Making Connectionsand Making Changes The Sister Libraries Program of ALA's International Relations Round Table April 4, 2018
Public librarian in southern Maine. • First worked with the IRRT Sister Libraries Committee as part of of her ALA Emerging Leaders project last year. • Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Azerbaijan, 2009-2011). Melissa West
Founder and principal consultant of BiblioDev, LLC, a consulting firm with the mission of assisting libraries in developing countries, “because better libraries lead to better lives.” • Resides in Munich, Germany. • Former Library Director at the American University of Afghanistan; Assistant Professor of LIS at U Kentucky; Program Director at the School of Library & Information Management at Emporia State University. Dr. Rebecca L. Miller, MLS, PhD
Academic librarian in the Seattle area. • Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Russia). • Nominated to co-chair Sister Libraries Committee after presenting on the Sister Libraries program at the Russian Library Association annual conference in Penza, Russia, in 2013. J. Angela Wiehagen
Libraries build community, but today’s community is a global one. Many of today's library users have immigrated from other countries. Many routinely travel for pleasure and conduct business abroad. Becoming a Sister Library is an opportunity to build relationships with libraries in other cultures that can help us learn, understand, and better serve our own community. Sarah Ann Long ALA President, 1999-2000 Some history...
The Sister Libraries Committee Promotes Sister Library relationships with libraries and librarians throughout the world. Develops guidelines and suggested activities that Sister Libraries can use to establish and enrich their partnerships. Helps libraries to connect with each other.
Emerging Leaders 2017 A Sister Libraries Program Project ALA’s Emerging Leaders program provides leadership development opportunities for newer library professionals to gain an understanding of ALA’s structure, engage in problem-solving and serve the profession while working on a small group project for six months. IRRT has often submitted a project for consideration.
Building and Enhancing Global Connections Through Sister Libraries • Identify factors that lead to successful and sustainable partnerships • Propose new approaches to improve the sustainability of partnerships • Provide updated information about partnerships, and develop/update materials materials based on project findings
Emerging Leaders ProjectResearch Methods Perform a review of the literature related to library partnerships Carry out an open-ended email questionnaire with program participants Conduct an online survey of librarians familiar with AND unaware of the program to assess awareness and interest
Important Factors for A Successful Partnership Have a formal agreement to establish and manage expectations Facilitate frequent communication that is accessible to both parties Have a flexible mindset as partnerships may not go as planned and will evolve over time.
Setting up & Sustaining A PartnershipFactors to Consider Ensure afeeling of equality between partner libraries Consider a trial period before formalizing the partnership Identify funding and a cost structure for the partnership Have institutional support and involve multiple employees in the project KEEP PARTNERS ENGAGED AND ENERGIZED!
Recommendation 1How Partnerships Are Created Consider existing relationships and organizations in the community Consider community needs + interests Partner libraries should have similar communication expectations Have a partner in mind when reaching out to the Sister Libraries Committee
Recommendation 2 Marketing Materials & Outreach Opportunities Increase the program’s social media presence Develop short yet informative marketing materials that highlight the benefits of Sister Libraries Partnerships Update promotional materials
Recommendation 3 Materials To Build & Enhance Partnerships Create a form to update + maintain contact information for partner libraries Create document templates for partner libraries to use Provide a list of potential funding and grant opportunities for partner libraries to consider
Sister Libraries WebinarGetting Everyone on Board Rebecca L. Miller, MA, MLS, PhD Principal Consultant BiblioDev, LLC
Think like a… Library DirectorBoard MemberCity Council Member • How much is this going to cost? • What benefit will it bring? • Why should I care?
Do your homework first • Check out the Sister Libraries committee webpage for background information • Do I really have time for this? • Who could be my ally? • Anyone on the Library Board, City Council, or Friends? • What possible international connections might they have? • What immigrant and/or refugee communities are in your area of service? • Is your city a member of Sister Cities International? • If so, who in your city is responsible for the relationship?
Determine Your Own Resources • Sister Library partnerships can be demanding • Emails, Skype calls, program preparations • How much time do you have in your schedule for regular meetings? • Make time for checking in with partner • Regular Skype calls • Do you have time/skills to write grants? • Funding for visits, programs, book swaps • Are you inventive with program ideas? • Do you have the tenacity to carry it on your own?
Rally Supporters and Allies • Identify people on the Board, City Council, Friends, schools, local agencies, etc… • International connections • Prepare your elevator speech • A sister library partnership will help our library because… • It will cost us… • Your support will help us… • Can we count on you?
Value: Serving Immigrant & Refugee Communities • Build stronger bridges to immigrant and refugee communities • Expand awareness and understanding by local community • Helpful tools: • Top Immigrant Populations by State (MPI) • https://www.migrationpolicy.org/programs/data-hub/charts/top-immigrant-populations-us-state • Refugee Processing Center (RPC) • http://www.wrapsnet.org/rp-agency-contacts/
Value: Strengthening Sister City Relationship • Built-in relationships • Support your city’s partnership • Demonstrate value of the partnership to the city • Helpful tools: • Sister Cities International – find your city’s sister & local contact info! • http://www.sistercities.org/
Value: Building Bridges to World • Direct connection to another country • Enrich local understanding of another part of the world • Provide programming and projects for schools
Respond to a… Library DirectorBoard MemberCity Council Member • How much is this going to cost? • Dedicated time per week • Small amount of project funding (grants!) • What benefit will it bring? • Enhanced services to immigrant/refugee community • Expanded experiences with Sister City • Why should I care?
Helpful Reading • Lee, J., & Bolt, N. (2016). International Partnerships: Value, Benefits, and the Library Administrator's Role. Journal of Library Administration,56(3), 209-221. https://doi.org/10.1080/01930826.2016.1143255
For now, our Google Site: https://sites.google.com/site/sisterlibraries/
Once you’re a Sister Library... 4. Share Your Experience • Share your Sister Library experience on social media, in your local media, or through a special event. • Submit your success story to us! Success Stories inspire others!
New site forthcoming… http://www.ala.org/rt/irrt/irrtcommittees/irrtsisterlibrary/sisterlibrary
What’s next? Follow up on Emerging Leaders’ recommendations, especially… Partnership Agreement Encourage libraries to mutually agree on the nature of the partnership at the start: • Time and cost expectations • How formal you wish it to be • Desired outcomes
How the committee would ideally work...Angie’s recommendations for future Sister Libraries Committee members: Continue monthly meetings; take and archive meeting minutes. Draft a mission, a vision, objectives, and a strategic plan for the committee. Goals for growing Sister Libraries participants? Submit annual conference proposals to report on Sister Libraries activities? Establish committee member roles! Division of duties helps the work get done. Benefits members: Clearly defined roles & accomplishments can be valuable for members’ professional development, good for resumes and CVs...
Webmaster • Maintains organization of Committee’s files • Updates website as needed • Refreshes bibliography • Researches and writes committee’s history
Outreach & Marketing • Increases, manages Committee’s social media presence • Continuously pursues new outlets for promoting Sister Libraries: international orgs, professional listservs... • Updates our logo, brochures, and marketing materials as needed
Committee chairs assign incoming requests to the committee member responsible for that region. Ex., a request from a library in the UK would be handled by the committee member who oversees Europe. • Specialist provides initial personal guidance for finding a library and getting started, answers questions, etc. • Regional specialists