Training

Banned Books Week and Continuing Education

How does your library educate staff about book banning?

According to an article by Susan L. Webb, “Book banning, a form of censorship, occurs when private individuals, government officials, or organizations remove books from libraries, school reading lists, or bookstore shelves because they object to their content, ideas, or themes. Those advocating a ban complain typically that the book in question contains graphic violence, expresses disrespect for parents and family, is sexually explicit, exalts evil, lacks literary merit, is unsuitable for a particular age group, or includes offensive language.”

Banned Books Week is right around the corner and it got me thinking, how do libraries handle the staff development side of this challenging topic? I always notice many libraries post images of their Banned Books Week displays, but I don’t really recall much being done to educate staff about all the nuances surrounding book challenges and library policies regarding it.

Many libraries and statewide library organizations do a great job of offering continuing education opportunities on a wide variety of topics; however, it seems to me that there are not many training sessions that are centered around book challenges and book banning – but maybe that’s changing.

Please let me know in the comments what kinds of training your library offers for staff about book banning and book challenges or what kinds of training you think your library should provide staff on this topic. Oh, and also feel free to share your banned books week display photos too!

Communications, consulting, Training

2021-2022 Annual Update

It’s been a fun first year of retirement and consulting! What have I learned about establishing an LLC and providing library online training? A lot!

I retired on July 1, 2021, and started my consulting firm, Curtis Rogers Consulting, LLC, on July 2. I created my logo and website, got some business cards I designed using Canva, set up a Facebook page, and started posting more to LinkedIn. I later set up a Twitter account (which I’m still trying to get used to).

I found a wonderful support group of library consultants in the ALA CORE Library Consultant group that meets online every other month. I even served on a panel discussion to talk about what I do and what it’s like being a newbie.

I’ve learned about setting up a Quickbooks account, creating quotes, and sending invoices. It was no surprise that just about everyone I’ve worked with does things differently so my motto has become, “I’m easy to work with”. Whatever they need, I can figure it out. Then again, none of this is rocket surgery…

I finished up a six-year commitment as secretary of the Library Marketing and Communications Conference board and was invited to join the board of the Friends of South Carolina Libraries.

I’m very appreciative to the organizations that have hired me to work with them this past year and also to the ones with whom I have upcoming engagements this fall. Here is a summary of my past and upcoming presentations and webinars:

ALA CORE Interest Group Week
Library Consultants IG Panel presentation – July 2021

Georgia Public Library Services
Series of four webinars in 2022

New England Library Association
Presentation on library signage – October 2021

Friends of South Carolina Libraries
Conference presentation on marketing and
webinar on Friends group resources – March & July 2022

State Library of North Carolina
Series of three webinars in the fall of 2022

Northeast Florida Library Information Network
Series of five webinars – 2021-2022

Southeast Collaborative Conference
Presentation on library signage – March 2022

Tampa Bay Library Consortium
Presentation on communications – November 2022

WebJunction – presentation titled
Library Signage: Effective Crisis Communications on January 27, 2022

If your library or non-profit organization is interested in setting up a webinar on any of the sessions I provide or if you’re interested in me working up a specific session on something you need that’s not on my list, please feel free to send me an email at curtisrogersconsulting@gmail.com. I’m looking forward to what lies ahead in year number 2!




Communications

Lack of Communication Can Lead to Low Morale

Is your library or non-profit suffering from low morale because of some communication issues? Sometimes, managers don’t communicate enough, and sometimes, staff members don’t communicate enough either. Failures in communication can be due to not understanding other types of personalities and how they perceive communication. Learning about your own personality type can also help you become a better communicator.

The more you know about your coworkers’ personality types, the more effectively you can communicate with one another. Effective communication can lead to higher morale and better project completion and outcomes.

I offer a great webinar on effective communication skills but I can also work with your team to assess personality types and help you to build more effective communication skills.

Visit my training and online learning page to learn more about the sessions I can offer and contact me today to schedule a webinar.

