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January 2015, Volume 7, Issue 1

Continuing Education Alert

Check Your Calendars!!

New Year's Day

Copyright Law Day
Jan. 1

Science Fiction Day
Jan. 2

World Braille Day
Jan. 4

Poetry at Work Day
Jan. 13

Kid Inventors Day
Jan. 17

Thesaurus Day
Jan. 18

Martin Luther King Day
Jan. 19

SDLA Legislative Day
Jan. 22

Handwriting Day
Jan. 23

International Holocaust Remembrance Day
Jan. 27

Puzzle Day
Jan. 29

Tackling Textbook Costs Through Open Educational Resources: A Primer
Jan. 29-30, Chicago

ALA Midwinter Meeting
Jan. 30- Feb. 3, Chicago

Take Your Child to the Library Day
Feb. 2

Digital Learning Day
Mar. 13

Featured e-Resources of the Month
Save patrons time – add the State Library's subscription e-resources links to your school or library website

Board Talk


Re-envisioning the public library

By Daria Bossman, State Librarian

Aspen Institute's Rising to the Challenge Report

We've been saying it for years… things are changing rapidly in the world of public libraries. Now a new report (© 2014) from the Aspen Institute confirms what librarians have observed at the local level. Things must change and change fast! "Rising to the Challenge: Re-Envisioning Public Libraries", calls for public leaders to take a fresh look at the economic and social impact public libraries can have on their community's growth and well-being. No longer can we afford to have a building with a "bunch of books," with a singular focus on pre-school storytime or summer reading. The federal government has labeled public libraries "anchor institutions" along with other essential and enduring services needed to keep a community healthy and thriving. They are anchor institutions along with health facilities, schools, police/fire stations and churches. Public libraries are essential to success and progress in the digital age.

The process of re-envisioning public libraries to maximize their local impact reflects enduring principles that have always been at the center of a public library's mission—equity, access, opportunity and broad-based participation. However, public libraries need to be in the center of conversations "promoting economies of scale and broadening the library's resource reach while preserving its local presence." In the 21st century they are fundamentally about people, place and platform assets. The report goes on to state, amid societal and technological changes, "there are divides in wealth, digital inclusion and participation that threaten to widen if we as a nation do not commit to new thinking and aggressive action to provide… opportunities for all."

Challenges that face South Dakota communities are "identifying reliable sources of revenue for daily operations as well as long-term planning and investment, exploring alternative governance structures… that maximize efficient and sustainable library operations and customer service, and measuring outcomes rather than counting activities… "

Key steps in building community leaders to support the public library include improving conversations with local leadership, strengthening intersections with diverse groups and reaching and engaging young-professional organizations, demonstrating the collective impact of partners working together.

The Aspen Institute findings are an important report for every state and local leader to read. It is available online at The Aspen Institute. Forty public libraries recently accepted a free copy of this book and are engaging their boards in a broad conversation with local leaders. We challenge you to join that local conversation to re-envision your local public library's mission and strengthen its outreach.





21st century, board, community, outreach, public libraries

next: Library Development

prev: Grant Opportunities | Table of Contents

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