Category Archives: Advocacy

Learning About Library Associations: Library and Information Technology Association

Library science is an enormous field, home to every interest you could imagine! This means that there are many organizations out there for you to join, in order to connect with other people who share your professional interests.

So even if you work alone in your library, there are other people out there doing work similar to yours! Each week we will highlight a different library association for you to learn more about, and depending on your work, potentially join! You can also check out our page dedicated to Library Associations.

This week we are learning about the Library and Information Technology Association (LITA) which is a division of ALA. According to their Wikipedia page, “LITA became a division of ALA in 1966 in response to the changing technological environment in libraries. LITA advocates for equitable access to information and technology, placing a focus on providing an environment that fosters investigation and enables the implementation of new technology within libraries. LITA is headquartered in the Chicago ALA offices.” You can find out more about membership to LITA and ways to get involved here.

According to their website, LITA’s vision is: “As the center of expertise about information technology, the Library and Information Technology Association (LITA) leads in exploring and enabling new technologies to empower libraries.  LITA members use the promise of technology to deliver dynamic library collections and services.”

LITA publishes an open access e-journal called Information Technology and Libraries which can be accessed here. They also offer several awards and a scholarship each year.

To learn more about LITA’s work with advocacy and the issues they promote, check out their page!

September is Library Card Sign-up Month!

It’s Library Card Sign-Up Month! As library people, we probably know most of the wonderful benefits of having a library card, but not everyone is aware of all the great things that become available with a library card!

Library Card Sign Up Month began in 1988. For more about the event’s history, read a thoroughly-detailed accounting in the August 24, 2015 entry at the American Library Association Archives Blog, A Library Card for Every Child: Library Card Sign-Up Month, by Cara Bertram. Then follow this link to view the American Libraries Association Council Resolution that started Library Card Sign Up Month.

ALA has some great resources you can use this month, including this press kit that has resources like this downloadable pdf containing twenty quotable facts about libraries. And I Love has this great list of ways to celebrate Library Card Sign Up Month!

Finally, watch and share this short video from Overdrive that details all the benefits of having a library card:

Weekly Spotlight Program: Outside the Lines – Libraries Reintroduced

At CMLE, we so enjoy all our different types of libraries, archives, and other members! Seeing all the work you are doing is so inspiring; and we want to return the favor by helping you to find some of the great programming going on around the profession.

Each week we will share an interesting program we find. It may inspire you to do exactly the same thing; or to try something related; or just to try out some different programming ideas. (On November 9, 2017, we will drop a podcast episode on Library Programming; you can tune in here to check it out! Or, of course, subscribe or stream to enjoy any of the episodes!)

This week we found a program particularly interesting in a multitype environment: Outside the Lines: Libraries Reintroduced.  We like this program – and want to do some of this ourselves! If you have ideas that would be best if partnered across the system, let us know.

“Libraries and library staff are skilled in their ability to adapt to meet the changing needs of their communities. Step into today’s library, and you might find expanded collections that include everything from telescopes to fishing poles to sewing machines. Libraries have embraced ideas and services that help communities to be their best, whether that’s by providing access to the latest technology or facilitating life-long learning through programming for all ages. Yet, despite these innovations, many outdated perceptions of libraries linger. For the library industry as a whole, the challenge remains: How do we help our communities understand that libraries are more relevant than ever? Outside the Lines, now in its fourth year, is an international grassroots initiative aimed at doing just that.

A weeklong global celebration

Outside the Lines is a weeklong celebration – September 10-16, 2017 – demonstrating the creativity and innovation happening in libraries. Libraries of all types–small, large, urban, rural, public, academic–are invited to participate in an effort to reintroduce themselves to their communities. To do this, organizations agree to host at least one event or campaign during Outside the Lines (OTL) that gets people thinking and talking about libraries in a new way.

As of the late July, more than 160 libraries from across the globe–from Alabama to California, Brazil to Croatia, Ghana to Australia–will take part in OTL 2017, tailoring their events to meet the needs of their specific communities. Outside the Lines is designed to be flexible so that all libraries, no matter their size or resources, can engage with their communities in a way that works for them. Creative outreach can benefit any community – OTL simply provides a framework and support to help make it happen. And you are invited to include your library and community to this weeklong celebration!

Brainstorming for a successful OTL

Figuring out how to participate in Outside the Lines might feel a little daunting at first – the possibilities are endless. So how do you figure out a creative way to celebrate the library while also representing your community? When working with libraries on developing ideas for a successful OTL, we’ve found the following brainstorming activity to be effective. With your planning team, ask the following questions:

  • What words describe your community?
  • If you were to take your library out into the community, where would you take it?
  • What would the community be surprised to learn about your library?
  • Thinking about your answers, what dream OTL event would you host? With this question, we encourage libraries to think big and take inspiration from those big ideas. Your big dream might be closer to a reality than you think, and you can always scale back as necessary.

