Category Archives: ILEAD U

ILEAD USA (by TTW contributor Mick Jacobsen)

I have been a part of this initiative as an instructor for the first two iterations and can not recommend it highly enough! Check it out if you live in one of the states involved.

ILEAD USA Applications Available-“National Day of Application” November 1 The State Library continues its preparations to host ILEAD USA (Innovative Librarians Explore, Apply and Discover): The 21st Century Technology and Leadership Skills Institute for the States. This continuing education initiative will be held at the University of Illinois Springfield on March 25-28, June 17-20 and October 21-24, 2013. Our partner states in ILEAD USA are Colorado, Iowa, Ohio and Utah.

We are accepting applications until December 14th for mentors, instructors, and participants for ILEAD USA. ILEAD USA is a competitive, application-only program. Please consider applying for one of the three components at Applications are currently being accepted for Illinois, Ohio and Utah, and will be available shortly for Colorado and Iowa.

A “National Day of Application” will be held November 1 featuring a live Webinar from 10 a.m. to 12 noon CST. During the Webinar ILEAD USA project directors will answer any questions about how to complete the ILEAD USA application.

Registration is encouraged but not required to take part in the “National Day of Application” Webinar. Register at The live Webinar will take place at Log in as a guest with your name and state. No password is needed. If you wish to test the system prior to November 1, please contact Debra Aggertt at [email protected] or 217-558-1945.

If you do not have an audio connection via your computer for November 1, you may participate via conference call. Please call this conference call number: 888-494-4032, Access Code: 3886075450.

ILEAD USA is made possible by a Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program grant awarded to the State Library by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

Contact Gwen Harrison at [email protected] (217-785-7334) or Debra Aggertt at [email protected] (217-558-1945) if you have questions.

ILEAD U: Second Year

I wanted to point to this great post about ILEAD U from Alicia Hammond, the Corporate and Small Business Liaison Librarian at the Schaumburg Township Library, IL.

I have been given an incredible opportunity as a librarian.  Earlier this year, I was accepted in the ILEAD U (Illinois Libraries Explore, Apply and Discover: The 21st Century Technology Tools Institute).  This program is operated by the Illinois State Library and funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.  And it is really cool!  Basically there are two things going on with this program.  They bring a bunch of librarians together to form groups and create projects that utilize technology to support and engage the community.  But the underlying goal is even better.  While creating this project is great, the real reason we are doing this is to get used to being bold and putting new, awesome, fun projects into practice.  This isn’t the kind of program where failure is going to get you into trouble.  (Not that we want to fail!) But we are allowed to dream big and then go for it.

Read the rest of the post on her blog Librarian Unafraid.

This year State Libraries from all over the country have sent representatives to discover whether they want to try and bring it back, some seem enthusiastic and others worried about funding (staff hours, etc.) . I would recommend putting a little pressure on your state library to bring this to your area, a grant is being written at this very moment.

You can learn more about Alicia’s ILEAD U team’s Library Events Mobile App project soon on Facebook at (the page doesn’t seem to be up yet). You can learn about the other groups at

TTW Contributor: Mick Jacobsen

ILEAD U: Team Pandora

This is the third installment from the ILEAD U Project.  Click here or on the category hyperlink to read more about it. – Mick Jacobsen

Team Pandora was comprised of three libraries in the Springfield area- the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library (Jan Perone), Illinois State Library (Debra Aggertt, Sandra Fritz and Beth Paoli) and University of Illinois Springfield-Brookens Library (Pamela Salela).

After a few meetings a final decision was reached by the group to try to improve services to Illinois State government agencies particularly those that had lost or did not have an agency library.

Team Pandora had a major obstacle to overcome by having to get information through state government’s somewhat limiting restrictions.  With the participation of the University of Illinois Springfield, the major issues of who could pay and order the grant material and possibly host any web products we came up with could be solved.

With Jan’s connections, a survey created by Team Pandora was sent out to a small group of central Illinois librarians and was eventually allowed to be sent to Deb’s connections at the Illinois Department of Transportation.

