Libraries Support Digital Readiness with Tech Training, STEM Programs, More Robust Online Collections

Leading Role Recognized in Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act

Nearly 100 percent of America’s public libraries offer workforce development training programs, online job resources, and technology skills training, according to a new study from the American Library Association (ALA). Combined with maker spaces, coding classes, and programs dedicated to entrepreneurship and small business development, libraries are equipping U.S. communities with the resources and skills needed to succeed in today’s – and tomorrow’s – global marketplace.

President Obama and Congress recently acknowledged the vital contributions of libraries by enabling them—for the first time—to be considered One-Stop partners and eligible for federal funding to support job training and job search programs. The bipartisan Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act also authorizes adult education and literacy activities provided by public libraries as an allowable statewide employment and training activity.

“Senator Jack Reed and I led the effort to include public libraries in this important new law because they are often the first places Americans go for skill development and job search assistance,” said Representative Rush Holt (D-NJ). “I’ve seen this firsthand with NJWorks@yourlibraryproject, which used federal Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) funding to help get job seekers back to work with access to online job resources and training in every community in New Jersey.”
Overall, libraries report technology improvements—including nearly ubiquitous public wi-fi, growing mobile resources and a leap in e-book access—but the ALA’s 2014 Digital Inclusion Survey also documents digital differences among states and an urban/rural divide.

“Until the Digital Inclusion Survey, no national study has shown in such detail the extent to which libraries complete education, jumpstart employment and entrepreneurship, and foster individual empowerment and engagement, or the E’s of Libraries™,” said ALA President Courtney Young. “The study also begins to map new programs and technology resources that range from STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) maker programming to 3D printing to hackathons.”

Among the study findings:
*98% of libraries provide free public access to Wi-Fi, up from 89% in 2012;
*98% provide technology training, ranging from internet safety and privacy to coding to using social media;
*98% provide assistance completing online government forms;
*97% provide online homework help;
*95% offer workforce development training programs;
*90% offer e-books, up from 76% in 2012;
*56% offer health and wellness programs regarding developing healthy lifestyles;
*50% offer entrepreneurship and small business development programs; and
*Average number of computers provided by libraries is now 20, up from 16 in 2012

“Changes in technology—whether internet speeds, or new devices or new applications—are racing faster all the time,” said IMLS Director Susan Hildreth. “Libraries are ideally positioned to help everyone in our communities get up to speed. This is the heart of digital inclusion—equitable access to internet-connected devices and online content plus the skills to take advantage of the educational, economic and social opportunities available through these technologies.”

Funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and managed by the ALA Office for Research & Statistics and the Information Policy and Access Center at the University of Maryland, the Digital Inclusion Study provides national- and state-level data. The International City/County Management Association and ALA Office for Information Technology Policy are partners in the research effort.

While most libraries marked progress from the last national library technology study in 2012, advances are uneven. Less than half of rural libraries reported they increased bandwidth speeds in the last 24 months, compared with 64 percent of urban libraries and 56 percent of suburban libraries. Fewer than two-thirds of rural libraries report having access to information technology (IT) staff, far behind their counterparts. A vast majority of all libraries (66 percent), though, agree they would like to increase their broadband capacity, and that cost is the leading barrier to doing so.

“It is increasingly understood that access to broadband is the critical success factor across our society, and we must do more to connect all of our communities,” said ICMA Executive Director Robert J. O’Neill, Jr. “Libraries play an essential role in helping local governments meet their greatest challenges by connecting their services to critical community priorities.”

The study provides a first national look at emerging trends, from STEM maker spaces (17 percent, or about 3,000 libraries), to wireless printing (33 percent) to 3D printers and hosting hackathons or other coding/application development events (about 2 percent each, or roughly 260 libraries). Creation and making activities already are transforming what is possible for communities through libraries. At the Johnson County Library in Kansas, for instance, a library patron printed a mechanical hand for a family friend. High school student Mason Wilde loaded needed blueprints onto library computers and used the library’s 3D printer to create the necessary parts. Wilde then decided to start a nonprofit to make 3D prosthetics for other children, and he is now considering a career in the biomedical field.

