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St. Cloud State Library Adds Full Spectrum Lighting

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scsu_full_lightsWe all know its coming, and we can’t do anything to stop it… WINTER! With days getting shorter and nights getting longer, the Library at St. Cloud State University decided to do something about it. Partnering with the Counseling and Psychological Services, they recently announced the addition of full spectrum lighting in a beach-like area of  the Library. The video below shows you the area and has interviews with happy SCSU students who are excited about using the lights this winter.

Many people in the library world are looking for more partnering and collaborative opportunities. The Dean of the Library, Mark Vargas, and his staff show us that sometimes those partnerships may come from areas not typically used. Do you have examples of great or different partnerships you’ve found for your library? Share them in the comments!

Written by John

October 21, 2014 at 1:21 pm

Tablets Engage Students in the Classroom

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Kids with Education Tablet ComputersMany schools are acquiring – or trying to acquire – tablets for classroom use.  The hope is that tablets can be used as classroom tools and improve learning.  Studies vary on what percentage of students currently have access to tablets, but those students that do are primarily using tablets from parents or through a tablet program at their school.  While the tablets are used for all sorts of subjects, the most popular apps on tablets are for reading and literacy.  In an interview by Ben Johnson with Adriene Hill of Marketplace Tech, Hill says that only about one third of 4th grade students are considered “proficient” in their reading skills.”  Apps on tablets can help – they are more engaging and seen as more fun by students.  Technology is also more “personalizable,” Hill says – it is easier to tailor the app to the student’s needs.  You can listen to the full 3-minute interview here.

Looking for apps to use?  Look for our weekly ‘Recommended App’ post, which features a new app each week that has been recommended by the American Association of School Librarians.  So far, we have featured Monster Physics, Duolingo, Brian Cox’s Wonders of Life, Subtext, and Notability.

Image credit: http://tinyurl.com/mhroxam, licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Written by Theresa

October 21, 2014 at 10:57 am

Young Filmmakers Shine in the 90-Second Newbery Film Contest

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90-Second NewberyDo you know some young filmmakers?  They could be part of the Newbery Film Contest!  This is a contest for kids to compete in, creating 90-second (or shorter) videos “that tell the entire stories of Newbery-winning books.”  You can find out more about the 90-Second Newbery Film Contest here.  Interested, but not sure where to start?  They’ve provided a guide of tips and tricks for contestants.

Submit films by Saturday, December 20th, 2014.

Also, save the date for the Minnesota screening of the best local entries – it’s Saturday, February 28th, 2015, from 3:00-4:30 PM.  The screening will be held at the Hennepin County Library (Minneapolis Central) and will be co-hosted by James Kennedy, who runs the program, and Kelly Barnhill, the Minneapolis author of ‘The Witch’s Boy.’  If you have questions about this event, contact Jennifer Verbrugge (State Library Services)  at 651-582-8356 or jennifer.verbrugge@state.mn.us.

Written by Theresa

October 21, 2014 at 7:55 am

Updates & Reminders from State Library Services

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MDE logo retrieved online 12/17/13..

TO: Minnesota Libraries
FROM: State Library Services
DATE: October 20, 2014
SUBJECT: MBTBL job opening, GCFLearnFree.org, LSTA Mini Grants due, MLA thanks and 90-Second Newbery

Position Opening at the Minnesota Braille and Talking Book Library
The Minnesota Braille and Talking Book Library (MBTBL) is seeking qualified candidates for a full-time library technician. Located in Faribault, the MBTBL provides library services to individuals with a visual, physical or reading disability that prevents them from reading standard print materials. The vacancy announcement and application form may be found online at the My State Job Search website. The closing date for the position is October 23, 2014. For more information please contact Catherine Durivage at 507-384-6860 or catherine.durivage@state.mn.us.

Free 21st Century Skills Training Website: GCFLearnFree.org
Over the past decade, the Goodwill Community Foundation’s GCFLearnFree.org program has helped millions around the world learn the essential skills they need to live and work in the 21st century. From using Microsoft Office and email to reading, math, and more, the website offers more than 90 free, self-paced tutorials, including more than 1,000 lessons.

Please join us for an informational webinar on Wednesday, October 29, 2014 from 11 a.m. to noon. Get a virtual tour of the site and learn how other libraries have successfully used GCFLearnFree.org with their patrons. Preregistration is not required. View the webinar. If requested, enter your name and email address, then click “Join.”

For more information, please contact Jennifer Verbrugge at 651-582-8356 or jennifer.verbrugge@state.mn.us.

LSTA Mini Grant applications due November 5
State Library Services is pleased to offer two competitive mini grant opportunities — Playful Learning in Libraries and Expanded Learning through Libraries. With streamlined applications, mini grants are short term grant awards of up to $10,000 for projects taking place from approximately early January through September 30, 2015. Applications for both mini grant opportunities are due on November 5.

Playful Learning in Libraries mini grants are offered to bolster the capacity of public libraries to provide welcoming and engaging play-friendly spaces and experiences that engage children ages 0-8 and their parents/caregivers in play and learning. These projects will also ensure that early learners experience a variety of playful activities that support their growth across the six domains of Minnesota’s early childhood indicators of progress. For inspiration, see what was done at the Park Grove Library in Cottage Grove with a Playful Learning in Libraries mini grant. For more information about this opportunity, contact Jackie Blagsvedt at jacqueline.blagsvedt@state.mn.us or 651-582-8805.

Expanded Learning through Libraries mini grants are designed to support activity-based partnerships between schools and public libraries. The overarching goal is to increase organizational capacity to connect students with meaningful out-of-school time opportunities that improve literacy, academic achievement, college readiness and more. For more information about this opportunity, contact Jennifer Verbrugge at jennifer.verbrugge@state.mn.us or 651-582-8356.

Grant opportunity documents, including timelines, are available on MDE’s grants management site.

Great to See You at the MLA Conference!
State Library Services staff members Jen Nelson, Jackie Blagsvedt and Jen Verbrugge enjoyed connecting with you at the MLA Conference. Thanks to all who attended the programs we presented and chatted with us about your libraries. Please continue the conversation — feel free to contact any State Library Services staff member by email or phone. We love to hear from you!

Calling All Kid Filmmakers!
The 90-Second Newbery Film Festival is an annual video contest in which kid filmmakers make movies that creatively tell the entire stories of Newbery-winning books in ninety seconds or less. Making the film is a fun, creative and multi-faceted educational exercise. Kids write, storyboard, produce, act, frame and edit. James Kennedy, the founder and curator of the 90-Second Newbery, made his own 90-second movie about the 90-Second Newbery inviting you to take part.

Public librarians, school librarians, homeschool parents and teachers are encouraged to work with their kids to make movies. The deadline to submit films is December 20, 2014. Inspiration and more information can be found on the 90-Second Newbery website. Want to make a 90-Second Newbery video, but are daunted by the project? Download this handy guide of tips, tricks, and strategies.

Mark your calendar for the first-ever Minnesota screening of the best local entries on Saturday, February 28, 2015, from 3:00-4:30 pm at Hennepin County Library – Minneapolis Central. Co-hosts of the event will be James Kennedy and Kelly Barnhill, Minneapolis author of The Witch’s Boy. For more details, please contact Jennifer Verbrugge at jennifer.verbrugge@state.mn.us or 651-582-8356.

Written by Patricia Post

October 20, 2014 at 6:54 pm

User Experience (UX) Problems with Library Websites

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questionDoes your library’s website use Library jargon? How about tabs? A recent post by Emily Singley, a Systems Librarian at Harvard University, listed the top 5 problems with library websites. She reviews some recent usability studies that showed, among other things, that students had difficulty understanding the relationship between “articles” and “journals.” Other studies showed “users did not understand what was included in search tools.” All of the cited articles point to an increased awareness of UX, or user experience, for libraries and library websites. How are you designing your website for improved user experience?

Image credit: http://tinyurl.com/lk2c54q, licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0




Written by John

October 20, 2014 at 2:28 pm

Posted in Academic, General, Public, Special

Tagged with , ,

Recommended App: Water Cycle HD

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Water Cycle HD iconRecently, the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) came out with their 25 Best Apps for Teaching & Learning for 2014.  The apps were chosen because they foster innovation, creativity, active participation, and collaboration.

Water Cycle HD is one of these apps.  The app is very visual and interactive – students can view photographs and videos that describe all stage of the water cycle.  While students learn the basics of the water cycle, they also learn about how it impacts life on Earth.  AASL says, “the content correlates to Common Core Science Standards.”

At $1.99, the iOS-only app is a great investment for students K-5.  Here is a screenshot from the app (you can see more screenshots on the App Store):

Water Cycle HD

Written by Theresa

October 20, 2014 at 11:33 am

ELM Information and Learning Commons

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customLogoWe all know that ELM gives Minnesota residents online access to magazine, journal, newspaper, eBooks, and more! And now with the addition of the LearningExpress Library, users have access to educational and career-focused resources too. Now you can make sure you’re getting everything out of these resources with the ELM Information and Learning Commons.

From Minitex: “In the new ELM Information & Learning Commons learn to navigate and master the content in the Electronic Library for Minnesota databases at your own pace. The eCommons includes seven modules for which you may earn a certificate of completion or jump in wherever you need a refresher. Use the ELM Information & Learning Commons to discover all things ELM:

  • setting up links on your library webpage
  • gathering usage statistics
  • exploring content included in ELM resources
  • reviewing basic and advanced searching tips
  • practicing scenarios with a live database
  • joining a discussion with your colleagues
  • learning about the upcoming webinar schedule
  • finding links to additional learning materials created by Reference Outreach & Instruction librarians and more!”


Written by John

October 20, 2014 at 7:31 am


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