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NJSL Direct – October 20, 2016

New Jersey State LibraryOctober 20, 2016

 

Video Created for Sesame Street with Maplewood Library as the setting.

Being local parents, who use their local library, the two filmmakers wanted the video, called The Library Song, to be about going to the library.  They planned each scene, wrote an original song, had it performed professionally and created some characters to animate in the video.  They filmed it in the Children’s Room early one morning in August. It’s a catchy tune to add to the small repertoire of library songs, and has a real kids-eye view of a local New Jersey Library.

Visually Impaired Readers are Learning from Libraries

October is Blindness Awareness Month, and the State Library’s TBBC has joined forces with state agencies and organizations focused on serving New Jersey’s visually impaired, to enhance access to assistive technology across the state. Check out the TBBC write up featured online at Healthy Aging® Magazine.

The American Dream Literacy Initiative

With a grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, the American Library Association (ALA) and its Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services (ODLOS) is launching the fifth round of American Dream grants to public libraries to expand services to adult English language learners. Applications are now being accepted through November 15, 2016.
Read more…

Help Promote Statewide Poster and Video Contest to Raise Awareness About Youth Immunizations

The Protect Me With 3+ contest, in its fifth year, challenges New Jersey middle school and high school students to create informational posters and videos. Finalists’ submissions are put onto the Protect Me With 3 website in March and their peers vote for the top three winners. The awards ceremony is set for April 2016.

Middle school students (grades 5-8) can create one 8.5×11 poster using facts about one vaccine.

High school students (grades 9-12) can create one 8.5×11 poster using facts about one vaccine OR create a 30-second video about why vaccinations are important to them.

The top three posters and videos win awesome prizes, and the chance for their work to be seen by the public during statewide awareness activities.  A prize for the classroom with the most eligible submissions in each of the poster and video categories will also be awarded.

Participating is as easy as 1-2-3! This video and infographic explain exactly how to enter the contest.
Please print out this flier and share these links with your community.

Small Business Workshops Now Available at Select Libraries Across the State

The New Jersey State Library is working with the New Jersey Department of Treasury’s Division of Taxation to connect local business owners and entrepreneurs with vital information through their libraries. Eighteen libraries are hosting Small Business Workshops taught by staff from the Taxation University, an outreach and training unit within the Division of Taxation. The free workshops will cover basic information about starting a business.

Read more…


MentorNJ In-Person Networking Event 

Wednesday, November 9th, 10:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Monroe Township Library. Registration is limited. Secure your spot!

Read more & register…


The New Jersey State Library is on Goodreads.com

Join the New Jersey State Library’s online book club on Goodreads.com! Back in June we held an informal webinar that focused on using the popular social networking site for readers. Check out the video here to walk through the basics of setting up an account, explore different features and facets of the service, as well as be introduced to the New Jersey State Library’s Goodreads page and online book group.

Deadline Approaching – Grant Opportunity for Public and School Library Partners

The New Jersey State Library and LibraryLinkNJ are pleased to announce the Mobile Mini-Makerspace Kits for Public and School Library Partners grant opportunity. Through this competitive grant program, NJSL and LLNJ will help fund three mobile mini-makerspace kits for joint use by a partnering public library/branch and public school library (Kindergarten – Grade 8) at a maximum amount of $7,500 per award. Read more…

The application deadline is November 1, 2016. The complete grant guidelines and application are available on the New Jersey State Library’s website: http://www.njstatelib.org/services_for_libraries/resources/grants/.


Save the Dates: LibraryLinkNJ Fall and Spring Membership Meetings

Wednesday, Nov. 30, 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Monroe Township Library (Middlesex County).

Thursday, June 8, 2016, Noon to 3:30 p.m. at the Forsgate Country Club, Monroe.


Send your small business and entrepreneurship announcements to the NJ State Library

Beginning in September, @NJGrowsBiz on Twitter is being relaunched with a new focus.  Libraries across New Jersey are doing amazing work to support the businesses and entrepreneurs in their communities.  From classes and special events to innovative partnerships and resources, libraries are providing the tools for businesses to thrive.

Through @NJGrowsBiz, the State Library will communicate the value of libraries to the business and entrepreneur community as well as connect libraries with ideas for programs and services for their own patrons.
If you are hosting an event, launching a new service, or promoting your existing endeavors, email details to Andrea Levandowski: alevandowski@njstatelib.org. You can also send news articles, photos from events, blog entries or other items to share your library’s impact on businesses and entrepreneurs. Contact Andrea with any questions or for more information.

Disaster Response & Recovery Resources for Collecting Institutions

The Foundation of the American Institute for Conservation (FAIC) offers free emergency response assistance to cultural organizations impacted by natural disasters. Please help ensure that staff members are aware of these resources.

