Thank you to SAMMIE for this great opportunity to attend the National ASRL Conference in Fargo.
Active STEM Programs on a Shoestring Budget – A staff person from the STAR Library Education Network ( talked about her work and why the National Science Foundation and NASA fund STAR Libraries and are eager to work with public libraries. The STAR Libraries staff cull through the multitude of educational and informational programs put together by scientists at a number of organizations and agencies to pick out or adapt them for use in a public library. She showed a few of the games and programs, as well as displayed a number of relatively new-to-the-market technology toys. FYI: We will be hosting one of their traveling exhibits in 2018.
Backpacks and Cache Boxes: Self-Directed Family Programs That Encourage Active Learning
These two separate libraries in Washington State shared their successful programs to engage non-users, as well as the community as a whole. The Backpacks are kits on topics that can be checked out. For example, the Fishing Backpack includes 2 fishing poles, a collapsible pole, a tackle box with tackle, the Washington Sport Fishing Rules Guide Book and the 4-H Fishing for Adventures activity books. The other topics include Birding, Geochache and Hiking. They will be adding a Biking one next year. The other library worked with the Chamber to create a Geocache treasure hunt around town, focusing on local landmarks and history.
Be Your Own Graphic Designer
Librarians from the Altoona City Public Library of Iowa listed and demonstrated various free programs and resources for designing print materials online. The session was packed with suggestions for where to find free graphics and a graphic design program that will translate images into the different sizes needed streamline the process for creating infographics and resizing into formats for various social media outlets. This will save us a lot of time manipulating posters, etc. Coupled with both our new website and rebranding, the new tools we learned about will be very handy!
Lights, Camera, Advocacy: Digital Storytelling for Your Library
This presentation highlighted ways to promote and advocate for your library using digital video and social media video outlets. The speaker recommended some equipment for use in recording sound and video, though for a very basic video, even a smartphone and free video editing software will work. This session gave us a number of ideas, as well as a list of both hardware and software, that will be quite helpful when we are ready to tackle our own Digital Maker Space.
Outcome Measurement Made Easy: A Free Toolkit for Public Libraries
Presented by one of the Public Library Association staff members working with this toolkit ( This toolkit will help us track and measure many (if not all) the outcomes for our strategic plan, allowing us to be able to compare across programs as well as measure a particular service or program over time.
op-Up Libraries
The Adult Services Librarian at North Liberty (IA) Public Library talked about two new outreach opportunities in their community. While one is very similar to what we do (going to a retirement community), the other was working with the local food bank to provide services (including new cards and material checkout) there. They have only been going there for about a month, so there is not a significant amount checked out, it has worked well to introduce the library to many who don’t use it or know what the services are and she does quite a bit of reference work, answering a wide variety of questions. It has also led to other partnerships with the food bank. Even though we do a lot of these already (service to day cares and assisted living sites), attendees also talked about going to farmer’s markets, fire stations and other community spaces.
Preserving “Born Digital” Community Records
This session was presented by a staff member of the Internet Archive ( The Internet Archive holds millions of searchable TV news programs, all the political ads from the current election, software preservation and emulators (including old video games) and the “Way Back Machine” where you can search for web sites URLs that are no longer in existence. The organization allows any organization (they are currently targeting small libraries) to upload scanned documents and books to the Archive, and even create an organization-specific special collection within the Archive. This could be a good tool to use in collaboration with the Lyon County Museum and SMSU when collecting local stories (either written or oral) and any records or documents we might digitize when creating self-guided tours of Marshall and Lyon county.