Monday Briefing - July 12, 2021

July Learning Opportunities from Suzanne

While we do not have a System Meeting in July, there are several learning opportunities being offered through PLS.

Grab & Go Learning: Facilitating Conversations - Tuesday, July 13 @ 10am

Facilitating conversations is much more than having flip charts and Post-it notes. A lot of it is knowing who is in the room, preparing, and managing personalities. In this conversation, Ron Kirsop will highlight the main strategies he has implemented when facilitating including understanding the principles of facilitating a conversation, strategies for facilitating conversations, and handling difficult conversations.

Beyond the Binary Workshop - Friday, July 16 @ 10am

The purpose of the Network of the National Library of Medicine Beyond the Binary training is to demonstrate how to find culturally sensitive health information resources for Sexual and Gender Minorities (SGM) populations and the librarians who support them. The acronym LGBTQIA+ refers to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning individuals, and others. This training serves as an introduction to this important topic. After attending, participants will be able to:
  • List four key points regarding the health information needs of the LGBTQIA+ community;
  • List three concepts for providing a welcoming environment for sexual and gender minorities;
  • Identify three resources for providing health information regarding sexual and gender minorities.

Grab & Go Learning: Your Library and Advocacy - Tuesday, July 27 @ 10am

Are your federal, state, and local legislators names only with no real connection to your library? Join LJ Martin, Outreach Coordinator and Interim Youth Consultant, CCLS, to take a look at the power of local advocacy and develop an action plan that will make sense for your library. This conversation will center around identifying your local officials and community movers & shakers, different lenses of advocacy, and planning for the long game of advocacy.

BONUS: Office Luau Hours for Directors - Friday, July 23 @ 10am

Ron and Suzanne will be available for all your library-related questions or if you just want to pop in and say "Aloha!" Zoom link will be sent to Directors in the morning. Leis are optional but strongly encouraged.

Build America's Library Act

We first spoke about the Build America's Library Act back in February, since then ALA has continued to promote this $5 billion bill to secure upgrades to libraries. Take a look a the letter recently released and the social media campaign below. The specifics on local impacts are unclear, but this is a sizable amount of money that could benefit our libraries if this act is passed.

Letter from ALA

Dear ALA Policy Corps Community,

As you know, PPA recently issued an advocacy alert for the Build America’s Libraries Act. If the bill is included in the final infrastructure and reconciliation package, that means $5 billion in upgrades to libraries to address challenges such as natural disasters, COVID-19, advanced technology, environmental hazards, and accessibility. The timing is critical – we have about a 2-week window to influence Congress as they hammer out an infrastructure plan.

The Build America’s Libraries Act is not just a great idea – we actually do have a chance at this $5 billion library construction bill. We need the help of ALA leaders to get the word out about this once-in-a-generation opportunity for library infrastructure funding. Below are four sample tweets you can use to share the news from your Twitter account. Or you can repost ALA’s social media posts: If you need content in a specific format for an e-newsletter or some other form of communication, Jil Staszewski (, who leads ALA’s advocacy communications, can help customize your message. Our communications team is open to any other creative suggestions you might have for getting the word out about the Build America’s Libraries Act.

Sample Tweets

  • No community should go without a modern, fully-funded library. It’s time for Congress to #BuildLibraries. Join us and urge Congress to ensure library construction & modernization is included in an infrastructure package:
  • Leaky roofs, broken HVAC systems, accessibility barriers: libraries nationwide are facing these challenges. It’s time for Congress to #BuildLibraries, for the next generation of patrons. Tell Congress to include libraries in an infrastructure package:
  • Library infrastructure is critical - for communities across the country, libraries serve as vital resource hubs. But it’s been 20+ years since Congress allocated funding to #BuildLibraries. Urge Congress to include libraries in an infrastructure package:
  • Congress is on the verge of finalizing an infrastructure plan, and libraries MUST be included. Join us and urge Congress to #BuildLibraries and modernize library facilities, for the next generation of library users:

OWWL Libraries Supporting Older Adults Grant Program

Older community members, especially those in smaller and rural communities, often face challenges not experienced by their peers living in more densely populated areas. Some of these challenges include geographical and/or social isolation, limited mobility and/or transportation, and inadequate access to resources such as healthcare and social services. As well-known, trusted public institutions, OWWL Libraries are uniquely positioned to support the growing number of older people in their communities.

OWWL Libraries are invited to apply for up $2,000 to increase or add services and resources that support older adults in their communities through the OWWL Libraries Supporting Older Adults Grant Program. Applications are due August 15, 2021 and the six recipient libraries will be notified by August 30, 2021. Funding will be dispersed in early September 2021 and project activities must begin by the end of 2021.

