Emerging Technology Plan: Gouldsboro READS!

Gouldsboro READS! A Community Challenge 

  • Read
  • Enjoy
  • Analyze
  • Discuss
  • Share

Action Brief Statement:

Convince adult family and community members that by demonstrating habitual reading skills and reading enjoyment, through the active application of 21st century skills [critical thinking, conversation, communication, collaboration, creativity], they will actively improve the reading ability and reading enjoyment of our community’s children. This will increase every child’s chance of success in our community because curiosity is born and nurtured through the love of reading and learning. Curiosity can change the world!

Goals/Objectives for Technology or Service:

  1. Re-invigorate reading together as a year-round family activity in our community;
  2. Introduce more families to our library programs and services;
  3. Discuss the importance of developing 21st Century Skills as a community;
  4. Initiate Online Chat Groups for ‘connected’ community members to share conversations or blogs about what they are reading, how the family is doing in the challenge, what are the difficulties, what are the pleasures of reading and learning as a family;
  5. Provide gamification badges for meeting reading goals as a family;
  6. Provide printed reading challenges, games, and badges for people who do not have internet access at home;
  7. Provide off-site or off-hours meetings and book discussions for families and individuals who cannot get to the library routinely;
  8. Establish Little Free Libraries in locations around the township to make free books for all more widely available;
  9. Challenge the entire town to read 3,000 books during 2018, beginning in January. [NOTE: This is approximately 2 books per person in our town.] Documentation of reading will be provided to the library, and a large visible exterior display at the center of town [similar to the image of a thermostat that measures funds raised in a campaign] will spark interest in the challenge. Prizes will be awarded throughout the year at community events (both at the library and off-site).

Description of Community you wish to engage:

We have already engaged with the youngest children [K-3] at Peninsula School in monthly events and the Summer School Visit; we have a Tuesday/Thursday STEAM program afterschool and a summer reading STEAM Camp at the library for ages 11+; we have developed a story time for families with infants and toddlers.

To demonstrate to children that reading and learning are of real value in our community, we will begin Gouldsboro READS! This will be a multi-phased program that we hope will engage nearly everyone in town.

Our hope is that by asking parents, relatives, and other care providers to read to, read with, model reading, and talk about reading at home, others in the community will also find ways to demonstrate and share their love of reading [volunteers on classroom visits, increased support of workshops for families, etc.]

Additionally, the library will provide access to 21st Century Learning tools and skills training that adult members of the community may not yet have experienced. This inspires families to learn these much-needed skills together, and perhaps motivates others in the community to try learning new things in new ways. The goal is to create a seamless reading/learning experience, where 21st skills such as online collaboration, communication, and critical thinking are practiced while fulfilling the basic reading challenges.

Mission, Guidelines, and Policy related to Technology or Service:

This program will be designed and administered by the Library Director with the direct input and assistance of the Gouldsboro town manager, the Adult Education program coordinator, the Peninsula School librarian, the Sumner High School librarian, librarians from adjoining towns, the remedial reading teacher, the READ Therapy Dog handler, a local Family Services Counselor, the library board and volunteers, and interested parents and kids.

Policies for reading programs held at the library already exist, and may be adapted for this purpose. The computer use agreement may be modified to include expected behaviors in online library chatrooms and gaming areas. Students at the Peninsula School and Sumner High School will be invited to write ‘policies’ or ‘manifestos’ regarding how they would like to be treated by one another and by adults in the community, and how they prefer to engage in conversations with other members of the community who are participating in these programs.

Technology systems will resemble [and may actually duplicate] those used in the Great Reading Adventure, Maricopa County Library District (2015).

A Dorcas Library platform will be built using WordPress and Commons In A Box allowing community members to share conversations such as we have been doing in SJSU INFO 287-01.

Little Free Libraries will be built from donated materials by volunteers, and stocked by library volunteers.

Funding Considerations for this Technology or Service: 

Staff Time [Library Director]
100 hours to set up
60 hours to administer
60 hours to evaluate

Volunteer Time [Approximately 5 volunteers]

Infant & Toddler Story Time                        10 hours/month
Edge Program Visits                                       10 hours/month
Afterschool Programs [films, challenges]  20 hours/month
Marketing [sign; press releases]                     2 hours/month
Little Free Libraries                                           2 hours/month

In-Kind Contributions
Snacks   $250/year
Prizes   $250/year
Giveaway Books  $500/year

Other expenses will be covered by private donations.

Action Steps & Timeline: 

Consenting Parties:  The library director will present this program to the library board for approval. There is unlikely to be any dissenting voice.  DEADLINE: Nov 4

Timeline:          Many analog aspects of this program can be in place within one month of commitment. Digital platforms and content will certainly be ready within NLT JAN 31.

Technology: The technology is available for this project almost immediately. Building the games and badges will take some time, using help from IT volunteers and 5-8th grade volunteers in the STEAM Afterschool program.

Staffing Considerations for this Technology or Service: 

This is a service that requires significant planning and preparation up front, but not an enormous increase in volunteer time or hours once the challenge is publicized. Additional volunteers to support the program will be recruited in the marketing materials that discuss the program and its intended goals. These individuals will serve as facilitators for programs in the library during off hours or for programs held off-site. We expect that our STEAM Team members and their parents will be more than willing to help with many of these tasks.