The three libraries came up with resources in their respective libraries that would best suit state employees’ needs.  UIS- Central Illinois Non-Profit Resource Center, ALPL- newspapers& historical resources and ISL- state and federal documents.

The team eventually used the resources purchased through the grant to create a web portal (content management system) and video for the site.  Team Pandora was divided into two sub-committees that worked on the portal called LRISA (Library Resources for Illinois State Agencies) and the other worked on writing, filming and editing a video.

The in-session ILEADU classes assisted in learning about Content Management Products.  It was also essential in learning about the possibilities for video use and the tools needed.

Most members of Team Pandora had little or no experience with any of the technologies used so it is safe to say, the learning curve was great and the information learned was immense.  Technologies learned include Adobe Connect Pro, Survey Monkey, WordPress and Camtasia.

The challenge for the future will be if the site can become a reality.  As mentioned previously, the hurdles placed by State Government can be difficult but we hope to preserver.

TTW Contributor Mick Jacobsen

ILEAD U: Springfield Big Read

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This is the second installment from the ILEAD U Project.  Click here or on the category hyperlink to read more about it. – Mick Jacobsen

Team Springfield Big Read includes Amanda Binder and Janelle Gurnsey from University of Illinois Springfield, Brookens Library; Julie Wullner from Lincoln Library, The Public Library of Springfield, Illinois; Amy Ihnen from Chatham Public Library District; and Sarah Garley from Rochester Public Library.  Together we represent four of the 14 partners of The Big Read in Central Illinois.  The Big Read is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services and Arts Midwest that promotes literary reading among Americans by having communities read and discuss a single book.  The Big Read in Central Illinois selected Carson McCullers’ The Heart is a Lonely Hunter.

Big Read Contest

The goal of the Springfield Big Read team was to use participatory technology to engage individuals ages 18-24 in The Big Read in Central Illinois.  We thought that a contest about music, central to the life of one of the main characters in the book, would appeal both to our targeted audience, and to people of all ages.  Under the Influence: Music that Inspires allows people to express how music inspires them through writing, video, audio or artwork.  All entries will be featured and voted on by the public on the contest website:  Winners will be awarded prizes at the kickoff event for The Big Read in Central Illinois on February 15, 2011.

ILEAD U provided us with access to a team of experts and our own personal mentor, Genna Buhr, to support us as we experimented with finding the best technologies to create our project.  We decided to design a website to centralize all activities associated with the contest.  One of the challenges we encountered through this process was choosing a platform that supported all of the elements of the contest, such as the online entry forms and voting and communication tools.  We originally selected Ning as our platform but eventually chose WordPress because it better served our needs.

Join Us!

Under the Influence: Music that Inspires is already helping to build awareness about the upcoming Big Read program:  Since the website was launched in early November, we have been pouring our efforts into promoting the contest.  Team libraries are now lending Flip cameras and will be using iPads purchased through the grant to promote participation in the contest both in our libraries and throughout our communities.  To keep people connected to activity on the website, and informed of deadlines for the contest, we created accounts on Facebook and Twitter.

We are excited for the contest to build momentum over the next few months.  Entries are accepted through January 7, 2011 and you do not need to live in the Springfield area to participate!  If you are interested in promoting the Under the Influence: Music that Inspires Expression Contest at your location feel free to download print materials from our website.

How has music inspired you?

TTW Contributor Mick Jacobsen

ILEAD U Team Lincoln Lawgs: Building Blocks for Illinois Law Students

Who are the Lincoln Lawgers?

Team Lincoln Lawgs – Maribel Nash from Chicago-Kent College of Law, Jamie Sommer & Jessica de Perio Wittman from John Marshall Law School, Patricia Scott from Loyola University Chicago School of Law, and Valerie Krasnoff from Northwestern University School of Law, along with supermentor Pat Boze  — began the ILEAD U process by forming a team to collaborate to create an online legal research community specifically for Illinois law students.  In sad news, we learned in July that Valerie had accepted a new position at Northwestern outside of the library and that she would no longer be able to participate in ILEAD U.  The remaining four Chicagoans and Pat soldiered on to make our Lincoln Lawgs dreams come true.

What is Lincoln Lawgs?