Information on disaster recovery and salvage for impacted collections can be
found online at www.conservation-us.org/disaster

A free mobile application provides the same salvage guidance offered in the
award-winning “Emergency Response and Salvage Wheel.” You can download
the application by visiting www.conservation-us.org/wheel

The National Heritage Responders, a team of trained conservators and
collections care professionals, are available to provide advice on the phone
via a free 24-hour hotline at 202.661.8068

National Heritage Responders are also available on conduct on-site assessments and provide guidance on salvage. Call the hotline (202.661.8068) to request assistance.


NJSL Direct – November 3, 2016

New Jersey State LibraryNovember 3, 2016

 

Applications Now Open for SWAT Team Library Transformation Project

The New Jersey State Library is happy to announce the 2017 “SWAT Team,” once again offering public libraries an opportunity to transform an area within the interior space of their buildings. Deadline to apply: February 1, 2017.
Read more…


Site Registration for NJ Makers Day 2017 is now Open

On Friday, March 24 and Saturday, March 25, 2017, schools, museums, libraries, small businesses and other locations all across NJ will host live presentations, demonstrations, workshops and other hands-on interactive making experiences. Last year’s NJMD drew more than 60,000 visitors to over 250 sites across NJ to connect and engage in hands-on interactive programs, activities, demonstrations and experiences. There is no cost associated with becoming a participating site. Early Bird registration for NJ Makers Day ends Nov 19th. Don’t miss out on any discounts and sponsorships, free professional development, contests, and other incentives we will be offering. If you have not already, and will be participating, register today!

Read more…

Register here…


Eighth Annual Adult Services Forum

The Eighth Annual Adult Services Forum:  “Brick and Click: Training and Development for Library Leadership,” sponsored by The State Library and The New Jersey Library Association, was held on Oct. 24 at the Monmouth County Library Headquarters, Manalapan, with Tonya Garcia, NJLA’s Librarian of the Year, delivering the keynote address.

Annual Youth Services Forum

The Annual Youth Service Forum: Libraries Without Walls, a day of hot topics and issues in library services to children and young adults, sponsored by the NJ State Library, the NJ Library Association and the NJ Association of School Librarians, was held on Thursday, Oct. 20 at the Monroe (Middlesex County) Public Library with over 150 librarians in attendance. Keynote speaker was Lourdes Tango.

The American Dream Literacy Initiative

With a grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation, the American Library Association (ALA) and its Office for Diversity, Literacy and Outreach Services (ODLOS) is launching the fifth round of American Dream grants to public libraries to expand services to adult English language learners. Applications are now being accepted through November 15, 2016.
Read more…

Tell the FCC to Connect the Future of Education. Fix Business Data Services (BDS)

A note from the Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband Coalition:

On Thursday SHLB will be launching a new campaign to push the FCC to fix and improve their Business Data Service (BDS) proposal. Originally, the FCC had promised to help schools, libraries and health facilities lower broadband prices, and increase access to faster advanced broadband networks. But at the last minute, the FCC BDS proposal changed, focusing only on old networks. These edits cut off anchor institutions that rely on advanced Ethernet service, and are seeking to grow to gigabit service. We only have a few short weeks, and are looking for education champions at the FCC. Thursday we will launch a new VIDEO and a new hashtag #NOBufferBrains to help drive attention to this campaign. We need your help to spread the word on Facebook, Twitter, and via your Email lists. Read more…


Small Business Workshops Going On at Select Libraries Across the State

The New Jersey State Library is working with the New Jersey Department of Treasury’s Division of Taxation to connect local business owners and entrepreneurs with vital information through their libraries. Eighteen libraries are hosting Small Business Workshops taught by staff from the Taxation University, an outreach and training unit within the Division of Taxation. The free workshops will cover basic information about starting a business.

Read more…


Help Promote Statewide Poster and Video Contest to Raise Awareness About Youth Immunizations

The Protect Me With 3+ contest, in its fifth year, challenges New Jersey middle school and high school students to create informational posters and videos. Finalists’ submissions are put onto the Protect Me With 3 website in March and their peers vote for the top three winners. The awards ceremony is set for April 2016.
  • Middle school students (grades 5-8) can create one 8.5×11 poster using facts about one vaccine.
  • High school students (grades 9-12) can create one 8.5×11 poster using facts about one vaccine OR create a 30-second video about why vaccinations are important to them.
The top three posters and videos win awesome prizes, and the chance for their work to be seen by the public during statewide awareness activities.  A prize for the classroom with the most eligible submissions in each of the poster and video categories will also be awarded.

Participating is as easy as 1-2-3! This video and infographic explain exactly how to enter the contest.
Please print out this flier and share these links with your community.

The New Jersey State Library is on Goodreads.com

Join the New Jersey State Library’s online book club on Goodreads.com! Back in June we held an informal webinar that focused on using the popular social networking site for readers. Check out the video here to walk through the basics of setting up an account, explore different features and facets of the service, as well as be introduced to the New Jersey State Library’s Goodreads page and online book group.

