H.W. Wilson Library Staff Development Grant recipient named

Contact: Cheryl Malden

Program Officer

For Immediate Release

February 28, 2006

H.W. Wilson Library Staff Development Grant recipient named

CHICAGO - The Lucius Beebe Memorial Library, Wakefield, Mass., has been chosen to receive the 2006 H.W. Wilson Library Staff Development Grant for its “Me and My Shadow” program. The award is sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and consists of a $3,500 cash prize and a citation that will be presented at an award ceremony during the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans in June.

“Me and My Shadow,” allows library staffs of participating libraries to shadow a peer in a partner library to collect ideas to take back to their home library. The Beebe Library is partnering with the Assistant Directors Forum, a multi-type library organization that supports the work of over 300 members in 54 cities and towns on Boston's North Shore and the Merrimack River Valley, and is sponsored by the Northeast Massachusetts Regional Library System (NMRLS).

Elisabeth Doucett, assistant director at Beebe Library, proposed the “Me and My Shadow” concept which was developed to meet a specific objective and goal defined in the Library's FY06 Action Plan. The plan's goal is to conduct library operations in the best interest of patrons and to strive for continuous improvement in a changing environment. The objective developed in support of that goal is to keep library operations and funding allocations in line with community needs—maximize resources. The program also supports the Assistant Director's Forum goal of managing and developing library staff members. Because the shadowing program is centered on benchmarking, networking and professional rejuvenation, it supports the goal of developing staff members on multiple levels during times of extreme budget constraints.

The shadowing program involves 13 libraries and 65 staff members, and will run for up to nine months, or until all interested persons have had a shadowing opportunity. To ensure that the program fosters active learning, each participant will be asked to “go with a question—come home with an idea.” All the libraries involved will enter ideas gathered during the visits into a blog that will be shared.

The H.W. Wilson Staff Development Grant jury received 16 excellent project proposals. “We were impressed with the program at the Beebe Library and NMRLS on several levels,” said Susan DiMattia, chair of the jury. “The jury members appreciated that Beebe is addressing a key action step in their FY06 Action Plan and that the program will touch on developing a wide range of staff positions in several libraries. The partnerships between a library and an association, as well as the focus on improving services to patrons are other positive elements of the project.”

A proposal for reader's advisory training at the Chesterfield County Public Library (Va.), was a close second in the jury voting. Other proposals were in support of technology training; professional education for a digitization initiative; mentorship projects; customer service initiatives; leadership development for new supervisors; new internal collaborations after a physical reorganization; a joint online book cataloging partnership between a public school and public library and creativity and diversity conversations for paraprofessionals.

The deadline for submissions of applications for the 2007 H.W. Wilson Staff Development Grant is December 1, 2006. Guidelines and application forms are available on the ALA Web site
www.ala.org/ala/awardsbucket/wilsongrant/wilsongrant.htm .

Members of the 2006 H.W. Wilson Library Staff Development Grant are: Chair Susan D. DiMattia, consultant, Stamford, Conn.; Linda Chopra, Avon Lake Public Library, Avon Lake Ohio; Trevor A. Dawes, Firestone Library, Princeton, N.J.; Margaret Z. Saponaro, University of Maryland, College Park, Md.; Roberta Thomas, Grayslake Area Public Library, Grayslake, Ill.

The H.W. Wilson Award will be presented Tuesday, June 27, during the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans.