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HPLD employee Rick Medrano one of three recipients of the 2020 ABOS Rising Stars Award

Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services
1190 Meramec Station Road Ballwin, MO 63021

Press Release – For Immediate Release

Rick Medrano, Outreach Librarian at High Plains (CO) Library District, is one of the three recipients of the 2020 ABOS Rising Stars Award. The Rising Stars Award, sponsored by the Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services, highlights the achievements of those new to the bookmobile and outreach profession.

Rick Medrano has served as Outreach Librarian in the Mobile Outreach Virtual Experience (MOVE) Department for High Plains Library District (HPLD) for the past 3 years. In 2017, Rick worked on and presented survey results the Summer Reading team and introduced the team to the Project Outcome tool. This leadership resulted in his library district adapting the Project Outcome tool to evaluate some of the library’s programs including the Summer Reading program. In 2019, Rick presented at HPLD’s staff day and the ABOS Conference.

Rick has a passion for serving and this is evident in his commitment to serve the most vulnerable patrons: homeless and transitional patrons. He used his leadership skills to re-envision an existing stop at the homeless shelter and added a stop at an apartment building that helps homeless patrons’ transition into apartment living. Rick’s welcoming attitude and approachability has increased services to the most vulnerable, inviting them to feel a sense of belonging to the library. Rick also assists at the Inter-Community Corrections Services (ICCS) to ensure that the library is providing services to newly released patrons into the community. He assists them in library card sign up and materials checkout.

The impact Rick has had on his community is vast. He works with newcomers, rural communities, patrons experiencing homelessness, seniors, patrons re-entering society, school-aged children, and any patron in need of services.

During the COVID shut down, Rick connected with the seasonal Cold Weather Shelter and Housing navigation center to provide them with laptops and internet access. He also assisted getting laptops and internet access to the Weld County Employment Services. Rick is currently working on getting the 2020 Census completed by as many members of his community as possible. Even during COVID he is connecting with partner organizations to work together to host walk up service events to encourage the completion of the Census.

Rick has had a great impact in his internal organization. He was selected by the leadership team at his library to give a tour when Governor Polis made a visit to HPLD and he was able to showcase the library’s services and how these looked during COVID. He is activity involved in ABOS and keep his team on track to submit articles that highlights their work. Rick also services on the ABOS BOIR Committee.

The Rising Stars Award will be presented at the Awards Ceremony to be held on Wednesday, October 14, during the 2020 Virtual Conference of the Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services. The ceremony starts at 9:30 a.m. CST.

Distinguished Budget Presentation Award Given to HPLD

(Greeley – July 2020)- High Plains Library District (HPLD) has received the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for its budget.

The award represents a significant achievement by the HPLD, and reflects the commitment of the governing body and staff to meeting the highest principles of governmental budgeting. In order to receive the budget award, HPLD had to satisfy nationally recognized guidelines for effective budget presentation. These guidelines are designed to assess how well an entity’s budget serves as:
• a policy document
• a financial plan
• an operations guide
• a communications device

Budget documents must be rated “proficient” in all four categories, and in the fourteen mandatory criteria within those categories, to receive the award.

When a Distinguished Budget Presentation Award is granted to an entity, a Certificate of Recognition for Budget Presentation is also presented to the individual(s) or department designated as being primarily responsible for having achieved the award. This has been presented to the High Plains Library District Finance Department.

“We are thrilled to receive this award and proud to be a responsibly steward of tax payer dollars,” said Finance Manager, Natalie Wertz.

There are over 1,600 participants in the Budget Awards Program. The most recent Budget Award recipients, along with their corresponding budget documents, are posted quarterly on GFOA’s website. Award recipients have pioneered efforts to improve the quality of budgeting and provide an
excellent example for other governments throughout North America.

Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) advances excellence in government finance by providing best practices, professional development, resources and practical research for more than 20,500 members and the communities they serve.

Governor Polis Visits High Plains Library District

(Greeley – July, 2020) Governor Polis visited the High Plains Library District on Saturday, July 11, for a tour of the District Support Services. The Governor received a firsthand look at the work HPLD is doing to decrease the digital divide and ensure all patrons have reliable access to essential digital services during the ongoing health crisis. The tour included MiFi devices and Wi-Fi units that will be deployed throughout the community. The High Plains Library District Foundation received $21,000 from the Colorado COVID Relief Fund to support these efforts.