For more information about this opportunity including the application criteria, library commitment, and application form, click here.

StoryWalk® Seed Money Project

A StoryWalk® is a fun, educational activity that places a children’s story along a popular walking route in the community. It provides an engaging activity for families to enjoy together outdoors while also promoting literacy, reading, and the local library. The StoryWalk® Project was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, VT, and developed in collaboration with the Vermont Bicycle & Pedestrian Coalition and the Kellogg Hubbard Library.

Pioneer Library System will be awarding three OWWL Libraries with $3,000 in seed money to build a permanent or semi-permanent StoryWalk®. Applications are due Friday, July 23, 2021. The three libraries receiving the award money will be notified by July 30, 2021, and funding will be disbursed to the libraries in early August 2021. Libraries must be able to complete their project, by June 30, 2022.

For more information about this opportunity including the application criteria, library commitment, and application form, click here.

Questions regarding the Supporting Older Adults Grant Program or the StoryWalk® Seed Money Project can be directed to Andrea Snyder, Grants & Outreach Coordinator.

Mail to the System

Just a reminder, if you have sensitive items (checks, etc.) that need to come to the System, we ask that you mail them rather than placing items in delivery. This will ensure that items reach us in a timely manner. Thank you for being flexible on this as we work to bring delivery back to full capacity.

Trustee Workshops

Suzanne and I have scheduled our next round of Trustee Workshops for the fall. Head over to for the full list.

Ask a Lawyer Service from RRLC

Over the past five years, many of our members have used the collaborative Ask the Lawyer service to access timely input on legal issues. There are currently more than 100 footnoted and cited answers to questions on library-related legal issues ranging from real property, to not-for-profit civil rights concerns.

We are working on a check-up for the Recently Asked Questions to address any changes to the law since answers were created, to update any broken links, and to update search terms/categories.

Please send me any feedback you have about the service or the RAQs - is there a new search category that would be helpful or a dead link you spotted? For those members who have submitted a question to the service and received an answer, let me know how it impacted your organization.

Please send me any comments and feedback by August 6th. Thank you!

This has been a fantastic service over the past five years. If you notice anything that should be updated or included, feel free to send to me or directly to Laura Osterhout.

Ask a Lawyer: Filling Out Forms for Patrons - 07/08/2021

Speaking of the Ask a Lawyer service, here is one on filling out forms for patrons and the ins and outs of potential issues with doing so -

How is that done? Many libraries already have a version of this approach, but here's my plain-language version of a policy:

Library employees are here to help patrons use library resources, but librarians and library staff may not interpret, provide guidance, or fill in forms for patrons.

Patrons who need assistance filling in a form or completing a document due to uncertainty about the content are welcome to ask librarians for help locating the instructions or contact information for assistance.

Patrons who need assistance filling in a form or completing a document on the library's computer or other resource as an accommodation for a disability, please alert the Director or [insert alternate, accessible means], so the Library may act on the request per the library's ADA policy.

So, to be clear, my answer to the member's overall question is: to avoid doubt, librarians should never help patrons fill out the answers on legal forms if the help is just part of good customer service.[3] HOWEVER, librarians absolutely can read the content and type substantive answers on a patron's legal forms if the library decides (and documents) that it is providing the assistance as part of a reasonable accommodation for a disability.


Legislative Updates

Streamline & Modernize Library Program Requirements

S6511 (Ryan) / A7021 (Jean-Pierre). Status: Passed Senate & Assembly. Awaiting delivery to Governor.

These technical amendments replace outdated provisions with new language to consolidate and modernize programs and, streamline planning and reporting requirements to improve efficiency.

Training for Library Trustees

S4435B (May) / A6121B (Jean-Pierre) Status: Passed Senate & Assembly. Awaiting delivery to Governor.

If enacted, this bill would ensure that those choosing to serve their libraries as a trustee have comprehensive training, reflective of their communities, each year.

Increased Access to the Library Construction Program

S5753A (Ryan) / A7060A (Jean-Pierre) Status: Passed Senate & Assembly. Awaiting delivery to Governor.

If signed by the Governor, this bill would allow library systems, who are responsible for distributing the Program funds to their libraries, greater flexibility.

Access to E-Books

S2890B (May) / A5837B (Jean-Pierre) Status: Passed Senate & Assembly. Awaiting delivery to Governor.

This bill would require that publishers who offer electronic books to the private market, also extend licenses to libraries within the State, without discrimination.
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