Posted in Web Resources

Free Webinar: Photography, Storytelling, and Community Connections

  • 2:00 PM-3:00 PM (Eastern)
  • 1:00 PM-2:00 PM (Central)
  • 12:00 PM-1:00 PM (Mountain)
  • 11:00 AM-12:00 PM (Pacific)

Stylized images of pair of hands holding a still image camera

Photovoice is a type of participatory research methodology designed to empower participants through photography and the power of storytelling in small group settings. In 2013, the Chicago Public Library (CPL) partnered with a local organization to start collecting stories from refugees and political asylum seekers about their lives in Chicago. Through photovoice, the participants got connected to their new home town by taking pictures of their daily lives, and in small group settings, they got connected to CPL and to others who have also experienced forced migration. Participants gained broader connections to other Chicagoans through the resulting exhibit and its opening event. This webinar will introduce the project and its methodology, and will help attendees begin to design their own photovoice project.

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of this webinar, participants will:

  • Understand and define photovoice, a methodology used world-wide to empower and advocate for social change;
  • Increase awareness of potential partnerships with local organizations, particularly those involved in social justice work; and
  • Gain a roadmap for starting a similar project, including steps for recruiting participants, running photovoice sessions, preparing participants for the exhibit opening, and developing and marketing the exhibit.

Who Should Attend

This webinar is open to everyone interested in exploring issues around programming, outreach, and/or community partnerships. It will be particularly relevant to those with an interest in services for marginalized communities or the role of visual art and storytelling in public libraries.



THIS WEBINAR IS FREE, BUT REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED AND SPACE IS LIMITED. You can register for this webinar until it begins, or until space is no longer available, whichever comes first. Please do not register unless you are sincere about attending the live webinar. Space is limited, and signing up and not attending may deprive someone else of the opportunity. Thank you for your cooperation.

How to Register

REGISTER NOW! On the next screen you’ll click “Register” to continue the online registration process.


Posted in Accessibility, PLA Conference

You never know…

When I approached the microphone following a PLA Conference session on making your library more accessible, I never thought what I would have to say would actually have an impact.

The session on accessibility that I attended at PLA was very thorough and talked about how a library has made their space and programs more accessible to users. I was glad to see at least one session on this topic at PLA, but I think there should be more. Nineteen percent of the US population has a disability and our nation is aging with 10,000 people turning 65 every day. Based on the number of attendees at this session, it is clearly a topic people are interested in.

Back to what I said at the microphone. During the Q&A period, I went up to the mic and thanked the presenters for providing the session’s content and then I let everyone know about this amazing conference called the ADA Symposium that is offered every year, with it being hosted in Pittsburgh this June. I shared how I was the only librarian at the ADA Symposium in 2017 and I thought more of us should be there.

Three months later…

I’m in line at a Downtown Pittsburgh hotel waiting to check into my hotel room for the ADA Symposium. I’m telling someone in line that I’m a librarian and it’s my second time attending the conference. And then this person says, “Were you at PLA?” And I said, “Yes…” You will recall that in 2017, I was the only librarian at this conference of 850 attendees. She goes on to say that she saw me at PLA and that I inspired her to attend the ADA Symposium. She also brought her colleague along! What was once a conference with just one librarian, there were now three.

I took this picture of Sarah (below) who is the librarian that saw me get up to the mic in Philadelphia at PLA and was now next to me in Pittsburgh for the ADA Symposium. Sarah, you inspired me to write about this and the importance of sharing information and knowledge.

I’m so glad Sarah was there and I hope to see more librarians at the ADA Symposium in the future. Mark your calendars for June 16-19, 2019 in Grapevine – Dallas, TX. More more information, visit

Sarah, Northbrook Public Library (IL), at ADA Symposium in Pittsburgh

Posted in Uncategorized

ALA Connect

itts-ala-connect-logo-horizontal-webI recently looked into this new thing ALA is offering called ALA Connect. It’s an online community where you can discuss library topics within groups and networks. I filled out my profile yesterday and I was super excited to share that I was a member of three professional associations: American Library Association, Public Library Association, and the Wisconsin Library Association.

