Project SET Alumni Spotlight: Andrea Puglisi

Andrea Puglisi was a participant in our 2016 SET Cohort. Since the conclusion of SET Andrea has been promoting technology use at her library as well as teaching technology workshops at the Berkshire Community College.

What did you learn about yourself as a participant in Project SET?
Project SET is a comfortable environment where participants are encouraged to self-reflect and grow together. Project SET helped me identify areas that I can improve on and gave me tools that I can use as I begin to shape my professional future. Project SET revealed areas where I am strong and areas that I hope to improve. Life is a process and Project SET has certainly helped me along!

Identify one goal you have for your career, your library, and for the Massachusetts library community?
Setting goals is so important when it comes to having a successful career! Over my career: I hope to foster creativity, passion and awareness for our communities that engage online and show them how to master new technology. Incorporating new technology and means of expression in my library is exciting to me; on the horizon is AR & VR — entire worlds to code, create and enjoy- wisely, of course! A goal that I have for the Massachusetts Library Community is to improve our outreach, messaging and marketing; librarians have big hearts and dreams, and we need the support to realize our collective potential.

Project SET is a professional learning cohort that supports the development of individual career goals and the exploration of other aspects of the library community. Every session provides the chance for participants to build knowledge, communication skills, connections, awareness, and confidence as an information professional.

For additional information about Project SET visit our LibGuide!

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Statewide eBook Sharing Evolves

Change doesn’t come from sitting on the sidelines, waiting. That’s certainly true for how the library community in Massachusetts has approached statewide eBook sharing. Six years ago the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) and the Massachusetts Library System (MLS) convened the Resource Sharing Unbound workshop. Faced with the inability to share eBooks in the same way we share print books, vendors who wouldn’t sell eBooks to libraries, and eBook pricing that was sometimes five times more than what consumers paid for the same eBook, librarians at this workshop agreed that statewide eBook sharing was a priority. Read more…

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The House Budget (fy2019) and MLS Long-Term Sustainability

The House Ways and Means budget for fy2019 was published on April 11.  This budget provides a 1.33% increase to budget line 7000-9401 State Aid to Regional Libraries which provides appropriations to fund the Massachusetts Library System and the Library for the Commonwealth at the Boston Public Library.

We appreciate this increase but we must be clear that increases at this level are not sufficient for MLS’ long-term sustainability.   The Library Legislative Agenda for fy2019 recommends a 3% increase for this budget line.  This level of funding is sufficient for MLS’ long-term sustainability.

LATE BREAKING NEWS! 

Representatives Rushing of Boston, Higgins of Leominster, Murray of Milford, Peake of Provincetown, Walsh of Framingham, Fernandes of Falmouth, Garlick of Needham, O’Day of West Boylston, Dooley of Norfolk and Gifford of Wareham move to amend the bill to boost funding for MLS and LFC by 3%.  Amendment #789 to H4400.  This boost would keep MLS on the path to long-term sustainability and allows MLS to consider reducing cost sharing for hold/return sorting.

We’ve posted information below about our two most heavily used services:  Databases/eBooks and Delivery that describe the ramifications of insufficient funding for your information.

 

Databases and eBooks

MLS provides funding and support for statewide databases that are heavily used by school children and statewide eBooks that are in demand in public libraries.  Massachusetts residents download more than 8 million articles each year from the databases, and MLS is poised to release its new and improved eBook program for libraries.

Sadly, MLS has also had to reduce funding for both programs.  Due to increases in the state minimum wage and rising health care costs that caused a severe shortfall in its delivery service, MLS has already had to make significant cuts including a 60% reduction in databases spending and a 33% reduction in eBook spending last July.  Most libraries were unable to replace the lost content with their own limited funds.

In order to keep pace with rising costs and to put the brakes on fees that erode the equity of library services, MLS needs adequate funding to keep pace with inflation.  A 3% increase to Line 7000-9401 would save MLS from having to raise additional fees or make additional cuts to critical services that are so valued by libraries and library users.

MLS also provides many other important services to libraries in the Commonwealth including a statewide delivery service; professional development for library staff to help libraries stay on the cutting edge; and support for the statewide summer library program that connects children and adults to reading and lifelong learning.

