Friday, June 19, 2015

Continuing Education to Provide for Youth & Special Services Populations

Librarians in Wisconsin are developing four youth and special services population projects with LSTA and library system support. These youth and special services public library system continuing education projects focus on at least one of the following topics:
  • School-age literacy and learning (ages 4-11)
  • Teen library services (ages 12-18)
  • Outreach efforts (all ages)
  • Serving special populations (all ages)  
Each of these collaborative system efforts includes more than one public library system in the state with universal topics that all librarians encounter in their communities. If you are reflecting about how to lend awareness to similar focus areas in your community, follow the progress of these projects. Participants in these projects are encouraged to share resources and advice to those seeking project ideas for future LSTA grant opportunities.

Magnet numbers for early learners
Learning numbers
Early literacy is the focus of Arrowhead, Southwest Wisconsin, and South Central Library Systems seeking new ways to address the lack of school readiness among children living in poverty. The project will focus on an asset-based approach to identify resources and community development through partnerships to fill the school readiness gap.

Two library systems (Nicolet and Wisconsin Valley) will provide continuing education through the Poverty Awareness for Community Engagement (PACE) presentations by UW Extension agents. Participants will be guided to develop a palette of library-based and outreach action plans for community implementation.

Mental health crisis and suicide prevention in addition to memory loss in seniors are the focus areas for the Indianhead and Northern Waters library systems to determine effective ways to serve these populations. Part of a workshop will provide QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) training to learn ways to intervene and assist someone in a mental health crisis and prevent suicide. A second part of a workshop will focus on Memory Cafes as a service to seniors designed to decrease isolation and increase opportunities to practice communication skills and get connected to resources.

Library communities in southeastern Wisconsin including Eastern Shores, Kenosha County, Lakeshores, Mid-Wisconsin, Milwaukee County, and Waukesha County are seeking to focus awareness of special services currently being offered, learn ways libraries can meet youth and special populations' need for services, while making a positive impact in their communities. This project will focus attention on youth and teen services, serving special populations, and outreach efforts to persons of all ages to improve library services through leadership, collaboration, and support.

All four projects will provide an in-person continuing education event and offer library staff opportunities to reinforce their learning with funds for further continuing education, partnership connections, communication, and networking in their own library communities.  These projects are taking place during the 2015 LSTA grant cycle that ends in December 2015.  For further information, contact Tessa Michaelson Schmidt,

Written by:
Terrie Howe, Public Library Development Team