Our Programs

9:00 amMarketing on a Shoestring Budget and a Tight ScheduleYA Departments in Their CommunitiesWeeding Without TearsBook-talking Your Way to the Friendliest Library in Town
10:15 amUnderstanding Challenges to Your Library and How to RespondUncommon Storytelling with Unusual ObjectsSupport Your Local Writing Community With InkieDemystifying Genres
11:30 amAccess to Justice in the LibraryA Twist on Summer ReadingPrivacy Laws and the LibraryRA Rethink: Merchandising & Upselling
1:30 pmAdvocacy for Introverts, Advocacy for ExtrovertsCreating Inclusive Environments for Customers with AutismYou Want Me to Catalog What?#OwnVoices
2:45 pmForget Me Not CentersHave Fun with Homeschoolers and STEAM ProgrammingMaking the Most of our Collection BudgetNonfiction Circs: On Your Way to Nirvana

Programs Descriptions by Title

Access to Justice in the Library

The law affects everything we do, but people don’t always know when they have a legal issue. Because many people seek answers at their local library, librarians are uniquely situated to promote access to justice by providing equal access to legal information, especially to those who cannot afford an attorney. Illinois Legal Aid Online partners with nearly 150 libraries across Illinois to promote IllinoisLegalAid.org, an award-winning website that has free and effective self-help legal information, court forms, and local legal aid referrals. This presentation will provide an overview of those self-help resources and how library patrons can use them to resolve their own legal issues. A portion of the presentation will also be dedicated to reviewing the difference between legal information and legal advice, and how to help patrons e-file their court documents.

Amy Clark
Illinois Legal Aid Online
Director of Strategic Partnerships

Jill Roberts
Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts
Senior Program Manager

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Advocacy for Introverts, Advocacy for Extroverts

Many think of advocacy as something that the director does, or the library friends, but the most successful libraries understand that advocacy involves everyone. They also know that sometimes the best advocates can be found in unexpected places. Whether you’re front line or back room, extroverted or introverted, whatever your “comfort zone”, you can make a critical contribution to advancing your library -and community - through some simple techniques that you can apply back at home tomorrow. And advocacy can help develop and demonstrate your leadership skills and help you gain recognition as a valued member of your library team.

Keith Michael Fiels
American Library Association
Former Executive Director

Betsy Adamowski
Wheaton Public Library
Executive Library Director

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Book-talking your way to the friendliest Library in town

Book-talking is at the heart of what we do with patrons each and every day at the public library. Whether we are sharing books informally at the services desk, presenting a prepared list of books, or posting information online, talking about books is something we do each and every day. It is a core service, but it is also hard to teach. Book-talking is more of an art than a skill, but with the right guidance and some practice, it can go a long way toward engaging your patrons and re-energizing your staff. Join experienced Readers’ Advisory Becky Spratford as she shares the secret behind delivering great book talks, giving you tips and tricks you can begin using right away to hone your own skills. Rediscover the power and joy that comes from sharing books with patrons.

Becky Spratford

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Creating Inclusive Environments for Customers with Autism

Program will cover autism characteristics, customer service, communication, creating inclusive environments, adapting programming and services.

Mary Kelly
The Autism Program
Statewide Coordinator

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Demystifying Genres

Nothing is scarier than trying to help a fan of a genre you yourself don’t enjoy. You want to help that, for example, Romance reader find the perfect book, but you are having trouble knowing where to begin because...eek!... you don’t read Romance. You are afraid they will find out you are a fraud. How can YOU possibly help THEM?!? Never fear, in this program, Readers’ Advisory expert, Becky Spratford, will teach you the basic appeals of the major genres, give you the inside track on what a fan of that genre is most drawn to, and provide you with talking points to get your genres readers to tell you what they want. This program focuses on providing you with a diverse and inclusive list of up to date authors with at least 40% of the example titles representing own voices. You will leave this session with the confidence and skill to help fans of every genre, regardless of whether or not you have ever read a book in that genre yourself. And that will leave a trail of happy patrons in your wake.

Becky Spratford

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Forget Me Not Centers

With one in three seniors facing this diagnosis, dementia is an issue that libraries must help their community address. Learn how The Forget Me Not Resource Center connects Dementia Patients and their Caregivers with the education and tools that they need to navigate this difficult season.

Johanna Schultz
Effingham Public Library
Assistant Director

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Have Fun with Homeschoolers and STEAM Programming

Children are inherently curious. Why not spark their imaginations with hands-on programs that help them learn about the world around them in a non-threatening way. You do not need to be a professor to give children and teens the resources they need to make discoveries. Join me as I give you some ideas, and share some of my experience as a homeschool mom turned youth director at my public library.

Denise Rainford
Rochester Public Library District
Youth Services Director

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Making the Most of Our Collection Budget

Get more from your library’s collection development budget by discovering what Breana Miller, Librarian at the Tolono Public Library District knows about vendors, the best times to buy and her other tricks of the trade.

