The Rhode Island Library Association
is a professional association of Librarians, Library Staff, Trustees, and library supporters whose purpose is to promote the profession of librarianship and to improve the visibility, accessibility, responsiveness and effectiveness of library and information
Contact us at:
Fall is a busy time for libraries! September brings Library Card Sign Up Month and Banned Books Week. October includes Star Wars Reads Day, Teen Read Week, and Information Literacy Awareness Month. It can be enough to overwhelm even the most seasoned librarian.
However, just like students heading back to school for a new year, fall can also be a chance to try something new. Freshen up standard programs by adding new elements to existing, or start a brand new program at your library. Challenge yourself professionally by joining a new committee (RILA has lots to choose from!). If time or staffing is tight, take a small step and create a display or booklist that's new to your library.
Just be sure to take a moment this fall to enjoy the crisp air and indulge in something with pumpkin spice as you find a way--big or small--to try something new in your library world.
RILA Communications Committee Co-Chairs
By Aaron Coutu
Ahhh ... autumn is at our doorstep. The kids are back at school, and we are all taking time to plan and organize as we settle into our regular schedules. RILA is also doing the same, and as the Board works to try and focus on workshops and online tools for the membership to make use of, we would very much like to hear from you what you think RILA should be doing. So, if you have any ideas, we would definitely like to hear them so we can see what we can do about making them happen. To share your ideas, all you have to do is take a moment or two and put them in an email for me at
. We will make sure to make your thoughts and ideas a part of the conversation!
Along the same lines, we have a number of great committees and roundtables that allow you to participate more fully in the association. Each plays an important role in helping RILA serve the membership and the profession. Here is a list of what we have and the names and contact information of the chairs so you can contact them if you would like to join them:
South Kingstown Public Library
- 401-789-1555 x105
Cumberland Public Library
- 401-333-2552 x2
Thayer Public Library
Information Literacy Action Roundtable (ILART)
University of Rhode Island
Intellectual Freedom Committee
University of Rhode Island
Legislative Action Committee
Providence Community Libraries
- 401-467-2700 x1620
East Providence Public Library
Rhode Island College
Public Relations Committee
North Scituate Library
Cranston Public Library
I am sure that all of the chairs would love to have more members helping them out on different tasks.
RILA is also currently looking for someone to serve in the role of COLA Liaison. The Coalition of Library Advocates is a library-related organization that brings together all sorts of people who have an interest in the success of libraries. COLA is also one of RILA's major partners, having worked together along with OLIS to present workshops for library staff, trustees, Friends, and other shareholders in recent years. It is important to have a member of the RILA Board to share information between the two organizations. If you are interested in serving in that role, feel free to contact me at 333-2552 x128 or
With your help, RILA can be the organization we all want it to be.
Preschool Fun: Branching Out From Storytime Basics
By Brandi Fong
Youth and Teen Services, South Kingstown Public Library
It's time for the Fall sessions of storytime to begin! Time to pick a theme, pick some songs, find the books, make a craft...even the most fun sessions can start to feel a bit too routine. The following ideas are a few ways that we've expanded our preschool programming at the South Kingstown Public Library outside of our regular storytimes.
Popular Character Party Events
This fall we are holding monthly character parties. Programs such a
s this are perfect for parents who just aren't able to attend or commit to weekly storytimes, but still would like occasional program options for their preschooler at the library.
Each month focuses on a different popular children's book character, with stories, games, related crafts, and take-home party bags. First up will be Curious George (and with September 19th being Curiosity Day
there are plenty of online activity ideas available).
Mo Willem's Pigeon
, Pete the Cat
, and Paddington Bear will finish the fall session.
Preschool STEM Series
There are lots of ways to add STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) into preschool programming. Many libraries are able to implement very large scale ideas; sometimes though it can be as easy as adding a new activity to your already existing stor
ytime. In our case we've offered two different series, Preschool Science Explorers and Preschool Builders, modeled after ideas found on the
Abby the Librarian
Show Me Librarian
The sessions run monthly during the spring and weekly during the summer. Both series follow the same basic format. We open with a short discussion of about the week's theme, followed by reading 1-2 related books. Kids and parents then have time to explore 3-4 different activity stations (the number of stations needed will vary depending on how many kids/how much space you have). Some of our science session weekly themes have included Fun with Magnets, Colors, Gardening and Plants; see an example of a program plan here.
