Leaving Salmon, Idaho takes effort. So when asked to join MakerEd’s Convening 2017 located in San Francisco, I said yes, fully knowing the journey that lay ahead. Salmon sits nestled at the base of the rocky mountains and is surrounded by sweeping landscapes of sagebrush to the south and pine forest to the north. Most locals enjoy the solitude and isolation that this remote region offers and I was wondering how my last two years here would effect me upon re-entering civilization. From the moment I stepped off the plane in Oakland, CA I quickly realized the gap in the technological world. Everyday citizens were using Uber and Lyft to mobilize; headphones attached to smartphones made up their morning commute; they had everything down to a science and it was a beehive of activity with each with person playing a part in the overall dance. At times I got caught up in it all, at times I longed for the slow pace of Salmon, but I refocused on why I was headed to San Francisco in the first place and that was to represent that very rural voice that had been missing.
Accepting the proposal to speak in front of a group of 250 educators can certainly seem daunting, but knowing that most people in that room know more about making than me, having only started this journey a short 1.5 years ago, elevated that stress level. Having to wait around through keynotes, workshops, and demos on the latest approaches to Making was the hardest part. How can one enjoy themselves at a conference like this knowing your moment is still to come? Deep breathing exercises and frequent walks around the building definitely helped ease the overwhelming feeling.
Prior to my 5 minutes of mini-fame, I made best use of my time and engaged. I had the good fortune of being toured around Autodesk’s 2nd floor display in the Landmark building where our conference opening reception was held. Daniella Shoshan from MakerEd,pointed out the hack your name tag display as well as potential connections I should make during the evening’s soiree. I’m grateful to have received this inside information as it allowed me to connect with Nation of Maker’s Executive Director Dorothy Jones-Davis who has a passion for helping and doing, not to mention her resume is packed with years of experience. I got educated by Peter Wardrip from the Children’s Museum in Pittsburgh on how to become a better facilitator. He helped break down different learner types that enter your Makerspace and identify strategies with which to engage them. You can find out more by playing the “Making Connections” card game yourself. I got to meet with Tim Carrigan from the Institute of Museum and Library Services who taught me some core Makerspace framework principles to think about before creating one myself. I learned quick maker hacks for children’s books from Nora Peters, a librarian from the boroughs of Pittsburgh, which I’m excited to bring back to Salmon. All of that leading up to the moment at the end of the conference when the 12 brave souls who signed up to speak would unveil their stories.
I was sixth to speak, right in the middle of the pack. I listened to the professionalism and poise of the first few speakers as they gracefully took the stage. An in-house facilitator, trained as a graphical artist quickly drew each talk as it happened. Then it was my turn. Knowing full well my talk deviated from the norm I was nervous. I was not up there to educate as a Maker Educator, but instead to tell them how I’ve been educated from Making. My story must have rang true as I felt the room’s applause. No matter where you’re from or what your experience, a simple story can still resonate. And that’s what I did, I told my story.
The simple lesson I shared was that through Making we’re learning to listen. If we listen, if we create a dialogue between two people, then we have a chance at discovery despite politics, experiences, race, gender, or any other pre-judgements we might enter with. It was with this that I felt joy in my heart, for I knew that my trip was a success. I felt I gave something of myself on the floor and someone in that room walked away a bit more empowered, a bit more inspired, a bit more ready to engage. That is all I could hope for. It’s the same when we approach Making, one child at time, one mind at time, one change at a time. I’m grateful to be on this path.
For more information on how you can help the Salmon Public Library on their Making adventure check out bit.ly/SalmonMakerspace For more information on our current happenings check out our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram accts @SalmonPublicLib
Who are we?
Salmon Public Library (a nonprofit) is located in Lemhi County, Idaho, some 150 miles from a major interstate. In fact, Salmon is one of the most remote towns over 2,000 people in lower 48 States. Check it out! Our remoteness is a bonding factor and appeal to some within our community however it does provide its challenges as well. Idaho ranks 46th among US States in education and Lemhi County has some of the highest poverty rates in the state.
As a new resident to this wonderful welcoming community I gazed upon it with fresh eyes, witnessing the magic that is possible here. I quickly realized rural agricultural towns can often get overlooked when it comes to seeds of invention, but it's not due to ingenuity, but lack of resources and opportunities. I bring a computer science background with thirteen years working in film wrapped in an abundance of creativity to inject into a community that's starved for a different kind of outlet. Our path is clear and with your help we can pioneer a trail of discovery with tomorrow's youth right here in Salmon, ID.
We want to take our students from a 4 day school week to a 5th day learning movement and encourage the community to relieve some of the burden from the schools by using the talent and resources within our community to leverage this opportunity.
In late 2016 the Salmon Public Library and I partnered with MakerEd, a nonprofit responsible for helping grow a Maker Culture within communities as a way to fight poverty in addition to empowering its members. Our goal was setting up this fundraising campaign to undergo a physical transformation of a space at the same time igniting a spark for creativity, innovation, and collaboration among the future patrons of it.
To provide a free accessible space to our community that encourages not only youth but families as a whole, to engage in a facilitated environment of making. We want to honor the traditional arts that exist in our community by inviting those craftsmen to mentor the youth while at the same time absorbing what the student knows about emerging technologies.
We want to create a fun, safe, empowering atmosphere where students can develop, lead, and solve future community problems. The Makerspace we envision to create with your donations would provide an outlet for design thinking, innovation, critical problem solving, all the while be inviting to all who walk through the door. The end result being to take away the "I can't because..." way of thinking and give rise to a "I have an idea I want to pursue" methodology.
