Assistant Librarian Karen Horner holds a BTOP poster covered in sticky notes with users’ suggestions for public computer classes.

The Red Feather Lakes Library (CO) offers public computer classes. Photo by Colorado State Library on Flickr.

Question of the Month

What are your patrons able to do as a result of your digital literacy classes?

Take the poll »

Bringing the Digital Age to All

The National Broadband Plan has focused attention on the digital inequalities in this county and spurred a burst of activity to increase digital inclusion and close the adoption gap. Broadband infrastructure is expanding and libraries are boosting their offerings of digital skills training. However, providing access is only part of the solution. This month, WebJunction continues to probe the critical and complex issues around becoming a 21st-century digital nation.

Resources to explore:


Advocating for Rural Libraries at ALA

WebJunction's Jennifer Peterson took part in a presentation on Advocacy and Fundraising for your Rural or Tribal Library at ALA 2012 in Anaheim. The other panelists included Janice Kowemy, librarian/director, Laguna Public Library; John D. Hales, director of libraries (retired), Suwannee River Regional Library; and Peter Pearson, president, Friends of St Paul Public Library. The four speakers described a variety of inexpensive tools and doable strategies that small libraries can use to "amplify their value."

Read more »
Get the session slides and resource links »

ARSL Leaders and Members at ALA

At the ARSL booth: (from left) Andrea Berstler (Wicomico Public Library, PA, and ARSL VP/President Elect), Connie Barrington (Imperial County Free Library, CA), Jennifer Peterson (WebJunction and ARSL board member), and Lauren Drittler (Arkansas River Valley Regional Library System)


Wikipedian in Residence

This summer, Max Klein, a UC Berkeley graduate with a B.A. in mathematics, is working with OCLC Research to explore the potential for libraries to augment data and information connections with Wikipedia. In an interview with Roy Tennant, Max describes his interest in the topic and the alignment he sees between OCLC (and libraries) and the Wikipedia Foundation.

There are two opportunities to hear more from Max:

Max Klein, Wikipedian in Residence at OCLC

WebJunction Members Respond to Training Questions

More than 2,300 of you responded to our 2012 member survey in June to tell us about your experiences with continuing education both on and off of WebJunction. While we continue to process the results, here are some initial data points:

  • 75% of our members work in a public library.
  • 35% are required to take training as part of your job; for another 38%, training is highly encouraged but not required.
  • Over the past year, the majority of your continuing education has been online, whether live or recorded. Only 25% of you took classes in person with an instructor.
  • 63% of you described this online training as effective to very effective; and only 5% deemed it ineffective.

We will use your responses and the list of priority topics [see sidebar] to inform our content and programming calendar for the coming year!

High-Priority Topics

The survey results tell us that these topics are the highest priority for your professional development:

  • Providing excellent customer service
  • Improving communication with patrons and coworkers
  • Adapting to change in my job and profession
  • Advocating for the library
  • Developing and managing e-collections

    Group working on computers

    Good fortune for all: Libraries are where communities go to know ...and grow. (Photo by Kendra Morgan)

    WebJunction and Partners Receive Digital Literacy Grant from IMLS

    Under a new grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), WebJunction will work with state libraries in Illinois, Mississippi and West Virginia, with federal policy makers, and with the national nonprofit Connect2Compete to amplify national digital literacy efforts. Statistics indicate that 78% of libraries are already offering informal digital literacy training, with 38% offering formal classes. The grant will help to expand these efforts and identify model approaches for partnerships with libraries to meet public demand for training.

    Read more »


    Project Compass Still Glowing

    Thinking of Project Compass, that great quotation by Yeats comes to mind:  "Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." Although the IMLS-funded grant project to support library services to the nation's workforce has come to a close, the Project Compass curriculum has ignited a fire of new and renewed workforce recovery programs, services and partnerships across the U.S. Two recent examples:

    • In Illinois, the Bensenville Community Public Library District has just received a grant for their program, "Eliminate the Digital Divide." Leveraging successful Project Compass training efforts in Illinois, the program focuses on building bridges with the Hispanic community, supporting innovation and entrepreneurship, increasing access to computers and telecommunications technology, and providing relevant training for people in low-income communities. 
    • Howell Carnegie District Library in Michigan is continuing its partnerships with business support groups (SCORE, SBTDC, MiWorks, etc.). They are now taking a leadership role in the conversation, helping the business groups understand how they can deliver their services via online formats to be made available to even the smallest libraries.
    Bill Erbes, Project Compass trainer

    Bill Erbes engages learners with his inspiring stories and passion for helping his community.

    Photo courtesy of the Bensenville Community Public Library District


    Results of June Readers' Poll on Compassion Fatigue

    In last month’s poll, results for the question about how one most often responds to compassion fatigue portray a healthy amount of self-balancing in our library respondents. Forced to select a single option, the top choice was "Try to manage my own emotional responses" (21.5%), followed closely by "Take time for myself, read a book, exercise, or go for a walk" and "Take a 'mental health break' off the desk” (20% for both). The more vehement forms of stress release—"Go outside and scream" and "Take it out on co-workers”—garnered tiny percentages, and happily, nobody chose "Take it out on patrons."