From a battle of the bands to wine festivals and floating libraries, check out some of the ideas that formed from one such brainstorming session at the Public Library Association 2017 conference.

“Every day of OTL I met people who were delighted to find the library out and about. We learned together about our community, splendid parks, amazing nature, fascinating personal stories, and the power of play.”

Heather Ogilvie, Bay County Public Library, Florida

In 2016, Bay County Public Library participated in Outside the Lines by hosting adventure walks, potluck picnics and a “Read on the Beach” session where residents received free admission to a state park with their library card.

Last-minute ideas

For libraries interested in participating but worried about not having enough planning time, there are several ways to create an easy OTL experience. In fact, sometimes the simplest ideas can be the most effective. We’ve seen a number of libraries share great success in setting up shop at their local farmers’ market, on the bike trail, or at the bus stop. What about a pop-up story time at an unexpected place like the park or a local business? You don’t have to throw a parade to make an impact on your community.

Using OTL to reach your organizational goals

Is there a specific audience your library is trying to reach? Is there a community partnership you’d like to form? What about a strategic goal you hope to fulfill? Whatever your library’s current goals, Outside the Lines can help you reach them. For example, if your library is looking to promote a specific service, think about the target audience for that service. Where in the community might you reach them? Outside the Lines is a great way to experiment and try something new.

“We were surprised at the fact that we were able to accomplish so much in just a week. A lot of our campaigns and events were things we have been wanting to do for a long time, so it was nice to finally have a catalyst to do them and find out that it was all possible!”

Jenna Harte, Sterling Municipal Library, Texas, OTL 2016

Learn more about setting and achieving organizational goals using specific examples in this free webinar hosted in conjunction with the Public Library Association.

Why participate in Outside the Lines?

  • Shift perceptions of libraries in our communities and help them understand their relevancy
  • Publicity on a state and national level
  • Experiment and pilot new services
  • Establish new partnerships
  • Meet organizational goals and objectives

Looking for more information?
Start with these resources.

“There’s a project in every community that needs a partner to help it take shape, and the library can be that partner.”

Erin Sullivan, Orange County Library System, Florida

Day Eighty Four of the CMLE Summer Fun Library Tour!

As a serious library lover, and someone who knows how much impact libraries can have on their communities, hearing about libraries being forced to shut down is devastating. And, of course, it is so much more devastating for their communities!

Small-town libraries serve residents like never before, but budget cuts could close them

If you don’t work for a library or you haven’t been inside one in a number of years, forget what you believe libraries mean to small towns in Mississippi.

Yes, you can still check out books.

But 20 years ago, we would have never heard a librarian tell this story.

“I was at the grocery store one day and this man sees me,” says Loraine Joyce Walker, librarian at the Noxubee County Central Library in Macon (population 2,600). “He was with his mother and grandmother. His eyes got big, and he said, ‘Mama! Nanny! This is the lady who helped me get the job.’ All of a sudden, I was enveloped in a double hug.

“Using one of the library’s computers, I had helped him apply for 20 offshore jobs. He was now going to be able to send money back home to help cover some of the expenses of his sister at college. He was also going to send them money to cover food and rent.”

The man didn’t own a computer, didn’t know how to apply for a job online and had no access to the internet.

“We are a poor county,” Walker says, “and most people here can’t afford wifi.”

The local library changed that family’s life.

“It happens all the time at libraries all over the state,” Walker says.

Here is the bad news: Budget cuts threaten the future of libraries statewide, especially in rural areas, where they are needed the most.”

(Read the rest of  this article here; and prepare yourself to constantly advocate for the future of libraries everywhere!)


TSA Ends Test of Separate Scanning for Books

This is not directly about libraries, but as a profession we are always interested in preserving privacy and freedom to read; so this is good news for us!

(Article from, by By )

“The Transportation Security Administration has ended tests of a new requirement for passengers to remove books and other paper items from their carry-on luggage during security screening. An agency spokeswoman left room for the new rules to return at a later date however, saying that “at this time, [we] are no longer testing or instituting these procedures.”

The TSA says that the pilot test simply ran its course, but the announcement came shortly after alarm bells were raised by intellectual freedom and privacy advocates in the past week. The agency said that the test arose only from scanning machines’ limitations in discerning explosives from other contents of packed bags, but even prior to the new rules there were many documented cases of TSA employees giving increased scrutiny to passengers perceived to be carrying suspicious reading material. After a blog post by ACLU’s Jay Stanley publicized the test, representatives from the American Association of University Professors and the Modern Language Association also voiced their concern. Continue reading TSA Ends Test of Separate Scanning for Books