Thursday, May 21, 2015

24th Annual Minitex Conference May 12, 2015

By Kay Westergren, Duluth Public Library

"From Infrasructure to Engagement: Thinking About the Library in the Life of the User" Lorcan Dempsey

This was a very interesting presentation about the shift in perceptions of the "Library" and how as a library we can make the city/university successful and support the needs of the city/university. There is a shift occurring with electronic resource as well as the use of the internet, the Library is becoming more about engaging with the life of the user.

Several main points:
Library in the life of the user - how does it reach out, engage with the life of the user? How does it support the needs of the city/university? The life of the user has changed. There are expectations of speed and convenience. Fragmentation is a deterrent. We need to look at the behaviors of our users how as a Library we interact with them.

Enterprise - How choices need to be made regarding collections; space; services and expertise. What is the Library as space, what are the engagement opportunities, what is the identity of the Library?

Less about collections and more about the people, how do the collections support the needs of the users - vs - the needs of supporting the user's need of physical space. We need to focus on connection and identity, what is a place, what is meaningful community space?

Creation - Libraries need to support a wider spectrum. Examples include: digital life cycles, copyright, managing data, making spaces, and relationships. We need to be about creating not just consuming. Introduce community engagement, programing for users with a focus on local history, crafts, health issues, etc. We need to ask what can be gained by community engagment.

The above presentation was very profound I thought, many things to consider in the years to come.

I also really appreciated being able to connect and talk with other ILL staff.

Thank you for funding the travel to this conference.

24th Annual Minitex ILL Conference

By Coral Ellshoff, Hibbing Public Library

Minnesota has such an awesome ILL system; ALS has such a great collection-sharing system. I'm so glad I could attend this conference. Conferences always seem to give me enough forced sitting-still time to get ideas going, and this was definitely that way.

The first presentation was by Lorcan Dempsey, chief strategist at OCLC presented, "Infrastructure to Engagement." Since Hibbing Public Library is getting a new floor, we're taking the opportunity to reconfigure stacks and gathering areas. We've found that noise is a problem, and in addition, we want to give teens a defined space. Dempsey highlighted a resource from OCLC called "Beyond Access: Libraries Powering Development," from which I've included a handy-dandy infographic. Many of these points are ones that the staff here have discussed, so it's great to see we're right in line with these trends. Also, the design theme of the building carries through to the website. So maybe the children's section in the library has a color palette or a style of custom signs that can then be used on the website.

Next, Dennis Massie, also from OCLC, presented a stand-up comedy routine regarding system-wide collection sharing. Massie's self-deprecating style, along with his art-student son's depictions of Sasquatch, made crunching ILL statistics highly enjoyable. The long and short of it is that smaller system-based ILL is increasing, while the use of OCLC's vast WorldCat for ILL is decreasing. Maybe that's because OCLC charges too much, but he didn't go into that.

For the fire hose portion of the day, Marshall Breeding came in to update attendees on current library technology. I've used his site since I was an MLIS student, but certainly didn't (and still don't) comprehend the breadth and depth of his data and analysis. This may help me to contribute to the ALS discussion about a new ILS.

Some ideas that I'll explore using at the Hibbing Public Library are:

  • Make an additional laptop space in our computer lab, to a circuit that won't easily overload;
  • Outreach regarding our plans for re-doing the floor of the library, and the space reconfiguration that will also occur, using and in the library itself. This will encourage library users to become more invested in the library;
  • Create distinct color schemes and intuitive signage in the reconfigured library and mirror those color schemes and nomenclature on the website;
  • Create a 24/7 portion of the website. These are the resources that are always available, enabling library users to be power users even if they can't use the physical library. There are so many existing ALS resources that make this possible, including Mail-A-Book and many electronic services too.

Resources that I'll be using from this conference include:

As for why a female-dominated profession has only male speakers? I don't know, and wasn't rude enough to confront any wonderful Minitex staff about the curiosity. Interestingly, during the Q&A portions for each speaker, the men in the audience were willing to challenge findings or assumptions, whereas women were not. Perhaps if women were willing to challenge (or we as a society were willing to accept women who challenge), we would also receive recognition for our sizable contributions to the library profession.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Teen Literature Conference

by Amy Dettmer, Grand Rapids

Last Saturday I attended  Twin Cities Teen Lit Con. It was great! There were lots of teens running around and the authors geared their presentations to the teen audience. I saw Gayle Forman, Matt de la Pena, and E. Lockhart, all superstar authors of teen lit.

In the morning I attended   “What to Read Next”,  presented by  Laura Lanik, Book Snob blogger and Social Studies teacher. She book talked some of her favorite 2014 and 2015 titles. I was happy to see I have some of them on the shelves, but there were quite a few new-to-me titles, too. Her day job is teaching  at Minneapolis South High School and she loves reading! She brought a fresh social studies perspective to her book talks which I enjoyed.

In the afternoon I attended “You Published What?” with Dutton book editor Andrew Karre. He was casual and laid back and opened his session to lots of questions. He said his boss at Dutton is the editor of all John Green’s books, Julie Strauss-Gabel! He gave advice on how to break into publishing and talked about the state of young adult publishing. Fascinating to hear about the publishing world!

