The Best! weekly.  Photos, ideas, and information from New York's rural libraries in your inbox!  An eNewsletter of the Rural Libraries Round Table
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December 17, 2016

The Best! Notes 
Eli Guinnee, Editor, 


Thanks for a Great Year RLRT!

This will be the final The Best! of the year. Hope you have a great Holiday Season!

The Best! #1 went out January 28, 2016 to 63 RLRT members (what were you people thinking opening an email with the subject line "The Best! #1"?) and 32 issues later we now have 250 subscribers of which 181 are RLRT members. The first poll asked RLRT members to name the newsletter, and The Best! beat out The Rural Rocket and Rural Roundup. Good choice, although the Rural Rocket had a pretty sweet logo mockup of a raccoon mascot on a rocket sprinkling binary code.    

Thank you for reading, voting, giving advice, and sending news and tips.  We are all stronger when we work together, that's for sure. Speaking of which, scroll down for lots of great advice in today's advice column, which has by far the most advice submitted ever-- keep it coming!

Inclusive Spaces: A Message from the President

Happy holidays, and winter, and cold New York short days! During a time of commerce, stress, activity, and sometimes loneliness, libraries are a refuge of a different stripe. Sometimes in the cross-over worlds of business and libraryland, we talk about third places - the physical location that is neither work or home where a person can go to be among other people.

What makes the public library so special, all the time, but especially right now, when demands on an individual's time and attention are high, is that the library is the only place where no demands are made on the visitor. (For some reading from a UK librarian on the topic in a political context, read Tim Huzar's paper:

We can enjoy a library for all the things we can do there and also that it is the place where we can go and do nothing at all. Thank you for giving me that gift, library people - it is quite precious. 

Yours, in libraries and librarianship,

Photo of the Week

Click above to learn more 

Not yet a The Best! subscriber yet?  Try it, it's free and easy and open to all (we just ask that you please love libraries, and consider joining RLRT, it's only $5!).

The Best! Poll 


Last Week: 

Why do Teens visit your library?

A comfortable place to hang out--66.7%
Fun Activities--13.3%
To Volunteer--13.3%
They don't--6.7%
Great YA books-0%

Freedom is The Best! 

Build a culture of Freedom, Diversity, and Equality in Your Library

Take a Test!

Learn More about your own biases by taking Project Implicit's tests. Click below to try it. 

Project Implicit investigates thoughts and feelings that exist outside of conscious awareness or conscious control. Visit the research or demonstration websites to try out some tests and learn more about the research and yourself!


The Best Search Tips 

Google Translate 

What: Use Google Translate to translate phrases and full pages

How: Go to and type in a phrase  
Or Put a foreign language phrase in to the search bar and Google will automatically detect it and offer a translation  
Or If a foreign language website is on your search results, click on Translate This Page 

Why?  Much of the web is not in English!  Some of you patrons don't speak English! 

Tips: Know how to pronounce something but not how to spell it?   Have a patron who can't speak English?  Click on the Mic icon and say it! 
Or Have the words but don't know how to say them, click on the Speaker icon to have the computer pronounce it.  

The Best

Glitter and Rural Libraries

Hope Decker, Pioneer Library System

Is there anything more difficult to clean up than glitter? (Maybe Easter grass…even though I have banned it from the house, somehow I still occasionally find it.) Anyway…glitter! I think it multiplies as it resists our attempts to clean it up. There are strong opinions about glitter. For $9.99 you can even send glitter to your enemies. 

But oh would you look at the angel made by a young Allen’s Hill patron this weekend. 

 A glitterific angel created at the Allen’s Hill Free Library

Glitter may be messy, but it is fun and pretty…and our little patrons enjoy it. Like so many of the programs we do, we weigh the inconvenience against the benefit to our community. If we are lucky we can find a happy solution to the inconvenience…like glitter glue! (all of the sparkle, minimal mess). Programs can strain our staffing and funding resources, but our communities need and appreciate our efforts. How do you figure out what your community needs and wants? How do you offer programs on a tight budget? Have you found the glitter glue of programming? (something with a “wow” factor, but low cost or effort). 

Glitter Poll: Do you use glitter in your library?
of course, who doesn't love sparkle
never ever

The Best Advice!