During our weekly Preschool Builder sessions, each week we talked about a different aspect of building, and after reading related books we tried building with different materials. Themes included Bridges (make sure to have cars to "drive" over the bridges!), How Tall (make sure to have lots of tape measures and rulers available!), and Sculptures. Wooden blocks and Legos; toilet paper rolls, card stock, and tape; marshmallows and toothpicks, clay, and pool noodles cut into block size were all just some of the materials used (and many were used during multiple weeks).
Preschool Dance Party
We kicked off this past summer with a dance party just for Toddlers and Preschoolers. It only required a few supplies, and was such a big hit that we'll definitely be holding another one!
We started our dance party with a short read aloud (depending on the age of your group,
by Ellen Stohl Walsh or
How Do You Wokka-Wokka?
by Elizabeth Bluemle are good options), followed a librarian-led action song to get everyone comfortable. Then we turned the lights down, and used our laptop and projector to play the music, using the media player's Visualizer setting to project colorful swirls onto our large screen. Kids and parents then had the freedom to dance or visit several stations set up around the room.
Yes, you want fun kid's music, but don't forget about music for the adults as well (there are only so many times you can hear
Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes).
Our playlist was an eclectic mix that included kid friendly songs by Jim Gill, The Muppets, and (of course) the Frozen soundtrack; but also a few adults might appreciate as well (Happy by Pharrell Williams, Twist and Shout by the Beatles, and Surfin' USA by the Beach Boys). Remember, sometimes people are early or linger late, so plan for a 45 minute event, we created an hour and 15 minute long playlist.
In order to create variety and make dancing more fun, we put out several different things that kids and parents could dance with. Scarves, and wooden dowels with long ribbons tied to the ends were big hits, but so were bubbles and musical instruments.
Forty-five minutes is a long time to dance. To help break it up and offer kids and parents a chance to take a break, we created two craft tables. One simply had music themed coloring sheets. The other had a "Make a Shaker" craft with streams, crayons, paper plates, and beans.
These programs are just a few of the ways that we've tried to shake things up a bit in our preschool program offerings. Refreshing programming doesn't have to be an all or nothing thing though. Sometimes staffing, cost of materials, or scheduling doesn't allow for larger scale programs...and that's okay! Start with just one STEM exploration station that fits with a storytime theme you already do. Add in just 5 minutes of free dance at the end of your storytime program.
There's always ways to work just part of these programs into what you already do.
Better Know a RILA Librarian
By Elliott Stevens
Research and Education Librarian, Providence College
Amanda Izenstark, an associate professor and Reference & Instructional Design Librarian at URI, is well on the way to turning herself into a verb. In fact, for 2015, the folks at the
Oxford English Dictionary should take note and recognize the word "izenstark" and its definition: "to make something considerably more efficient and pleasant."
When I first reached out to Amanda and proposed to interview her at URI, she immediately izenstarked everything by suggesting she meet me at my own place of work. Then, instead of going back and forth, trying to find a time that would work best for us, she directed me toward her
You-Can-Book-Me site, which made it easy to schedule a meeting. (For the curious, here's their url: https://youcanbook.me)
What is your background? How did you travel through time and space and get to librarianship?
I didn't grow up using libraries because my family didn't read much. They were always doing interesting things, but they were things that didn't involve reading. As a kid, I thought that reading was something you had to do in school-but that adults got themselves to a point where they didn't have to do it anymore. It was only later, when I was spending time with my stepmother, that I learned adults did read. She had a personal library and loved reading for fun and for her own education. She took me to libraries.
As far as finding librarianship goes, in college, I studied French, history, psychology, and social work, at one point dropping out to head from Chicago to the East Coast because I was interested in what some people I knew were doing at MIT. (They were doing work related to the early Internet.)
Around the same time, a friend of mine in the library program at the University of Illinois showed me a thesis he was working on, which was a massive bibliography. Right there, I said to him, "You don't have to write a paper for a thesis?! You can do this?! A bibliography is the coolest thing ever!" A few years later, a friend's family member (a librarian) recognized my other skills and interests in computing technology and encouraged me to become a librarian.
Although I thought about a degree in computer science, I chose library studies because I like helping people more than I like helping computers.
Since currency in all things technical and informational is so important to librarians, how do you keep current?
I find the best way of keeping current is going to conferences and chatting with people. I also rely on my feed reader-I use Feedly-and Twitter to stay on top of things that I'm interested in and that I want to read about. Some of the sources I follow are Ars Technica, the ACRL (and its various blogs), Fast Company (lots of business stuff), Google Operating System (an un-official blog about Google and all its changes), Karen Blakeman's blog, Swiss Army Librarian, and Jessamyn West's stuff.