I am currently set to receive a daily email digest of posts from folks in various communities including ALA Members, Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA) and PLA. For instance, one of the posts read: “Looking for keynote recommendations for 2019 state library conference.” This is a super sweet way to tap the collective brain. I much prefer this online community with a daily digest over a flood of listserv messages. Well done, ALA.  If you are an ALA member, be sure to “connect.”

Posted in Conference, Program

Appy Hour

internet-3113279_640I attended the Wisconsin Association of Public Libraries conference in Pewaukee, WI May 2-4.

Appy Hour was a panel presentation with website extensions, websites, and app recommendations. Here’s the list I jotted down:

Website Extensions:

  • PrintFriendly Chrome Extension. Print without graphics (like ads).
  • Tab Resize – split-screen layout
  • FireShot – screenshot, like the Microsoft Snipping Tool


  • – shortened URL and QR code generator
  • – convert your photo into a PDF or JPG
  • – media bias and fact check
  • – for creating social media
  • Skitch – adding highlights or arrows to images quickly
  • – reading log and timer. like Instagram but for books. Share quick quotes, pictures, and reviews
  • – free ebooks
  • TotalBooxcom – pay for only how much you read
  • – ebook sales, book world news
  • – takes three ingredients and your leftovers and helps you put a meal together. (also an app)


  • Leio – keep track of your reading progress and habits (
  • BigOven – takes three ingredients and your leftovers and helps you put a meal together.
  • Paprika – paid app to organize your recipes, add to shopping list and sync across devices
  • Waze – social GPS. People can mark if there are accidents or slowdowns in real time.
  • GasBuddy – find and report the lowest prices for gas.
  • Dark Sky Weather – $3.99 one time fee. Totally worth it according to the presenter.
  • Kinsa – thermometer app
  • Lux Light Meter – measures brightness
  • Knitt – keeps track of rows
  • NY Times Crossword – free mini puzzle every day
  • CPR Tempo – provides beat for performing CPR
  • WhatsApp – texting service between phones and is a replacement for regular SMS text messages
  • Adobe Photoshop Express – simple photoshop editing
  • Propeller – inhaler monitor tracker for asthma and COPD. App is free, device is paid.
  • I Am Sober-Sobriety Counter – encourages you to stay sober
  • WattPad – writing of fanfic/original works. Teens love it. Upload content and get feedback on it
Posted in Uncategorized


I went to a session on outreach at the Wisconsin Association of Public Libraries (WAPL) Conference on May 4, 2018. One of the panelists spoke about their bookbike. This was from Eau Claire Public Library.

They take 75-100 books out at a time. They bring out some of their newest books on the bookbike so it’s like a lucky day collection for those checking out from the bookbike. They also try customizing their bookbike collection for the event they are attending. E.g. bring strawberry recipe/canning books to the farmers market on the bookbike during strawberry season.

Advice: think about where you are going to stash your bookbike collection in your library. Keep giveaways light and small.

Ran the bookbike purchase past risk management and they had two rules:

  1. Always go with two people
  2. Be back to the library before dark

Training is provided for staff including bike safety, hooking up the bike trailer, and circulation and setting up new library cards.

Bookbike has a handle so staff can roll it into indoor events.

The goal of the bookbike is about making connections, not about circulation. Going out with the bookbike is very casual and there is a lot of conversation.

If patrons don’t have a card the library staff will look them up in the ILS.

A few events the bookbike goes to include:

  • National Night Out
  • Farmers market 2x weekly
  • Block parties
  • Earth Day events
  • Concert series 1x weekly

If it rains, the bookbike doesn’t go out.

They recently got a trailer for the bookbike do they can take the bookbike out further distances and also go out to indoor events even if it’s raining.

Posted in Uncategorized

Inquiry-Based STEM Programming

Program description: Transform your STEM programming with new approaches that encourage youth driven and connected learning. Using hands-on examples we’ll show you how to embed inquiry-based learning techniques into your programs. We’ll look at how you can align your STEM offerings with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and STEM pathways. Lastly, we’ll discuss outcomes and evaluating programs.


Renee Neumeier, Young Adult Services Supervisor
Evanston Public Library, Evanston, IL

Katie LaMantia, Teen Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library, Schaumburg, IL

Janet Piehl, Youth Services Librarian
Wilmette Public Library, Wilmette, IL

Tyler Works, Youth Services Assistant Department Head
Indian Prairie Library, Darien, IL

Check out this Tinker blog that several of the presenters co-founded and co-facilitate.