Training

Library Learning and Collaboration

Register today for the FREE online SE Collaborative Conference – March 15-17, 2022

I am happy to announce I will be presenting a session titled, Library Signage: The good, the bad, and the ugly, at the third annual SECC online regional conference. My session helps library staff members think critically about their current and future library signage. In this session, I show many examples of library signage and attendees discuss what makes a good sign great and what to consider changing about library signage.

The 2022 Southeast Collaborative Online Conference is a collective effort by the Georgia Public Library Service, State Library of North Carolina, South Carolina State Library, Tennessee State Library & Archives, and the Library of Virginia to offer innovative and useful online learning experiences for library staff at all levels through a convenient online conference.

This year’s conference will utilize the Whova event app to provide more convenient access to sessions and resources for attendees. Webinar recordings and presentation slides for the 2020 and 2021 conferences are available on the About page.

Special thanks to IMLS! This conference is made possible in part by a Library Services and Technology Act grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services administered by the State Library of North Carolina and South Carolina State Library. #SEcollaborativeconference

Communications, Training

Want to make sure your library’s signage hasn’t hit a dead end?

Join me for Library Signage: Effective Crisis Communications at 3:00 pm on January 27, 2022 for a WebJunction webinar and learn about how to get your library’s signage back in shape for the new year!

Good signage in the library helps to create clarity and build awareness, while bad signage can lead to frustration and confusion. Has your library had to implement COVID-related signage? Has there been a review of other temporary and permanent signage? This session will look at recommended types of library signs and address aspects of library signage within crisis communications. We will also address how to conduct a signage audit, the importance of library branding and using templates, and internal communications as they relate to signage. Online resources will be shared and there will be opportunities for Q&A and discussion.

I’m looking forward to talking about library signage with you soon!

Register today at WebJunction.org.

Training

Hard Questions

On November 30, 2021, at 7:00 pm, I spoke to Dr. Clayton Copeland’s Public Library Systems (SLIS 728) class for over an hour about library marketing, promotion, and communications as they relate to public libraries. They really had some wonderful questions!

What I found most interesting was the change in the student dynamics from thirty years ago when I was in library school. Back in the old days, I think there were many more full time students than there are now; however, by looking out into the gallery of zoom video streams, one thing seemed to remain the same: we still have a very white/female dominated profession.

There were many questions revolving around EDI (Equity, Diversity and Inclusion) in libraries and how we market to current and potential customers. Through graphic design and changing the view to represent inclusivity, we can do a better job of reaching out to all. While libraries have always been open to all, in the past we have not done that great a job of making sure our promotional pieces give a true depiction of the community segments we are trying to reach and we need to make a conscious effort to continue to change that.

A few takeaway resources I mentioned during the class session are as follows:

Here is a compilation of many of the questions along with my responses:

Uncategorized

What are the benefits of outsourcing training for your library staff?

Online training is easy and convenient! If you only need a training session that lasts 60-90 minutes, I’ve got a wide variety of topics I can provide.

Some of the benefits are:

  • You get a recording of the session so staff members who cannot attend can view the session on their own schedule.
  • There is always time for Q&A.
  • Sessions can be customized to your library’s specific needs.
  • Online training saves you money since there are no travel expenses.

Here is a list of topics I can provide training on:

  • Communication Skills, Personality Types, and Networking
  • Library Signage/Library Image
  • How to be a Successful Library Trustee/Board Member
  • How to be a Successful Library Friend/Friends Group
  • Photography Basics for PR and Marketing
  • Thinking Forward-Revitalizing Your Keeping Up Habits
  • Meeting Facilitation and Meeting Facilitation Skills Training

Feel free to email me so we can set up a zoom session to discuss training opportunities for your library or library system.

