WEDNESDAY, March 16, 2016
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ULC Webinar:  
Recipe for Redesign 
Thursday, March 24, 2016
9-10 am PT | 10-11 am MT | 11 am-12 pm CT | 12-1 pm ET

Is your library considering redesigning a space or building a new branch? Do you need a bit of inspiration and ideas as your team works through the complex process? If so, then join Richland Library Executive Director Melanie Huggins and Rebecca Stavick, Director of Do Space, as they break down their library's transformation and creation process and share lessons learned.

During the webinar Melanie will discuss how she, her staff and a team of architects, built new space with the financial support and buy-in from the community; how the design work inspired, created and strengthened programs; and how the redesign shifted the library's service approach. Melanie will also discuss how the work impacted library operations and led to the creation of new positions.

Then we will shift gears and hear from Rebecca Stavick, Director of Do Space, Omaha's first digital library. Rebecca will discuss the development of Do Space, what it took to build a space intentionally created for community technology and innovation, and what you need to look for when "shopping" for space that reflects the work of a library like Do Space. Rebecca will also discuss the community's reaction to the new digital library and the partnerships she has created to continue its growth.

Register today to participate and receive a recording to share with staff!

Edge @ PLA 2016 Conference
April 5 - 9, 2016
Colorado Convention Center - Exhibit Hall

Stop by Booth 424 in the PLA Exhibit Hall to reconnect with ULC staff and get the latest news on the Edge Initiative!

ULC Deputy Directors Meet-Up 
Thursday, April 7, 2016, 3:00 - 4:30 pm
Hyatt Regency @ Colorado Convention Center - Agate Room Denver, CO

Click here to learn more and RSVP by March 31, 2016.

ULC Communications & Marketing Meet-Up 
Friday, April 8, 2016, 9:30 - 10:30 am
Hyatt Regency @ Colorado Convention Center - Agate Room
Denver, CO

Click here to learn more and RSVP by March 31, 2016.

ULC Education Leaders Meet-Up 
Friday, April 8, 2016, 9:30 - 10:30 am
Hyatt Regency @ Colorado Convention Center - Agate Room Denver, CO

Click here to learn more and RSVP by March 18, 2016.

ULC 2016 Annual Forum
October 5-7, 2016
Kansas City, MO

Mark your calendars! The ULC Annual Forum will be held at a new time of year in 2016 and registration will be opening the first week of April. Additional information regarding the program will be coming soon. Stay tuned for Annual Forum updates and we hope to see you and your leadership teams October 5-7 in Kansas City!

If you have questions, please contact Katherine Behrens, ULC Member Programs Executive. 
The White House Launches ConnectALL Broadband Initiative  
Last week, President Obama announced the ConnectALL Initiative, the Administration's effort to connect 20 million more Americans to broadband by 2020. This Initiative was unveiled to help Americans at every income level get online and have the tools necessary to take full advantage of the Internet. Libraries have always played a critical community role in offering low-income residents access to information and are developing innovative programs to help close the digital divide. ULC is excited about the opportunities the ConnectALL Initiative provides.

A number of partnerships and projects were announced as a result of ConnectALL, including the Community Connectivity Initiative. This comprehensive online assessment tool was developed by the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration's (NTIA) BroadbandUSA program to support community leaders and accelerate local broadband planning efforts. ULC has been involved in the development of this effort in collaboration with leading library and government organizations, including shaping the self-assessment, sharing insights on recommendations and engaging our members. As part of the initial rollout, ULC member libraries in Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Greenbelt, MD (Prince George's County) and Kansas City will be afforded the opportunity to collaborate on the Initiative and be among the first in the country to utilize the assessment tool.

A new Issue Brief released by the White House Council of Economic Advisers underscores the need for ConnectALL by outlining how being offline is more than "inconvenient" and creates specific economic costs, especially for job-seekers unable to access online job search tools. In addition, NTIA, on behalf of the Administration, is filing comments in support of the FCC's effort to reform its Lifeline program, which will allow low income Americans to obtain a subsidy to help close the broadband affordability gap and move thousands of people online.

Click here to read ULC's full overview of the ConnectALL Initiative. ULC will be following the ConnectALL efforts closely. For more information, contact Katherine Bates.

Florida Library Association Honors Palm Beach County Library System's Service to the Community 

During the Florida Library Association (FLA) Annual Conference held earlier this month, the Palm Beach County Library System (PBCLS) received awards in four categories highlighting the Library's valuable role in connecting communities and improving the lives of patrons.

PBCLS received the "Excellence in Marketing and Public Relations" award for the successful Read Down Your Fines Campaign, which helps children and teens pay off their overdue fines by reading in the library. The Library received the "Libraries Mean Business" award for business, consumer and investor programs offered during Money Smart Month in April 2015. FLA awarded PBCLS the " Exemplary Instructional Programs or Services" award for the Learning eCafé series of technology classes for library staff, as well as the Maria Chavez Hernandez "Libraries Change Peoples' Lives" for providing culturally diverse programming and services that foster a welcoming and inclusive environment.

