Two Librarians & A Microphone

Ingram Library Services

ABOUT LIBRARY INNOVATIONS: This season, inspired by the Urban Library Council's Annual Forum theme, Innovations, focuses on the 2019 Top Innovator and Honorable Mention award winners that were selected based on inventiveness of their library program or service, outcomes achieved and the accessibility for other libraries to adopt and adapt the innovation in their library. Tune in to hear firsthand how libraries are expanding the boundaries of what is possible for 21st-century library and their communities.

All Episodes

Roanoke County Public Library responded to a cultural shift ushered in by the tech revolution and its implications. After recruiting Pepper®, a humanoid robot, the library has leveraged its deep roots in innovation, privacy, equity, and access. With this, they are able to become a leader in AI and workforce development, particularly for tech skills. The success of the program has attracted 350 people with 60 class offerings, which include topics like Photoshop, stop-action video, Python, Scratch, and Linux. Urban Libraries Council Innovation Winner | 2019 | Workforce and Economic Development | Top Innovator

Jan 2020

14 min 5 sec

Toledo Lucas County Public Library (TLCPL) seized the opportunity of the main library’s temporary closing to launch a new mobile team charged with expanding the library’s capacity to help customers advance their entrepreneurial skills. TLCPL created the Economic Success Team to go beyond the library doors and work throughout the community to offer more one-to-one assistance in less-reached populations. This mobile staffing model broke the mold of how the library served their community, provided colleagues with new skills untethered from their traditional service desk, and produced remarkable results – a 265% increase in one-to-one research and technical assistance and a 188% jump in contacts with aspiring and active entrepreneurs. Urban Libraries Council 2019 Innovation Winner • Workforce and Economic Development, Honorable Mention

Jan 2020

12 min 46 sec

Mindfulness is an important part of Santa Clara County Library District’s wellness initiative to help patrons reduce stress and live healthy lives. Making meditation simple and accessible to all is the goal of their partnership with Headspace, a service offering more than 1,000 hours of virtual meditation classes for all ages to help reduce stress, cope with pain and cravings and better manage anxiety. All 580 of the library’s Headspace seats are in use with a patron average of 3.6 uses per week. Urban Libraries Council 2019 Innovation Winners • Wellness, Safety and Sustainability, Top Innovator

Jan 2020

9 min 25 sec

The Cedar Rapids Public Library’s Downtown Ambassador Program grew out of public safety concerns in central gathering places following several violent confrontations. This collaborative community program worked together to find a way to ensure safe, friendly public spaces and create a more positive environment in the central downtown area. The ambassadors, who are currently or formerly homeless, work to encourage good behavior, provide information about local resources, and deescalate arguments.Urban Libraries Council 2019 Innovation Winners • Wellness, Safety and Sustainability, Honorable Mention

Jan 2020

15 min 10 sec

The Do Space Women Innovators Fellowship challenges fellows to develop new resources to promote the advancement of women in technology entrepreneurship in Omaha and, in the process, address the underrepresentation of women in tech jobs and business leadership. This six-month experience provides fellows with an expert female mentor, $10,000 stipend, and valuable community connections and resources to bring her big idea to life. Urban Libraries Council 2019 Innovation Winners • Race and Social Equity, Top Innovator

Jan 2020

9 min 22 sec

Richland Library’s My Life Experience Mobile Empathy Lab uses virtual reality technology to cultivate empathy in the community. The first-of-its-kind lab helps users “try on” someone’s life to create deeper community connections on challenging issues such as immigration, homelessness, living with impairments, and racism. More than 300 people have participated, and 80% of those surveyed believe they will feel or act differently as a result of the experience. Urban Libraries Council 2019 Innovation Winners • Race and Social Equity, Honorable Mention