Save the Dates: LibraryLinkNJ Fall and Spring Membership Meetings

  • Wednesday, Nov. 30, 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Monroe Township Library (Middlesex County).
  • Thursday, June 8, 2016, Noon to 3:30 p.m. at the Forsgate Country Club, Monroe.

Send your small business and entrepreneurship announcements to the NJ State Library

Beginning in September, @NJGrowsBiz on Twitter is being relaunched with a new focus.  Libraries across New Jersey are doing amazing work to support the businesses and entrepreneurs in their communities.  From classes and special events to innovative partnerships and resources, libraries are providing the tools for businesses to thrive.

Through @NJGrowsBiz, the State Library will communicate the value of libraries to the business and entrepreneur community as well as connect libraries with ideas for programs and services for their own patrons.
If you are hosting an event, launching a new service, or promoting your existing endeavors, email details to Andrea Levandowski: alevandowski@njstatelib.org. You can also send news articles, photos from events, blog entries or other items to share your library’s impact on businesses and entrepreneurs. Contact Andrea with any questions or for more information.

How to Host a Hackathon at Your Library

hackathonHackathons have become increasingly popular over the last few years, and they’re no longer conducted just by tech startups and companies. Groups as varied as professional sports organizations, local government and universities have embraced the concept.

These events can be extraordinarily beneficial for local communities. A marathon coding session can produce technology applications for the library as well as build upon STEM education efforts. As both community centers and technology hubs, public libraries are ideal places to host hackathons.

Technopedia defines a hackathon as “a gathering where programmers collaboratively code in an extreme manner over a short period of time. Hackathons are at least a few days – or over a weekend – and generally no longer than a week. While working on a particular project, the idea is for each developer to have the ability and freedom to work on whatever he/she wants.”

Many hosts design their hackathon with a specific purpose or theme. For example, Code for Civic Hacking events aim to develop solutions for government and community challenges like the lack of affordable housing or unemployment. Your hackathon can focus on the needs of the library, with coders developing library-related mobile apps or revamping the website. Other projects include creating new ways to put vast amounts of library data to better use.

One example is the Toronto Public Library, which hosted an Open Data Hackathon to explore new ideas for taking advantage of public library data. The projects included a catalogue speech interface, an interactive query system, and a map to explore library neighborhoods. You can view all of the pitch presentations from the event here.

Hosting a hackathon at your library is a big undertaking, however. In Georgia, after the Chattahoochee Valley Libraries hosted a Hack the Library event, deputy director Gabriel Lundeen shared his experience in a blog post.

If you’d like to host a hackathon, here are a few takeaways that you can use as a framework for designing, promoting and hosting.

 

Create a Project Plan

Not surprisingly, such a large event will take you and your staff months of work. Start the process by putting together a project plan and a timeline. It will help you track all of the logistical and marketing details to ensure nothing is overlooked.

Partner with Your Local Tech Community

Reach out to local technology organizations and begin building relationships. Local techies and coders can help you create a list of challenges for the event, help you promote it, and act as mentors to young and inexperienced participants during the event.

Find a Sponsor

Your costs will include food, prizes and marketing, so it’s a good idea to find a sponsor who can provide financial support. Reach out to area businesses, especially those who recruit and hire technology developers. Their next great hire might attend your hackathon, so they will benefit too.

Pay Close Attention to Logistics

Hosting 60-70 students, amateur techies, government officials and developers is a logistical challenge. You’ll need to arrange plenty of seating and table space, easy access to electrical outlets, WiFi, food, and more. This useful Hackathon Guide covers many of the details you need to run a successful event.

Promote the Hackathon

As you map out your marketing plan, be sure to take advantage of partnerships and sponsor opportunities. Ask your local tech community to promote via their own channels, and seek support from sponsors for media outreach and advertising. In addition, reach out to local schools and after-school tech clubs to get the word out.

Invite the Press

The hackathon is an excellent opportunity for the media to see the library in action, engage with participants, take tons of photos, and incorporate pitch videos into their articles. So don’t forget to reach out to the local press well in advance and offer them complementary access to the event.

 

Remember that this type of event doesn’t end after just 48 hours. Several projects will continue to completion, helping to strengthen your new relationships with members of the tech community. If all goes well, it’s likely you’ll see more local techies using the library, and you will find yourself planning more hackathons.

5 Planning Tips Based on the Latest Pew Library Survey

pewchartGood news! Americans do value their public libraries, according to the latest report from the Pew Research Center.

 

But while two-thirds of Americans still visit libraries to borrow books, 80% say libraries should offer programs to teach people how to use digital tools.