“Creating is becoming a new digital competency, and libraries are building and expanding their programs and services to meet these changing community needs,” said Ann Joslin, President of the Chief Officers of State Library Agencies. Joslin also is the state librarian in Idaho, which currently has a pilot program underway to support library maker activities and encourage the use of new technologies and tools.

“Whether it’s a class on internet safety, an entrepreneur who identifies potential customers from databases or a class on digital content creation, libraries continue to establish themselves as digital leaders in communities,” Young concluded. “This study demonstrates how technology investments benefit our libraries and our patrons, and keep our communities thriving.”

Methodology: The Digital Inclusion Survey collected data from a nationally representative sample of public libraries at the branch/outlet level between September 3 and November 30, 2013. The survey was open to all public libraries to participate. However, the analysis conducted used only sampled libraries. The survey received 3,392 responses, for a 70.1 percent response rate. For more information, please visit and Past related reports on public library technology are available at

2015 program, preconference, institute proposals: due date extension to June 1, 2014

We are extending the deadline for submitting proposals for 2015 institutes (Midwinter/Chicago), preconferences and programs (Annual/San Francisco) to June 1, 2014.

PROGRAM proposals must be submitted by this date using this online form

PRECONFERENCE/INSTITUTE proposals must be submitted by this date using this online form

We have posted a Word document version of both of these forms at the ASCLA website under Our Association >ASCLA Forms. The Word document should be used to help prepare submissions, however all final proposals should be sent via the online forms provided above.

Any problems with the forms or website should be sent to Andrea Hill, ASCLA web manager (

We look forward to receiving your proposals!

ASCLA seeks webinar proposals through January 15

ASCLA encourages subject matter experts and experienced librarians to  submit proposals for ASCLA webinars to be presented March 15 through May 15, 2014 and August, 2014.

ASCLA welcomes proposals on topics that will assist our diverse membership in improved service delivery and job performance that are valuable for all types of libraries, librarians and library support staff.

Proposals are accepted and evaluated on an ongoing basis, however it is strongly recommended that proposals for webinars in spring 2014 be submitted by January 15, 2014 for presentation March 15 through May 15, 2014 and August, 2014.

Check out the online learning opportunities that ASCLA is currently offering. You can also find more information about the submission process on the ASCLA website under the Online Learning section.

Webinar presenters are compensated for their work and will receive training and support for Adobe Connect, the webinar technology platform used by the division.

The webinar proposal form can be accessed here:

Proposal topics for webinars may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • ADA updates for libraries; adult programming in a correctional library; eBooks;
  • assessing accessibility knowledge; benchmarks and evaluation measures; best practices, standards and guidelines to improve library services;
  • innovative services for an aging population; budgeting; collaborative digitization;
  • correctional librarianship 101: covering the basics of a good prison/jail library; data analysis and assessment;
  • dealing with learning disabilities; designing effective surveys; cultivating member loyalty through relationships in cooperative organizations;
  • download training for patrons who use screen readers; emerging technologies for those with special needs, including apps and iPads;
  • evaluating and improving cooperative services; evaluation content analysis; financial literacy;
  • future trends in library service; GIS training; grants: how to find grant funding and write your proposal;
  • group purchasing; health literacy; how to be a consultant; how to be a futurist; how to deliver online training;
  • how to hire a library consultant; nonprofit leadership; increasing public understanding of the value of libraries;
  • innovations in library service; law librarianship for correctional librarians; managing and improving services in a library cooperative;
  • marketing library services to special needs populations; marketing on a shoestring budget; navigating book selection sources;
  • outcomes-based education; outreach skills; outreach to visually or physically handicapped populations;
  • partnering with community organizations; project planning; public education as a marketing tool; recognizing great service in member libraries;
  • seeking grants for consultancy work; services to library patrons with cognitive or mental impairments;
  • low-literacy adults; diverse populations, including special needs populations; tablet computers;
  • training staff to confidently serve library users with disabilities, and raising awareness of this important population;
  • technology trends for special needs populations; utilizing focus groups to prioritize services to the disabled; and working with refugees.

