Nebraska Libraries Future Search

Charting a Future Course for Nebraska Library Services

What's Next? Nebraska Libraries Future Search Conference Followup Activities

Modified: Friday, 06 February 2009 09:34 AM by Brenda Ealey
Many Nebraska librarians, staff, boards and others participated in either the Nebraska Libraries Future Search conference, or in focus groups for the conference. We certainly want to keep the conversation going and provide follow-up information on some of the ideas that have come out of that conference. So, the Nebraska Regional Library Systems will share a topic bi-monthly based on 12 Vision Statements from that 2008 conference. If you want to use these for conversations with library boards, friends, or your community that would be a way to ensure the discussion continues. Nebraska Library Commission will provide continuing education credits including for library trustees if you put it on the agenda and discuss during a board meeting. A series of questions and activities to choose from in helping initiate the conversation are listed below the vision statement. We suggest choosing at least two questions and two activities, however you can choose as many, or all – and utilize throughout 2009, as a way of continuing the Nebraska Libraries Future Search discussion.

Vision statement to consider: The library is a vital hub, woven into the fabric of the greater community, responding to and empowering people through local and global connections.
• Talk about ways your library is a hub within the community, or services that might reflect the library’s involvement in the community as a whole locally and beyond.
• Let’s say a newspaper wants to do a story on the library and the role it plays in the community, what would you list? Provide examples of how library services impact library customers in their day to day lives. Talk about connections made locally, regionally, statewide and internationally.
• List community and customer needs that are prevalent today. Are there ways library services can assist in responding to those, or perhaps are already responding to?
• Library websites are one way of providing access to library services and information around the clock. Two of many are Holdrege Public Library at, or Bennington Public Library at where the possibility to chat or blog is available anytime. Libraries are also investigating the use of kiosks, or mall locations where the library is placed where people tend to congregate. Connecting the library to customers with particular needs such as ESL or finding a job, and partnering with organizations like a literacy council or Nebraska Workforce are examples of services provided as a direct response to a particular need while collaborating to make the most of community wide resources. List outreach services your library provides, or might consider developing, or partnerships with other organizations that reinforce the library as THE community center – the place that will “connect” individuals with product in response to customer need or desire, within or outside the walls of the library during the hours the library is open or closed.

• Nebraska libraries include the Library Bill of Rights as part of policy which lists service to all people of the community not restricting access based on origin, age, background or views. Review the Library Bill of Rights at:
• Veronda Pitchford, of the Urban Libraries Council, was the speaker at the Fall Colloquium October 2008. Their publication: Welcome, Stranger: Public Libraries Build the Global Village is a great resource for libraries of all types for strategies in welcoming and helping immigrants in transitions into the community. It also provides information on the major role libraries provide in this process. You can find copies of this publication to borrow, 17 pages, as well as the 25 page toolkit at the Nebraska Regional Library Systems’ offices and the Nebraska Library Commission, or on the Urban Libraries Council website: Review and discuss for insight in successfully serving a growing constituent in Nebraska.
• Nebraska Regional Library Systems and Nebraska Library Commission have copies of Kathleen de la Pena McCook’s book: A Place at the Table: Participating in Community Building. It outlines methods for ensuring that librarians are a part of community discussions, planning and problem solving with tools for strengthening community partnerships and connections while promoting the library’s assets. Use the book to begin discussion for building community collaboration and empowerment through library services and involvement. Or take a look online at McCook’s – A Librarian At the Kitchen Table - The blog provides great articles for discussion and consideration, as well as timely information on libraries building community in a variety of settings.
• Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community by Robert D. Putnam was a national bestseller and provided provocative ideas on social change focusing on American behavior increasingly disconnecting from each other and social structures. Listen to an interview with Professor Putnam on NPR’s All Things Considered: Listen as a group and use for discussion. What do you agree or disagree with? This program and book were published in 2000, how are things different or the same in 2009? For more information on the book or Putnam go to:

Please feel free to share your comments and feedback from these discussions and exercises. Nebraska Regional Library Systems will be posting bi-monthly discussions on system e-mail lists, newsletters and websites. We are also exploring ways of presenting the discussion in an interactive online format that could involve statewide participation. There is a Nebraska Libraries Future Search wiki hosted by Nebraska Library Commission where we can post discussion information and feedback:

Individual and group brainstorming sessions during the conference produced a variety of ideas and suggestions for action (suggestions do not necessarily reflect consensus or “common ground” agreement of participants as a whole). Local community libraries and library groups are exploring these ideas and, in some cases, initiating action to address library service needs for specific target populations. Efforts were underway at the Nebraska Library Commission on a number of these initiatives (see below). To comment on any of these items, just click on the "Discuss" box on the upper right corner of this page. As library groups across the state undertake planning activities and action projects, they are encouraged to record progress below:

  • Return on Investment (ROI) for Public Libraries
    Idea from Brainstorming: ROI (Return On Investment) – show value of library to community’s economy
    Action: Nebraska Library Commission offers ROI training and technical assistance on how Nebraska libraries can use Return on Investment (ROI) information to communicate the value of library services to their target audiences.

  • Library Camp Nebraska
    Idea from Brainstorming: Technology camp – like Library Leadership Institute but with a technology focus
    Action: Nebraska Library Commission offers Library Camp Nebraska on November 19, 2008.

  • Plinkit
    Idea from Brainstorming: Every library in the state have a Web page and host local Web sites
    Action: Nebraska Library Commission will offer Web hosting services for public libraries through Plinkit.

  • Nebraska Memories
    Idea from Brainstorming: Digitization of works
    Action: Nebraska Library Commission facilitates partnership efforts to digitize Nebraska-related historical and cultural heritage materials and make them available to researchers of all ages via the Internet.

  • Nebraska Library Training Portal
    Idea from Brainstorming:Conduct training through Nebraska Library Commission and Regional Library Systems
    Action: Nebraska Library Commission (in partnership with the Nebraska Educational Media Association, Nebraska Library Association, and Regional Library Systems) provides information about training and continuing education opportunities for Nebraska library staff and supporters.

  • NebraskAccess Database Public Access
    Idea from Brainstorming: Single sign-on to multiple electronic databases
    Action: Nebraska Library Commission provides access to NebraskAccess databases via Nebraska driver’s license authentication.

  • Ask a Design Professional
    Idea from Brainstorming: Have experts make visits to make suggestions on making physical space more hospitable.
    Action: Nebraska Library Commission is working with Clark Enersen Partners on the Ask the Design Pro Wiki. This resource will help address the needs of library staff and supporters for answers, or directions to answers, to questions regarding your library buildings or sites.

  • Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program Grant
    Idea from Brainstorming: The staff is key to the success of the library: cultivate our staff.
    Action: Nebraska Library Commission is writing a grant to the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services to support the program: Cultivating Nebraska Librarians 2.0: Building 21st Century Skills.

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