If you'd like, I'd be happy to share my OPML file with you.
[Here, I didn't know what an "OPML file" is, but once I asked Amanda about it, I learned that she was classically izenstarking by offering to share with me her list of sources she follows on her feed. And I'm sure if you were to contact her, she'd be willing to share this file with you, too.]
You are a librarian who is often teaching undergraduate and graduate students, so what is your teaching philosophy? What are the "hows" and "whys" of your teaching practice?
My philosophy is that I want patrons and students to know they can teach themselves. I want to encourage them to think that way because things are changing all the time, and students need to know how to ride those waves of change, whether they be technological changes or information changes. So often, as was the case with me, you train for one major, but then you later find your training isn't enough and that you have to change. Especially in fields like library science, careers change, so I feel I have to help equip people to educationally fend for themselves.
But, perhaps related to all that, another part of my philosophy is that I want to encourage intellectual curiosity across disciplines. I've just proposed a general education course that is open to students across the disciplines, much as our current general education class is.
I want the students that I'll teach to appreciate how their disciplines are similar and different and to get them to compare and contrast the tools they use. This class I've proposed is highly collaborative, and everyone, regardless of their major, will do research into the humanities, the social sciences, the biological sciences, and the technological sciences in order to gain perspectives different from their own.
What makes a good reference librarian? What are skills they should have?
Being personable and approachable. You cannot be buried in your phone. Of course, sometimes when you're at a reference desk, you're doing different things, but you need to be able to drop whatever you're doing in order to help someone. You have to be aware of what's going on around you.
It's also important to think about what it means to listen to questions in an academic environment. What I mean is that, oftentimes, it's not enough just to listen to the question that the student or faculty member has. You also have to get the context of the question because the context will help you to understand the question better, or maybe even to help the student get the question better.
Above all else, though, my advice is to be pleasant!
What would you like to do in a library that no one has ever done before?
Something I've thought about is accommodating people who don't just want to sit in the library. I'd like to make it so that people could work while standing or even lying down. (I once heard about a guy at MIT who mounted a monitor to a wall, installed a hammock, and then worked like that.)
Or have you ever seen those nurses who have laptops on moving carts? That might be something to have in a library because, sometimes, you want to get up and move around.
I also like the idea of having spaces where everything moves-and not just chairs and desks, but also walls and dividers. At URI, we have a couple of big white boards that have sound dampening material on their backs. It would be fun to have a lot of those kinds of dividers, and then people could wheel them around and customize their own working spaces. Sort of like making forts!
I'd also like to have portable digital projectors in the library so that any wall or surface could become a collaborative one. In fact, I've even seen interactive projectors that allow users to touch and manipulate what they're projecting-like a Smart Board. I think that's the kind of technology that could transform how libraries are used.
All in all, I'm interested in technology that accommodates different working styles and that fosters collaboration.
I hope you've appreciated, reading this interview, how much Amanda Izenstark embodies what it means to teach and learn in a library with great keenness and energy. And if you've never izenstarked, it's time to give it a try. If you'd like to contact Amanda for her OPML file, this is her address: email@example.com
Northstar Digital Literacy Project
By Corrie MacDonald
Technology Coordinator, Cranston Public Library
| The Northstar Digital Literacy Project is an initiative that features online courses offering instruction in basic skills needed to perform tasks on computers and online. Public libraries, which have been offering digital literacy instruction since public computers were introduced in libraries, are a natural partner for the project. An important feature of the Northstar program is that learners can take an online, proctored exam to assess their computer skills. The courses currently offered are Basic Computer Use, Basic Internet, Windows Operating System, Mac OS, Email, Microsoft Word, Social Media, and Microsoft Excel.
When an individual passes a proctored assessment at an approved site, they receive a certificate stating that they successfully completed the exam. This provides a more tangible credential on a resume than simply claiming to have computer skills. They may also claim badges for their portfolio or LinkedIn profile certifying that they met the requirements to achieve proficiency in the courses offered. Badges and online portfolios are currently used more prevalently on the high school and college levels than for adult learners, but the concept has potential for job seekers and adults who need to prove they possess computer skills. There is no cost to complete the online assessments.
The Office of Library and Information Services, in partnership with the RI Family Literacy Initiative (RIFLI), Broadband RI, and the Adult Education Professional Development Center, have been conducting trainings for library staff to become certified as test proctors and get their library approved as a testing site. OLIS also has a limited number of site licenses available. Participating Rhode Island public libraries include Coventry, Cranston, West Warwick, Tiverton, East Providence, Narragansett, North Kingstown, and Pawtucket. There are also many non-profit organizations and government agencies participating in the project. OLIS is offering another proctor training on October 7 at the Cranston Public Library.
