Monday, December 17, 2018

Joining the EveryLibrary Institute Board of Directors in 2019

EveryLibrary Institute logo
In November, the EveryLibrary Institute NFP - the non-profit research companion to EveryLibrary - announced its new Board of Directors, who will take office in January.  I'm pleased to be among an interesting and active group of library supporters, who are joining the board.  Who is the EveryLibrary Institute (ELI)?
The EveryLibrary Institute is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that works to systematically address the slide in public opinion and support for library funding among the American electorate by partnering with foundations, philanthropic organizations, associations, non-profits, and academic institutions to enhance public perception of libraries and librarianship through research-driven direct engagement with American society.
As a board member, what will I be doing? Well...
The board is charged with supporting and extending the EveryLibrary Institute’s core mission to understand and improve public and voter perception of libraries and librarians. Their role will include setting strategic priorities for the Institute’s research, publishing, training and programmatic agendas, along with building partnerships inside and outside of libraries for success.
I have already been collaborating with EveryLibrary Institute on gathering and analyzing public library data. I look forward, in my role on the board, in helping ELI collaborate with other researchers on data that will help public libraries understand the public's perception of them.

Thanks to John Chrastka, for inviting me to join the board. He has already hosted board orientation events and our first board meeting is scheduled for late January.  Clearly he will put us to work fast!

Friday, December 14, 2018

States' Rights and Copyright

Bill of Rights
In the United States, December 15 is Bill of Rights Day.  The Amendment X states:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
This is referred to as states' rights. States' rights have been in the news this year, and likely every year, for those rights which the States control related to individuals in each state (e.g., healthcare).  Besides the rights which are reserved for the States, it is important to recognize which rights the U.S. government delegated to itself through the Constitution.  One of the rights under the federal government controls is:
To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries
Yes, copyright!  I am wrapping up my graduate copyright class and am thankful that I only needed to teach one law (federal) and not 50 different state laws.  At the federal level, copyright is simple, complex, freeing, constricting, and fun.  This year, there were important changes in copyright law, including the Marrakesh Treaty Implementation Act and the Music Modernization Act. I'm glad that these changes apply across the U.S. equally because of Amendment X.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Webinar Recording Available: Moving Your Services into Your Community

PCI Webinars provides continuing education for library organizations of all types and sizes.  In October I was honored to give a webinar for them on "Moving Your Services into Your Community."  PCI archives all of their webinars and this one is available for viewing.  This is a useful topic for those interested in or tasked with building relationships with their broader community, including community organizations.  The webinar can be purchases for online viewing.


We’ve heard the refrains of eliminating the reference desk, embedded librarians, and the like. We also hear of the need to get out into our communities. Yet meeting our community members where they are – not where we are – is still a challenge.

If we are free to move about our communities, and deliver services outside of the library, what might that look like? What innovative or imaginative twist can we use, which will spark the community’s attention and interaction? How can we assure that our efforts are accomplished in both safe and respectful ways?

After this webinar, participants will be able to:
  • Explain the value of moving services into your community
  • Propose activities which move the library out into it community
  • Consider safe and community needs in creating a safe space outside of the library

Friday, November 16, 2018

Report: The State of Digital Preservation 2018: A Snapshot of Challenges and Gaps

This fall, Ithaka S+R issued a report entitled, "TheState of Digital Preservation 2018: A Snapshot of Challenges and Gaps" which was developed based on a series of interviews with leaders in the field and authored by Oya Rieger.  Rieger wrote on the report's webpage:
Ithaka S+R is interested in exploring the current landscape of digital preservation programs and services in order to identify research and policy questions that will contribute to the advancement of strategies in support of future scholarship. To this end, during June and July 2018, I talked with 21 experts and thought leaders to hear their perspectives on the state of digital preservation. The purpose of this report is to share a number of common themes that permeated through the conversations and provide an opportunity for broader community reaction and engagement, which will over time contribute to the development of an Ithaka S+R research agenda in these areas.
The report is 16 pages in length and available for download.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

#NYLA2018 : Budgeting Skills for Public Library Managers

Rochester NY buildings
Chris Finger,  the library director from Geneva Public Library, gave a presentation on the library budget and budget process. This was geared for someone who is new at budgeting, however, there were useful takeaways for anyone.

In a public library, the library board of trustees and the library director share responsibilities for creating the budget, developing scenarios, thinking about funding increases, planning budget priorities, tracking expenses, and presenting the budget to the public. The board of trustees as fiduciary responsibilities for the library, while the director is the person who is steeped in the day-to-day details. 

The board of trustees and the library director need to understand the budget process and the details of the budget.  Finger suggested that the director become immersed in the budget details. That person need to understand all of the items int the budget and should read every financial statement.  When possible, he suggested that the director shadow budget experts, as one way of gaining more knowledge.

Finger wants library directors to understand what they control in the budget.  In other words, are there specific line items that can be controlled, rather than items (e.g., heat) which the library cannot control?  He asked us to consider what control should look like.  He also suggested that we not nitpick the small items, but look at those larger items, which have a greater impact on the overall budget.

Finger talked about where the funding comes from and used his library as an example.  He noted that taxes are the library’s most stable income source.  The library has no control over other funding sources, such as grants.

In thinking about the budget and seeing support for it, Finger wants library directors to be a voice of reason be an advocate for change, and be willing to speak out on your budget needs.  You should look at the budget and determine those areas for which your funders will be willing to provide stable support.

In terms of friends groups and foundations, Finger suggested that the library be honest about what its needs.  Can the group give you the money to address your needs?  That might be different that what its funding has been used for in the past.  He said that the true value of a friends group is its goodwill and its ability to be an ambassador for the library.  Yes, it raises money, but it does much more than that.

Finger advocated for creating multi-year budget scenarios, so you can see how funding changes will impact future years.  That would also allow you to show how increased funding, for example, would impact what the library would be able to do in future years.

In planning the budget, don't just rely on last year. Consider what is changing.  But rely on last year over your intuition. Don’t guess.

Finger believes in looking at where money needs to be spent.  For example, don't consider replacing a broken desk as being a luxury item. That is something which needs to be done and funding should be spent on it.  Also don't use the budget to pit departments against each other, if at all possible. Make the budget something everyone can support.