Monthly Highlights

Top 2 Picks – November 2020


Community Awareness and Engagement

At the very end of October, Aboite joined the list of other ACPL locations offering a continuous book sale, with proceeds going to support the Friends of the Library.  Patron response to the sale has been incredibly positive; by mid-month, staff witnessed happy customers leave the building with boxes-full of books, books on CD, and DVDs obtained at bargain prices. Re-stocking the sale was happening daily.  Now that we are once again offering limited services due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this momentum has been put on hold, but we are confident that it will resume full service.

Library as Place

In November, the Aboite team pondered the system-wide directive to provide feedback to the library’s senior managers on the Urban Libraries Council’s Statement on Race and Social Equity – what is currently being done, what could be done in the future and challenges to achieving suggested actions.  Staff were encouraged to contribute ideas to a large chart posted on the meeting room whiteboard.  Over the course of the month ideas have been shared, providing opportunities for conversation and further brainstorming.   We plan to discuss this initiative as a team at our monthly staff meeting in early December.


We received some nice new display units for our magazine collection. They look great, and they should make browsing easier. The acrylic boxes display the current issue in front, with older issues standing up in the back. Although we offer electronic versions of many magazines, print magazines are still popular with our customers!

Dupont staff did some training on resources available through INSPIRE, a collection of databases offered by the Indiana State Library. These databases are available to all Indiana residents at no cost. There’s a wealth of information here! You can find the INSPIRE databases from the ACPL website by clicking “Research” and “Research and Databases,” or you can go to

Some of the highlights:

  • The Consumer Reports database has full-text articles from the popular magazine.
  • LearningExpress Library has study books and online practice tests for academic and career tests, including TASC, ASVAB, AP exams, SAT and ACT, LSAT, GRE, MCAT, US Citizenship Exam, CDL, Praxis, and NCLEX. You have to set up an account, but it’s a simple matter of name, email address, and password.
  • Various collections of eBooks for children, teens, and adults
  • Databases with journal and magazine articles, both popular and scholarly
  • Hoosier State Chronicles, a collection of digitized historical newspapers from the state of Indiana
  • Rosetta Stone level one language learning materials


November 27th was the first day ACPL returned to reduced services. To prepare the Georgetown Library, volunteers arrived early to help us move tables and chairs, post signs and get everything ready for the workflow of reduced services.

Virtual Escape Room - For the Month of December a staff member has put together a virtual escape room puzzle for teens (or anyone) which involves sleuthing to solve a mystery of chocolate recipe thief. Anyone can try their luck at solving the interactive mystery here - This escape room will also be featured on the library’s website.


Managers attended the annual ILF Conference virtually - The Indiana Library Federation Virtual Annual Conference is an opportunity to lead, educate, and advocate library services.  This year we focused on the fact that EVERYONE MATTERS regardless of race, ethnicity, socio-economic backgrounds, gender, and so on. Bias and Prejudice have no business in our libraries. Inclusion and open access to information and materials are our goals as educators, community institutions, and guardians of knowledge.  

During this time the Grabill team would like to express how grateful we are.

“I am thankful for the positivity and grace of our customers as we have reverted back to limited services, their understanding brings joy to my heart.”

“I am thankful for the great curbside responses from our community and customers. We are here for them and they are here for us.”

“I am thankful for all of my system-wide coworkers and for their enthusiasm to problem solve so that we can continue to serve our communities.”

“I am grateful for my ACPL team members, for our leadership, our devotion to community service, and for all of our community members. We exist because of them and even though we have had to pivot and change how we provide services, I appreciate that our customers value the Allen County Public Library and the continued well-being of its staff and team. Wishing everyone Happy Holidays.”

