WebJunction recently launched a new topic area on our website, Access & Equity, in order to explore the ways libraries are leading or can lead community discussion and respond to the needs of their communities in relation to race and equity issues.

As part of this dive into how libraries connect with citizens, a team from WebJunction attended the Annual National Citizen University Conference in Seattle. The conference gathered more than 500 catalysts and activists to explore the question "Who Is Us? Race, Citizenship, and America Now," through presentations, panels and discussions on topics ranging from voter engagement to restorative justice.

In Citizen Catalysts: A Conference Reflection on Libraries, WebJunction's Jennifer Peterson writes about her experience sharing the types of work libraries are doing in the wide world of civic engagement with attendees and then inviting them to consider the role that libraries might play in the future.

Peterson's thoughtful reflection shares insights from the presentations that can help libraries grow cultural competencies and support communities as civic centers for and of democracy. She also provides several resources including videos of many of the presentations.

WebJunction team member Anna Shelton shares her experience at the conference in Racial Justice and Libraries at Citizen University Conference, providing examples of how libraries can build bridges across difference, think critically with an equity lens on all library issues, and consider how libraries can use the power they have as established institutions in our communities with respect and humility.

Next week, look for a piece by Liz Morris of WebJunction on her perspective of the conference. Taken together, these articles provide a smorgasbord of thoughts and ideas to contemplate as you engage with your patrons.  

Big Talk (Ideas, Collaboration, Difference) from Small Libraries 2016

View during a panel presentation at the Annual National Citizen University Conference, Seattle.

April Question of the Month

In anticipation of the webinar Make, Do, Share: Build a STEM Learning Community next week, we have STEM on our minds. We're wondering if your library has introduced STEM programming and if so, how you have done so.

Let us know here »


Recent Articles on WebJunction

We feature new WebJunction articles on our homepage each week. Here are some of our most recent additions.

Getting Feedback with Patron Surveys: West Custer County Library

Checking in with patrons is important, whether to measure awareness, satisfaction, or to get input before small or big changes. Amy Moulton, Director of the West Custer County Library in Colorado, provides valuable advice on how to conduct a successful patron survey, from formulating the questions to capturing responses and communicating the results. She also shares the questions and the infographic report she created for their patron survey.

Getting Feedback with Patron Surveys: West Custer County Library

Self-Directed Achievement on a Small Scale

Learn how you can incorporate continual learning at your library with the self-directed achievement (SDA) model. Branch Manager Joan Blalock shares how she made SDA a regular and consistent part of life at Cowpens Library in South Carolina for all staff no matter their role. Small and large libraries alike can benefit from creating a culture of continual learning through SDA.

Self-Directed Achievement on a Small Scale

Geek the Library: Local Action and National Impact

From 2009 through 2015, the Geek the Library program guided nearly 1,800 U.S. public libraries through implementation of a local awareness campaign that forged meaningful, personal connections between community members and the library, and provided a foundation for productive local conversations around public library funding and sustainability. In this summary report, read about the purpose and key activities of the Geek the Library project, its reach and participation, and learning that libraries and advocates can take forward.  

Geek the Library: Local Action and National Impact

Upcoming Webinars

To access all upcoming events and archives, go to the Events Calendar.


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Make, Do, Share: Build a STEM Learning Community

As the number of STEM-related careers continues to multiply, libraries can play a key role in fostering the interest and excitement for STEM learning that may be missing in schools. Through the generous support of a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Kitsap Regional Library System has developed a ready-to-use system that empowers libraries of all sizes to become community STEM leaders. If you feel like an "accidental STEM librarian" and are wondering how to get started, staff at this semi-rural library system will share fresh ideas and hands-on, practical advice for planning and implementing impactful programs. Learn how to take the lead with informal learning for youth and families in your community. Hosted in collaboration with the Association for Rural & Small Libraries.

3:00-4:00 pm Eastern Time


Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Introducing Learning Circles: Online Learning, Offline

Learning Circles offer a solution to the isolation of online learning by creating study groups for learners who want to take their online courses together, in-person. Developed by Chicago Public Library and P2PU, these librarian-facilitated study groups meet weekly in the library for 6-8 weeks to work through online courses in subjects ranging from resume writing to public speaking to web design. Participants experience the value of sharing strategies, progress and companionship with peers, all in a low-stress environment. Join presenters Grif Peterson of P2PU and Kate Lapinski of Chicago Public Library to learn more details and recent highlights of the program, including the P2PU open source toolkit for librarians and practitioners.

3:00-4:00 pm Eastern Time


Additional Online Learning

WebJunction Course Catalog

Our Course Catalog is free and open to library staff everywhere. We offer library-specific self-paced courses, webinar archives and other great learning materials. Certificates of Completion are available to help library staff meet CE and LEU credit requirements. Create your free account and start learning today.

Other Free Learning

There's no better time than spring to do an inventory of your learning needs. And with a multitude of webinar options, you're sure to find something to fill any gaps you find in your assessment. These training opportunities are compiled and shared by the Wyoming State Library. April is flying by, but there are still 17 free opportunities including:

March Poll Results

Closing the Knowledge Gap: March Poll Results

Last month we asked about those job responsibilities that maybe weren't covered in your training to become library staff. Answers varied, but the most common area you identified was finances—whether that's how to create a budget, bookkeeping, or vendor relations and contracts.

Close on the heels of finance were several areas of management, from how to handle basic human resources issues to leading a staff. "Supervising others is really hard, especially when you're thrown in," commented one reader.

And many people responded that one of their biggest challenges was the ever perplexing issue of difficult personalities, whether a problem patron or sorting out workplace conflict. Read more on WebJunction (as well as suggestions on how to tackle gaps).


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