Although most law school students learn the same things, and encounter the same questions and problems when they enter the legal community for the first time, we realized that there is not much opportunity for Chicago law students to share their experiences. We wondered what we could do to change that, and the result is Lincoln Lawgs.

Lincoln Lawgs is an online community geared to Illinois law students.  The research portions of the site are geared to students working on assignments, either at work or in school, and features scenarios based on actual questions they might be asked to research.  Our tutorials are posted in multiple formats—video, text, links to helpful library resources—so students can learn the information using their preferred method.

Lincoln Lawgs also features virtual meeting spaces (“Cabins”) that students can reserve to hold group meetings online.  We have our “Campfire Chat,” or message boards, where students can post research questions they encounter and start conversations with other law students who perhaps have the same problems.  We have news feeds to popular local and national law blogs, where students can keep up with the latest goings-on through popular legal blogs.

Lincoln Lawgs also includes some fun features to help build our community of local law students.  Anyone can like us on Facebook, where we’ve posted some bonus pictures and discussion from our community.  Community members can even submit research questions to us on Facebook.  We also have Abe’s Photo Album, where you can submit photos of yourself with Abe (statue, bust, impersonator) and be featured on Lincoln Lawgs’ front page!

Why Abe?

Legal research can usually be pretty boring, and we hope that adding a touch of whimsy and kitsch might make Lincoln Lawgs more appealing to law students.  Not that Abe isn’t completely relevant…after all, Abe Lincoln is Illinois’ most famous attorney!

We hope that you take a look at Lincoln Lawgs and let us know what you think!

Introducing ILEAD U

ILEAD UOver the next couple months I will proudly be presenting the ILEAD U (hear I lead you) Class of 2010.

ILEAD U (Illinois Libraries Explore, Apply, and Discover… not sure what the U stands for) is an ongoing program developed by the super-cool Illinois State Library funded by a grant from the Laura Bush Foundation.  Its main stated goal is “To help library staff develop leadership skills necessary to address local community needs (e.g., job creation, education) through innovative applications of participatory technology tools”  Or “create awesome librarians” (my version).  This took place over 3 3 days sessions in lovely Springfield, IL.

Pretty cool, huh?

The participants formed groups (from at least 3 libraries) and applied.  I won’t speak for the teams as I will be putting up posts by each team in the near future.  Suffice to say that they all blew me away with their creativity, work ethic, and embracing of the new, difficult path that I think libraries need to take in order to create thriving communities.

What was looked for in each team member was:

  • “Each ILEADer must be innovative and interested in learning new technologies. A master’s degree in library science is NOT required, nor is expertise in Web technologies.
  • Each ILEADer must be motivated to connect with their user populations in virtual spaces.”

The teams were assigned a mentor to be an outside perspective and help facilitate the process.  Probably the hardest job of all.

I was part of the instructor corp Our job was to come up with a curriculum designed for the needs of the groups.  I taught Intro to Drupal, Screencasting for Beginners, Online Reputation Management, and Thinking Like a Website Architect.  Other classes were on Social Media, Knowing When to Kill Projects, WordPress, an Intro to LAMP, Plinket, Copyright, and many, many more.  The instructor corp was lead by the amazing David Lankes of Syracuse University.

In addition to the instructor corp were a few keynote speakers.  One was Beck Tench (who I had never met nor even heard of before… but do consider bringing her in for whatever she wants to talk about – if only for cool slides) and the always understated Eli Neiburger waxing poetic on How Libraries are Screwed.  And, of course, Lankes keynoted/brought together everything beautifully at will.

A new and interesting group has been invited to the next cohort.  This group is comprised of employees from other state libraries who are considering bringing it back to their states.   If this sounds interesting perhaps it is time to ask the powers that be if your state library could be involved?

I am proud to have been involved in the first year of ILEAD U and am sad that I will not be able to continue – but do want to highly recommend it to all.  This is something practical and awesome that is being created in Libraryland for and with our communities.  This is the future of librarians.

The first post written by one of the groups will be the Lincoln Lawgs…. in a few days.

TTW Contributor: Mick Jacobsen