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Dec/ January 2010, Volume 2, Issue 1

Check Your Calendars!!

SDLA Legislative Day
Jan. 14, 2010

ALA MidWinter
Jan. 15-19, 2010

2010 National African American Read-In
February, 2010

Read Across America Day
March 2, 2010

Teen Tech Week
March 7-13, 2010

PLA National Conference
March 23-27, 2010

Featured e-Resources of the Month
AncestryLibrary and HeritageQuest answer family trivia questions

Library Development

The Role of Public Libraries in Local Economic Development

By Daria Bossman, Assistant State Librarian

The basic premise of a report based on research conducted by the Urban Libraries Council is that a perceivable change is taking place in the 21st Century within public libraries. Support and funding for this study was provided by the Bill and Melinda Gates and the Geraldine R. Dodge foundations. The study notes the shift in the role public libraries play within their communities - from a passive place for quiet recreational reading and research to an active agent for local economic development. This 26 page report focused on four main ways public libraries in any size community can broaden their impact on and contributions to their local economic development conditions. These four areas are 1) early literacy/school readiness, 2) workforce development, 3) small business support and 4) physical development. This study is entitled, Making Cities Stronger: Public Library Contributions to Local Economic Development. The report concluded that public “libraries are helping to raise levels of literacy, digital dexterity and entrepreneurial activity in communities…rather than succumbing to obsolescence with the advent of new information technologies, the basic business of public libraries is being recast.” (26)

Libraries have long been recognized as one of the most important community institutions for adult and child literacy development. However, new information emerging in the child development arena is uncovering a strong connection between early literacy investments and improved school outcomes later on. Few community services, perhaps apart from the local medical facility and local police, enjoy the type of public support that is given to public libraries. In a recent national public opinion poll conducted by the American Library Association, over 90 percent of all respondents said, “They believe libraries are places of opportunity for education, self-help and offer free access to all.” (4) Given the current economic situation, libraries have felt the constraints of increased demand along with rising costs and limited or constricted funding. Librarians and library boards have increasingly felt the need to justify their existence in light of other community realities such as increased personal ownership of computers and the increased content available on the Internet.

A number of economic research tools are now being used to measure the public value of libraries, including the cost-benefit impacts and return on investment (known as ROE) that public libraries generate. These studies consistently identify positive economic impacts made by libraries at the national, state and local levels. (5) For instance, public libraries now have a host of new opportunities to become more actively engaged in local workforce development initiatives and networks. Job information resources and specialized workforce programs in local libraries have the potential to reach a much wider group of job seekers than federal or state “one-step centers.” Public libraries have reputations as trusted, quality community information sources, high use volume and widespread geographical distribution within a given state. For these reasons, public libraries in even the smallest of communities should be one-stop centers for business and community development as well as the more traditional services of reading and educational literacy.

Chapters two and three of the report examine two key strategies for building the human capital of area residents - early literacy interventions for children and support services for job seekers. Chapter four identifies examples of some of the new business supports available through visionary local library systems. Finally, chapter five highlights ways in which communities are pursuing public library placement and construction as a way to create vibrant public spaces, all the while greatly expanding and broadening the definition of mixed development in communities. A myriad of other examples “further underscore the variety of ways in which public libraries are making” our cities and towns stronger. (6)

Public libraries, which enjoy high usage rates and high favorability nationwide, are becoming increasingly engaged in local workforce support service networks. By providing opportunities to consolidate job information resources, broadening literacy efforts, and conducting targeted outreach to immigrants, minorities and the technology “have nots,” the public library is providing valuable support to build local workforce strength and resiliency. These efforts will insure our local public libraries their vibrancy and continued local support for years to come.

Urban Libraries Council, “Making Cities Stronger: Public Library contributions to Local Economic Development.” [PDF].