Jan 2020

18 min 53 sec

Baltimore County Public Library’s Entrepreneur Engagement Group strengthened the library’s capacity to serve entrepreneurs without hiring any new business development staff. Instead, to build confidence and competence, the library created a staff development curriculum that includes partner-led classes, uses the library’s small business e-resources and provides coaching on the mission of the entrepreneurial services program and staff roles. The library experienced a significant uptick in patrons using business resources and services as a result of the staff effort.More About the Initiative Here: https://www.urbanlibraries.org/innovations/entrepreneur-engagement-group

Dec 2019

14 min 49 sec

A weekly informational video featuring the library director and senior leaders ensures that the 850 staff spread across 41 locations of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County know about library priorities and major initiatives and see themselves as vital parts of the library system. The library director’s video series, which averages 200-300 weekly views on the internal blog, provides information about community, board and staff meetings, government relations, program updates, and staff shoutouts.

Dec 2019

13 min 31 sec

Greensboro Public Library customers and staff are becoming tech-savvy together through the library’s Tech Navigators program, which offers one-on-one support from staff who are committed to helping patrons explore and integrate technology into their lives. Since the program launched in January 2018, the library has carried out more than 4,000 Tech Navigator appointments, providing individual guidance on email, social media, computer basics and smartphone, and mobile applications. Plus, library staff now feel increasingly confident in using their new skills to provide valuable guidance and support without being technology experts. Urban Libraries Council 2019 Innovation Winners • Measuring the Library’s Impact, Top Innovator Find out more about the program here: https://www.urbanlibraries.org/innovations/tech-navigators-experts-no-explorers-yes

Dec 2019

17 min 34 sec

San Francisco Public partnered with The Financial Justice Project to do a comprehensive study on the impact of fines on library access. Drawing on a literature review, dialogue with library leaders, surveys of patrons and staff and analysis of ILS data, the study concluded that fines restrict access to library resources for those most in need and disproportionately affect low-income and racial minority communities. The report provides a blueprint for libraries nation-wide to view fines through the lens of equity and inclusion. Urban Libraries Council 2019 Innovation Winners • Measuring the Library’s Impact, Honorable Mention See more about the program here: https://www.urbanlibraries.org/innovations/long-overdue-improving-access-by-eliminating-fine

Dec 2019

18 min 24 sec

Palo Alto City Library is encouraging kids and teens to embrace the possibilities of AI and robotics through workshops, toolkits, and robot shows. In addition to exposing more than 500 families to robotic technologies, the library’s program has created great synergy in the community about nascent technologies. Urban Libraries Council 2019 Innovation Winners • Education – Birth thru Teens, Top Innovator More information about the program here: https://www.urbanlibraries.org/blog/practices-and-thoughts-on-robotics-and-ai-in-libraries 

Dec 2019

16 min 37 sec

The library’s joyous family art program celebrated black history, educated children and their families about renowned black artist Kehinde Wiley who painted the Obama portrait, encouraged healthy identity development and addressed community challenges in a positive and optimistic way. Urban Libraries Council 2019 Innovation Winners • Education – Birth thru Teens, Honorable Mention

Dec 2019

9 min 2 sec

Austin Public Library partnered with Austin Community College to bring vocational educational opportunities to one of its most underserved communities by offering ACC’s Welding Class that allows students to receive a Welding Certification. A generator-powered mobile education pod was brought to students, rather than the other way around, making it much easier for community members interested to attend. This program was able to remove some common barriers to obtaining workforce training and to provide individuals with skills that will lead to jobs, an increase in disposable income, and a better life. Urban Libraries Council 2019 Innovation Winners • Education – Adults, Top Innovator

Nov 2019

9 min 47 sec

With the goal of creating a center for lifelong learning and meaningful experiences, Cambridge Public Library developed the Creative Aging Program, an eight-week course for adults aged 55+, centering on the arts. Taught by certified artists and instructors, this program provides participants with opportunities to learn new skills, to make new connections after retirement, and enrich the lives of older adults. Courses include the Art of Storytelling, Poetry Writing, Basics of Drawing, Writing Memoir, and Basics of Dance. Urban Libraries Council 2019 Innovation Winners • Education – Adults, Honorable Mention