Ask for Advice | Give Advice


New Question: 

If you had unlimited funds, what would you do at your library? Dream big!  --Drunken Sailor

Last Week: A grouchy patron has donated a subscription to Free Inquiry. This isn’t the kind of periodical I would normally collect for the library – it’s sensationalist and I don’t feel it is a credible news source. What do I do? I don’t want to confront the donor, I don’t want him harassing the staff when he comes in and finds I’ve gotten rid of the past issues. How do I handle this? --Not a Quibbler Reader

A: Do you have a collection development policy? If not, now is the time to put one together. It should include language about how you handle donations, and explain how material is chosen for the library. Here's one example of a policy that explains how collection decisions are made (scroll down to Selection Criteria) Good luck!  --Erica

A: If as librarians we must follow policies of not censoring in any way, shape, or form instead of using our own common sense and morals, then I don't think you have a choice other than to grin, nod, accept it, and make it available to other patrons. Additionally, if we're to consider the library the patrons' library, then they can do as they chose. I don't agree with the policy and micromanagement of it, but because of it, feel librarians are hired to follow the policies and rules instead of hired for skill and intelligence to handle such situations. I'm not saying we should be the judge of what materials patrons should use, but that in situations such as these (or rated R movies to underage, diversity in  collections that a specific region wouldn't use, or the like) that people in positions to act morally and ethically should be given the authority to do so.    --Grinning and Nodding Too Often

A: Point to your collection development policy.  'We don't accept donations to be included in the collection.' And perhaps, the gift subscription will be included with other free materials that are available (pamphlets and brochures and the like)'.  
I just had this conversation with my wife who wanted to purchase a particular title that she was fond of, and donate it to the library for their collection.  She was surprised when I said they wouldn't take it; but after I suggested titles that she wouldn't want to see in the collection, she immediately understood that collection development should be left to the librarians.  -- NYLA_XD

A: As a former employee of the Center For Inquiry, I can assure you that they are a credible news source.  I find it humorous that they stand for empirical evaluation of information, and yet you perceive them as "sensationalist" and would rather remove a periodical that would encourage patrons to doubt dogma and discover information for themselves in an attempt to censor the materials available to them.  In case you haven't noticed, media literacy is a MAJOR problem in our country right now (note the recently released Stanford study regarding how students evaluate news sources), and removing sources that heavily encourage readers to take a second look and really think about the information that they are receiving is a step taken completely backwards and is harmful to the value of librarianship in general.  --The Loud-Mouthed Librarian 

A: Every library needs a collection policy on which to fall back.  --42-yr librarian-STILL no written policy! 

A:The only option I see is to base it on demand/circulation.  There are a lot of items in the library that we don't necessarily agree with... doesn't matter.  Our job is not to judge but to make materials available to everyone.  Make sure your collection development/weeding policy states that items are removed from circulation after a certain time based on your community's demand.  If this magazine is made available to the public and no one checks it out, you have your rational for deleting it from the system after a set time.  Just make sure you have the same policy for all your materials (or at least your periodicals).  --Hogwart's Head Librarian

The Best! Disclaimer: Advice offered in this column is for entertainment purposes only. Please assume that The Best! readers are not lawyers, and while all The Best! readers are super intelligent geniuses with many years of experience, please nonetheless consult your lawyer or library system on legal issues, HR snafus, policy questions, and other areas in which anonymous comments from strangers might normally be treated with caution. Disagree with any of the advice above?  Add your two cents here.


*New Opportunities in Red

December 31: NYLA Conference Proposals Due
January 20-24, 2017-- Ala Midwinter Atlanta
Registration Open
March 1, 2017: Advocacy Day in Albany
May 1-2, 2017: National Legislative Day in DC
info here.
September 7-9: ARSL Conference, St George Utah


South Central Regional Library Council's ReBusiness Partnership

Submitted by Jessica Philippe.

In February 2016, the South Central Regional Library Council went through the Tompkins County Recycling and Solid Waste ReBusiness Partners Program which is “designed to support a local business or organization's efforts to reduce waste, increase recycling and composting, and adopt green purchasing practices.” An assessment was done to monitor existing practices such as recycling paper, plastic, electronics and... Read more here

Great things happening at your library?

Send your photos, news, happenings, ideas and information to Eli Guinnee, editor.  
(if you got this by email, just hit reply)

Become a Rural Libraries Roundtable member 

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