I attended a training in July with Larry Britt from the Rhode Island Family Literacy Initiative. The process of becoming approved as a test site and as a proctor takes about half an hour after attending the two-hour training. Once your site is approved, additional staff members can be added as proctors after reviewing a short training video and passing a review quiz. Cranston Public Library was recently approved as a testing location, and we soon will begin offering the proctored exams in our C-Lab computer lab.
I'm currently working on administering the assessments to every staff member at the library, including part-timers and branch staff. Because the public relies so heavily on libraries and library staff for computer access and assistance, it's important that every staff member is able to use computers and the internet to perform basic tasks and assist the public. Northstar offers a great opportunity to assess our staff''s comfort using computers to perform basic tasks. Some staff members have expressed concern about possible repercussions if they don't pass a test, but the intent is purely to identify areas where further staff training is required in order to strengthen our customer service and better serve our patrons.
This is an exciting new tool for libraries to assist computer learners and job seekers to gain new skills and quantify what they have learned to employers. It's also useful for determining staff's computer skills and assist them in improving their skills in problem areas so all staff members are comfortable assisting the many patrons who rely in the library for technology access and instruction.
OLIS has a lineup of all new continuing education programs for the Fall and early Winter. See the
and register online. Here are a few of the 22 programs that are coming up.
- Sharpen your reference acumen with "Super Googling: Deep Searching and Data Collecting," "NLM Specialized Health Information," and "Legal Reference: Information, Resources and Liability."
- Explore how pop culture, through comics and graphic novels, has further infiltrated the library in "More than POW!"
- Become skilled at using traditional media and PR tools to promote library programs in two different sessions.
Privacy in libraries is hotter topic than ever; just scan library news and publications to see how much. Even if you got a taste of privacy tools at the RILA Conference, come to "A Privacy Workshop for Librarians, by The Library Freedom Project." This program includes speakers from the ACLU who will expand the conversation about library rights and responsibilities.
Ways to insure that library users with disabilities have their needs addressed and can find information are more readily understood when you have some guidelines. "After 25 Years with the Americans with Disabilities Act" offers a chance to see if your library measures up. And a special session on School Library Accessibility is on the schedule.
Youth Services programming includes an opportunity to learn how to enhance children's literature, Mock Newbery and YART sessions, and targeted grant writing. And you can register for the cosponsored "Teen Summit 2015: Connect the Dots" right from the
And as always, OLIS welcomes suggestions for future programs. Contact
or any of the OLIS staff.
News From the Field
Providence Community Library
Providence Community Library has cooperated with Anna Snyder who worked with students at Dr. Jorge Alvarez High School to create public art that recognized notable residents or former residents of the South Side of Providence. Five, 4 x 12-foot banners designed by students from Alvarez High School's ninth grade class Art and Community were hung in various locations around the South Side
More information about this project can be found here: https://prezi.com/yxihnpclcx1h/south-side-providence-alvarez-banners/
PCL also continued an emphasis in support of education by hosting the third iteration of a summer tutoring program for Gilbert Stuart Middle School students at Knight Memorial Library. The five week session utilized more than a dozen volunteer tutors to work with
50 students in small group activities. A paid coordinator worked with the librarians to contact families and ensure program participants had current library cards. The program has been a project of the Friends of Knight Memorial Library, and this year it benefited from a grant from the Rhode Island Foundation totaling $6,350. The grant allowed for incentives to encourage student attendance. This was especially important as Knight Memorial Library is not an air-conditioned building.
Last year, the Phillips Memorial Library at Providence College introduced a new prize for undergraduate research. Students submit an academic paper, annotated bibliography and research statement describing the research process and techniques they used; then a team of librarians and faculty rank the submissions and award prizes. In our inaugural year, we received two submissions, only one of which was acceptable. This year, we received six submissions, five of which were acceptable. The winners were awarded gift cards, certificates and will have their papers published in the library's digital commons.
Cranston Public Library
This month, the Cranston Public Library (CPL) will hold its first WaterWalk fundraiser, a project that seeks to brighten rainy days by transforming library entryways.
Much like the more traditional "buy-a-brick" fundraisers, any interested community member is invited to purchase a walkway square at the Central Library, Auburn Branch, or Oak Lawn Branch. Participants will select one of three library-themed images and create a short, customized message for their squares. The designs will be applied to walkway squares using stencils and a superhydrophobic (water repellent) solution. On sunny days, all images will remain invisible. On rainy days, the images will appear, revealing the "WaterWalks."
