the Internet.” The new library will triple its capacity for Internet connectivity and computer use.

Transformation at the MidPointe Library System

Earlier this year, the MidPointe Library System in Middletown, Ohio, was in the process of completing two major building projects: the first new branch in more than 40 years and an expanded and updated library. That’s when library director Travis Bautz realized the American Library Association’s Libraries Transform campaign could be a helpful marketing tool in opening the new spaces to the public.

Students Can Also Be Experts in the Library

School librarian Kristina Holzweiss was flipping through the American Library Association’s (ALA) graphics catalog when she saw the Libraries Transform campaign’s “I’m an expert in” badges. The first thought that came to her mind was, “How can I use these in my school library?” Rather than she being the only one to wear a badge, Holzweiss decided to try them out with her student “techspert” team at Bay Shore Middle School (BSMS) in Long Island, N.Y. At BSMS, Holzweiss works with “techspert” students throughout different periods of the day. They help her in the library with everything from wrangling robots to creating websites and organizing the makerspace.

Beginning a New Chapter

When Kimberly Tate-Louie, a graduate MMLIS student at the University of Southern California (USC) became president of her American Library Association Student Chapter in May 2016, she vowed to put the chapter on the map. “We wanted to make a name for the chapter and make it known that there are passionate students involved in the program at USC and involved in the chapter,” she said. She said she was inspired by articles in American Libraries magazine about the Libraries Transform campaign. “What I like about Libraries Transform is that it’s based on how libraries are still relevant and continue to be relevant. They are more than relevant,” she said, especially in a digital environment.

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