    Poll results in graph form

    The open-ended responses exposed a few admissions of failure to cope: "I believe I try to suppress it all," "I don't have time to respond," and "I end up getting sick." One of those entries expressed thanks "for the 'label' to what I was feeling" and the knowledge to "look for my personal solution." Other comments elaborated on their positive coping mechanisms:

    • "slow things down, refocus, remind yourself why you are doing the job"
    • "I step back and remember that I may be the only person that a patron interacts with that day. I can be there for that short period of time....the patron lives it."
    • "when I give to everyone, I have to remember to give to myself."

    Bring Your Voice to The Edge

    Millions of people in America use the high-quality public access to computer and Internet services at public libraries to improve their lives, and libraries must continually evolve to meet the digital needs of the community.

    Together with the library field, the Edge Initiative - an effort driven by a coalition of leading library and government organizations - is developing benchmarks [PDF] that will help libraries evaluate and continually improve their public technology services. The Edge team would like your feedback to help refine the benchmarks so they can be useful and effective in libraries across the nation, and so asks for your participation in a survey.

    Click to launch the survey.


    Register for Free WebJunction Webinars


    Grant Writing for Libraries Serving Children

    July 11, 2012

    Grant funding is one way to find resources to support innovative programming and services for children. In this webinar, learn about finding, writing, and submitting grant opportunities. Presenters Dr. Sue C. Kimmel, assistant professor, and Dr. Gail K. Dickinson, associate professor, at the School Libraries/Darden College of Education Old Dominion University (Norfolk, VA), will share information about specific grants that focus on diversity, literacy and libraries, and are relevant for school and public libraries. Participants will have an opportunity to ask questions and share related experiences.

    More information and registration »


    Bridging the Digital Divide with Mobile Services

    July 25, 2012

    The popularity of smartphones and other mobile devices is exploding. The demographics of those adopting these devices are quite diverse, offering libraries a unique opportunity to help bridge the digital divide. Andromeda Yelton, author of the January issue of Library Technology Reports on the topic of Bridging the Digital Divide with Mobile Services, will discuss the demographics of mobile internet users and why it matters to a library’s mission. She will share real-life examples of online library services aimed at diverse populations and mobile friendly steps you can take even with limited time, budget, or expertise. This webinar is brought to you in collaboration with ALA TechSource.

    More information and registration »


    Librarians are Wikipedians Too

    August 2, 2012

    Wikipedia is an increasingly prominent player in the web search environment, and more people are finding it "a good place to start research." Despite open questions regarding quality, Wikipedia shares common goals with libraries in ensuring free accessibility to information and relying on authoritative sources. Max Klein, Wikipedian in Residence at OCLC Research, will discuss past efforts and future potential of librarians working with Wikipedia, including strategies to drive web- and foot-traffic to libraries through the use of Wikipedia. Max also reveals powerful tips and tricks into the software and policies of Wikipedia, helping librarians to critically address quality for themselves.

    More information and registration »


    Telling the Library Story

    August 23, 2012

    As a blogger and chair of the committee that created The Big Hairy Audacious Goal advocacy project, Jamie LaRue (director, Douglas County Libraries, CO) knows how to tell a succinct, powerful story about the value of libraries. Based on OCLC’s “From Awareness to Funding” and on the latest findings of brain research, this session focuses on turning the evidence of our daily patron encounters into short, compelling, and memorable messages that build support.

    More information and registration »


    New Webinar Archives

    If you missed these recent live programs, you can view and listen to the recording at any time on WebJunction.

    June 7: Best Kept Secret: Marketing the Small & Rural Library

    June 19“That’s Not What I Said!”: Foundations of Interpersonal Communication


    Thanks to our Partners

    Through the generous support of the following state library agencies, WebJunction offers webinar programs for free to all who wish to attend:

    • Connecticut
    • Florida
    • Georgia
    • Idaho
    • Illinois
    • Indiana
    • Kansas
    • Maine
    • Minnesota
    • Missouri
    • Montana
    • North Carolina
    • Ohio
    • Pennsylvania
    • Texas
    • Virginia
    • Washington

    Drexel University Online

    Spotlight on WebJunction Partners

    Spotlight on WebJunction-Florida

    WebJunction-Florida helps support the professional development of Florida library staff members by providing free access to over 300 on-demand library skills courses. Whether you are a library director, school media specialist or a cataloger, you will find that there is a little bit of something for everyone. WebJunction-Florida is brought to members by a Library Services and Technology Act grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, administered by the Florida Department of State, State Library and Archives of Florida.

    Visit WJ-Florida »

    Spotlight on WebJunction-Texas

    WebJunction-Texas has been up and running for one year now and the Texas State Library and Archives Commission is excited to bring more of this service in the coming years! Almost at the 1,000 member mark, WebJunction-Texas aims to make it way past that goal in 2013. Library staff across the state can access self-paced courses or live online webinars to learn the ins and outs of a software program, take a leadership course or learn the very basics of shelving. It's all in WebJunction-Texas! This service is made possible by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

    Visit WJ-Texas »


    Join the Discussion

    WJ members are sharing library news and resources in our satellite communities on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Join in!

    Online Courses from WebJunction

    Unlimited access to WebJunction online courses is offered exclusively through our partners in state library agencies. Find out how your state can become a program partner at WebJunction.