Rhode Island College
The James P. Adams Library at Rhode Island College is pleased to announce that Amy Barlow, formerly of Wheaton College, has joined its staff as a Reference Librarian at the rank of Assistant Professor. Amy has been a librarian since 2007, and has spoken about her work in the areas of outreach, digital humanities, and active learning theory at ACRL/NEC, NERCOMP, and LOEX. She is published in a variety of publications, including Reference and User Services Quarterly and Weave: Journal of Library User Experience, and has a forthcoming book chapter on designing library instruction for object-based learning. Regarding her appointment at RIC, Amy says, "The opportunity to work within my community is something that I've wanted for a long time. As a native Rhode Islander and Providence resident, I hope to connect people to the institution to enrich the RIC student experience. I look forward to learning and innovating at the library, knowing that our decisions impact graduates who live and work in RI."
Providence Public Library
PPL Launches new digital library: ProvLibDigital.org
Featuring eight collections and
items, to date, from Providence Public Library's (PPL) Special Collections and Rhode Island Collection, ProvLibDigital.org is Rhode Island's latest growing searchable digital repository offering the public free access to thousands of historical and significant resources. The site now includes the John Hutchins Cady Research Scrapbooks, a valuable and popular architectural resource
"The Library has been making a growing number of its collections digitally accessible over the past several years, but with the launch of ProvLibDigital.org, we are moving ahead on a key strategic goal to enhance our Digital Library, with a primary focus of creating access to our unique special collections, as well as content generated by the Library through innovative programming and special research fellowships. These resources will become an integral part of our users' library experience," said Library Executive Director Jack Martin.
Financial Literacy Roundtable (FLRT) seeks members
The Financial Literacy Round Table (FLRT) was established in
May 2015 under the governance of the Rhode Island Library
Since Libraries of all types should and do participate in providing
programming and activities for all ages and all stages of life on
topics relating to financial education, awareness, and
empowerment, FLRT will identify areas of action and develop
strategies that librarians can use to raise awareness and facilitate
education in all areas of financial literacy: basic budgeting;
managing student debt; retirement planning; home purchasing;
saving money through couponing; and how to prevent identity
theft, workforce development skills, etc.. Therefore this
roundtable will contribute to the development of library practices,
programs, and statewide initiatives that effectively support these
Current RILA members or those interested in joining RILA are
invited to join FLRT.
Please contact Chris Wallace Goldstein (Woonsocket Harris
Library) firstname.lastname@example.org or Lori DeCesare
email@example.com (Mohr Library, Johnston) if you are
The North Atlantic Health Sciences Libraries, Inc.,
invites you to its annual meeting in Providence, RI, October 18-20.
Health Sciences Libraries: Anchored in Excellence
offers an outstanding slate of plenary speakers who will focus on the essential role of libraries and librarians in providing access to quality health information:
Please register on NAHSL's Website.
- Amy Dickinson - Syndicated columnist, bestselling author, and National Public Radio personality
- Dipesh Navsaria, MPH, MSLIS, MD - Pediatrician, librarian, and the founding medical director of "Reach Out and Read Wisconsin"
- Frances Groen, AHIP, FMLA - Director of Libraries Emeritus, McGill University and President, Medical Library Association, 1989-1990
Donna Brice, President of the Association for Rural and Small Libraries (ARSL) has announced the date and location for the 2016 annual ARSL conference. Please save this date and location as you plan your 2016 budgets as we would love to see you in
Fargo, North Dakota,
October 26-29, 2016!
This news in in addition to all of the excitement over ARSL 2015 in Little Rock
October 1-3, 2015
where wonderful keynote speakers including The World's Strongest Librarian, Josh Hanagarne, and best selling author P.C. Cast will be featured. For more information on ARSL, please visit our website
|The RILA Bulletin is produced by the RILA Communications Committee. The RILA Communications Committee is responsible for publicizing and supporting Rhode Island Library Association activities using a variety of communication tools. Responsibilities including publishing the RILA Bulletin, managing social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, and exploring other mediums as needed. The Communications Committee may cooperate with the publicity efforts of the Public Relations Committee to promote library services statewide.
Rhode Island Library Association members can contribute content to the RILA Bulletin by emailing the editors: firstname.lastname@example.org
Andria Tieman & Brandi Fong
Rhode Island Library Association