Questions about submissions or about ASCLA’s online learning programs may be sent to Andrea Hill, ASCLA web manager and online learning liaison at


Lead and succeed: Still time to register for ASCLA’s Midwinter institutes!

Registration opened Oct. 1 for three institutes covering online course design, the secrets to successful leadership and how to become a library consultant  that will be hosted by the Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies (ASCLA) at the 2014 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia.

There is something among these three workshops that will appeal to everyone, from the retiree to the library school student, and from the public librarian to the special librarian. Participants in “Designing Online Courses for Significant Learning Experience” will learn how to build effective online courses, a skill that can be used to conduct outreach, deliver library instruction and teach regular online courses in the LIS field. “Knowing You, Knowing Them: The Secret to Successful Leadership” brings us insight into ourselves as leaders, covering emotional intelligence, personalities in the workplace, dealing with change and creating a motivating environment with an engaging presentation from professional trainer Linda Bruno. “Assembling a Consulting Toolkit” brings back the incredibly popular crash course in library consulting–an incredibly valuable investment in yourself and a Plan B for your library career. This time the event will be held over Thursday and Friday, allowing attendees to socialize and networking on Thursday evening.

All of these events require advance ticket purchase, but registration for the 2014 Midwinter Meeting is not required in order to purchase a ticket. Membership in ASCLA is not required in order to participate, but ASCLA members receive the best registration rates on all of these events; learn more about ASCLA and join today.

Register for these events at the Midwinter Meeting registration page.

This year’s Midwinter institutes and events hosted by ASCLA are:

Designing Online Courses for Significant Learning Experiences
8 a.m. – 4 p.m., Friday, Jan. 24
Co-sponsored by the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA)
Are you doing training or instruction at your library or institution? Are you a seasoned professional with special skills and expertise that you see a market for an e-course? Developing and teaching online courses that create the best possible learning experiences for student participants is both an art and a science. Using a collaborative, hands-on approach, presenters Dr. Stewart Ross and Linda Jacoby of the internationally known consulting firm Dee Fink and Associates will guide institute participants through the (re)design of an online course using an integrated course design template. At the end of the workshop, participants will have the skills and confidence to assist others in the development of online courses, or to develop their own online training modules or courses. The techniques applied in this session can also be applied to face-to-face course development. All participants will receive certificates of participation. REGISTRATION RATES: ASCLA & RUSA members, $279; ALA members, $299; non-ALA members, $349; Student/Retired members of ALA, $229.

Knowing You, Knowing Them: The Secret to Successful Leadership
9 a.m. – 4 p.m., Friday, Jan. 24

One of the biggest challenges of leading others is understanding what makes them tick. This full-day workshop will help you understand both yourself in light of your leadership responsibilities, and those who work for you. Instead of offering a checklist or template of how-tos, presenter Linda Bruno, MBA, will focus on the human element of leadership. You will leave this session with insights into personalities, emotional intelligence, dealing with change and creating a motivating environment – secrets that can help you be a more successful leader! Linda has presented several workshops for ASCLA and receives rave reviews for her content and presentations. REGISTRATION RATES: ASCLA members, $279; ALA members, $299; non-ALA members, $339; Student/Retired members of ALA, $229.

Assembling a Consulting Toolkit: What You Need to Know to be a Successful Library Consultant (Two part series)
Thursday, January 23, 1 p.m. – 5:30 p.m., Friday, January 24, 8am – 1pm.
ASCLA – the home to library consultants and independent librarians within ALA – is bringing back its wildly successful, sell-out workshop! Seasoned consultants Nancy Bolt and Liz Bishoff will present an overview of the consultant’s role and guide you through an active and engaging self-assessment to uncover your unique consulting potential and strengths. Takeaways include marketing tips, pricing your services, responding to RFPs, finding clients, business management strategies and so much more. *Note that this event is held over two days – Thursday afternoon and Friday morning – with an opportunity for networking on Thursday evening. This institute will not be offered in Las Vegas, so don’t miss out on this opportunity! REGISTRATION RATES: ASCLA members, $279; ALA members, $299; non-ALA members, $339; Student/Retired members of ALA, $229.