Nov 2019

15 min 47 sec

Just when artificial intelligence looked like it was far beyond the reach of most learners, the Frisco Public Library leveraged computing tools to bring AI home. Combining an at-home experiential learning kit with classroom instruction, FPL demonstrates how public libraries can be innovation generators for emerging roles in the job landscape. Not only did they overcome the challenge of budgets, space, and talent, these AI education efforts have led the conversation in the community about the library’s role as a tech navigator and leader. Urban Libraries Council 2019 Innovation Winners • Category: Customer Experience, Top Innovator

Nov 2019

17 min 9 sec

Chesterfield County Public Library wanted to create circulatable items that provide a learning experience – not just a checkout to customers. Through partnerships with eight local museums, the Museum Pass Project provides 21 curated messenger bags for check out. Each bag contains a museum family pass and a combination of books, DVDs, unique toys, educational brochures, and maps related to the museum. These kits created access to Chesterfield’s multitude of cultural and historical resources for all residents, whether unaware or financially unable to utilize before while underlining the value of the library as an essential part of their community. The collection launched with all 21 bags checked out within 48 hours. Within the first week, they had 389 holds.

Nov 2019

12 min 4 sec

San José Public Library (SJPL) partnered with the National Hockey League’s (NHL) San Jose (SJ) Sharks to promote the value of libraries by co-branding a library card to help increase memberships and build awareness about SJPL services and member benefits. In 2018, SJPL introduced several programs, from fine forgiveness to book replacements, to remove barriers for the community to access library services. In order to boost awareness about these access programs, SJPL developed a marketing strategy that would attract news media, increase community outreach, and develop ongoing partnerships to welcome members back and motivate residents to visit the library. Since the SJ Sharks co-branded library cards released in February, nearly 9,000 have been issued to date. Urban Library Council's Innovation Award Winner 2019 • Category: Communicating the Library’s Value, Top Innovator

Nov 2019

12 min 2 sec

Edmonton Public Library (EPL) demonstrates how the library is a significant player in cultivating the vibrancy and diversity of local arts through its local music initiative, Capital City Records. Its first vinyl compilation album, “Riversides,” produced through this project, inspired excitement for music recording studios in EPL’s new downtown library. It also strengthened the city’s music community, showcased local artists, and celebrated the diverse and vibrant talent of Edmonton’s music and arts scene. From the 126 tracks submitted by 71 artists to the jury of experts that selected the tracks and even the album artwork, every element of its production was local. EPL’s “Riversides” has become a piece of Edmonton music history and demonstrates how the public library is a significant player in cultivating the vibrancy and diversity of the local community. Urban Library Council's Innovation Award Winner 2019 • Category: Communicating the Library’s Value, Honorable Mention

Nov 2019

9 min 31 sec

Toronto Public Library created a voters’ knowledge base through a website. The website allowed voters to learn about the Toronto City Council candidates running to represent their neighborhood, how candidates thought Toronto should tackle big issues facing the city, and how decisions are made in the city they call home. The site garnered 23,224 distinct users in the month before the election date and was recognized by media and candidates as an authoritative information source, with 72% of candidates submitting responses. Urban Library Council's Innovation Award Winner 2019 • Category: Civic & Community Engagement, Top Innovator Award

Nov 2019

9 min 55 sec

The San Diego Public Library partnered with the San Diego Public Defender Youth Council to host a Youth Candidate Forum where young people could ask local political candidates questions on issues that were important to them. The forum offered a civic engagement opportunity to bring forth the voice of youth and allow young people to lead the discussion with local candidates that represent their communities and influence the political platform that directly impacts their generation. The youth-led program engaged over 160 young people to bring their concerns on topics like global warming, homelessness, violence, and equitable access. Urban Library Council's Innovation Award Winner 2019 • Category: Civic & Community Engagement, Honorable Mention 

Nov 2019

8 min 58 sec

Learn how President and CEO of Urban Libraries Council, Susan Benton, sees the ULC leading forward and how it is encouraging libraries to do the same for their communities.

