Interview: Nevada State Library and Archives

IMLS staff interviewed state librarians to discuss how their new five-year plans for LSTA Grants to States funds (2013-2017) differ from their past plans (2008-2012), and how they see the needs of library users in their states changing and evolving. This post is part of a series and features IMLS Senior Library Program Officer Michele Farrell interviewing State Library and Archives Administrator/State Librarian Daphne DeLeon, Deputy State Librarian Karen Starr and LSTA Coordinator Diane Baker. Read more about the Nevada State Library and Archives’ priorities in IMLS’ state profile for Nevada.

 

Michele: What were the three most important community needs you sought to address through library services between 2008 and 2012?

Daphne: One was access to electronic content, which encapsulated access to electronic databases for the public schools and public libraries. The statewide digital initiative also looked to create a collaborative infrastructure within Nevada to allow our libraries and any holders of historical materials to be able to make them available online.

Karen: We have land patents and Supreme Court case files and verdicts. Those land patents are really useful, because during the housing retrenchment in Las Vegas we were the holders of information that people needed in order to support their house titles.

View of the top of the Hoover Dam wall with concrete pouring forms on top. Construction on two of the intake towers is seen behind the wall (mid-1930s).

View of the top of the Hoover Dam wall with concrete pouring forms on top. Construction on two of the intake towers is seen behind the wall (mid-1930s). Part of the UNLV Lied Library’s Water in the West project, one several LSTA-funded projects that highlighted Nevada history.

Diane: Some of the other individual projects that we funded included several out of UNLV that were related to Nevada historical issues. One was the art of menus specific to Las Vegas and its culinary development; another was related to the unique architecture styles that go with resort communities and Water in the West.

Karen: Then, in terms of literacy needs, we have a statewide reading program where we fund summer reading, El Día de los Niños [Children’s Day], adult reading programs, and year-round reading programs.  We partnered with others in the state to create Nevada Reads, and we’ve also implemented Letters About Literature out of the Center for the Book and the Library of Congress.

A child takes a photo of the program with his tablet.

An afterschool program developed as part of the Carson City Library’s Digital Learning project.

Diane: For the third need, which is teens homework afterschool programs, our electronic databases are a foundation for a lot of the homework projects that had been funded as subgrants in Henderson, Las Vegas-Clark County, Carson City, and Washoe County.

 

Michele: How did the evaluation of the 2008-2012 programs and initiatives affect your state’s plan for the new 2013-2017 five-year cycle? 

Daphne: We seem to have felt the national recession early on in Nevada, and we continue to lag in the recovery. Throughout the evaluation of programs from the last five-year cycle, where we hadn’t seen that type of economic environment before, it really brought to light a lot of things that we were able to bring to our focus groups. One was the ability to reexamine  our plans and decide if things are changing. We are appointing a steering group of statewide representatives to work with the Nevada State Library and Archives and myself to annually review the plan and make sure it’s still in sync. We found that in 2008-2012 our plan was still very useful, but, at a certain point, needs were beginning to emerge, and they weren’t directly reflected in the plan. It made it difficult for some of our libraries and our community to respond.

 

Michele: What are the three most important community needs for the next five-year plan?

Daphne: The three most important needs as we move forward into this new five-year cycle are assessment and planning, information literacy, and workforce development. Overarching all three needs is developing strategies to either strengthen a library’s collaborations or to help it establish new ones.

Diane: One of the things that came out of our steering committee and focus groups is that things change so much in the communities, and they wanted to make sure they were being responsive. Our first goal reflects assessment and planning, in order to best use local, state, and federal resources to serve the community needs. A previous LSTA project at Las Vegas-Clark County developed assessment tools, and we’re looking at taking them statewide.

Posted in Afterschool/Out-of-School, Collections Care/Preservation, Cultural Heritage/Sustainability, Grants to State Library Administrative Agencies, Lifelong learning/ Intergenerational, Workforce Development/Job Assistance | Comments Off

Growing Up at the Library

The Las Vegas-Clark County Library District was one of 10 winners of the 2014 National Medal for Museum and Library Service, the nation’s highest honor for libraries and museums that are serving their communities in exceptional ways. Community member Avree Walker traveled with Executive Director Jeanne Goodrich to Washington D.C.  this past May to accept the award.

Avree Walker walked across the stage at the West Las Vegas Library Theater during his kindergarten graduation. Years would follow with him taking the same place on that stage. He used the computers and resources for school projects, but the informational and cultural programs at the library sparked his interest in the arts.  Now at 23 years old, Avree is a student at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Nevada pursuing a career in the performing arts. He is also a dancer with the Las Vegas Contemporary Dance Theatre. “Without the library services and the programs that the library offered I probably would have been in a completely different field and I found my real passion, which is for the arts, so I’d just like to say thank you.”

Do you know of a museum or library that has made a difference? Nominations are now being accepted for the 2015 National Medal. Nomination Forms must be mailed and postmarked by October 15, 2014.

