Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Visit from Naukati Students!

We had an exciting morning over at the Coffman Cove Library today! I had been emailing with a teacher from a nearby (30 miles) town for the past few weeks, and we worked out an idea for some of the preschool and kindergarten students to make the trip over for a bit of a library orientation. There is no public library in Naukati, and most of the students had never been to the Coffman library before. They came into the kids' room with great excitement, and immediately started finding books and sitting down to flip through the pages.

The kids browsed and looked around on their own for a while, and then we got started on some orientation to checking out books and general library things. (What is a library? What is a library card? How do you check out books?)

I found this fun little video for the kids to watch.

After the video, we had a snack-- brownies, made for the students by Carolyn, who has been on board with the Coffman Cove Library since its inception. We then got all the kids set up with library cards and let them decorate the cards and make bookmarks. The kids all picked out a few books and got to use their new library membership to take some books home.

All in all, it was a great morning. It was wonderful to see the kids so excited about books, and it was a good way for everyone to learn about using the library.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Lots of Activities!

Last week was a busy one! We had a lot going on at the library.

Here's what the week looked like:

Tuesday: Knitting (this happens every week)
Wednesday: Yoga (also weekly) and Early Literacy in the evening
Thursday: Rocketing Into Space CILC program with kids from the school
Saturday: Pickling and Fermenting

The Rocketing Into Space program was great, and it felt successful since it was my first time getting us linked up with a CILC program. The students from the school walked down, and we were able to connect with scientists who build rockets in Alabama. They talked a bit about the rocket building and space launching processes, and the kids were all able to ask questions.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Back in the Game

I have gotten a bit behind the times again.

At the beginning of the month, I had the opportunity to go to Anchorage with the other library VISTAs for a conference on digital literacy. We were able to participate in a bunch of presentations on different topics regarding digital literacy to bring back to our communities. The trip to Anchorage was wonderful, and the information is super important. In the age of technology that is increasingly placing importance on the ability to operate computers, libraries can play an important role in providing educational opportunities to the public.

There is a very wide range of skills when it comes to digital literacy in Coffman Cove. We have plenty of folks that operate computers on a daily basis, know how to set up websites, take classes online, and can use tablets. On the other hand, there are a number of people that are a lot less familiar. In the week before the conference, I helped a few community members use a search engine for the first time. It can be really overwhelming to get acquainted with new technology (heck, every time my iphone software updates, I feel like I am learning a new machine), so I always try to remind people that it can be frustrating to learn, and that is normal. While I may have more knowledge when it comes to working computers, I don't know how to fall a tree, fix a car, or build a house! I was able to learn a lot at the conference that will help me with figuring out instruction for community members all across this spectrum.

Since coming back from Anchorage, I've been struggling to get jump started back onto my routine. This week, I think I finally have it down, starting with my list for the day with my tea and oatmeal. There are a few more things on the list that I have to write down, but it's all about the jumping off point, right?

Monday, October 26, 2015

Needs Assessment: Informed Consent

Informed Consent Form
Interview/Focus Group Participation
Community Needs Assessment of Coffman Cove

Interviewer:                  Rachael Bazzett, MSW. AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer
Funding Agency:          AmeriCorps VISTA
Purpose of Interview:    The purpose of this interview is to learn about the community of Coffman Cove. The information gained through these interviews will be used to inform the development of programs that will be offered through the Coffman Cove Community Library. This interview has a focus on the economic circumstances of individuals and the community as a whole, including impacts of employment/unemployment, prevalence of subsistence means of living, availability of job opportunities, and availability of learning or skill-training opportunities for residents of Coffman Cove.
Risks/Benefits:             There are no known risks for participating in an interview or focus group for the community needs assessment. The interviews will be recorded, transcribed, and then deleted. Transcripts from the interviews will exist in a digital file that is accessible to only the interviewer. Information collected from this interview will be used in a written community needs assessment that will be made available to the public. Common themes from interviews will be used in this report as well as direct quotes that are free from identifying features. Other demographic information that is collected will be reported in aggregate form.
Your Rights:                 It is your choice to participate in this interview, and you may change your mind about participation at any time. You do not need to answer every question if you do not feel comfortable doing so. Feel free to give the interviewer feedback.
Contact:                        If you have any questions at all, feel free to contact Rachael Bazzett at cclibraryvista@outlook.com, rachael.bazzett@gmail.com or at the Coffman Cove Library at 907-329-2080. 