The fund was established as part of Governor Polis’s Help Colorado Now initiative to provide aid to Colorado communities and organizations impacted by the recent outbreak of COVID-19. Funds from the grant will be used to purchase mobile Wi-Fi access points. These Wi-Fi units will be deployed to communities in the District service area identified to have a high need for internet access and essential technologies. These units will be mobile and can be relocated as the needs of the community change.

The High Plains Library District is dedicated to building digitally inclusive communities by providing equal access to the internet and other essential technologies for purposes such as e-government, entrepreneurship, legal needs, education opportunities, workforce development, and health and wellness. This is especially important during the ongoing health crisis, as many patrons are required to access school, work, telehealth visits, and more online.

“We are thrilled to have the support of the State Relief Fund for this important service,” said HPLD Foundation Director Abby Yeagle. “We are looking forward to expanding our efforts to tackle the digital divide in our community.”

Reopening Plans

We have re-opened!

As you can imagine, some things are different. Here is what you need to know:

Hours have changed for some locations. This page provides updated information.

Per statewide orders, library users are required to wear masks when inside library buildings. The exception to this rule is for children 10 and younger. If you forgot yours or do not have one, we can provide one for you while supplies last.

Please self-limit your time in the library to one hour or less. We may have to ask patrons who’ve been in the library longer than an hour to leave in order to allow other patrons access.

Computer time is limited to one hour per day per person, and computers can only be used by one person at a time.

While in the library, please practice social distancing of at least 6 feet.

We strongly encourage you to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer.

Libraries reserve the right to limit the number of people visiting at any one time or the amount of time users can remain in the library.

Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. are reserved for our
vulnerable patrons.

Services Currently offered:
• Browsing
• Computer use
• Use of wifi networks & personal laptops
• Holds pickup (curbside or in-library)
• Printing

Currently unavailable:
• In-depth computer or printing assistance
• Programs (including storytimes)
• Areas for gathering (formally or informally)
• Soft seating (seating with fabric covering)
• Browsing of newspapers/magazines
• Study room or meeting room use

Reduction of Database Spending

In anticipation of a drastically reduced budget due to COVID-19, we are taking steps to continue seamlessly serving the public, which means making some budget choices. One of our early steps is making the tough decision to reduce database spending in 2020 and 2021.

A key component of our strategic plan is financial strength, and part of that from the beginning was identifying areas for potential reduction in the event of an economic downturn. Those who remember the last recession probably remember a lot of budget tightening at home and in the community, but something you might not have noticed is that during recessions, libraries become busier. So, when times are tough, we differ from other businesses because having more “customers” doesn’t necessarily increase our revenue. Which is why you’ll find library staff are good at figuring out how to do more with less.  

This means making tough choices. Our staff analyzed data on cost and usage of all of our databases, as well as looking at which ones have significant crossover, to identify which could be reduced. These are not reductions we take lightly, but they are necessary in order to adjust our budget based on economic forecasting.

Below you’ll find a listing of databases that have been cancelled. For some we have alternatives already in place, and in those cases we’re listing the alternatives alongside the cancelled databases.

Databases that have been cancelled and are no longer available:

ABC-CLIO

Demographics Now

Career Cruising

Contemporary Authors & Lit Crit

Science Online

Very Short Introductions

Databases That Will Sunset in 2020

Here are the databases for which we have paid up to later in the year, but we expect these to be gone before 2021. If you have data in these or files that you need to retrieve, such as a resume in Resume Maker, please do so at your earliest convenience.

Colorado Grants Guide

Foundation Directory Online

Foundation Grants to Individuals

Guidestar

Resume Maker (we will continue to provide Cypress Resume, an excellent alternative for resume creation)

Rosetta Stone (we will continue to provide Mango Languages, which is more cost-effective and has proven to be a higher-use database)

Diversity in Our Collections

Diversity in our collections. Let’s talk about it.

Our collection development librarians have been working hard to enhance the diversity in our collection for many years. It’s a big part of their job. They keep up with trends, ideas, and tools that help them buy a wide variety of materials in multiple formats.

One of the concrete actions libraries often take in response to big events is to take a closer look at certain segments of the collection. For example, recent events have caused staff to reevaluate and augment our collection of materials related to social and political issues, and especially to check in on our collection of materials by black creators. This usually happens behind the scenes, but we want to make transparent the work that’s going on in service of crafting a better collection for you, our community.

It’s harder work than it seems because our collections are living, ever-changing things, and managing something so large and so fluid is a challenge.