Handouts: Handout, Slides


My Notes:

Tinker: 20-60 staff get together and spend time with tinker tools. It’s hands-on with tinker tools and they bring in guest speakers.

Inquiry-based learning is wonder > explore > reflect/discuss. Instead of having the teacher in front of the classroom, the student is the center. The teacher is more of a facilitator and you and the student are learning together.

Why inquiry-based learning?

  • Gets kids excited about learning something new
  • Works for all ages and abilities – very approachable for everyone to use

The Next Generation Science Standards: what students do, know and think. Students don’t just decide they want to be an engineer or scientist, they need to do it or see themselves doing it.

Why should you do this in libraries? 

  • Connect with skills
  • Youth build on what they learned in school in a more relaxed setting
  • Reach kids with different backgrounds and learning styles. Meet them where they are at
  • Make learning connections to books
  • Libraries are not bound to a curriculum
  • Easier program planning
  • Librarians are good at asking questions. Questions are the driving force of inquiry-based programming

Program Model

  1. Wonder: the driving question
  2. Exploring: hands-on learning process. The library staff’s job is to facilitate
  3. Discuss/reflect: share what you’ve learned during this process

Talk Moves 

  • Can you say more about that?
  • What makes you think that?
  • What’s another way to do that?
  • Explain your thinking to me

Goals of Talk Moves

  • Share, expand, and clarify individual thinking
  • Meaningful, active listening
  • Deepen reasoning – ask, how did you arrive at that conclusion?
  • Think with others, push it a little bit further

Program Model in Action

Example: Icee Challenge (see Handout)

Wonder: How can we prevent brain freezes?

  • Showed a PBS video on brain freezes
  • Had a discussion on how we can prevent brain freezes
  • Come up with the faster you eat, the faster you’ll get a brain freeze. Led them to want to design a new cup/receptacle

Explore: Construct a better cup to prevent Icee from melting quickly.

  • Cleaned out supply cabinet for supplies
  • Library worked as the facilitator and used talk moves

Reflect: Share your design. What worked best?

  • If staff had planned this like a regular STEM program, they would have done a ton of research ahead of time. With inquiry-based STEM programming, there is much less pressure to plan. More about facilitating the creative process.

Evaluations and Outcomes

  • Program objectives are what learners can get out of it. All ties into real life stuff kids are interested in. e.g. Icee headaches
  • Helps kids with critical thinking skills
  • You don’t have to be an expert in this!
  • Continuum of service: you are re-enforcing what they are already learning in school
  • Take it out of your building, use it with kindergartners through 8th graders
Posted in Outreach, PLA Conference, Planning, Program

MakMo: The LA County Library’s MakerMobiles

I’m almost done blogging about PLA 2018! Here you will learn about LA County Library’s MakerMobiles.

Program Description: Want to offer STEM programming but don’t have room for a makerspace? Thinking about how your library can go mobile? Learn about LA County Library’s new MakMo makermobiles, which offer STEM and maker programming to 87 libraries and a service area spanning 3,000 square miles. Session highlights include detailed descriptions of the vehicle and equipment, lessons learned rolling out this new mobile, service, and sample maker programs to take back to your own library.


Leticia Polizzi, Adult Services Manager
Palos Verdes Library District, Palos Verdes, CA

Jesse Walker-Lanz, Adult & Digital Services Administrator
County of Los Angeles Public Library, Los Angeles, CA


PPT – MakMo, FactSheet – MakMo

My Notes:

Budget: The start-up budget total was $250,000 including vehicle, equipment and staffing.

Team: Get your procurement team/purchasing department on board right away

Vehicle: Patrons don’t go on the vehicles. Staff only go on to get materials. Maker activities happen outside of the vehicle.

Staffing: a library staff member drives the vehicle and doesn’t need a special license.

Equipment: kids can make stuff and take it home (make dos). Have Ozobots, 3D printing (very popular), circuits – Little Bits and Snap Circuits, robotics – Lego Mindstorms and Cubelets, building – KEVA planks (also great for de-stressing during exam week). See the factsheet for more equipment.

Community promotion: Created promo material to say the MakMo was coming. Also went to library grand openings with MakMo. See promo and schedule.