How You Can Help:
Being a small remote community, we are often called upon fundraising for projects we want accomplished. While often successful it can exhaust the wonderful generosity of the community members who live here. That is why a new approach is being taken; let's ask our greater community, that of Idaho, the US, the world to lend a hand and help us.
Know that your donation is funding a movement. When properly managed money enters a small town, it truly has the power to change for the better. The children who grow up here are forever altered and leave more equipped than previous. They go off, experience, come back, and invest into the same town they grew up in. This is how a grassroots movement begins, this is how paradigms shift.
You're also buying into the passion of an individual that refuses to give up on the vision of what this could mean for the community. It's not out of stubbornness or shortsightedness but because of the stories that come from sparking a young person's imagination when they hear a note they've recorded or light up a light they've soldered.
You're helping change the inner dialogue of a young person in our town from "I can't because" to "I can and will..."
A great idea might have seed in one person's mind, but it could never take flight without the power of many who believe in it. That is why we need your help. Help be the many who believe in me to steward this journey, help be the many who believe in a child who doesn't have the space to create, but who has aspirations to be an inventor, help be the many who believe in our town and the magic it possesses, help be the many who bring about the opportunity to dream.
We are forever grateful and thankful for your support! Please visit: https://igg.me/at/rEBaU60JYx4 to share or donate:
Now let's get making!
"Idaho State Librarian Ann Joslin is meeting with the state’s congressional delegation in Washington, D.C., today and tomorrow, as part of a two-day national library legislative outreach push. Among the top concerns: The Trump Administration’s fiscal year 2018 budget blueprint proposes to eliminate the primary source of federal support for Idaho libraries – an average of $1.28 million a year over the past five years. Joslin said that’s equal to 77 cents per Idahoan every year. The money comes under the Library Services and Technology Act, which is administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, which Trump wants to eliminate."
ILA Intellectual Freedom Committee Newsletter, Issue 2
This is the second newsletter from your ILA Intellectual Freedom Committee for 2017. You will receive a quarterly newsletter from us that summarizes what is going on in the world of intellectual freedom. Anything to do with Idaho will get priority, but we want you to stay informed with what is going on throughout the country too!
And remember, we want to know what is going on in your library! Shoot us an email and let us know about any book challenges, concerns, or activities in your area. All communication is confidential; we will consult you before talking to anyone else. Challenges can also be reported to the ALA national office, using this form.
Shalini Ramachandran, Chair, Intellectual Freedom CommitteeRead more
We are looking for your input about ways to improve the Idaho Library Association!Read more
Some suggestions from the ALA Action Center:
To take action, visit the Action Center for additional talking points and easy-to-send email templates.
Senators have until May 19 to let our champions know that they will sign the separate LSTA and IAL “Dear Appropriator” letters, so there’s no time to lose. Use ALA’s Legislative Action Center today to contact both of your Senators and ask them to support federal funding for libraries by signing on to both the Reed/Collins LSTA and Reed/Grassley/Stabenow IAL Dear Appropriator letters.Read more
The ILA Awards and Scholarship Committee is pleased to announce the call for applications for the 2017 ILA Scholarships. ILA offers two $600 scholarships to encourage those continuing their education. The two awards are:
Gardner Hanks Scholarship (for pursuing formal library education)
ILA Scholarship (for library professionals pursuing continuing library education activities)
Scholarship criteria can be found here. Both the criteria and the application forms will be posted to the new ILA webpage soon, but please feel free to share these links.
The deadline for nominations is Friday, June 2, 2017, and awards will be presented at the 2017 ILA Conference in Boise in October.
ILA Awards will be given out in the following areas:
- Idaho Public Library of the Year
- Librarian of the Year
- Paraprofessional of the Year
- Trustee of the Year
- School Librarian of the Year
- Friend of the Year
- Legislator of the Year
- Special Services to Libraries Award
Award criteria can be found here. Both the criteria and the application forms will be posted to the new ILA webpage soon, but please feel free to share these links.
The deadline for nominations is Friday, June 2, 2017, and awards will be presented at the 2017 ILA Conference in Boise in October.
Please note that all awards nominations require at least two and no more than five letters of support. (The original online nomination may be considered as one of the letters.)
The call for proposals is open for the Idaho Library Association Annual Conference and will remain open through April 14th.
The ILA Conference Committee is currently accepting proposals for pre-conferences (half day and full day on Oct 4th) and conference presentations (45-60 minutes on Oct 5th & 6th) at the Riverside Hotel in Boise, Idaho.
Please note that presenters will receive a reduced registration rate for the conference but they will be responsible for their own lodging, meals, and other travel expenses.
*Trustees and Friends are encouraged to submit proposals too!*
Please fill out this Google Form to submit your proposal.
The submission deadline is April 14, 2017.
Applicants will be notified by May 1st whether they were selected.
In addition, the committee is seeking feedback on topics you would like to see represented. Please send suggestions to John firstname.lastname@example.org. The theme for the conference this year is Community Built Libraries and we are especially interested in proposals that focus on community engagement, partnerships, building projects, collective impact, volunteers, and services that target a community need.
- Send a postcard, call, and email your representatives using the attached Idaho-centric letter. use the forms linked here to send your message:
- Register for Virtual Library Legislative Day! ALA will send you a reminder to take action, along with a link to the live webcast of our keynote and issue briefing on the morning of May 1st. They will also send you the talking points, give you access to email templates, and other resources to help you take action.
- Send in your high-impact stories - especially about programs funded by IMLS.
- Complete the actions recommended here to contact representatives about appropriations.