Breana Miller
Tolono Public Library

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Marketing on a Shoestring Budget and a Tight Schedule

Marketing communication requires a big budget and a lot of time, right? Wrong! With a combined 29 years of nonprofit and marketing experience, Shandi and Samantha have picked up a free tool or two along the way that will save you time and help you produce a more effective message. Join them for a peek inside their toolbox, share a few tricks of your own, and leave with a list of tools you can start using immediately—at little or no cost to your library.

Shandi Greve Penrod
Illinois Heartland Library System
Marketing Coordinator

Samantha Rusk
Vespasian Warner Public Library District
Business Manager

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Nonfiction Circs: On your way to Nirvana

Is your adult nonfiction collection's circulation not heading in the right direction? Learn tips and tricks to appeal to your readers who love (true) stories. Purchasing, promoting and displaying your nonfiction collection in new ways will help you to tap this hidden treasure in your collection.

Jennifer Cisna Mills
Shorewood-Troy Public Library District

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Providing robust readers’ advisory service that values equity, diversity and inclusion principles is essential to all library service. Join Readers’ Advisory specialist Becky Spratford as she provides the information you need to diversify your suggestions, identify resources, and include more staff input in order to confidently promote and place more #OwnVoices titles into adult patrons’ hands. You’ll come away with an understanding for how easy it to incorporate EDI values into your normal RA practices. All you need is a little nudge in the right direction.

Becky Spratford

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Privacy Laws and the Library

Learn about Illinois Privacy Laws and library best practices to protect patron privacy. A Q & A will follow the presentation, so bring questions!

Julie Tappendorf
Ancel Glink

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RA Rethink: Merchandising & Upselling

If someone told you there’s a practical and easy way to increase circulation, patron visits, program attendance and the job satisfaction of your staff, would you do it? Of course you would. Librarian Becky Spratford has developed a method you can use to accomplish all of this and it plays off of the skills, talents, and interests you already possess. She’ll explain how to deepen staff involvement in readers’ advisory in a way that gets everyone from staff to patrons excited. You are spending a lot of effort and money on cultivating good collections, but are you giving those collections a fair chance to shine? Are you linking your work with patrons as you find them items to your programming and other services? Do your patrons even know the full breadth of what you offer them? And how are you measuring results? With just a few simple tweaks to how you already market your collections, services, programs and even staff, Becky will help you leave a trail of happier and more engaged patrons in your wake.

Becky Spratford

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Support your Local Writing Community with Inkie.org

Inkie.org is a suite of resources - available to everyone in Illinois at no charge - that support local authors with online creation and publishing tools and allow readers to access locally-produced content. Learn how to use the tools available via inkie.org to support and celebrate your local writing community.

Anna Behm
Reaching Across Illinois Library System
E-Content Specialist

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A Twist on Summer Reading

Hear how one small town library re-envisioned their summer learning approach to increase their impact, expand their patron base, and grow community awareness in order to motivate children to learn with the goal of maximizing enjoyment and engagement through capturing the interest of learners while nearly doubling their circulation and quadrupling their program attendance. Attendees will leave this session with all of the tips, tricks, and advice to feel fully confident that they too can implement a similar program in their library next summer!

Victoria Blackmer
Robert R. Jones Public Library
Assistant Director

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Uncommon Storytelling with Unusual Objects

The gist is anyone can tell stories with common things like puppets and dolls and flannel boards, but have you ever done it with things like clothespins or dowel rods or a simple piece of paper? At this presentation, we want to teach you how to use everyday objects to tell stories and as a bonus, we'll make a few together so that you can use them at your next storytime.

Susan Fulcher
Matteson Area Public Library District
School Liaison

Anne Newman
Paxton Carnegie Library
Library Director

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Understanding Challenges to Your Library and How to Respond

Learn more about why people challenge library materials and what you can do to prepare for a challenge in your institution.

Emily Knox
School of Information Sciences, UICU
Associate Professor

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Weeding Without Tears

Weeding a library's collection can be a stressful experience--especially when it's a task that has been neglected. This program highlights strategies for maintaining library collections of all types using statistics and data as well as staff knowledge and understanding of patrons' use of library materials. We'll also discuss best practices for weeding and techniques for getting co-workers on board with (and excited about!) weeding projects.

Nanette Donohue
Champaign Public Library
Technical Services Manager

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YA Departments in their communities



Program Feedback Link

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You Want Me to Catalog What?

Staff from the Cataloging Maintenance Center discuss the challenges of cataloging some of the unique items they have received recently, including braille books, kits, oral histories, genealogy items, local authors, and local history.

Dr. Pamela Thomas
Illinois Heartland Library System
Bibliographic Project Coordinator

Erin Rose
Illinois Heartland Library System
Metadata Cataloger

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