Thank you to ALS for providing the scholarship to attend. I had a great day!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Teen Literature Conference

By Emily Ekstrand-Brummer, Hibbing Public Library

This weekend I was lucky enough to attend the Twin Cities Teenlitcon in Mendota Heights because of an ALS scholarship. I had a great time, and it was inspiring to see so many young adults be so excited about books and authors. Many of these kids were obsessed with the authors at the convention, and I mean OBSESSED. They were following them around everywhere and waiting in long lines to get autographs. I would say that the most popular author there was Gene Luen Yang, author and illustrator of the Airbender graphic novels, so I will probably order some of these for my library.

I went to one session called “Introduction to Spoken-Word Poetry” taught by the Twin Cities spoken word poet Guante. I chose this session because I am ABSOLUTELY TERRIFIED of spoken word. I am terrified just watching it and I was really terrified that Guante would make us all do some spoken word. Luckily he didn't. I wanted to see what it was about because I have heard about a lot of libraries hosting poetry slams and clubs. He was really cool to watch, and he shared some great online resources which I will include here. I’m glad I went because if my teens ever tell me that they’re interested in spoken word or doing a program I’ll know where to go to help them out.

Guante’s website:
Minnesota based program for young people:
 Button Poetry, uploads a new spoken word video every day:

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Digital Inclusion in Minnesota

The American Library Association and the University of Maryland's Information Policy and Access Center (iPAC) compiled data from iPAC's Digital Inclusion Survey that "documents the extent to which libraries have met the challenges posed by digital technology."

Monday, May 04, 2015


By Kim Pittman, Kathryn A. Martin Library, University of Minnesota Duluth

I attended three excellent sessions at ARLD Day on qualitative methods for assessment, connecting with students in online courses, and partnering with students for campus outreach efforts. In the third session, “One Thing Leads to Another: Fostering an Open Library with Student Partners,” Heather Tompkins, Susan Hoang, and Kristin Partlo from Carleton College co-presented with student employees who assist them with digital humanities, campus outreach, and reference and instruction. The librarians explained that partnering with student employees can help to fill the void when your staffing infrastructure hasn’t caught up with your library’s level of energy and inspiration. Additionally, student partnerships can help the library break down barriers that have developed as a result of negative library stereotypes. Student projects have also helped make the inner workings of their library more transparent.

The student presenters spoke about what they have learned from their work with the library and described the projects they had completed. The Digital Humanities Associate, Kaylin Land, had helped created an undergraduate research journal, which gave her the opportunity to learn more about copyright, fair use, and citation methods. The Outreach Student Worker, Alice Cohen, had participated in many interesting projects, from creating posters and advertisements to hosting an event in which students were invited to create a comic book version of the library. This particular student position evolved over time: initially Alice was given ideas to implement, but eventually she developed a more collaborative relationship with the library’s outreach committee. Finally, the Reference and Instruction student interns (Edward Malnar and Carrie Hanson) spoke about their experiences creating tutorials and assisting with the library’s instruction program. Overall, this session was dynamic and inspiring. I was excited to see the breadth of work completed by students, and to hear about how embracing student perspectives and contributions enhanced the library’s presence on campus. Slides for the session can be found at

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Sync - Young Adult Lit for your earbuds!

SYNC is a free summer audiobook program for young adults. 
Starting May 7th 2015, SYNC will give away two complete
audiobook downloads a week - a current young adult title
 along with a thematically paired classic or required summer reading title. 
Sign up for email or text alerts and be first to know
when new titles are available to download

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Spotlight on Books

By Marsha Benolken, Nashwauk Library

While attending the conference in Walker on April 11 & 12, 2015, I enjoyed not only the accommodations, but also the speakers. Ms. Drasek was so full of life and had so much to say on the Kerlan Collection. Ms. Bell was a very interesting speaker who kept the audience intrigued.

But what I really enjoyed was the lightning round Friday night; we all had so much to share in our book world. The entire teachers group, who came, gave such valuable information on what our youth are reading. That whole group of teachers kept us laughing and it went too fast.

Again for a person who is always wanting to learn more in our book world this was a great conference! Thank you for all the hard work in putting the conference together.


By Emily Ekstrand-Brummer, Hibbing Public Library

The Minnesota Library Association Public Library Division (PLD) Day conference was so great! There were awesome presentations about library security and maker spaces, and there was a maker space petting zoo. They had tons of fancy stuff like a 3-D Printer and vinyl laser cutter, but while everyone was crowded around those I had my own fun playing with electricity, circuits, and wires. The St. Paul Public Library has circuit kits where you can mess around with batteries, wires, switches, and clamps to do things like make a light bulb
 turn on, make a motor spin, or make a buzzer buzz. They also had cards with challenges on them, for example, try to make a switch turn on a light and motor at the same time. I had so much fun playing with it and learned about wiring and problem solving. All of the materials are really cheap and available at any hardware store. I hope to get this for the Hibbing Public Library, so if you want to see it for yourself, stop by and try it out!