Mar 2019

9 min 30 sec

The REAL Program, coordinated by the Jewish Council for the Aging’s Heyman Interages Center, the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and Montgomery County Library, helps children and families make good use of time while waiting for HHS services at four County offices. It provides community book collec­tions, information resources on literacy and healthy habit development for caregivers; and guidance on using the public library.

Mar 2019

13 min 53 sec

Looking for a way to build on its educational mission, Howard County Library System saw an opportunity with the upcoming renovation and expansion of its Elkridge Branch. The dark, drab building was transformed into the DIY Education Center, offering a collection of tools such as baking pans, home improvement tools, and hiking poles. The program also included participatory classes for members of the community to gain experience and see professionals use the tools need to build a wall, change a bike tire, construct a salad table and more. By combining a wide array of tools with lessons and demonstrations, Howard County Library Sytems is offering new learning experiences for the community.

Mar 2019

11 min 32 sec

We sit down with the Director of Broward County Library, Kelvin Watson, to discuss their award-winning program, BCLFit Wellness Centers. This pilot program launched to combat cultural, physical and economic barriers that interfere with healthy choices and active lifestyles and has been recognized by the Urban Library Council (ULC) as a 2018 Top Innovator in the Health, Safety and Sustainability category. The Wellness Centers are designed to nurture a healthy lifestyle for 200 families living near two library branches in food deserts. BCLFit provides nutrition and fitness counseling and access to free workout equipment, personal trainers, and healthy lifestyle classes for people of all ages.

Mar 2019

8 min 37 sec

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, by 2020 there will be 1.4 million computer science jobs in the United States, and only 400,000 qualified candidates. Rhode Island assessed the need of computer science skills in their community and made it a priority to integrate programs into every K12 classroom. With the ability and agility to respond immediately, Providence Public Library launched Rhode Coders and Data Navigators programs for adults and teens to address the workforce and economic development need.

Feb 2019

13 min 9 sec

Tune in to hear how Kansas City Public Library (KCPL) took action when several accidental shooting incidents involving children in their community kept happening due to improperly stored weapons in private homes. KCPL collaborated with Moms Demand Action and the Kansas City Police Department to offer a non-partisan program, Be Smart Safe Gun Storage. Police provided free gun locks to anyone who asked – no questions asked – and information sessions were offered to patrons at two library locations in high-crime area. In addition to reaching more than 2,000 people, the program strengthened relationships among the library, police officers and the community on a key community concern.

Feb 2019

10 min 26 sec

The Voices of Amiskwaciy is a digital, public space that shares and preserves the power of indigenous stories. It encourages community members to discover and create this type of digital storytelling online and further the reach and spirit of reconciliation. Fun Fact: Amiskwaciy is a shortened version of amiskwaciy-wâskahikan, which translates to "Beaver Hills" in Cree, referring to the Edmonton region!

Feb 2019

14 min 15 sec

San Mateo Public Library has transformed the dreaded annual self-review into a process empowers and motivates their many employees. Through the implementation of weekly check-ins and transparent communication, employees are more satisfied and higher performing. With 93% of their employees feeling valued in the workplace, the library can truly live up to its greatest potential...and your's can too. 

Jan 2019

14 min 47 sec

When Ottawa Public Library identified a need in their eBook offerings, they negotiated a secondary Express eBook platform to improve their patrons' loan options. Express eBooks now contribute to about six percent of their eBook checkouts and it continues to grow with a higher turnover. Lesson learned: sometimes two really is better than one! 

Jan 2019

10 min 25 sec

Move over Jimmy Fallon! Lilac City Live is a “late” night talk show hosted in a custom-built performance space in the Spokane Downtown Library. Featuring musical performances, stand-up comedians and interviews with local authors, artists, and celebrities, Lilac City Live as transformed the Downtown Library into a lively, multi-generational community destination, attracting an average of 300 people to each show.

