Friday, July 21, 2017

Siouxland Libraries is a Family Place

On Wednesday, May 10, 2017, the Downtown Library of Siouxland Libraries officially joined the 400-site, 27-state Family Place Libraries™ network. Kathy Deerr, national coordinator for the program, attended the dedication.

Thanks to a $50,000 grant from the Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation, Siouxland Libraries began work on the Family Place Libraries™ initiative in 2015. This model of service incorporates programming, early learning spaces, community connection and family support to help ensure all children enter school ready and able to learn. To learn more about Family Place Libraries™ visit,

With this grant and Family Place Libraries™ certification in mind, the Downtown Library redesigned the children’s area to support parents as their child’s first teacher. The children’s area fills a gap for families in the Siouxland area as a safe, cost-free, and educational space to spend time, interact and learn.

When entering the children’s area, families are greeted by a large mural with clouds that say, “Read, Write, Talk, Sing, and Play” in various colors. A nearby discovery table features LEGO® duplos and/or squiggez for free play. The discovery table encourages creativity for the birth-to-five age group and extends to learning for the school-age group.

Next to this area is the Lily Pad Lane Room, designed for children ages birth to two. Low book bins allow babies and toddlers to safely pick up and browse for books. A large, cushioned play area with a soft slide encourages babies to crawl, explore, and discover the play area. Babies and toddlers love interaction, so the room is equipped with a mirror with a wooden bar that babies can use to pull themselves up.

The last area redesigned through the Family Play Space Project is the Play and Learn Room, which houses developmentally appropriate toys and our quarterly Parent/Child Workshop programs. Children learn through play and this space encourages adult/child interaction and open-ended play with quality materials. The Play and Learn Room is available to families all day on weekends and on weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon.

Friday, July 14, 2017

New librarian? Feel like a fish out of water?

The South Dakota State Library understands the complex issues facing all libraries today. Public libraries are no longer just buildings containing a few thousand shared books. Technology, multiple formats, networks, expanded services and programming for all ages adds to their complexity.

The South Dakota State Library, located in the MacKay Building in Pierre, has developed a website to familiarize new lay librarians with our services and how to manage a 21st century public library. It is appropriately titled, “Feel like a Fish out of Water?” The State Library’s website is and the section for new librarians is From day one, this section is the best place to start.

The SDSL provides consultation and assistance to libraries in areas such as grants, standards, children’s programming, statistics and record-keeping. Reference assistance and continuing educational opportunities—all tuition free, are shared. And the SDSL has a social media presence on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Twitter and YouTube. However, the most helpful spot will be signing up for our public library “listserv.”

This listserv will allow library staff to get our Cornerstone newsletter blog and receive frequent updates on things happening in the state, who to contact with questions and various opportunities available for your community. The “Trustee wiki” (our online Public Library Trustee Handbook) can be accessed from this site. This resource can be an invaluable aid for your library board as well.

We’ve Got Standards!

The SD School Library Standards are up for review this year. The South Dakota Standards revision process and timeline is adopted by the State Board of Education for review of standards in all contents. This review process allows stakeholders to review current standards and make adjustments to the standards on a 5-7 year rotation. The school library review teams consist of several teacher-librarians and other stakeholders.

The first review meeting is scheduled for August 17-18 in Pierre, SD at the State Library/DOE. Further revision and feedback gathering will occur throughout the 17-18 school year.

For information about the DOE standards review process, visit:

Contact: Alissa Adams School Library Technology Coordinator at or by phone at 605-295-3152.