News about librarians and libraries across the state

To help keep everyone up-to-date with their library colleagues across the state, here‘s news of some very recent position changes and additions. For a full library directory go to

If we missed you or someone you know, please send updates to Joan Upell at

  • Laura Allard is now the librarian at Memorial Middle School in Sioux Falls.
  • Nicole Ulvestad is the librarian at the new R.F. Pettigrew Elementary School Library in Sioux Falls.
  • Robert Flint is the librarian at the new Camelot Intermediate School Library in Brookings.
  • Jean Kirschenman is the new librarian at the Brookings High School Library.
  • Sherry Bauman and Audrey Harrington now share school library duties at the Elkton School/Public Library. Sherry is also the public librarian.
  • Sara Snaza is now at Koch Elementary School Library in Milbank.
  • Erica Rorvik is now the public librarian at the Moody County Resource Center in Flandreau.
  • Anne Stahl is new in the Bridgewater School Library.
  • Lindsay Hansen is the new public librarian at the Centerville School/Public Library.
  • Beth Wells is now at the Renberg School Library in Sioux Falls.
  • Elizabeth Rush is new to the Avon School Library.
  • Joyce Mann is now the librarian at the Tripp-Delmont School Library in Tripp.
  • Dawn Wright is the Summit School Librarian.
  • Amy DeNomme is the librarian at the new Fred Assman Elementary School Library in Brandon Valley.
  • Joyce Waddell is the Bison School District librarian.
  • Ashley Schaefer is at the Hoven JH/SH Library.
  • Kimberly Darata is at the Douglas School District in Box Elder.
  • Avany Langdeau is now at the Stanley County School District.
  • Jeanine Woodward is new to the White River School District.
  • Rhonda Prince is the librarian for Hill City Elementary School.
  • Marilyn Kaiser is in the library at Hot Springs JH/SH School.
  • Jo Richey is new to the New Underwood School District Library.
  • Tara King is at Grandview, South Park and Pinedale Schools in Rapid City.
  • Debra Legros is at Rocky Ford School in Shannon County.
  • Lori Walker is the new Wall School District librarian.
  • Michelle Sowards is at Calvary Christian School in Rapid City.
  • Brandon Vaca is the librarian at Red Cloud High School.
  • David Big Eagle is now at Crow Creek Tribal High School Library.
  • Sherri Raschke is the librarian for the Little Wound JH/SH School.
  • Terri Langdeau is now in the Lower Brule School Library.
  • Chuck Ferraro is the librarian at the STAR Academy, East Campus.


Listservs, e-mail lists, e-mail groups and you

How do other libraries deal with a certain issue? Where can I share a great resource with colleagues? Joining a listserv is an easy way to communicate with many people at once.

Listservs, which may be known as e-mail lists or e-mail groups, are an effective, efficient way to contact people sharing similar interests, to learn more about a topic, to discuss issues and to make professional contacts. Listservs have been around almost as long as e-mail.

Some organizations, such as the State Library, only send listserv communications. Are you on the list?

When signing up for a listserv, consider these questions:

  • Is the topic appropriate for you?
  • Do you receive this information in other ways?
  • Is the list high or low traffic?
  • Is there a digest option? If the list has lots of posts, you can sign up in digest mode and receive one long daily/weekly post rather than many shorter ones that may feel overwhelming.

When you sign up for a listserv, keep the subscription information. This will also tell you how to unsubscribe and answer other listserv management questions. Subscribing, unsubscribing and other management tasks are sent to a different e-mail address than the address for posting messages. A “subscribe” or “unsubscribe” message sent to the address for posting messages results in every member receiving that message, not in getting subscribed or unsubscribed.

Many listservs have their own rules. Some lists are moderated, meaning that a person serving as the list owner must approve of posts before they are sent. Unmoderated lists offer faster posting opportunities but can also offer more off-topic posts.

When posting to a listserv here are a few tips to remember:

  • Be specific in the subject heading, so uninterested readers can delete
  • You are sending a message to all members. Apply courtesy and professionalism.
  • If you want to reply to a certain person, use that person’s e-mail, not the listserv e-mail.
  • If you reply to a previous post, delete all of that post but the pertinent information.

To find listservs relevant to South Dakota libraries, the State Library provides this list SDSL: Discussion Groups

This December 2004 article from WebJunction gives more information about listservs: WebJunction: Guide to Mailing Lists. Be aware that the library listservs they mention may not be at the same addresses.


21st Century, communication, economy, librarian, public libraries




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The Cornerstone monthly e-newsletter is created by the South Dakota State Library. For more information on how to be a part of this newsletter, please contact us via e-mail with your questions and ideas.