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Welcome to fall, everyone! I hope you all get to enjoy this special time of year that welcomes the changing of the season. Since this month is the WLA Fall Conference, I wanted to highlight some inclusive offerings that the conference has in store:

  • Wednesday – Opening Keynote: Building Civility One Relationship at a Time” with The Civility Project; How creative interactive displays and passive programming bring people together; Libraries, Learning, & Outreach: Stories from the Field of the PolarVR; Building Library Staff’s Capacity for Discussing Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity, and Access; Podcasting: How to Tell Community Stories and Build a Great Work Culture
  • Thursday – Keynote: Three Ways to Improve your Inclusion with DEI Consultant Lisa Koenecke; Building Diverse Collections with TeachingBooks & Book Connections; Playful Learning at the Library: Deepening Family & Community Engagement with PBS KIDS; Let’s Talk Mental Health: Beyond Self-Care; Braille Library and Transcription Services; School District partnership – opt in library cards; Media Mentorship: Strategies for Supporting All Learners in the Library with PBS; You are not alone. School and Public Library Cooperation
  • Friday – Creating Pathways to Community Resources; We All Belong – Welcoming Teens with Intellectual Disabilities to Public Library Services; Storywalk® Adventures:  Connecting the Library to Your Community; Every Child is an Artist: Process Art in the Library; Sensory For Everyone
I hope to see you there!



  • Libraries Transforming Communities: Accessible Small and Rural Communities Grant – will offer more than $7 million in grants to small and rural libraries to increase the accessibility of facilities, services, and programs to better serve people with disabilities. To be eligible, a library must have a legal service area population of 25,000 or less and be located at least five miles from an urbanized area, in keeping with the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) definitions of small and rural libraries. ALA will award two rounds of grants to be distributed over the next three years ranging from $10,000 to $20,000. Applications will close on Monday, December 11. There is a webinar to learn about the application process on October 4, at 1 pm. Register here: https://elearning.ala.org/local/catalog/view/product.php?productid=1012

  • Nourishing Minds initiative: Is teen mental health something you are thinking about? Would you like to gain skills in building positive teen well-being? As a part of the IMLS-funded Nourishing Minds initiative, The Seattle Public Library is seeking six U.S. public libraries to participate in a series of activities over the next year. Those selected to participate will receive a $6000 stipend to use in support of learning about and providing services in support of teen mental health. Onboarding of selected library staff begins in November 2023, learning sessions for selected staff will begin in early 2024, and libraries selected will facilitate their mental health centered programs from February through July 2024. You can apply to participate in the initiative by filling out and submitting this form.  To learn more check out our FAQ and register for our information session on Wednesday, October 4, noon to 1 PM Pacific.  Applications will close on October 13 at 11:59 PM Pacific.

  • Misnamed and Mispronounced: This article links to several great resources about why pronouncing names correctly is important, especially for children, and includes children’s books on the topic.

Continuing Education:

  • Next Ryan Dowd Webinar: Drunk or High: How to De-Escalate Someone Who is Under the Influence, Thursday, October 12; 1 p.m. Contact Jamie at WVLS (jmatczak@wvls.org) for the registration link.

  • Fatness and Libraries: Amplifying the Voices of Fat Librarians in DEIA Work – October 19, 11 AM.  As both popular and scholarly discussions of weight discrimination, fat representation, and anti-fatness gain momentum, library and information professionals must be prepared to participate in and lead conversations about fatness and our work. This presentation will report on findings from nearly twenty hours of interviews with public-facing librarians, including those from public, school, academic, and special libraries, who shared their wide-ranging experiences navigating the profession in fat bodies.

  • Building Community Relationships for Better Library Services – October 24, 2 pm: In this session, we will explore strategies for finding community partners and building relationships with them with the goal of truly working in collaboration with the people they serve. We will discuss strategies for small rural libraries up through large urban systems.


Diverse Holidays in October:

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month. This observance was launched in 1945 when Congress declared the first week in October as “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” In 1998, the week was extended to a month and renamed. The annual event draws attention to employment barriers that still need to be addressed.

October is LGBT History Month, a U.S. observance started in 1994 to recognize lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender history and the history of the gay rights movement.

October is Global Diversity Awareness Month, a month to celebrate and increase awareness about the diversity of cultures and ethnicities and the positive impact diversity can have on society.

October is Blind Equality Achievement Month  Formerly known as Meet the Blind Month, the National Federation of the Blind celebrates the organized blind movement during October. Throughout the month, our members conduct a variety of outreach activities in their local communities. Many of these activities center on White Cane Awareness Day which is October 15.

October 9: Canadian Thanksgiving, a chance for people to give thanks for a good harvest and other fortunes in the past year.

October 10: World Mental Health Day. First celebrated in 1993, this day is meant to increase public awareness about the importance of mental health, mental health services, and mental health workers worldwide.

October 10: National Indigenous Peoples Day, gives recognition to the indigenous populations affected by colonization.

October 11: National Coming Out Day (U.S.). For those who identify in the LGBTQ+ spectrum, this day celebrates coming out and the recognition of the 1987 march on Washington for gay and lesbian equality.

October 15-24: Navaratri, the nine-day Hindu festival celebrating the triumph of good over evil. It worships God in the form of the universal mother commonly referred to as Durga, Devi, or Shakti, and marks the start of fall.

October 15: White Cane Safety Day, a day the Council uses to advocate for pedestrian safety and educate the public about the White Cane Law. Since 1964, the day has promoted safe, welcoming communities for people with vision loss or blindness. The Governor and city leaders across Wisconsin are issuing proclamations recognizing White Cane Safety Day. You can find more information and a list of proclamations on the Council website.

October 16-17: Birth of Bahá’u’lláh is a holy day that celebrates the birth of Baháʼu’lláh, the founder of the Baháʼí Faith.

October 19: International Pronouns Day seeks to make respecting, sharing, and educating about personal pronouns commonplace. Each year it is held on the third Wednesday of October.

October 20-24: Durga Puja: also known as Durgotsava or Sharodotsav, is an annual Hindu festival that reveres and pays homage to the Hindu goddess Durga. The festival epitomizes the victory of good over evil, though it is also in part a harvest festival celebrating the goddess as the motherly power behind all of life and creation. Dussehra is celebrated on the last day.

October 22: International Stuttering Awareness Day – was designated in 1998. This day is intended to raise public awareness of stuttering, which affects one percent of the world’s population.

October 31: All Hallows’ Eve (Halloween), a celebration observed in a number of countries on the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day. It begins the three-day observance of Allhallowtide, the time in the liturgical year dedicated to remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the faithful departed.

October 31: Reformation Day, a Protestant Christian religious holiday celebrated alongside All Hallow’s Eve (Halloween) during the triduum of Allhallowtide in remembrance of the onset of the Reformation.

October 31-November 1 (sundown to sundown): Samhain, a Gaelic festival marking the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter or the “darker half” of the year.

Sherry Machones (she/her)
Director – Northern Waters Library Service (NWLS)