Training

Photography Basics for Library PR and Marketing

Nowadays, just about everyone has a camera in their pocket. Smartphone photography has come a long way; however, many people don’t even know the basics for making a great photo. Here are a few basic steps to making a great image with your smartphone:

  1. Make sure your smartphone lens is clean. We keep our phones in pockets, backpacks, purses, etc., and repeatedly touch the lenses. It’s a good idea to keep a lens cloth handy to wipe your smartphone lens before you use it. If you ever wonder why your smartphone images are cloudy or look hazy, it’s most likely the lens is dirty.
  2. Take multiple photos and select the best one to edit. Image composition can change greatly just by moving your camera by a foot or more so move around and take lots of photos to see how your composition changes.
  3. Use your smartphone’s editing tools or an image editing app such as Camera+ to crop and adjust the colors or to add a filter.

There are some wonderful tutorials on YouTube as well as some interesting photography magazines and books available at your public library’s website (usually on Overdrive or similar library service). Here are a few you might be interested in:

  1. Photography Basics in 10 Minutes (YouTube) – this is a great overview of photography basics to try shooting your photos in manual mode. Many people with a good digital camera will use the auto feature, but it’s important to experiment with various settings.
  2. 8 IMPORTANT Composition Tips for Better Photos (YouTube) – this video will make you think more about how to frame an image and how light and background play a part in photography. The key is to practice and take time to learn more about your own feelings when it comes to what makes a great image.
  3. Amateur Photographer – this is a British magazine that provides articles on equipment reviews, photographic technique, and also shares profiles of professional photographers. Check your local public library to see if you can access it online for free through Overdrive/Libby.

The image I created for this post was first taken with my Canon EOS RP digital mirrorless camera, then edited in Pixlr Express, then the quote was added in Canva. Once you know how to use some of these tools, you can create great images for your library use on social media to promote your library’s programs and events. If you’re interested in a training session for your library staff on how to take better photos for your library’s marketing and PR, contact me at curtisrogersconsulting@gmail.com.

consulting

Is GIS for you?

I’ve always enjoyed maps and understand their importance. As an undergrad, I decided to get a Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography from the University of South Carolina. I was a geography nerd for sure! I was president of USC’s chapter of Gamma Theta Upsilon (ΓΘΥ), the international honor society in geography, and even completed an internship in computer cartography at Research Planning in Columbia, SC. I also was awarded the Julian J. Petty award for excellence in geography in 1990 from the USC Department of Geography, which still hangs on my wall to this day. 

The love of maps transferred to my library work and I would play around with websites like Zee Maps and Google Maps to map out county library branches when I would visit to provide library signage audits. While working at the SC State Library, I was able to recruit a geography friend to help the library create an interactive map of all South Carolina public library outlets

It’s a lot of fun to explore these library locations but it’s also important to have accurate information. If you’re interested in mapping your library locations, check out Zee Maps and Google Maps and watch some overview videos to get you started making specialized maps for your library system. The options are endless and you can add links to maps from your library’s website and also embed them. And you can always hire someone with GIS experience to build maps for you. Reach out to a college or university near you to see if they have a GIS program and find out how you can hire a GIS expert to help put your library on the map.

consulting

Restroom Signage and the Captive Audience

I’ve always wondered why there isn’t more signage in library restrooms. Libraries can take advantage of captive audiences by regularly updating signage on the back of stall doors and above urinals. Many people don’t really even like to think or talk about this, but it’s a great way to promote your library’s upcoming events, book clubs, and other library-related programs.

Remember these tips when creating restroom signage:

  • Use eye-catching graphics
  • Don’t use too much verbiage
  • For calendars of events, remember to update weekly or monthly
  • Update restroom signage prior to opening or after closing
  • Update the staff restrooms as well as the public restrooms
  • Use acrylic sign holders with suction cups so they can periodically be removed and cleaned
  • Always use your library’s logo and branding
  • Try to stick with your library’s brand color scheme

Share your library’s restroom signage thoughts and ideas with a comment. What works well and what would you do differently given the opportunity?