Participants who use the cloud services might require technical help from time to time. The badges will automatically be assigned when the target is met. Print challenges and games require a bit more work from library staff: these must be collected, reviewed, and badges awarded manually. The Little Free Libraries will be monitored at least 1x monthly to ensure books do not run out. The exterior sign will be updated at least 1x monthly. Additional monthly marketing occurs during the normal programming marketing plan. Awards will be presented at events that are already scheduled in the community.

Training for this Technology or Service:

Everyone who desires to participate in the program, as a volunteer or as a ‘contestant’ will be trained to teach participants about the print and/or the digital challenges. Training will be designed into the online platforms, so that users can learn as soon as they begin. For each skillset they master in the training, they will receive badges to get them started. Training will be on-going and continuous for as long as the program is running (certainly for all of 2018). Volunteer training for specific tasks [such as filling the Little Free Libraries] will begin as soon as the libraries are installed. Initial training may be provided by the library director. Peer-to-peer training is strongly encouraged as a desired collaboration skill.

Promotion & Marketing for this Technology or Service: 

Routine library marketing is disseminated through the town office, the school system, businesses and libraries in neighboring communities, the local newspaper, and a local radio station. A system is in place allowing short-notice programs to be advertised quickly on Facebook and on a sign in front of the library. DEADLINE: Dec 4

Putting up the community reading measurement sign [one idea might be to create large brightly colored and plastic-coated books with holes drilled in them, that are stacked on a copper pole in the front lawn… with 30 books representing 3000 titles] in the front lawn of the library will capture people’s attention. Better still would be if the Town Manager will approve installation of this artifact at the town offices or a town green space!

In our community, word of mouth is the strongest advertisement possible. By coordinating with teachers for students to receive extra credit when their families participate; by coordinating with the town manager and board of selectmen so that they are interested in challenging others [perhaps a neighboring town can also be challenged to do this?]; by repeating the message in many formats: newsletters; flyers; emails; street signs; signs with community business partners… the project will gain ‘buzz.’


I have recently been trained in, although I have yet to begin using, an assessment tool called Project Outcome. This program assists libraries with creating simple surveys, collecting and analyzing data, and benchmarking library service in a way that reflects how our visitors truly use our spaces [in other words, beyond circulation statistics and door counts]. This program encourages libraries to ask visitors HOW the library programs and services have effectively changed their behaviors or their lives. It provides a resource to help us measure our own effectiveness in the community.

Regarding stories to tell, I will wait and watch and listen to people as they begin to participate. I will watch for excitement to build; watch for local ‘strangers’ to enter our spaces (whether on site or on line); watch for local leaders to give talks to young people at the library and at school about the importance of reading and learning. Then I will have tales to tell.

I will provide, as always, plenty of ways for people to leave messages for us in the library and online. I will continue to ask open-ended philosophical questions each week. I will continue to provide magnet boards and words for people to create poems or phrases which have meaning for them.

One thing on my to do list for months is to create a “suggestion box.”  I have surveys and material request forms, but no where that people can anonymously make a comment to help us improve our services.


Evidence and Resources to support Technology or Service:

Casey, M.E., and Savastinuk, L.C. (2007). Library 2.0: A Guide to Participatory Library Service. Medford, NJ: Information Today, Inc.

Christchurch City Libraries. This is how we do it: Seven years of social media at Christchurch City Libraries. Accessed 18 October 2017 at:  http://christchurchcitylibraries.com/Bibliofile/2014/Social-media.pdf and https://cclbibliofile.wordpress.com/2012/09/25/this-is-how-we-do-it-social-media-at-christchurch-city-libraries/

Commons In A Box Project. Accessed 18 October 2017 at:  http://commonsinabox.org/

Great Reading Adventure Project. Accessed 18 October 2017 at: http://greatreadingadventure.com/

Little Free Library Project. Accessed 18 October 2017 at: https://littlefreelibrary.org/

Missoula Public Library (2017). Read… More! Year-Long Reading Challenge: Can you read 50 books in 2017? Accessed 15 October 2017 at: http://www.missoulapubliclibrary.org/adult-events/512-read-more-year-long-reading-challenge

P21: Partnership for 21st Century Learning. Accessed 10 October 2017 at:  http://www.p21.org/our-work/p21-framework

Project Outcome. Accessed 18 October 2017 at: https://www.projectoutcome.org/

READ Therapy Dogs. Accessed 19 October 2017 at: http://www.therapyanimals.org/R.E.A.D.html

Twinsburg Public Library. 50 Book Challenge. Accessed 15 October 2017 at: http://twinsburglibrary.org/50-book-challenge

2 Thoughts.

  1. Digital badges are definitely budget-conscious rewards. On top of physical rewards, my library utilizes digital badges for the summer reading program as a way for customers to track their progress on all the activities in the program. Having a reading competition with neighboring communities does sound like an interesting way to engage the local community, as well as the rival community.

    • Thank you! We are woefully behind in developing an online reading program. This has been on my “to-do list” for 18 months now. The young folks are ready for it whenever I can roll it out… so I have asked some of them to help me create the games. Seems only fair to put their digital savvy to use, right?

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