The Glass is Half Full

Since I work in a small library, this session seemed right up my alley. It turned out the be so much more than that. I now love the city of Joliet for more than giving us Joliet Jake Blues. The work they’re doing with the homeless is nothing short of inspiring.


  • (Sarah) Poor and Scrappy Libs
  • When you’re working in an underfunded lib you’re forced to think outside the box
  • Strategic Grant applications are a source of money or skills. Choose wisely because the staff time is limited
  • Programming- find partners!
    • Stay and Play, dump toys on the floor and let ‘em play
    • Students for student tutors
    • Art Exhibit virtual tours
    • Blanket Fort Storytimes!
  • Outreach
    • Bike library
    • Farmer’s Market
    • Monthly Health Fairs
    • The Library loves you week (on Valentine’s week)
    • Partner with Schools
    • Little Free Library- disabled adult volunteers restock once a week
  • Welcome to All Posters are big wins 
  • Also: https://resistancebymail.tumblr.com/
  • No fines for kids
  • Embrace Trends like Pokemon Go!
  • Telling stories gets money, don’t even have to ask for money. Just tell what you do.
  • (Denise) Joliet Public Library (Yes the same that gave Joliet Jake Blues his name)
    • Their urban location was deemed an unsafe location. (They treated homeless as patrons not problems!)
      • Homeless folks were hanging around and people perceived as just a homeless location and stayed away
      • No $ for social worker to help homeless
      • Contacted an org that gets money from HUD (housing and urban development)
      • The org was holding meetings to help the homeless but were held in the suburban side and the homeless couldn’t get there. So they held it at the lib and some answers were gotten
      • They worked with org to help the new HUD focus of Housing First
      • Transportation, again, is a big issue (bus system very bad)
      • So, again, Lib becomes a center to help
      • They did a Giving Tree during Christmas focused on the things the homeless needs.
      • “Coffee And…” Program allows homeless to get some coffee and donuts and talk about their problems.
      • To engage the homeless is not an easy process. But connecting with one can start the word of mouth to others to take advantage of the services.
  • (Virginia) Yosemite Research Lib
    • They had boxes and cabinets galore and a mess. No virtual presence
    • No insulation in storage room
    • Issues:
      • Remoteness
      • No wifi
      • No “night life”
      • Dangerous: Fire, rockfalls, downed trees, floods
    • When meeting with decision makers, have your 30 second elevator speech ready
    • Helping people, going the extra mile, can lead to donations. So always put on your customer service face
    • Connected with the SJSU Special Lib Asc to get volunteers to help clean up the mess and give them a virtual presence. The docs in those boxes are starting the be searchable online
    • Again, look for grants
  • (Janice) ALA’s Federal and Armed Forces Libraries Round Table
    • Problem: a student wanted a Dummies book on the Holocaust. So she wanted to change the classroom culture.
    • Sometimes things cost time (time to build relationships to get changes done) but not money but that doesn’t mean that it’s any less difficult.
      • She was able to not only save the library but also keep it from moving to a much smaller location
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