If you had a bookshelf at home with a couple dozen books on it, you would notice immediately if something was missing. There would be a hole on your shelf. And you’d probably be familiar, at least on sight, with everything that’s on the shelf. It’s also fairly easy to look at a shelf like this and see who is and isn’t represented.

Now imagine bookshelves lining your entire home. Plus some books piled here and there. Plus some books that have been moved to the “annex” aka porch, and are covered with a tarp and hopefully aren’t housing a family of earwigs, but it definitely keeps you up at night that you might be housing a family of earwigs.

Now imagine that people come in and out of your house all day, every day, and borrow items. Sometimes those items are returned to your friend’s house, and your friend also has a huge collection of items, and your friend has a different system of—

This analogy has gone far enough, and you get the point. It’s hard to keep track of everything, and it’s hard to get a solid grasp of what is in the collection, to take a snapshot that truly represents what we’ve got and what we’re missing.

Because our collections are so huge, and because they’re always moving between branches, and because sometimes items are lost or damaged, the collection changes quickly. Monday’s collection at Lincoln Park might not look anything like Friday’s collection in the same building.

This means our staff has to use some next-level tools and techniques to keep up with new titles, foundation titles gone missing, and old titles that didn’t get their due upon release.

Concrete Steps

Here are some of the concrete steps we’ve taken in the last few weeks, prompted by larger cultural discussions about race and systemic injustice, as well as an emphasis on #OwnVoices ideals, to check up on our collection:

The person who buys for our children’s materials has been taking a close look at the children’s picture book collection and buying titles, both new and old, related to the topics of social justice and politics. This is based on some new research as well as lists that she keeps in order to quickly check for holes in the collection. With a collection as large as ours, sometimes a title that’s popular and wonderful will disappear for awhile due to A Series of Unfortunate Events that causes all copies to be lost, missing, or damaged in a short period. Children’s books are especially susceptible to this. Kids are hard on books. In a good way. We’re cool with it, but you know, it’s the truth.

Our non-fiction buyer has been looking closely at the non-fiction collection and purchasing books in these areas as well. She says her job is easier than that of her coworkers due to the nature of non-fiction, but that might just be modesty. One challenge faced in non-fiction is that the publishing world moves VERY slowly, so while readers are hungry to read more detailed stories about George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others, their stories haven’t yet found their way through the publication process to pulp and ink you can hold in your hands. So it’s the duty of our non-fiction buyer to seek out parallel stories and books that will inform and educate readers about the larger cultural discussions of race and systems of power, and to fill in knowledge gaps until publishing catches up with current events.

The librarian who does our A/V and streaming purchases has posted a list of available titles pertaining to social justice issues to the front of Overdrive and continues to look for more digital materials as well. Kanopy also has an excellent collection and categories on the front page such as “Social and Systematic Injustice” and “Pioneering Black Filmmakers.” Hoopla has searchable categories such as “Black Voices” and “Black Stories Matter” that can be very helpful in selecting materials. All of these resources provide great materials for adults as well as children.

The person who buys fiction has been making purchases, checking for missing titles, and putting together a huge list of resources for diversifying collections (see below).

Other staff who aren’t in the buying game have been hard at work on booklists and bookmarks that highlight authors and titles in various parts of the collection, whether they be movies, romance titles, or others. Keep an eye out, these will be popping up soon.

Tools

These are just a few tools we use to improve and maintain the collection, and they might be helpful to you, too.

Johns Hopkins Diversity Wheel

Hawkins, Blake & Morris, Martin & Nguyen, Tony & Siegel, John & Vardell, Emily. (2017). Advancing the conversation: Next steps for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer (LGBTQ) health sciences librarianship. Journal of the Medical Library Association. 105. 10.5195/JMLA.2017.206.

This tool is one that helps us appreciate just how multi-faceted every individual is. Used along with this published paper we can see that issues of representation are more nuanced and meaningful than one might expect at first glance. To truly represent everybody is a monumental task and a constant work-in-progress.

weneeddiversebooks.org

Weneeddiversebooks.org is also a great resource, and this page in particular links to an always-growing list of resources. This provides a great way to check up on and build our collection, and it’s a big help building a to-read list, if you’re in that market. One of the great things about this non-profit is that they recognize that the dearth of diverse literature starts with publication. Indeed, it can be frustrating to seek out books that represent groups or even individuals and to find very few options. 

Awards

We’ve been taking a look at some awards that help us round out the collection and make sure we’ve got the best of the best. Here’s a short list of awards we’ve been looking at in the past few weeks. Take a look. You might see something you like!