ASCLA, a small, mighty and growing division of the American Library Association (ALA), is a diverse organization of librarians and support staff who work in academic and public libraries, state agencies, specialized libraries and cooperatives, as well as those who are self-employed. Our division’s work centers on member-driven interest groups that represent the diversity and important work of our engaged and active members. Learn more about ASCLA and how to join this innovative division.

“Knowing you, knowing them: The secret to successful leadership” Midwinter Institute

A note from the speaker, Linda Bruno:

In this age of new leadership books being released every few hours (it seems!), it’s easy to get the impression that to be a great leader, you just follow a particular checklist of do’s and don’ts. Some seem to think it’s more about tactics. I think it’s about relationships!

I think you’ll agree that beginning with a deep understanding of you and those who follow you is the basis of effective leadership.

That’s why I would like to personally invite you to attend the ASCLA-sponsored workshop, “Knowing You, Knowing Them: The Secret to Successful Leadership,” which will be held at the Leadership Institute of the ALA Midwinter Conference in Philadelphia (9 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 24, 2014). You can register here:

In this fun and interactive workshop, we’ll look at leadership through the “fuzzy” (and fun!) lens, rather than the “fact” lens: Do you really know yourself and how you lead? Do you understand those who work for you –how they move through this world? How is their perception different from yours?

Are you aware of your emotions and are you able to manage those emotions so that you can lead well?

Are you always frustrated trying to figure out how to “motivate them?” What if you can’t?

I hope you’ll get your conference experience off to a great start by joining me for this fast-paced program ~ I’d love to see you there!

–Linda Bruno

ASCLA, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), is a diverse organization of librarians and support staff who work in academic and public libraries, state agencies, specialized libraries and cooperatives, as well as those who are self-employed. Our division’s work centers on member-driven interest groups that represent the diversity and important work of our engaged and active members. Learn more about the association at


We’re sharing the message below on behalf of ALA’s Office for Library Advocacy and Washington Office.

Please share it by sending a link to this blog post, retweeting it from our Twitter feed at @ala_ascla, or resharing from our Facebook page.


We issued an alert yesterday about the LSTA “Dear Colleague” letter that is now making rounds in the House of Representatives. We’d like library supporters to ask their Reps to sign on to this letter (Rep. Raul Grijalva is the lead signature). The deadline for signatures is April 10.

We even set up our nifty new calling tool from Mobile Commons so people can be connected directly to the DC office of their Rep.

Thanks to all of you who have already shared this alert with your lists. This is a great pre-Leg Day ask that you can follow up with at your meetings in May. Be sure to let me [Ted] know if you have any questions.

Ted Wegner
Grassroots Coordinator
American Library Association
Washington Office-Office of Government Relations
1615 New Hampshire Avenue N.W., 1st Floor
Washington, DC 20009-2520
Phone: 202-628-8410
Fax: 202-628-8419

Member Signatures Wanted: Petition to establish tribal librarian interest group

A note from ASCLA Executive Director Susan Hornung:

We have a new e-petition started for a Tribal Librarian Interest Group. Lillian Chavez, the Librarian for Mescalero Community Library in Mescalero, NM, and ASCLA member, has started this petition.

This group is open to anyone with an interest in Tribal Libraries.  The purpose of this group is to increase knowledge and networking among library leaders and tribal libraries possibly by producing a listserv, conference programs, webinars, discussion forums and any other types of educational events (activities to be decided once the group has started). Hopefully, these new relations will begin a lifelong partnership within our tribal librarians interest group. Another note to add is that this interest group  is not just for “Tribal,” it is for everybody to learn more about tribal libraries within their communities. Ms. Chavez says that she always get patrons who come into the library asking if they have to be a “Tribal Member” to use the library; the answer is “No, we are a public library and we are here for everybody to use.” She hopes that her fellow ASCLA members/librarians will sign the e-petition and gain a new world of information from a specialized perspective through this petition.

I encourage you to sign the petition here:

You do have to be an ASCLA member to sign the petition.

If you’re not a member but would like to join so that you can sign the petition and take advantage of our other membership benefits, you can do so by visiting or calling 800-545-2433, option 5, and adding ASCLA to your ALA membership. Interest Group leaders must also be members of ASCLA.