Dec 2018

10 min 40 sec

San Jose Public Library, located in one of the most diverse cities in the nation, expanded their Partners in Reading program to better serve the unique needs of their community. Their adult literacy program, Empowerment Through Writing, gives adults who read below ninth grade level a chance to improve their reading and writing skills. By participating, learners are able to share their story, put their words to paper, and present their narrative in an emotional and powerful event during International Literacy Day. Not only are the majority of those in this program learning English, how to reading, AND how to writing, for the very first time, they’re also overcoming the fear, guilt, and angst they have carried with them as they disguised a gap in their lives. The literacy team breaks down those barriers.

Dec 2018

10 min 48 sec

Tampa-Hillsborough overhauled its existing, antiquated staffing model to reflect the realities of today’s services. By taking a critical look at a "day in the life of a librarian," they were able to bring more clarity to job descriptions, empower staff through career growth and allow a broader access to benefits. Tune in to hear how their focused efforts increased customer satisfaction and saved the library $780,000!

Dec 2018

12 min 46 sec

Pima County Public Library evaluates their Code of Conduct to separate consequences between youth and adult; aligning with youth developmental milestones and cognitive markers. This would address the issue of high-needs youth being disproportionately suspended. The Library trained staff, community partners, and youth to co-create alternatives to traditional disciplinary actions. The effort has reduced suspensions of minors by nearly 75% to date.

Nov 2018

10 min 21 sec

As a public awareness tool, social media can be used to assist libraries with communication, visibility, and exposure. Tune in to hear how Austin Public Library’s citizens proactively raise awareness of the public library through their Social Media Ambassadors Program, including how APL engages with the community and encourages ambassadors to spread library initiatives. #APLambassador

Nov 2018

9 min 52 sec

There’s something magical about accessing past memories. The staff at DC Public honed in on that important facet of storytelling when they realized that gentrification might erase some of the landscape many of their residents found familiar. In an effort to help their community preserve personal memories and local history, they developed the Memory Lab Network, where patrons can access the tools/ training needed to digitize their records.

Nov 2018

8 min 35 sec

Lexington Public Library in Kentucky doesn’t let a snow day stop them from getting the job done. When they identified snowy days as the perfect opportunity for fun instruction time, the team decided to create fun and engaging online content that could reach parents, no matter what digital platforms they preferred. Listen is as they discuss the online snow day learning activities they created for parents and guardians to replicate with their kiddos in the comfort of their own homes.

Nov 2018

11 min 49 sec

During episode 4 of our #OnTheRoadULC road trip, we sat down with top innovators Noma Naficy and Beverly Redd to discuss their workforce and economic development programming at Hartford Public Library in Connecticut.Building upon an already strong immigrant programming framework, in order to further immigrant integration into the community fabric, the team launched their Immigrant Career Pathways Initiative three years ago. By partnering with other community agencies, the local school system, and neighborhood businesses, they were able to build a course that went far beyond simply obtaining a job. Listen in to discover how this library team built a program centered around developing sustainable employment, soft skills, and knowledge of immigrant workplace rights to promote economic growth for immigrants.

Oct 2018

17 min 34 sec

When San Francisco Public Library recognized approximately 50% of 3rd and 4th graders in their community were not reading at grade level they decided to step up immediately. Tapping into the need across their community to assist struggling young readers with developing learning and reading strategies, they developed the FOG (Free Orton-Gillingham) Readers program. Led by their learning differences librarian, Laura Lay, and built upon the expansions of their adult literacy learning programs, the FOG Readers program recruits volunteers to work with students 45 minutes every week and currently has over 120 active learner-tutor pairs. Tune in to hear how they have not only assisted students in increasing their reading competencies, but how the library has also engaged millennials in their volunteer programming to meet an urgent need in their community.