Toledo-Lucas County Public Library Takes Collaborative Approach to Strategic Planning

The Toledo-Lucas County Public Library recently released their new strategic plan to guide the organization over the next five years, from 2016 to 2020. As part of the plan, TLCPL will focus its efforts in three key areas:
  1. Support essential literacies - From digital to cultural and civic literacy, TLCPL will focus on helping all community members develop the skills necessary to stay connected and be successful in a rapidly changing world.
  2. Foster a culture of innovation and leadership - TLCPL will strive to be a responsive organization that is able to adapt to the ever-changing context in which we work and embraces opportunities to respond to community needs in new way.
  3. Strengthen community engagement - TLCPL will work to increase the reach and accessibility of library services, as well as the connectedness between communities, community organizations, the Library and its customers.
The new plan is the result of a comprehensive three-phase strategic planning process that engaged more than 350 people over a six month period. TLCPL conducted engaged the public through eight community meetings and an online feedback form, as well as reaching out to a wide-ranging and diverse mix of 300 community organizations, with representatives from at least 50 of the organizations taking part in the planning process. TLCPL made information-sharing a priority with feedback from each phase directly shaping conversations and decision-making for an inclusive, accountable process.

Click here to view TLCPL's new strategic plan.

Toronto Public Library to Install Book Kiosk at Union Station

Toronto Public Library (TPL) is planning to launch a pilot book kiosk in Union Station, the city's primary railroad station and inter-city hub for the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area. As one of Canada's busiest transportation centers, Union Station's commuter traffic makes it the perfect location for members of the community to conveniently access library resources on the go. The Library hopes to launch the kiosk in April 2016 and plans to not only lend out books, but also DVD's, video games and e-books. This new way to reach library patrons not only provides an opportunity for the library to grow its potential user base, but also provides a way to reach members of the community outside of traditional library hours.

Click here to learn more. 
E-RATE 2016:
Did you know that Cisco provides a Helpdesk for E-rate? The website is designed to support the E-rate needs of  Cisco System customers, including libraries. You can look up product eligibility and substitutions and contact the Cisco E-rate help desk directly through the site.

Remember, if you have specific questions on filing for E-rate this year, please join ULC members and State E-rate Coordinators on weekly calls Tuesdays at 2 pm ET. For call-in information, contact Katherine Bates
Knight News Challenge Submission Period Closes March 21 
The deadline to enter submissions for the Knight News Challenge on libraries is Monday, March 21, 2016 by 5 pm ET. The latest Knight News Challenge seeks to spotlight different initiatives and services implemented by libraries to serve 21st century information needs in an increasingly digital world.

The Knight Foundation will announce the winners of the competition in the summer of 2016 and award recipients will receive a share of the Challenge's $3 million in grant funding. Recent award winners include or have led initiatives involving ULC members Chicago Public Library, Miami-Dade Public Library System, Brooklyn Public Library, Queens Library, New York Public Library, Boston Public Library, and San José Public Library.

Click here for more information on the Knight News Challenge application process.

Register with First Book to Access Open eBooks and Other Key Resources

Launched last month, the Open eBooks app is part of a new initiative that makes thousands of popular, top-selling eBooks available to children in need for free. Open eBooks, in conjunction with the ConnectED Library Challenge, advances and complements the programs and services provided by libraries to bridge the digital divide through access to mobile devices and the internet. Open eBooks is available through First Book, a national nonprofit social enterprise that promotes educational equity by providing access to books and educational resources for programs serving kids in need.

Libraries are eligible to join First Book's network and access the Open eBooks app if they have a 90 percent E-rate discount at their site OR if they work with programs that serve the population First Book reaches. For example, if you work with your local Title 1 school or serve as a summer meals site you can register with First Book and distribute resources to children in those (or other) qualified programs. You can also join the Open eBooks Facebook community where nearly 1,000 educators are sharing their experience, wisdom and ideas for using this free app to help kids from low income families read, learn and succeed in life. Read the Open eBooks FAQs to learn more about the program.

In addition to the Open eBooks app, First Book is making $200 mini-grants available to eligible libraries
to support the costs of select resources aimed at helping young children develop executive function skills. A recent publication, Brain-Building Powerhouses: How Museums and Libraries Can Strengthen Executive Function Skills further explores the library's role in developing these critical skills. First Book, in partnership with Mind in the Making, has developed curated collections of books and resources that help build skills such as critical thinking and perspective-taking for early learners while building educators' and parents' understanding of the science behind children's learning. Tip sheets are available for free in English and Spanish and offer questions, conversation starters and word games to play with children while reading each of the more than 90 titles aloud.  

To apply for the grants, libraries must register with First Book and
follow the directions below to order $200 in free books: 
  • Visit the Mind in the Making page on the First Book Marketplace 
  • Fill your cart with at least $195 worth of books from the collection
  • Enter the code "MITM-IMLS" when prompted for a promo code in your shopping cart
  • Up to $200 will be deducted from your total at checkout
If you have any issues or questions, First Book's Help Team can assist you right away: 1-866-732-3669. 
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