Posted in Afterschool/Out-of-School, Cultural Heritage/Sustainability, National Medal for Museum and Library Service | Comments Off

The POWRR of Digital Preservation

By Jaime Schumacher
Director of the Digital POWRR Project

Northern Illinois University collaborated with a board of advisors and partner libraries at Chicago State University, Illinois State University, Illinois Wesleyan University, and Western Illinois University to launch the Digital POWRR Project (Preserving digital Objects With Restricted Resources) under an IMLS National Leadership Grant. This project has been making waves in the field of digital preservation (DP) since our efforts began in 2012. Our focus has been on investigating scalable DP solutions for small and mid-sized institutions that are often faced with small staff sizes, restricted IT infrastructures, and tight budgets.

These institutions hold unique digital content important to their regions’ cultural heritage, yet many of the practitioners are unsure how to approach the stewardship of the content and are overwhelmed by the large number of DP tools/services available. As the project progressed, our team uncovered the particular challenges, advantages, needs, and desires of under-resourced institutions.

Practitioners at smaller institutions often do not have time to stay abreast of the frequent developments in the field of digital preservation, may not have the expertise or technical infrastructure necessary to install and maintain complex software solutions, and frequently lack the funds to pay for complete, ready-to-use solutions that may exist. Faced with what seems to be an enormous undertaking, many peers serving at institutions with limited resources find themselves too overwhelmed to take the first steps. They are also in need of practical information with which to educate colleagues and administrators on the risks of digital content loss, advocate for necessary resources, and take initial technical steps to improve the preservation of their digital holdings. We worked to address and overcome obstacles that often prevent practitioners from taking even initial steps in preserving their digital content.

The entire POWRR team sought to create a well-marked, realistic path towards sustainable digital stewardship for this often overlooked group by completing the following activities:

  • Delivered a well-received, graphic-based tool grid that shows, at-a-glance, the functionalities of over 60 DP tools and services and how they fit within an OAIS-based digital curation lifecycle.
  • Successfully petitioned select DP-solution vendors for scaled-down and transparent pricing geared towards smaller institutions.
  • Created materials to aid practitioners as they attempt to build awareness around the need for a DP program and advocate for the necessary resources.
  • Developed a pragmatic, hands-on workshop to teach the initial steps necessary to accession and inventory digital content as well as how to realistically approach developing a DP program. Recognizing that many of their target institutions currently have little-to-no travel and training budgets, the POWRR team is traveling across the country to conduct these workshops for very little cost to the practitioners.

Because institutions can achieve economies of scale by working together (not to mention the value of the “we’re all in this together” approach!), we are producing collaboration models and the underlying legal framework often needed for these endeavors—all directed at small and mid-sized institutions. Most recently, we released our White Paper, From Theory to Action: Good Enough Digital Preservation for Under-Resourced Cultural Heritage Institutions.

These are just a selection of the efforts put forth by the POWRR team to guide and empower our peers on the path to digital stewardship. Stay tuned to the POWRR website for further activities and developments!

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jaime Schumacher is the Director of the Digital POWRR Project at Northern Illinois University. She received her MLS from the University of Illinois, her B.S. in Computer Technology from Purdue University, and was an Information Systems Consultant for Deloitte Consulting in Chicago, IL. jschumacher@niu.edu

Posted in 21st Century Skills, Collections Care/Preservation, Information Infrastructure/Systems/Workflows, Learning Tools and Interactives (Information/Media literacy), National Leadership Grants | Comments Off

Nation’s Museums and Libraries Feed Minds and Bodies this Summer

Ed. Note: This blog was originally posted on the USDA blog. To view the original post, click here.

By Tony Craddock, Jr.
Program Analyst
USDA Food and Nutrition Service

Kids participating in summer programming with counselors.

While providing children with nutritious meals is the top priority of USDA’s summer meal programs, activity programming is also important for healthy kids.

Libraries remain a part of the fiber of American communities, with over 123,000 operating across the nation.  And in states like Idaho, libraries provided children with more than just books!  For the second straight year, the Idaho Commission for Libraries teamed up with AmeriCorps VISTAs and local summer meal sites to offer “Literacy in the Park”, a program to bring fun educational activities to existing Summer Food Service Program meal sites.

They say “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it”!  But “Literacy in the Park” proved that you can certainly add to it!  Julie Armstrong from the Commission for Libraries said, “We thought, if kids are already at the parks eating, let’s offer them literacy activities along with those meals.”  Ten AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers from the Idaho Foodbank assisted with literacy programs at different Boise sites, each sponsored by the Idaho Foodbank and the Oasis Food Center.

The AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associate Program supports USDA’s effort to ensure children do not go hungry during summer months, but they also want to make sure kids don’t lose ground when they return to class in the fall.  USDA has partnered with the Corporation for National and Community Service for four years to strategically place VISTAs in areas of need, where great programs like “Literacy in the Park” make a difference in children’s lives.

Museums can play important roles as well.  FNS partners with the Institute of Museum and Library Services to feed minds and bodies during the summer.  In fact, there are more than 35,000 museums in the United States, so the opportunities Idaho leveraged with libraries are possible with museums.  So not only can museums and libraries support existing sites, they can become sites themselves!

FNS continues to encourage partnerships between the Institute of Museum and Library Services, VISTAs and the Summer Food Service Program… And now you can do the same!

Posted in Afterschool/Out-of-School, Early Learning, Health | Comments Off