Hessen Cassel

  • While working to fill our open position in November, we reached out by email to area churches and businesses as well as to neighborhood association presidents in the southeast quadrant of Fort Wayne. We let them know about the requirements of each open position within our southeast branches, and asked for their help to spread the word. While we don’t have specific data measuring why there were more applicants for this position in November than for our openings earlier this year, it was inspiring to see a larger pool of qualified candidates so we can continue to work toward the strategic plan investment of increasing the diversity of the ACPL workforce.
  • Both MLS librarians on our team attended the Indiana Library Federation conference virtually this year. Between the two of us, we earned over 20 LEUs, and we were able to collaborate and exchange knowledge with librarians all over Indiana that will help us here at home.

Little Turtle

Innovative and Adaptable Content and Services

The Wellness station, located directly inside the doorway, reminds customers of our safety protocols. The station includes masks, alcohol wipes for computer keyboards, keyboard covers, mouse covers and a hand sanitizing station. 

Library as Place

Study room use held steady between October and November.

                                             Study Room Use














Culture of Collaboration, Leadership, and Learning

On November 4, the User Experience Manager and a Circulation Supervisor visited the Monroeville Branch to provide training on new registration procedures. A brief overview was provided with a demonstration of the new process and a hands-on practice session. In the near future, a self-registration station will be installed at the Monroeville Branch which will allow new customers to register for their first library card on their own. The staff look forward to this new procedure which we believe will speed up the process of applying for new library cards.

Innovative and Adaptable Content and Services

With ACPL’s current response to the Code Red pandemic status, there is an increase in need for the new internet hot spot service. This is particularly noticeable in rural areas where receiving reliable internet access can be a challenge. The hot spots now available at ACPL have circulated a few times at Monroeville and customers are able to put holds on the hot spots. We anticipate the demand for these hot spots to increase as people are spending more time at home during the pandemic.

New Haven

This past month was a very quiet, yet busy, one at New Haven and we’d love to extend our thanks to the community for being patient during this time. During most of November, we had two staff members who had to stay home and quarantine. As a result, we only had 4 staff members to be able to cover public services and our community was very understanding if some things took a little bit longer. There was thankfully only one day where we had to reduce services, a Saturday where we were open 10-2 instead of 10-6 and the community accepted this gracefully.


Community leaders partnered with Meijer to host a turkey giveaway in the Pontiac Branch parking lot on November 21. As you can see in this media coverage, it was a needed service for our community.

Staff chose to focus much of their training this month (both at the Indiana Library Federation Annual Conference and through other webinars) on the topics of diversity & inclusion and teens. Relevant ILF sessions included The Kids are Not Alright: Why LGBTQIA+ Representation in Literature Matters, Understanding ACES for Improved Library Services, Impacting Lives One Teen at a Time: What Directors Should Know, Black in White Spaces: How Blackfishing Impacts Libraries and Archives, Inclusive Placemaking: Understanding the Power of an Accessible Library for All, Unintended Consequences of Police in the Library, Creating Space for Civil Dialogue, and Building Authentic Inclusion in the Library. Other trainings attended by staff that related to diversity & inclusion or teens included Uncovering Privilege and Addressing Microaggressions, Strengthen Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Practice Through Self-Paced Learning, Black Lives Matter: Comics as a Powerful Lens for Social Justice, A Library for Everyone: Building a Model for Library Digital Accessibility, Developmental Assets: The Power of Relationships, and Homeless Training Institute --- Ornery Teenagers.


  • The month of November saw branch staff focus on learning more about the vast online resources the library has available to the public. Each week staff were given five database scenarios to work on.  Each scenario proposed a question and asked the staff to recommend a resource to find the answer.  They not only learned more about how to hunt for information but about each database itself.  The exercises will continue in December and will allow for better reference service to our customers.
  • As the ACPL transitioned into offering limited service on November 27th, the Shawnee branch was grateful to be able to offer a means by which customers could pick up their holds. Shawnee is able to offer ‘tableside’ service wherein customers may call for their holds from their cars and staff will check out materials and place them on a designated table outside the library doors.  Thus far customers have seemed very thankful at this service, especially given the recent change to allowing 20 holds per account.