The Pura Belpré Award

The Coretta Scott King Book Awards

The (Mildred L.) Batchelder Award

Stonewall Book Awards

The William C. Morris YA Debut Award

YOU Can Help!

One of the hardest parts about maintaining a collection is identifying what’s missing. Whether something has left our collection or was never there, absence is harder to notice than presence. And just because it’s not there now doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be.

We’re working hard to balance out our collection, and we can do better with your help.

If you are aware of books, movies, music, anything related to topics you’re passionate about, we want to hear about them.

First step: check our catalog and make sure we don’t have it already!

Then, if you don’t find it, fill out a purchase suggestion.

We can’t buy everything. Sometimes publishers make things difficult for libraries, sometimes things go out of print—there are a lot of factors that feed into whether or not we’re able to get something on the shelves. So we can’t promise we’ll buy everything, but we CAN promise that we’ll make the effort.

We’re moving forward, and we need your help. Nudge us in the right direction. Point out the opportunities we’re missing. Help us make a collection you’re proud to call yours. Because truly, these materials belong to you, our patrons, and they should represent you.

Your library’s collection is imperfect, and it never will be perfect. No library will ever build a perfect collection. As close to perfect as a library can get is to keep moving forward. Even though we’ll never reach perfection, we’re still walking in perfection’s direction. We invite you to walk with us.

Interlibrary Loan Services Now Available

June 22, 2020

Prospector is currently not in operation, and we ask that you refrain from placing Prospector holds. However, Interlibrary Loan services are now available, and ILL requests can now be placed. Please be patient as some libraries in other states or connected to educational institutions have not reopened, so some materials may still be unavailable at this time.

A Message From The High Plains Library District Board of Trustees

The High Plains Library District has always and will continue to stand against racism and violence in all shapes and forms. Our Black community is suffering; we support them and look for ways to ease their grief and loss. Racism, whether it be individual or systemic, degrades the very foundation of all our institutions, including our libraries. We also support our local and national law enforcement agencies while denouncing the deplorable acts of some in their ranks. Tasked with a difficult job, they too suffer grief and loss because of the egregious actions of a few.

Our mission is Helping build Community, and that is more vital now than ever before. Libraries are a place to create community and foster acceptance and inclusivity. Maya Angelou wrote, “I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better.” We as a District will continue to provide programming, services, and resources that contribute positively to what our patrons know and do.

The following action items in our 2019-2024 Strategic Plan reflect our stance against violence and racism. We will further our mission by:

  1. Focusing Outreach on building relationships with our underserved communities
  2. Creating a welcoming and inviting environment for our diverse district population
  3. Curating collections and offering programs that are representative of cultures and nationalities of the populations in each service area
  4. Selecting and focusing on targeted segments of the population to design programs
  5. Holding staff led conversations about innovating services and programs to better support community needs
  6. Supporting all sections of the community to achieve their literacy goals, in their native language or a secondary language
  7. Offering and moderating programming that encourages crucial conversations and civil discourse

Each of these action items is intended to further build and strengthen our community. We invite you to stand with us as a participating patron of this Library District.

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The High Plains Library District connects communities to information, inspiration and entertainment for life. HPLD includes libraries in Greeley, Firestone, Erie, Kersey, Ault, Eaton, Evans, Johnstown, Platteville, Hudson, Gilcrest and Fort Lupton.

Tax Aide Information

from AARP:

The National AARP Tax-Aide office has determined which sites could possibly reopen and which will not reopen this tax season.  Sites in counties that are classified as having “spreading” Covid-19, like Weld and Boulder Counties, will not be allowed to reopen.

AARP is offering options to assist taxpayers to prepare tax returns:

  • A self-preparation option that provides taxpayers with free access to software so they can prepare taxes on their own is available at  signup.aarpfoundation.org/preparing-your-taxes-online/
  • If taxpayers would like help completing their own taxes, they can request the assistance of a volunteer to coach them through the process via phone or computer screen-sharing. This website has more information aarpfoundation.org/taxaide
  • There is no penalty for filing late for returns with refunds.  Tax-Aide can prepare two years of tax returns if the site is open next year.  

High Plains Library District is committed to ensuring that our programs and services are accessible to everyone. If you have any questions or suggestions regarding accessibility please contact us, as we are continually striving to improve our library experience for all visitors. Office of the Executive Director 970.506.8588