Funding for 7000-9401 also goes toward important statewide library programs and services from the Library for the Commonwealth.  These include electronic resources available to anyone in the Commonwealth with a Boston Public Library eCard, digitization services to preserve our rich cultural heritage and many more valuable services!

 

Delivery

MLS funds a statewide delivery service for 525 libraries in the Commonwealth that helps library users to borrow more than 7 million items each year!  This is a critical service to library users and especially helps to ensure that all residents, regardless of the town they call home, have equal access to books, music, DVDs and more.  This service saves libraries $35 million in postage!

Costs for delivery are on the rise!  Due to increases in the state minimum wage and rising health care costs that well-exceed funding, MLS has already had to make significant cuts including the elimination of 125 stops and a freeze on adding new libraries to the service.  In addition, we will soon be imposing fees on the highest volume libraries for hold/return sorting services.  Without adequate funding, MLS will be forced to impose fees and other restrictions on more libraries that use this service.  This will undoubtedly affect libraries that serve rural, urban and economically disadvantaged communities the most.

In order to keep pace with rising costs and to put the brakes on fees that erode the equity of library services, MLS needs adequate funding to keep pace with inflation.  A 3% increase to Line 7000-9401 would save MLS from having to raise additional fees or make additional cuts to this service that is so critical and so valued by libraries and library users.

MLS also provides many other important services to libraries in the Commonwealth including funding, training and support for the statewide databases program heavily used by school children; professional development for library staff to help libraries stay on the cutting edge; and support for the statewide summer library program that connects children and adults to reading and lifelong learning.

 

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Project SET Alumni Spotlight: Lilly Sundell-Thomas

Lilly Sundell-Thomas was a participant in our 2015 SET Cohort. Since the conclusion of SET Lilly has been hard at work at the Somerville Public Library finding creative ways to meet the needs of her library patrons.

What were your goals for Project SET? How did these develop throughout the Project? Did you meet them?
I entered Project SET as a very new librarian and so my major goals were to make connections in the Massachusetts library community and learn about what was happening at libraries across the state. I absolutely met this goal! Whenever I attend regional workshops or conferences, I run into someone associated with Project SET. Even if I don’t see a Project SET participant from my cohort, my involvement in the program is a nice conversation starter.

Identify one goal you have for your career, your library, and for the Massachusetts library community?
As a programming and outreach librarian, I am constantly thinking about new and interesting ways to engage with patrons and the community in general. It is clear to me that the role of libraries is shifting in the digital age, and so my main goal as a librarian is to keep libraries relevant. Libraries will always be places for people of all ages to borrow books and media, but they are also becoming gathering spaces for people to learn new skills. I hope that librarians across the state will recognize this shift, think outside the box, and embrace change. It is my personal goal to develop creative programs that will remind people that the library is an essential part of the community.

Project SET is a professional learning cohort that supports the development of individual career goals and the exploration of other aspects of the library community. Every session provides the chance for participants to build knowledge, communication skills, connections, awareness, and confidence as an information professional.

For additional information about Project SET visit our LibGuide!   

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A Season of Hygge at the Groton Public Library

This winter, I discovered a booklet at my neighboring library, the Groton Public Library, announcing a Season of Hygge.  I enjoyed reading the Little Book of Hygge and loved the helpful tips to bring more coziness and happiness into our lives with simple things like spending more time with friends and family, expressing gratitude, lighting candles, playing board games, wearing comfortable clothes, and drinking lots of hot cocoa and tea.  We can learn a lot from the Danish about how to create a warm and comfortable atmosphere for our libraries and homes. In this interview, Lisa Baylis and Deb Dowson tell us about the Groton Public Library’s experience with a Season of Hygge.

Groton Public Library

Groton Public Library

What inspired your selection of The Little Book of Hygge for your community read and the theme for your winter and spring programs?

Groton Public Library:  The positive joyful message, focus on natural products and experiences, encouraging small scale interpersonal connections, home grown events, and warm and cozy ideas for a winter month.

Which of your hygge themed programs were most popular?

