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Editor's Notes 

Eli Guinnee,

Taking Rural to the Big City

Along with RLRT President Margo Gustina, I  took a little trip to the Urban Librarians Conference--"Dangerous Librarianship"-- in Brooklyn last weekend, presenting our Hooray for Social Justice workshop to a crammed room of enthusiastic urbanites.  We promoted an idea that works in any library, big or small, rural or urban: democracy requires equitability, and equitability only happens if we find the marginalized in our communities and listen to their needs and their solutions.  Things learned from the conference include: The Brooklyn Public Library basement gets horrible cell reception; urban librarians are not afraid to swear liberally in a professional setting; urban librarians face many of the same challenges in supporting social justice that we rural librarians face.  
My favorite thing at the conference: the Simmons Library Zine Collection and Anti-Oppression Lib Guide.  Click below to check out it out.  (P.S. They are happy to share it if you have the lib guide software and want a copy)

And Speaking of Community Engagement...

Fun fact: A few of us RLRTers are also coordinators of the Sustainability Initiative Community Change Agent Program.  "What is that?" you ask.  Click below to learn more!  Then join us on April 18, 3-4pm or  April 26, 10-11am for an information session!  It's pretty great, you should check it out.   

A Message From the President

Margo Gustina
Can you believe we are approaching election season again? This year’s seats up for grabs are the President of RLRT and the Secretary. Please send nominations (yep, you can nominate yourself) to current president Margo Gustina ( The baton is handed off at NYLA Conference 2017. Right now, western/southern tier New York dominates the leadership, so I’d be interested to see a shift.  

There are some other rural pots on the fire that I can’t wait to share in the first May issue of The Best! but they are super secret for right now. Just know, it will be dynamite.

Want to be a Guest Editor of The Best?  Click here to learn more. 
Mystery Link of the Day

Click above to learn more

Sustainable Cozies at Penn Yan

Submitted by Sarah Crevelling
Youth Services Librarian
Penn Yan Public Library

Thought you might be interested in this little craft we did that turned into a sustainable moment.

We showed some of our afterschool kids how to make mug cozies from thrifted sweaters and buttons. They made extras to put out by the library’s Keurig machine so we can stop buying paper coffee sleeves. The kids got to learn about sewing and reusing, and we get to be a little more green! (We backwards-engineered our cozies from a picture on Pinterest; there are many places online to find directions.)

Obstacle Course at Howe

CCLS' Regional Read Pairs Libraries with Students

The theme is Beyond Human: Animals in Literature.  Libraries are partnering with students from the SUNY Fredonia English Department to develop and present programming! 

Book Box Outreach 

CCLS libraries are collaborating on a Take a Book Leave a Book marketing project. Libraries are placing book boxes out in the community in places like laundromats (below in Olean) and cafes.

Photo by Sheryl K. Soborowski
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This Week's Question: 
Our Mayor asked me to give a presentation to the Village Board this year.  Does anyone do this, and if so what works and what is the expectation?  Should I do a powerpoint or just stand up and talk?  Should I have handouts?  What should I focus on?  We usually send in a budget request and I attend the meeting where the library is discussed, usually with at least one board member, but have never really prepared anything formal.  I appreciate any thoughts.  --20 Year Director This Year

Answer this question now!
Last Week's Question: 
This is the first year our library is hosting a Teen Summer Program. I am looking for some ideas to keep them interested. What has worked for you? --No name given
K.S. designed an escape room in the library which made a great kickoff event for teens.  --BPL

Food, food, food! If you feed them, teens will come to your programs. Food and science are a perfect mix: make ice cream, build molecule models out of candy, talk to your local Cooperative Extension office and see what kind of nutrition/food science education they can do for free .--Teen Titan

Our library did a Teen Chef program last summer that was a big hit. It ran for 3 weeks on a Tuesday. We had 2 local foodies lead the 2 teams. Each group focused on a different type of cuisine - 1 did Mexican and 1 did Italian. The first 2 weeks were cooking boot camp, training, discussion, and menu planning. On week 3, each team prepared a full meal for 3 selected judges from the community. I was a judge and it was fantastic! We held this at a local church with a kitchen. Great program that we will do again. --Love My Library

Which of the following search terms will get you the most results?
Apples, Oranges
Apples and Oranges
Apples or Oranges
"Apples and Oranges"
Last Issue: The new American Health Care Act: Yea or Nay?
Nay, keep Obamacare but fix the problems --69.2%
Nay, leave Obamacare alone --23.1%
Nay, Obamacare needs replaced but this doesn't go nearly far enough --7.7%
Yea, it's great --0%

Freedom is the Best!

Tips for supporting social justice in your library!

Take the Social Justice Self-Evaluation

Rank your library on a scale of 1-10
1=Needs A LOT of Improvement  ...  10=Social Justice Superstar!
My library is a forum for questioning assumptions and prejudices __
My library has a culture that values and celebrates diversity __
My library seeks to shine light on, not hide from, current and historical forces that exclude some populations from equal opportunity __
My library does active outreach to all populations in our community __
My library sees social justice as an important part of sustainable communities __
My library has a deep awareness about challenges faced by those on the margins of our community __
My library openly affirms its role in supporting social justice __
My library provides programming that celebrates diversity __
My library provides programming that raises questions about local, state, and federal policies that affect marginalized populations __
My library provides a welcoming space that is accessible to and actively encourages use by every person in the community __
My library works with local organizations and municipalities to expand a culture of inclusivity that respects the right of every person in the community to equal opportunity __
My library asks community members to question their assumptions and prejudices __
My library engages the community in dialog on controversial topics __
My library continuously builds a culture of inclusivity through its displays, materials, programming, and communication to the public __
My library provides diversity training to new employees and volunteers __
What was your average score?

lowest 1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   highest
Sorry, voting is closed.


April 18, 3-4pm or  April 26, 10-11am, Community Change Agents Information Session
Learn more about the NYLA Sustainability Initiative professional development program (info and register)
May 1-2: National Advocacy Day (link)
September 6-9: Association of Rural and Small Libraries Conference in St. George (link)
November 8-11: NYLA 2017 in Saratoga Springs (link)




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