Free Comic Book Week – ACPL had a fun giveaway of Free Comic Book Day comic books.  Tecumseh received a very nice supply of titles, and unlike other years, we needed to find a more socially-distanced and sanitary way to distribute comic books.  We made copies of the covers, and placed them on display for customers to choose up to two titles. Our customers, young and old, loved this giveaway.   I believe that we actually had more participation in the giveaway because of the display!  We will continue to do Free Comic Books this way yearly.  


*Local artist Charlotte Smith created a beautiful fall/Thanksgiving tree for us, which was placed inside our back wall of windows to be enjoyed by all. The plan is for Charlotte to change the tree out as the seasons change. It is currently a gorgeous tree filled with fall leaves, pumpkins, turkeys and color!

*As we looked at adapting back to curbside service and computer use by appointment at the end of the month, we worked on making sure that our community knew that we would do everything in our power to continue to serve them. Many have been worried about the inability to browse when they want new books but aren’t sure what they would like to read. We have discussed with all that we would love to put together a collection of books for them in their preferred genre or on a topic. This is a service we have provided in Custom Collections but isn’t well Known. People can call and tell us, for example, that they would like 10 murder mysteries and we will pull a collection of murder mysteries together. They could also tell us a favorite author and we could pull books by that author and/or read-a-likes. It’s a fun new way to discover something new and allow us to continue to help people get materials that they want.


Woodburn staff have been working on mandatory trainings through the ACPL Training Academy, particularly the Internal Controls and Network Security trainings. All of Woodburn Staff was in attendance for the new library card application training held by the User Experience Manager in November. This training allows for an easier card application process. This not only benefits the staff, but also the customers’ experience. 

The to-go programs have been extremely popular with our customers and the Becoming Super Program was one of the biggest! This program aligned perfectly with the Free Comic Book Day which is usually held in May, but was postponed this year until November. Our customers appreciated still having a chance to get a free comic book and the bonus of getting to take a home program that allowed them to create their very own comic book.

November is the start of our display of the holiday magazines. This display includes magazines about fall recipes, fall crafts, winter recipes, winter crafts, and mix of other seasonal/holiday home decoration. This is a highly browsed collection and we highlight it by placing it in a central location for easy access with appropriate signage made by the talented CME staff.


Rolland Center Project Update – MSS staff are on target to complete the REA collection shift required by the upcoming Rolland Center for Lincoln Studies construction project by December 10.  The majority of materials have been shifted through the end of the 800s within the non-fiction collection.  Magazines in the great hall bays soon to be occupied by the Rolland Center will be relocated to within the Readers’ Services department, between the reference desk and the fiction collection.  Other collections which have been relocated but are still available to the public include reference and periodicals.

Departmental staff at the Main Library are supporting existing Holds Department staff in processing customer holds.  With the change to 20 holds per customer to increase access to the collection through curbside pickup, the Main Library has seen an increase in materials on hold.  Main Library staff have been handling between 1,500 and 3,500 holds daily to meet customer demand.

Art, Music & Media

From October 19 until November 15, 2020, “The Art of Hope” exhibit was open in the Jeffrey R. Krull Gallery.  Art of Hope 2020 highlighted the works of local artists and shared inspiring stories about recovery, healing, and hope in the world of mental health and its challenges.  The exhibit encouraged candid conversations around mental illness and wellness.  Wane-TV15 covered the exhibit on the local news and a virtual opening was filmed on opening day.

On Friday, November 13, a string quartet, consisting of players from the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, played in the Great Hall of the Main Library.  Library patrons and staff enjoyed listening to this noon-time concert.

Business, Science & Technology

  • BST and the NIIC have jointly delivered a virtual program “Breakthrough 1: A Journey of How to Start Your Own Business”. This’s the first program presented in partnership between the Allen County Public Library and the Northeast Indiana Innovation Center (NIIC). The program was designed to help people with entrepreneur mind to get started with their own business by providing a variety of tools and resources from the library.