 

The study provides several insights that can help libraries become even more relevant to their communities. As you work on your next three or five-year plan, you’ll find it worthwhile to delve into the details of this report, which will help guide your investment decisions.

 

Let’s look at a few that could impact your planning.

 

  • Add Digital Skills Programs: In addition to the strong demand for digital skills programs, 37% of Americans say libraries help them understand what information they can trust. This is a significant increase from 2015, when just 24% of Americans responded in this way. Many libraries already offer programs covering how to conduct research using library databases and how to use the Internet to apply for a job. But they should also consider adding programs especially for children and senior citizens, to help them learn how to use computers, smartphones and apps.

 

  • Embrace the Maker Movement: Half of Americans also say their public libraries should invest in new creative technologies such as 3-D printers, a finding that indicates strong support for adding a Makerspace to your library.

 

  • Update and Promote the Website: Fewer people said they visited their public library’s website in the previous 12 months. However, half of those who did used a mobile device, up from 39% in 2012. In addition, 58% of website users searched the library catalogue, while 44% conducted research or got homework help. There are likely several reasons why library websites aren’t attracting visitors. There may be low awareness in the community, or the site simply isn’t friendly for mobile users. A website update can be an expensive and time-consuming project, but it may be necessary, especially for older websites. If you do embark on such a project, be sure your new site is responsive and mobile-ready. Another way to improve traffic is to launch a marketing campaign aimed at building awareness.

 

  • Promote eBooks: There’s also a clear need for public libraries to do a better job of marketing their library eBook programs. Only 44% of Americans know that their public libraries loan out e-books, despite the fact that 90% of libraries have such programs.

 

  • Non-Users: Nearly 20% of Americans have never been to the library. According to the Pew study, non-users are often male, 65 or older, Hispanic, Black, high-school graduates or less, or living in a household earning less than $30,000. Community outreach programs can be effective in reaching diverse and underserved populations. Consider forming partnerships with local community leaders, businesses, and schools, and creating new programs based on the needs of specific population segments.

 

These are just a few of many findings in the report, which is worth reviewing in greater detail. You can read it here.

 

5 Steps to a Better SEO Strategy – and More Website Traffic

If you’re feeling underwhelmed by the volume of traffic to your public library website, it may be time to conduct an audit of your SEO strategy. The search engines are always adjusting their algorithms, which makes it necessary for website owners to regularly revisit and adjust their search engine optimization strategies.

But what’s the best way to conduct such an audit? Moz is an SEO consulting firm that offers advice on how to improve your ranking in search engines. In this YouTube video, which is part of the company’s Whiteboard Friday series, CEO Rand Fishkin recommends website owners consider five questions about their organization and the people it’s trying to serve.

To create content that brings more visitors to your website, you need to describe the library’s unique value and the ways in which you help solve community and user problems. But getting people to visit your website is just one goal of SEO. You also want people to visit the library in person. Or, as corporate marketers might say, you want to convert them to customers. Your SEO audit also should define this process.

Rand’s video offers practical, easy-to-follow advice. I’ve taken the five questions he poses in his video, and adapted them for public libraries, with suggestions for how you might answer them. Keep in mind, though: your answers will be specific to your goals. Here are Rand’s questions:

What does our public library offer that helps solve our visitors’ problems?

One answer to this question might be: Our public library offers research databases to help local businesses create strategic plans.

What is the unique value we provide that no one else does?

One advantage of public libraries? Our services are free. For example, you might answer this question by stating: “We offer free access to computers and to the internet for people who can’t afford their own.”

Who will help amplify our message?

The key takeaway here is that you must define both your target audience and key influencers. For example, local media influences both community opinion and behaviors of local residents. In social media, members of local Facebook groups will share opinions about local businesses and services. So it’s important to actively share library news in these groups, not just on your Facebook page.

What’s the process for turning website visitors into library users?

Just because someone visits your website, it doesn’t mean she’ll walk through the library doors. If your goal is to raise funds for the library, you first need to map the donor’s journey from fact-finding to understanding the library’s need to making a commitment to give. A public library web marketing funnel might look like this:

  • A resident of your community will search online to find local charities to support.
  • This search may lead him to the public library website.
  • He signs up for your newsletter via a link on the site.
  • He receives an invite to a library fundraising event.

How do we expose what we do in a way that search engines can understand?

Of course, content creation is the way to drive people to your website. You must write content that answers questions and solves problems for your target audience. For example, some members of the community may want to download ebooks from the library, but have no idea how this works. You can create a simple video explaining the process, and post it on your website. This is exactly the type of content search engines want, and when they find it, they will rank it highly.

Google and other search engines are placing heavy emphasis on well-crafted content that answers their users’ questions. The five questions in the Moz video provide an excellent framework for understanding how to create content that will rank highly in the search engine algorithms. After you watch the video, you’ll find it easier to create an effective SEO strategy for your public library website.

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