Oct 2018

10 min 46 sec

As a community resource for all members of society, libraries play an integral part in building the thriving and diverse country we have now. To help new community members successfully become integrated into American society, LA Public has developed the New Americans Initiative. By stationing six centers across library branches in order to expand access to information, services, and resources among immigrant community members, library employees working in conjunction with community-based organizations, help guide individuals through citizenship, community integration, and legal service processes. By connecting them to the assistance they would ordinarily have difficulty obtaining, LA Public is helping the newest members of their community build a more secure future for themselves and their families.

Oct 2018

9 min 55 sec

Like the start of many great ideas, Amy Mikel conceived the concept of Teacher Lab in 2014 while promoting a completely different initiative to local Brooklyn teachers. She quickly discovered that teachers had many questions about the library, the available resources, and how they could use this information to better equip their students. With the steadfast support of her forward-thinking team at Brooklyn Public Library, Amy elevated Teacher Lab from a small experimental program, to a fully-developed online course. Learn how this program was developed over time and most importantly, how your library can create this type of teacher education in your own community. 

Oct 2018

12 min 44 sec

Libraries like Fresno County Public Library in California and Fort Vancouver Regional Library in Washington are "leading forward" with a fresh mindset towards programming. From making fleece blankets for the homeless to providing lunches in conjunction with summer reading, these libraries realize that they must observe and adapt to the unique needs of their communities. Today, these libraries are focused on their individual communities in efforts to truly help the collective of society.

Oct 2018

11 min 21 sec

Join us as we discuss how libraries successfully promote democracy. Libraries are not only helping community members vote, but also assisting patrons achieve the life-changing goal of citizenship, bringing legislative knowledge to light and lending a helping hand to refugees in their communities. Ultimately, libraries are the great equalizer, there to serve everyone, helping them access the knowledge, skills and tools they need to be informed members of our democracy. 

Sep 2018

12 min 39 sec

In this episode, we’ll discuss how libraries are community anchors – providing assistance during natural disasters, offering refuge in the midst of chaos, and solidifying the library as the community’s core, no matter the circumstance.

Sep 2018

13 min 11 sec

Our hosts confront the elephant in the room and discuss the spirited debate sparked by the erroneous (briefly published, since removed) Forbes article, "Amazon Should Replace Local Libraries to Save Taxpayers Money." It turns out that not only are librarians masters of literature, but they also know how to find deleted articles on Google. From partnering with the local food bank to stepping up in times of crisis, libraries are so much more than a repository of books. Listen in and understand why. 

Sep 2018

14 min 26 sec

We took Season 4, What I Didn’t Learn In Library School, on the road! Straight from the trade show floor in NOLA, we asked librarians who stopped by our Ingram booth what they would share with the next generation of information experts. From building maintenance to library marketing that works, see if they add insight to your own ideas. https://goo.gl/xK12AS

Aug 2018

13 min 16 sec

From the unusual to the inspirational, every so often in-between, there are those patron interactions, community events, or lessons from #TheLibraryLife that remind you why you love it.

Jun 2018

15 min 47 sec

Warning! This episode has all the feels. Because great things are bound to happen when you give people access to information and knowledge that helps enrich their lives. https://goo.gl/NJDans

Jun 2018

13 min 2 sec

Two Librarians and a Microphone: What I Didn’t Learn in Library School. Season 4 is here with a unique look at lessons from #TheLibraryLife! How often have you found yourself discussing library challenges you wish you learned about in school? We’ve all been there, and this season, we’re sharing with the whole class. https://goo.gl/GBgw9E

Jun 2018

14 min 51 sec

Hear the inside scoop on how they:Took a big step towards fulfilling their library missionCreated community-based partnerships to support the programPlanned special events and met with unexpected surprises along the wayResponded to other libraries with similar community pocketsLearn More: https://goo.gl/yQUGaK

May 2018

15 min 23 sec

So much of what we think we know is perceived through a political lens—education, women’s rights, even public library funding. How can libraries respond to this social shift without losing the integrity of their missions? Learn more https://goo.gl/P8DBNs

Mar 2018

14 min 3 sec