What's New at RAILS?

Winter 2016-2017

Fulfill New Year's Resolutions with Popup Picks

Popup Picks features e-books curated by librarians. The collection changes quarterly and anyone in Illinois can use it. No hold queues or waiting for titles! There is no cost to your library for this service; it is one of the many benefits you receive as a RAILS member.

A new collection will be introduced in January: New Year, New You. It will include titles to help with a variety of New Year's resolutions including healthy eating, planning for travel and "staycations," managing finances more effectively, stress relief, and other self-improvement topics. Visit http://www.popuppicks.com.

Chromebooks Now Compatible with eRead Illinois

eRead Illinois (https://ereadillinois.com) libraries are among the first in the country to have access to a new browser-based reader to access e-books without having to download additional apps/software. The reader is compatible with Chromebooks and with Mac and Windows based computers and will be of special interest to school libraries and others.

New RAILS Grants to Fund Multitype Projects

RAILS offers grants to fund innovative collaborative projects between different types of libraries (academic, public, school, and special). The first application deadline is January 31, 2017. Visit https://railslibraries.info/multitype-grants for details.

Winter Continuing Education (CE) Opportunities

Save the date for these upcoming RAILS CE webinars. No need to venture out in the cold!

  • Creating a Connection with English Language Learners webinar, January 18
  • Early Literacy webinar, February 7
  • Simple Strategies for Social Media webinar, February 14
  • Programming Ideas in Makerspaces webinar, February 16
  • IT Security 3-part webinar series, February 21-March 7
  • Making Meetings Work webinar, February 22

Stay tuned to L2 (http://www.librarylearning.info) and the RAILS E-News for more details.

Continuing Education (CE) Networking Group Grants

RAILS offers grants to networking groups in our area to fund CE events available to RAILS members and of interest to a wide variety of library staff. The deadline for the current award period is January 27, 2017. Visit https://railslibraries.info/services/ce-grant.

RAILS at Illinois Youth Services Institute

RAILS will have a table at the Illinois Youth Services Institute, March 10-11, in Springfield. Stop by to find out about all the programs/services we offer for youth services staff and pick up some great giveaways at the same time!

Winter Networking Opportunities

Hear the latest RAILS news and network with colleagues at these networking meetings (visit http://librarylearning.info for details):

  • Virtual event for school libraries, January 12, 3-4 p.m.
  • Des Plaines Public Library, January 26, 10 a.m.-noon
  • Virtual event for special libraries, February 8, 10-11 a.m.
  • Virtual event for academic libraries, February 8, 2-3 p.m.

Serving the Unserved

The RAILS Strategic Plan supports access to information for all, including the approximately 1 million Illinois residents who do not currently have access to public library service. In November, we presented a draft plan for addressing this issue (http://bit.ly/2hw7kBk) to the RAILS Board.

One of the goals in the plan is to determine what is being done in other states, something the Illinois State Library (ISL) has been investigating. We will meet with ISL and other stakeholders in early 2017 to determine how we can combine our efforts to make progress on this issue.

New Ways for RAILS Members to Save Money

New RAILS group purchase and discount offers include:

  • Communico (manage your digital presence, such as room scheduling and digital signage)
  • Verizon Wireless State of Illinois Government Discount (purchase circulating Wi-Fi hotspots and other cellular services)

Visit https://railslibraries.info/deals for details on these and many other opportunities to save money on library products and services.

Coming in February 2017:

  • BiblioBoard Creator (a community engagement tool to share multimedia digital exhibits, local bands/artists, makerspace projects, local history, oral history interviews, and more through BiblioBoard)
  • Pressbooks Public (to help support local authors from a book's conception to distribution/promotion)

Overlay Pilot Project RFP

RAILS continues to work on a potential project to provide RAILS-area library users with seamless access to the shared online catalog consortia within RAILS and the catalogs of standalone libraries that choose to participate (https://railslibraries.info/services/overlay-project). We expect to release a request for proposal for a pilot project by February.

To keep up with what's new at RAILS: