Kansas public library service model is threatened

This post is in response to advocacy efforts in the Kansas library community, opposing HB 2719. A hearing for this bill is scheduled for Monday, March 14, 2016. Please IMMEDIATELY contact the House Taxation Committee members and your local representative, asking them to oppose this bill. HB 2719 will end Kansas public library service as we now know it. #ksleg

Full disclosure: I am an employee of a Kansas regional library system. These thoughts are my own and not my employer’s. I am not advocating for my job. I am advocating for the citizens of Kansas who deserve maintaining equity and efficient public library service by keeping current funding models and practices in place, and oppose HB2719 as a result. 

Kansas has always leaned conservative. But it’s been common sense conservatism until recently. We’re a small urban/rural split state. Communities large & small take great pride in their public schools, public libraries, community health, and great public roads.

Kansas had figured out how to do much within its communities w modest tax dollar investments over the years in public services.

But now, in the name of low/no tax dollars at all levels of government, legislation keeps getting introduced & (at times) later passed that threatens communities.

Continue reading “Kansas public library service model is threatened”

The speech I would have given tonight

I am accepting an Outstanding Recent Graduate award tonight from Emporia State University, for the School of Library and Information Management. All my paperwork for the event had stated that I was to be prepared to respond to the award in a 3-5 minute speech. Knowing this wasn’t going to be a librarian-centric crowd, I prepared a speech that preached libraries and librarians and how we’re transforming communities. Unfortunately, I just learned that that was a mistake and the outstanding recent graduate honorees no longer give remarks.

So other than genuine disappointment, what can I do? I have a blog, and while my site is pretty dormant these days and not far-reaching, I’m going to put it out on the web anyway.

To my chagrin, the tears friends predicted I would have while delivering this speech won’t happen now. That’s probably a good thing. Maybe no one else will appreciate these comments but it’s a love letter to librarians and it doesn’t deserve to sit only on printed paper or in Google Drive. Here’s the speech I would have given tonight:

Good evening. I want to first thank Emporia State and the School of Library and Information Management — SLIM as we call it — for this honor and recognition. I would not be standing here today, without the support and encouragement from my parents, family, friends, colleagues, and my patrons — the librarians of the Northeast Kansas Library System.

Eight years ago I entered the SLIM program, running away from my first loves of politics and public good and I stand here today, having come full circle, in my own way.

Let me start back at the beginning. I am the daughter and grand-daughter of school librarians. I was destined to become a librarian.

I came to SLIM, KNOWING I was going to be a law librarian.

I started SLIM’s foundational coursework, and along the way, technology and social media began transforming everything.

One Sunday morning in March 2007, my reference professor told us of careers in blended librarianship, blending librarian skills with technology. That evening, I applied for the Technology Support position at the Northeast Kansas Library System (NEKLS), and in April 2007, I began supporting the technology in over 30 small public libraries across Northeast Kansas.

Today at NEKLS, I manage a library software platform that connects the resources of over 40 public and school libraries in northeast Kansas. These libraries share over 1 million items with their communities. The open source software we use, Koha, is used by thousands of librarians around the world.

My career-path has been technology-focused, but technology isn’t what fascinates me about libraries.

I now believe, that librarianship, especially in public libraries, is steeped in public good.

Libraries are one of the few democratic places (little d democratic, before anyone misinterprets that) available in almost all communities.

What do I mean by that? Libraries are one of the few places where everyone is welcome and welcome to learn whatever you want, explore whatever you want, and…

Where it doesn’t matter how much money you make or
where you went to school or
how much schooling you had or
how old you are or
where you are from or
what you look like or
what you believe or
what you want to know more about or
what you want to be entertained by.

Librarians want to help you on your journey. We want to see you succeed.

Many of you may think of libraries as a place for books. And that’s fine — that’s our brand. But libraries are so much more. Yes, the Internet allows you to search for and access a lot of “stuff”, but Google will NEVER be as good as your local librarian. A company or platform can’t transform communities — people transform communities.

The librarians I work with, in small Kansas towns and across this country, are transforming their communities through
job searching support,
cooking classes,
Lego clubs,
co-working spaces,
business support,
civic discussions,
beer crafting opportunities,
summer reading, and
yes, even the escapist new movie release.

Libraries provide opportunities for learning, offering spaces for collaboration, discussions, and music and poetry performances.

And multimedia labs in some libraries are changing the possibilities, including a brand new sound recording studio in the beautifully renovated Lawrence Public Library.

Of course, libraries still offer spaces for reading. Have a digital device? Librarians can help you with those, too.

What makes all this possible? Your local librarian.

The library spaces and “stuff” and systems are important, but without the trained librarians, particularly in our schools, I would argue libraries WILL fade into the past. The librarians are the ones working with people, connecting them with the “stuff” that they need, that next great book, or even apply for a job.

I could stand up here all night, sharing many more examples of all the ways librarians are transforming their communities. But to end, I’d like you to consider this statement, from ProtectNYLibraries: Throughout our lives, we seek knowledge and information. Throughout our lives, we learn. Throughout our lives, we turn to our libraries to continue learning. How is your local library doing this? Are you supporting them? Thank you.

DML, Maker Spaces, Libraries, and Ignite

Hi blog. It’s been awhile. I wonder if anyone still reads you….

What’s been new? Information Overload presentations. Grad school work. Day job. And DML2012.

DML2012 was. incredible, and had me wishing more librarians had been present.

With the increased focus in some part of our profession on the potentials of maker spaces (read David Lankes’ latest encounters with the Fayetteville Library Fab Lab), media labs, and community spaces for learning, DML2012 was the conference where those situations were on center stage. More librarians needed to be there to join in the conversation — go next year — it’s in Chicago!

Other parts of the conference dealt with gaming, different learning approaches, and other education-related things (sorry to sum it up all so fast). John Seeley-Brown’s keynote set the stage on Thursday. I highly recommend you take some time to watch it online. You won’t regret it.

I spent the rest of the conference attending sessions on maker spaces, and a short talk panel that included sections on a research project into student digital use and Evernote used in an academic library orientation. My notes are somewhere on my iPad in scattered form. The collaborative notes from conference participants is a much better place to gain an idea of the conference.

My other part of the DML Experience was giving an Ignite Talk. Thanks to Buffy’s encouragement, I turned in the idea, “Lifelong Learning @ Your Library from Birth to the Grave.” Surprisingly the conference organizers took the proposal, and I had to give the talk. Eek!

What’s an ignite talk? It’s a five-minute presentation, where the slides auto-advance every fifteen seconds. The presenter prepares the slides and an accompanying script. See Wikipedia for more information.

The video of the talk is supposed to be posted at some point online. But until then, here’s my slide deck. If you view the slideshow on Slideshare and click on the notes tab below the slides, you’ll be able to read the script as you advance through the slides.

The ignite talk was definitely an experience, and I was incredibly nervous. But it was an amazing opportunity to share the awesome possibilities in libraries, especially from the ones here in Kansas. I’ve been using the presentation in our board trustee training this week in response to the future of the library in light of the coming age of eBooks, and it’s been well-received. Kansas, we really do have an awesome library community!

Guest Post: Caleb May on Kansas HB 2390 (the Kaned abolishment bill)

Update: a hearing for this bill will happen Tuesday, March 29, at 8am.

This is a guest post from Caleb May, Director of the Meade Public Library in Western Kansas. His prepared testimony comments can be viewed here online or downloaded as a PDF. Caleb sent the following email out to the KANLIB listserv (a statewide Kansas library listserv). Kansas HB 2390 that would eliminate the Kaned organization has been introduced to the Kansas House. See the KLA website for more information on the devestating impact this bill would have on Kansas libraries, hospitals, schools, and citizens. 53 Kaned impact stories are also available here.

Caleb’s letter to KANLIB, posted with his permission:


I travelled 311 miles last night and composed testimony that I had intended to give before the House Standing Committee on General Government Budget this morning at 8:00. Though I had only had 4 hours of sleep, I was fairly bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and ready to present when at about ten after 8:00 we were informed that the meeting was cancelled. Though disappointed, I decided to use the time that I had at the statehouse to speak to the members one at a time. I was able to speak to the chairman of the committee, Representative Joe McLeland-R of Wichita, who informed me that he was sorry that the meeting had to be cancelled, but that this late in the session it is difficult to find time for everything.

I asked him if I could present my testimony next week by phone and he said that that was absolutely out of the question. He seemed to be a fairly reasonable individual, however, he seems to have an axe to grind with Kan-Ed. He believes that Kan-Ed is a millstone around the neck of the Legislature and that the initial funding of Kan-Ed when it was created was supposed to be, “seed money, ” and that they were supposed to have become self-sustaining over a period of years. His opinion is that Kan-Ed obstinately refuses to pursue alternative sources of funding and that now that most of the state’s population has access to telecommunications Kan-Ed has outlived its usefulness.

Another point of contention with the legislators is that many of them believe that there is a philosophical conflict in using KUSF (Kansas Universal Service Fund) to fund Kan-Ed. They say that our state’s regulatory fees on cellular, Internet, and phone bills are too high and that it is not right to skim money from people who can afford to pay for access to subsidise those who can’t afford it.

My personal belief is that if supporting the rural public library is not an essential function of government, what is? I think that it is wrong for government to shut-out tens of thousands of rural Kansans who would not have the ability to access high-speed telecommunications without the availability of Kan-Ed supported libraries. Access to information should not be a luxury only available to the wealthy, it is a necessity if we are to continue to have an educated public capable of self-government.

All of us need to be heard in the Kansas State house RIGHT NOW. If HB2390 (or any other bill that would sever Kan-Ed from KUSF funding and eliminate it’s budget thereby placing it’s future funding at the whims of annual appropriations battles) must be opposed by all who love Kansas libraries and believe that they are a vital component to our state’s future. Please take a moment to let your legislators know that without Kan-Ed rural libraries would see astronomical increases in FY2012 and that many would not be able to remain open to the public.

The members of the House Standing Committee on General Government Budget Committee are:

Chairman Joe McLeland-R (of Wichita)

Room: 458-W

Seat: 92

Phone: 785-296-7681

Email: joe.mcleland@house.ks.gov


Vice-Chair Pete DeGraaf-R (of Mulvane)

Room: 459-W

Seat: 39

Phone: 785-296-7693

Email: pete.degraaf@house.ks.gov


Ranking Minority Member Tom Burroughs-D (of Kansas City)

Room: 359-S

Seat: 5

Phone: 785-296-7885

Email: tom.burroughs@house.ks.gov


Representative Ramon Gonzalez-R (of Perry)

Room: DSOB

Seat: 71

Phone: 785-296-7677

Email: ramon.gonzalezjr@house.ks.gov


Representative Don Hineman-R (of Dighton)

Room: 54-S

Seat: 63

Phone: 785-296-7636

Email: don.hineman@house.ks.gov


Representative Kyle Hoffman-R (of Coldwater)

Room: DSOB

Seat: 65

Phone: 785-296-7643

Email: kyle.hoffman@house.ks.gov


Representative Jim Howell-R (of Derby)

Room: DSOB

Seat: 38

Phone: 785-296-7665

Email: jim.howell@house.ks.gov


Representative Ronald Ryckman-R (of Meade)

Room: DSOB

Seat: 42

Phone: 785-296-7644

Email: ronald.ryckman@house.ks.gov


Representative Nile Dillmore-D (of Wichita)

Seat: 76

Phone: 785-296-7698

Email: nile.dillmore@house.ks.gov


If you are really ambitious, it would also be extremely beneficial if you could forward you concerns to the members of the House Appropriations Committee as well since the would also have to pass this bill out of committee to the full House if it passes in the General Government Budget Committee. The members of Appropriations are

  • Chair Rep. Marc Rhoades
  • Vice Chair Rep. Kasha Kelley
  • Ranking Minority Member Rep. Bill Feuerborn


  • Rep. Anthony Brown
  • Rep. Richard Carlson
  • Rep. Dave Crum
  • Rep. Pete DeGraaf
  • Rep. Jim Denning
  • Rep. Owen Donohoe
  • Rep. Lana Gordon
  • Rep. Marvin Kleeb
  • Rep. Peggy Mast
  • Rep. Joe McLeland
  • Rep. Virgil Peck
  • Rep. Joann Pottorff
  • Rep. Sharon Schwartz
  • Rep. Clark Shultz
  • Rep. Gene Suellentrop
  • Rep. Jerry Henry
  • Rep. Barbara Ballard
  • Rep. Sydney Carlin
  • Rep. Doug Gatewood
  • Rep. Harold Lane

Those of you in the Emporia area should put a lot of pressure on Peggy Mast, I spoke with her this morning and she was startled to see that the bill actually completely eliminates the Kan-Ed Fund and puts it entirely into the General Fund.

Attached please also find the testimony that I was prepared to give this morning as well as the current text of HB2390. I pray that our efforts are successful for the sake of rural Kansans!


Caleb H. May,


Meade Public Library

104 E. West Plains

P.O. Box 609

Meade, KS 67864

Caleb’s Prepared Testimony Comments

A letter in support of Kan-ed (from a school librarian)

The following letter was written by my mom, Carol Braum, a high school/middle school librarian. Kansas HB2390, a bill to abolish Kan-ed, was introduced on Monday. Kan-ed is a vital and important statewide service for libraries and K-12/higher education. Here’s the advocacy alert from KLA. My letter to elected officials will be posted later this week. If you are a Kansan, I strongly urge you to contact your elected officials about this bill, asking for its defeat. Read the KLA legislative alert to find out what Kan-ed does for libraries. 53 impact stories are also available from Kan-ed, describing what this service does for schools, health institutions, colleges, and rural areas.


Dear Representative Rhoades, Representative O’Neal, Representative Gonzalez, and Representative Fund:

At a time when school budgets have been under fire for several years, school libraries and teachers have come to depend on KanEd more and more to support educational and research needs. Limited budgets have resulted in fewer magazine subscriptions, fewer research materials, and even the loss of online subscriptions to research tools.  I have relied on KanEd more each year with these cuts. Now you want to take that away too?  Our students will not have good research tools available to them. It is already a struggle to be sure they are adequately prepared to handle college level research. Kansas students are falling farther and farther behind as a result of these types of cuts.

KanEd has been a huge equalizer in allowing small communities access to Internet and to a statewide network. It has provided tools to small schools, allowing their students some of the same opportunities that larger schools can sometimes better afford. The online tutoring service KanEd supports has allowed students additional help during after-school hours, which is especially valuable for students that sometimes lack that kind of help at home.

KanEd is a VERY valuable resource to schools as well as to communities.

Please reconsider the bill you are proposing. Do not take anything more away from education in this state.

Thank you.


Carol Braum
Media Specialist
Holton HS / Holton MS