           I understand what I am being asked to do.
           I agree to participate in an interview.
           I agree to use of direct quotes (free from identifying features) in the needs assessment report.

                                                                                 .                                                                 .
Printed Name                                                                                        Date


Friday, October 23, 2015

Weekly(ish) Review

Okay, here we go again! I promise, I am going to get back to posting on Fridays..

The past few weeks have been busy with work AND with a visitor! I had a friend come to Coffman last weekend, which is why I neglected to post on Friday...

Anyway, here is what the last few weeks have looked like:

  • I got my interview questions solidified for my needs assessment! WAHOO!
  • I got one volunteer trained and have been chatting with a few other potential volunteers.
  • I was able to meet up with the two other VISTAs on the island, which was really nice. We were able to talk through some challenges and just generally enjoy being together with people who are all in the same boat.
  • I attended a two-day grant-writing workshop down the island in Kasaan, which was wonderful, and very well worth my time. I got some really good ideas about grant proposal writing and grant management, and I made some good connections with other people on the island. 
  • I went through the preliminary steps to get registered for Kids Vote USA.

Here is what is on the agenda for the next week:

  • There is a library board meeting tomorrow, where I will finally get together the "dream list" of tasks to be completed in the library.
  • I am going to get out into the community and start interviewing people. I am feeling a little out of my element as I get started with this, but I think it should be fine once I get going. This project is going to take up a LOT of time, so I anticipate that this will be the big one on the agenda for a while.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Weekly(ish) Wrap Up

Well, shoot, I have found myself a bit behind on the blog. I found that I was helping it keep me on track, so I am going to try to jump start myself again this week with keeping posted on what I have been doing.

Here is what was on the agenda from my last post:

  • Volunteer manual? This will be worked on throughout the week but may not be finished, as it is up for final review and input from Lynn when she returns.
    • Still... working.. on.. it.. 
  • Have a final draft of my interview questions. Really! 
    • Yes! I have my interview questions ready! I worked a lot at getting input from lots of different people, and I finally have some questions with which I am happy. The UAA Institute for Social and Economic Research has a lot of articles available on their website from various studies and research projects done throughout the state, and I spent a good chunk of time reading those, which helped inform my own thinking around good interview questions.
  • Get an event together for Alaska Book Week.This has been dependent on me hearing back from teachers and getting their input, but if I don't nail down a way to coordinate with the schools this week, then I will go ahead and create an event that will not be run during school hours. 
    • Whaaamp waaaaah. This one didn't get done, and the time is now passed. I was not able to sufficient contact with people locally who would be interested in getting involved. I will put it onto the calendar for next year, and perhaps with more planning, it can be better achieved. 
  • Attend POWCAC (Prince of Wales Community Advisory Council) meeting on Tuesday. This is where people from all the communities on the island come together to discuss matters that impact the people who live on the island.
    • This was actually hugely informative in a lot of ways. There is a lot of confusion right now island-wide about the possibility of the communities of Prince of Wales Island forming a borough- which is the equivalent of a county/parish/etc. Currently, POW is unincorporated, which is important in that there is not an extra governing body, no tax mandates, and the like. POWCAC has been working over the last few years on creating a draft borough charter, with the idea that if and when there is a need for borough formation, the communities will already have a document upon which they can all agree. No one, including the members of POWCAC, wants to form a borough, mainly (I think) for reasons regarding property tax. However, as it currently stands, if an outside company wants to come in and log, export resources from the mines, etc., they have the ability to do that without paying anything back to the community. This means that jobs and resources go away without any possible recourse. The borough charter is just being created so that there is the possibility to pull it out in the future, but people in the community have been under the assumption that POWCAC is trying to form a borough without community input- which isn't true, since it has been addressed on a local level through city council meetings over the last few years when it has been in the works. There is good potential here for some educational opportunities about the role of POWCAC, the political process on the island, and the information that has been compiled as they have been researching pros and cons.

