About Paula Griffith

Paula Griffith teaches young adult literature at the University of Houston Clear Lake. She is a member of YALSA's Legislative Committee.

Dollars and Sense #26: Grants 2, Putting it Together

Once you’ve identified the areas of need for your community/school teens, it is time to put the parts together for the grant. There are usually parts of a grant that work together as a whole, but these parts explain to the grant committee how the grant will work: the narrative and the budget. The narrative is the overview and will describe the “big picture” in a way that explains the grant goals, objectives, and how the grant will benefit your target group, teens. It will have sections that you will need to address such as describing how the grant will be implemented, who is willing to donate time and funds for “cost sharing,” and how the success of the grant will be evaluated and the results disseminated. The budget is a tricky piece that is a detailed accounting of how all monies will be spent, and if this is a federal grant, there will be rules that have to be strictly followed.

For successful writing, remember that your “data,” how it will be collected, analyzed, and evaluated, will be critical because data is the only thing that will show if the grant has been successful, and the grant committee members will be closely examining how you will show that their investment will be used to benefit the greatest number of teens in the most efficient way. The narrative will be more credible when you use the data from your needs assessment to justify the need for the program you and the grant committee/network envision for the community/school. Continue reading

Dollars and Sense #22: Grant Writing, the “Beginning”

Grant “writing” does not begin with writing; it begins with gathering people and information. Successful grants are not created and implemented in a vacuum. Grants are a collaborative process and include those who are willing to assume one or more roles:

• Visionary[ies]: those who can take information (data) and identify trends and needs
• Communication expert[s]: those who can successfully communicate needs, form partnerships, communicate data results, and draw conclusions
• Data trackers: those who can design methods of collecting data and track the data to show whether the needs are being met
• Community liaisons: those people who “know people”
• Stakeholders: those who will peripherally benefit from grant sponsored programs
• Target population: those who will receive direct benefits from grant monies Continue reading

Dollars and Sense #21: An Abundance of Teens

Abundance of Teens…

When I first saw this topic, my first thought was of Colin Singleton in John Green’s An Abundance of Katherines. Child prodigy that he was, Colin was afraid he would never do anything of worth that would classify him as a genius…so he went on a road trip to work it all out. He knew he would not find the answers at home in Chicago. What he was searching for was “out there,” and he ended up in a small town, Gutshot, Tennessee. It was here in this seemingly small, insignificant town with a powerfully painful name where he would find the answers to his conundrum amid people of large character.

Thinking about Colin’s story reminded me that most teens do not live in our libraries. We have to go “out on the road” to find them where they are, working out their own identities and problems. We have to have Colin’s tenacity and confidence that we can truly make a difference for the teens in our community, but we have to go “out there” where they live. This is a perfect opportunity to form collaborative partnerships with local junior high and high school librarians. Continue reading

Dollars & Sense #12: Being Selective about Selection

Circulation reports are not as boring as you think! These reports can be an invaluable source of information for those librarians who find themselves dollar short. Most circulation software has the capability to run a myriad of reports that can instantaneously inform librarians of circulation trends in their library, which is wonderful because each community is different, and each group of patrons has unique needs. It is well worth your time to consult the technical manuals to learn about which reports your software can generate and familiarize yourself with the functions of each.
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Urgent Call to Action!

ALA requests that we ask our senators to support library funding and sign the “Dear Colleague” letter. This Action Alert explains that LSTA (Library Services and Technology Act) and the Improving Literacy Through School Libraries Program are two important library service programs. The alert provides talking points, helps with composing a message, includes all the formalities. All you need to donate is a little of our time.

Please take a look at this alert and donate a small amount of time for advocacy today.

IMLS Webwise Conference: Digital Debates

I am in DC for the Webwise Conference sponsored by IMLS, The Wolfsonian, the Florida Center Library Association, and MacArthur. It has really been a fabulous conference, and I’ve seen many of the projects sponsored by IMLS grants connected to digital media learning environments. I want to tell you that futuristic learning looks incredible and is going on right now–not a decade from now. Continue reading

28 Days of Advocacy #22: Grant Writing

Grants allow libraries and their patrons to benefit from extra funds that provide additional services and programs. Preplanning and needs assessments are both important to grant writing because the written narrative and budget will focus on “need” rather than “want.” The grant writer will have to justify need based on some evidence, which may include surveys, interviews, and/or questionnnaires. Once a need has been identified, the grant writer/researcher will then identify sources of possible monies such as the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Continue reading

28 Days of Advocacy #18: Creating Partnerships

Forming partnerships is much like beginning a friendship. Oftentimes, we do not even think about how we create new friendships…so how does it happen? We smile at someone we may not know, say hello, and look for common ground to talk about. When we discover people who share common interests, we plan activities around those interests. Most importantly, we share work, laughter, and accomplishments in ways that help us to understand our friends, ourselves , and the world we live in. We form partnerships in much the same way. First, we look about to find people who share our mission and goals. More than likely, we will have to approach them first, and much like making friends, a smile and a handshake can go a long way to get us started. Continue reading

28 Days of Advocacy #9 – State Advocacy–Where it all Begins!

First, and I believe most importantly, a grass roots campaign for each state district/region is critical for state advocacy. What do our state legislators care about? Their constituents! Know what is going on in your own community and state districts then establish a coalition of important stakeholders (collaborative partnerships) to discuss issues and plan strategies for promoting library goals in your area.

Who are some of the important stakeholders? The list includes: public librarians, school librarians, academic librarians, professors who teach in library programs, museums who have library partnerships, and your state ALA affiliate as well as other professional associations such as a local education or parent associations. Your state ALS affilate can help to provide resources, training, and organize a collaborative joint effort for your entire library district. If your area does not currently have a collaborative, grass roots movement going on at this time, please take action now to begin this process because the economy shows no sign of getting better, and a group of “squeaky wheels” will get more attention than one lone voice. Continue reading

28 Days of Advocacy #3 – What IS Advocacy?

To advocate: “speak or write in favor of; support or urge by argument; recommend publicly.” Advocacy is an active process that takes place on multiple levels and for different audiences. Many of us are looking for what we can do to build support for our library services, programs, and patrons. Advocacy is relative to different levels of “community:”

  • The national community: When we advocate on a national level, we “speak out” to support legislation that provides funding for our state library systems, education bills such as the SKILLs Act, or appeal for funding for professional research/grants such as provided by IMLS. We “urge” federal politicians to create and support pro library legislation face to face or with phone calls and emails.
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