Category Archives: Programs

Day Seventy Nine of the CMLE Summer Fun Library Tour!

Think about participating in this really interesting program from Web Junction: Outside The Lines

Outside the Lines: Libraries Reintroduced

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 Yet, despite these innovations, many outdated perceptions of libraries linger.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.

Day Sixty Two of the CMLE Summer Fun Library Tour!

Monoclonius dinosaur
It is always fun to see what other libraries are doing, and the different programs going on in libraries.  The public library in Liberty, NY has a fun program for kids: digging up dinosaur bones! Hands up: how many of us spent our childhoods being interested in dinosaurs? Me too!

Add together digging, some education, and dinosaurs, and you have all the makings of a fun program!

Dig for dinosaur bones at
Liberty Public Library

“LIBERTY — On Aug. 3 at 6:30 p.m., the Liberty Public Library at 189 N Main Street in Liberty will be hosting a real, hands-on Dinosaur Dig inside the library. To get the children ready for the dig, the program will start off with a 30-minute interactive fossil talk presented by Field Paleontologist, Mike Straka. During the talk Mr. Straka will cover how and where we find fossils and will show some amazing fossil discoveries from the time of the dinosaurs to the time of the ice age.

He will then assist children in digging for real dinosaur bones, identifying the bones and placing them on top of a Triceratops cut out. Please note that while this program is free, the hands-on “dig” workshop is limited to 50 participants, ages 5-11. Weather permitting; the dig will be set up outside the library so children should come dressed in play clothes. After the dig, children will have an opportunity to spend time looking at the expanded fossil “museum” set up in the library.”

We want to start off Fall with a celebration!

Fall (6282684630)

Are you having a good summer?

We love summer time here at CMLE HQ – and are busily making all kinds of great plans to help us serve our members in the upcoming year!

It truly is an amazing experience to be able to work with all the different libraries, archives, history centers, and other organizations that make up a multitype system. And I always am a big believer that everyone is stronger when we work together! (Feel free to insert any cheesy “yay team!” cliche of your choice here)
Team Sky Logo
One of our missions here at HQ is to help our members to connect with each other. Everyone is doing interesting work across the system (I’ve seen it!!!); and it  can really help when you know you have colleagues in other libraries to help support you and your work.

We have many fun plans ahead, but to get started we are going to have a Back-To-School/Fall-Is-Coming time to hang out and chat with each other!

This will be at HQ (570 1st Street SE, St. Cloud, MN 56304), and will be a casual event. We will have snacks and goodies available, raffles of prizes, tours of the office (plants! faux windows! bike desk!), and a chance for people to meet up and chat!

Let’s set a day and time that works for most people! Please vote in the poll below, and let’s get this on our calendars so we can get ready for two of the best things: snacks and library talk!

Day Fifty Five of the CMLE Summer Fun Library Tour!

PST Model Airplane Jet Trainer

I have never been to Red Hook, New York; but after reading this I really wish I had been at their so-cool program!!

Hands-on Flight Camp offered at Red Hook Public Library

“RED HOOK — Kids in grades 3-5 will be challenged to design a variety of aerial vehicles and conduct experiments in aeronautics during Flight Camp at Red Hook Public Library at 7444 S. Broadway in Red Hook.

A part of the library’s 2017 Summer Reading Program, this camp will take place from 10 a.m.- noon, July 17-21. Participants may find themselves channeling their inner Wright Brothers as they learn about aerodynamics and the history of human flight in particular.

Flight Camp is free and open to the public, and all materials will be provided. Space is limited and registration is required online or in person. Call 758-3241 for more information.

Red Hook Public Library has been serving the community of Red Hook and its need for lifelong learning since 1898. It has been designated a five-star library by Library Journal since 2013. The library was chosen as a finalist for the Best Small Library in America award, given by Library Journal and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, in 2015.

For more information, call the Red Hook Public Library at 758-3241or go to redhooklibrary.org.”

Day Fifty of the CMLE Summer Fun Library Tour!

Map of Alaska highlighting Juneau City and Borough
I always love to hear about library programs of all sorts! We can all strive to have a  mix of programs that might reach out to different members of our communities – or maybe give them a few new ideas to consider. (Being in the information business, that is pretty much Job One for us!)

“JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — An Alaska public library hosted its first-ever Drag Queen Story Hour.

Gigi Monroe read children’s classics to more than 100 adults, teenagers and children June 14 at the Douglas Public Library in Juneau.

Monroe, covered in ruffles, rhinestones and glitter, is the creation of James Hoagland, a professional wig designer and producer of Juneau Pride’s sold out drag revue, Glitz. Hoagland said the experience provides youth with a real life example of self-expression, so they may feel freer to express themselves.

Continue reading Day Fifty of the CMLE Summer Fun Library Tour!