I have done a whooooole bunch of other stuff since  my last post, but for the sake of getting on track, I'm going to leave that to your imagination and get back to posting regularly on Fridays.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Weekly Wrap-Up

The wrap-up from last week is coming to you on Monday morning, because the week spilled over a bit into my weekend. This was good, because I was having a more challenging time getting focused last week, and I was able to pick up momentum again over the weekend. The tasks that I have for this year are pretty in-depth and go in several different directions, so it is easy to get lost in it if I step back too far and look at all that there is to accomplish. I need to be able to focus in a bit more on the smaller things so that I can keep things moving towards that big picture.

Here is where I wound up on my goals:
  • Attend city council meeting on Thursday (again) and make introductions. 
    • I did this! Whew. I look forward to working with the city and council members as I go forward with the needs assessment and program development.
  • Finish, or at least get close to finishing, the volunteer manual.
    • Meeeerr. I need to get some more focus together for this. Lynn, the library director, had to make a last-minute trip out of town last week, and I was hoping to do this conjointly with her so that we cover all the bases. This will be tabled until she is back in town and has some free time. 
  • Have a final draft of my survey/interview so that I can begin doing interviews.
    • I am CLOSE. I chatted with several people in town over the week and have some of my questions narrowed down. I am going to spend some time with the city administrator tomorrow as we travel together to a meeting, so I will have this done (hopefully) tomorrow or the next day. 
  • Promote and conduct the teleconference for people looking to start their own business.
    • Done! I had three people attend the teleconference, which I thought was pretty good for the first one, especially because there were several other events going on at the same time. 
  • Get some things together and scheduled for Alaska Book Week. 
    •  Still working on collaborating with some folks to get this happening. 

Other things that happened:
  •  I completed a volunteer assignment worksheet for my online class, which will actually be very useful to me in working on different volunteer positions.
  • I was able to get some last-minute things together for the library computers to run a live web conference on gun wound first-aid, which was able to benefit a couple members of the community who will get CEU credits for their emergency responder certification. I was also able to learn from this that there are several members of the community who would be interested in having this kind of medical education for their own knowledge or for various certifications.
  • I found some good resources that are made available through the Institute of Social and Economic Research through the University of Anchorage that will help inform the work that I am doing over the course of the year.
  • I met with Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Thompkins, who is the elected state representative for the district in which POW Island is located. We brainstormed a bit about the question presented in my VAD and I was able to gain some insight into how Coffman fits into the island community and Southeast Alaska as a whole.
  • I participated in a webinar on using social media at VISTA sites. It was somewhat helpful, but a lot of the ideas are not very applicable in rural communities. 

On the agenda for this week:
  • Volunteer manual? This will be worked on throughout the week but may not be finished, as it is up for final review and input from Lynn when she returns.
  • Have a final draft of my interview questions. Really! 
  • Get an event together for Alaska Book Week.This has been dependent on me hearing back from teachers and getting their input, but if I don't nail down a way to coordinate with the schools this week, then I will go ahead and create an event that will not be run during school hours. 
  • Attend POWCAC (Prince of Wales Community Advisory Council) meeting on Tuesday. This is where people from all the communities on the island come together to discuss matters that impact the people who live on the island.
I just want to keep writing things on here that I can be doing, but I am trying to keep myself from biting off more than I can chew, and I already have items on here that have been rolled over from last week. I am hoping that I will be able to stay a bit more focused and get some stuff done!