Once we’ve acquired 10 signatures, the petition will go to the ASCLA Interest Group Coordinating committee for approval and then we will let you all know how to join the interest group.

You can check out the rest of our established interest groups on the ASCLA interest groups page of our website.

Contact your U.S. Senators – ask them to sign on to library funding letter


Please call both of your U.S. Senators at (202) 224-3121 and ask them to sign onto this letter by COB Wednesday, June 8.  Also ask library supporters to contact your senators as well.

Senators Jack Reed and Olympia Snowe are leading an effort to increase support for FY2012 federal funding for the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) and Improving Literacy Through School Libraries.  Tell your senators’ staffers to contact Elyse Wasch in Reed’s office or Matthew Hussey in Snowe’s office.  We need other senators to sign the Reed-Snowe letter as soon as possible.  Please call immediately.

It may help if you describe at least one valuable service that your library provides the community or a success story about a library patron.  Examples include access to computers and data services to aid job searchers, support for small businesses  with marketing data and other resources as well as teaching digital literacy to people of all ages including K-12 students.

Century Scholarship S.O.S.! Your support is needed now.

The ASCLA Century Scholarship Committee finds itself without sufficient funds to award the typical scholarship of $2,500 for FY 2011. The largest applicant pool in recent memory has applied for the scholarship, and the winner will use funds to help pay for accessibility tools not covered by standard financial aid.

If you can contribute any amount, please do so at this time. We welcome contributions from members and non-members alike. For those who typically contribute at the LSSPS Dinner, there will not be a collection at this year’s event–we encourage you support the scholarship now.


Mail checks payable to ASCLA with “Century Scholarship” in the memo and send to
Susan Hornung, ALA/ASCLA
Attn: Century Scholarship
50 East Huron Chicago, IL 60611


Contribute online:…
You can also access this online donation link by clicking on “giveALA” at the top right of the page.

In order to impact this year’s scholarship, contributions must be at the ASCLA office no later than May 1. Thank you for your support!

ASCLA: Future-Friendly, Future-Ready

ASCLA members will have the opportunity to affect substantial and meaningful change in their association by voting to approve ASCLA’s revised bylaws in the upcoming ALA/ASCLA election. The changes provide a new structure that allows for more member participation and collaboration. Groups of individuals with mutual issues and interests can generate spontaneously, evolving or devolving as the future changes. The new structure streamlines ASCLA’s governance, reducing formally elected positions by 50%.

Impetus for the restructuring came from members’ input over the last two years. Members indicated they want to spend more time on products and results and less time on the process of governance.  They want a high return for the investment of their personal time and want their involvement to be project-based, not position-based. By approving the new structure as set forth in the revised bylaws, the ASCLA board of directors heard these voices and are positioning ASCLA to be a 21st century association–one that can adapt and thrive in today’s challenging environment.

Other associations and ALA divisions which restructured have found that reduced layers of governance foster creativity and innovation. No longer burdened with filling numerous elective positions and the tasks of lower-level governance, members feel renewed. They propose more conference programs and pre-conferences; they form groups around mutual interests and timely issues that evolve as the environment changes; individual members drop in and out of multiple groups as their information, networking, and support needs change. Pools of shared meaning are created as those participating in interest groups contribute their personal opinions, feelings, theories and experiences. New activities are proposed and accomplished in a short timeframe, and experimentation–with the freedom to be messy–occurs more frequently. Equally as important, once the barriers between static, formally organized groups are removed, members’ common goals across the association become more evident.

An association’s success depends on member involvement. My sincere hope is that ASCLA’s new structure will expand current members’ opportunities for engagement and attract new members with timely, issue-focused interest groups.

The next important step in ASCLA’s transformation begins when voting in the ALA election opens on March 16th. I encourage you to vote for ASCLA’s future by approving the bylaws changes.

General election information is available on the ALA website. An e-mail with information about accessing the elections online has been sent to you via e-mail. The deadline for requesting a paper ballot is April 8.

If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me, your president.

Diana Reese
ASCLA President