Alpaca at Warm and Cozy Event

GPL:  Warm and Fuzzy Kickoff Event: This was a huge success! We had two visiting alpacas to meet from a local farm and crock pots full of hot cocoa. People from the Luina Grenine Farm were here to answer questions and display products that the incredibly soft alpaca fur gets transformed into. (socks, hats, stuffed animals, etc.) It was a hit with every age, and we had a lot of families attending with multiple generations! (same with the board games…)

Some of our other popular programs include:
Board Game Day Poster
Family Board Game Day:

  • 36 people of all ages and abilities
  • Large cart in center of room with huge assortment of games
  • Staff available to assist if people choose a new game
  • 3 generations at a few tables
  • Low key help yourself event with soups and make your own brownie sundaes…casual and fun!!
  • Patrons loved that it was scheduled on first day of school vacation week.

Friday Cozy Hygge Cafés:

  • Held from 10 AM-1 PM for 6 weeks (approx. 180 people)
  • Small casual groupings scattered around the area
  • Flickering logs in a fireplace made of encyclopedias
  • Lots of plants
  • Groton Reads supplies scattered around the tables (Little Book of Hygge copies, Hygge Bingo, gratitude bookmarks to fill in, Hygge discussion starter Card Game, Danish cook books, Groton Reads Program newsletter, etc.)
  • Buffet of home-baked goodies (library staff), catered gourmet hot cocoa and coffee (and real china mugs and dishes made the experience that much more special)
  • Serendipitous small group connections
  • Many smiles and looks of surprise from patrons!
Surprise visit from the former US Ambassador to Denmark

Surprise visit from the former US Ambassador to Denmark

Last week’s book discussion included sharing of why this book spoke to each of us, great Hygge ideas to try and home grown recipes. A little bit of magic happened half way through our discussion when the former U.S. Ambassador to Denmark joined us!! (He is actually mentioned on page 2 of the book.) He shared his experiences with Danish culture, answered all our questions and signed copies of the book for us. The book discussion participants got to keep their autographed library copy of Little Book of Hygge. What a wonderful day!

For teens, it was making Danish Treats (no bake oat cookies and Danish Crepes) and Making Mug Cozies. We also do a program every winter that is very “hyggely”. We set up a Hot Chocolate Bar on Tuesday afternoons after school and the teens can help themselves to hot chocolate and all the fixings, and then stay to read for an hour. This was so successful the first time we tried it for winter reading, that we extended it for the entire winter, and have done it for 2 winters now.

Cosy Fireplace Reading Nook

When I visited your library, I noticed a cozy fireplace reading nook that you created with orange string lights.  What a neat idea!  Did you make other changes to your space or library experience to generate hygge?

We purchased soft throw blankets for over the upholstered chairs and added battery operated votive candles in different areas/events.  For locally televised book discussion, we used cushy chairs around a coffee table instead of chairs around a table. A Hygge Café was held in a space that usually does not allow food or conversation…we successfully broke the mold!!

Since the book is authored by the CEO of the Happiness Research Institute and explores how hygge is connected to why Danish people are the happiest according to the World Happiness Report, have you noticed an improvement in your patrons’ and staff’s contentment?

Definitely! We noticed new relationships forming and older ones reconnecting, more positive conversations and genuinely warm and relaxed communications.

What feedback have you received from patrons and staff in response to your season of hygge?

We kept hearing “This is great!  Can we do this again?  This was really fun.”

Any other thoughts you would you like to share?

Our only disappointment was the cancellation of our Full Moon Family Night due to a blizzard. We had so much fun planned and 40 people signed up.  The Full Moon Family Night would have included a fire pit in our garden in the center or our stone labyrinth, an astronomer with telescopes to try, an Owl Moon story time with Children’s Librarian, and a sing-a-long of “moon” songs. Afterwards, families would follow a votive candlelit pathway around the garden to look for owls (laminated photos placed in trees and bushes).  We would have provided gourmet cocoa, cider, and mini moonpies for a treat.

Illuminated houses with natural materials

Many Hygge events had a playful characteristic. It felt like relaxed moments to get back to basic joys.  Such events included:

  • Warm and Fuzzy event with hot cocoa and visiting Alpacas
  • Melted Cheese for Comfort in the Cold
  • Family Board Game Days
  • Creating Illuminated Houses with natural materials
  • Forest Bathing Walk with a closing tea ceremony
  • Science of Chocolate event (with samples!)
  • Hygge Bingo with cozy gift basket raffle

Interview with Lisa Baylis, Head of Circulation, and Deb Dowson, Young Adult Librarian, Groton Public Library

Interviewed by Michelle Eberle, MLS Consultant

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