In the meantime, one BST staff has been attending the NIIC’s virtual weekly Breakthrough meeting on Tuesday night, to better learn the needs of the community.

  • Another virtual program, Networking with a Personal Brand, has been presented in partnership between the Allen County Public Library and WorkOne Northeast.

Children’s Services

Children’s Services offered its first collaborative virtual program with the Little River Wetlands Project (LRWP) on the afternoon of November 19, featuring the topic: birds and bird beaks. The next virtual program with LRWP is Thursday, December 17, and the topic will be tracks and animal signs. We are excited to continue this partnership with LRWP.

A diversity audit of the Juvenile Delivery Collection (JDC) is being conducted by ACPL children’s librarians. The JDC is one of the ways the Children’s Services department offers outreach to area preschools, childcare facilities, and at-home childcare providers. The participating entities borrow boxes of books (typically a set of two boxes with 25 picture books in each box) which are checked out and delivered to their facility to use until we visit again with another set of books to exchange. These visits typically occur during January/February, April/May, and September. When the books are delivered and we are not in a pandemic, a children’s librarian presents a story time rich with early literacy tips and techniques.

Special Collections & Genealogy

November saw 2,493 participants enjoy seventeen virtual programs offered through the Genealogy Center. We continue to receive very positive feedback from those participating. We are able to answer a lot of questions both in the Q & A portions of the programs as well as in the chat sessions. We were particularly pleased to collaborate with the Indiana Library Federation in developing and supporting a “Genealogy Track” in their 2020 virtual library conference.

In November, the Rolland Center reached another important milestone—the construction portion of the project was officially bid. Toward the end of the month a walk-through of both the bid documents and the physical space was provided by Design Collaborative. Eight local contractors expressed interest. The Lincoln librarians continued their dedicated planning work for the Rolland Center, focusing on the details included in scope-of-work documents for the digital exhibits. Our technology partner, Blue Pony, presented revisions for the Family Album Projection, Expert-in-Residence Projection, and the Welcome Wall. More work continues on the details of the content management system. 

Teen Services

Our department filled the part-time Librarian position.  The new team member brings to our team a background in secondary education and literature.

November was a good month for the virtual video gaming program, Animal Crossing Meetup.  Total attendance for the month was 24 and sessions included fun activities such as bingo, a game called Time Bomb, and catching fish and sea creatures to prepare for the Turkey Day event.

Collection Development Team

Some “Areas of Interest” profiles in Wise were reconfigured.  New categories were added for “Parenting” and “House and Home”.   The “Science & Technology”, “Business & Economics”, “Health & Fitness”, “Nature”, and Psychology” categories were all updated and improved.  The “Arts & Crafts” category was also updated to include handicrafts such as woodworking and sewing.  When customers select various “Areas of Interest” in their personal Wise account, they receive monthly new arrival newsletters for each of those topics. has been added to the library’s digital collection.  This service offers online tutoring and homework help to students in more than 40 subjects.  It should be available for public use soon.

IT Services

ITS is currently refreshing 240 public and staff workstation

Upgrade to Office 2019 for staff first week of December, followed by public computers.

User Experience

November was a big milestone for the Library and User Experience, it marked the one-year anniversary of going live with Wise. This year has brought a great deal of improvements to processes such as the speed at which we are able to fill customer holds and the introduction of the New Arrival emails to call out two. We have also been able to communicate with our customers like never before. This is not a comprehensive list but in the past year (11/11/2019 – 11/11/2020) we have:

  • Made 9,519 Personal Reading Recommendations in My account.
  • Sent 336,179 Curtesy Reminders via email.
  • Sent 240,504 Hold Pick up Notices via email.
  • Seen customers renew their materials via My Account 1,110,445 times.
  • Processed 11,389 Online Registrations through the Website.
  • Seen customers place holds on materials via the website 368,710 times.

Youth Services

SPARK Winter Reading— “Books Like Us,” featuring diverse writers and voices begins on December 1, with a community reading goal of one million minutes.