Books Lists – Middle Grade

Looking for a good middle grade book to read? Looking for a good middle grade book to recommend to your patrons? Looking for a good middle grade book to add to your collection? If so, here are some great lists for you!

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Children & YA Programming Resources

There are a lot of resources available online relating to library programming. It can be a little overwhelming to even know where to start. Below is a list of resources that make great starting points.

Resources for All Ages:

Children:

Teens/ Young Adults:

Embedded Videos on Digital Horizons

Digital Horizons has taken streaming historic videos to the next level. Normally, to watch a video on Digital Horizons, you would have to click on a link that would take you elsewhere, or you would have to download the video. Not anymore! A new feature now allows for embedded videos on Digital Horizons. Now you can search and stream in one convenient location.

This feature on Digital Horizons began with the “Prairie Memories – The Vietnam War Years” collection, and will soon be expanding to other collections. The State Library has been working on adding this feature to its “North Dakota State Documents” collection. Here is an example: http://bit.ly/2CPCAch

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North Dakota State Documents Collection, North Dakota State Library.

Digital Horizons is an online digital library consisting of thousands of images, documents, videos, and oral histories depicting life on the Northern Plains from the late 1800s to today. Digital Horizons provides a fascinating snapshot of the lives, culture, and history of the people who shaped life on the prairies. Digital Horizons was established in 2007 and has grown to include contributors such as Concordia College, North Dakota State University, Prairie Public Broadcasting, North Dakota State Library, State Historical Society of North Dakota, and more!

You can browse the North Dakota State Library collections on Digital Horizons here: http://bit.ly/2D7VyII

Books Lists – Best Books of 2017

Looking for a good book to read? Looking for a book to recommend to a patron? Looking for some books to add to your library’s collection? If so, here are some great lists for you!

2017 has come and gone. With the end of one year and the beginning of another, we can look back on the best books from 2017. Review the categories in the lists below to find the perfect book for you, your library, or your patrons.

Children

Comics/ Graphic Novels

Fiction

Nonfiction

YA

 

EBSCO Under Fire

It has recently been brought to our attention at the North Dakota State Library that EBSCO databases have been under fire from groups based in Colorado, alleging their databases contain pornographic material. I would like to take this opportunity to reassure worried librarians, teachers, and parents that these accusations are false. When this came to our attention we did our own research into the EBSCO databases accused of harboring this type of material. We did not find anything inappropriate.

The group that was cited when this was brought to our attention is the National Center for Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), formerly called Morality in Media. It is our goal at the State Library to help librarians and teachers identify credible resources that show both sides of an issue. This organization is not what we would consider a credible resource. When reading the site you can see that the organization is presenting their side of an issue rather than all sides involved. The National Center for Sexual Exploitation has what they call a “Dirty Dozen List” that is published each year to highlight the companies they consider “facilitators of sexual exploitation.” EBSCO has been on their list for several years now and other notables on the list are the American Library Association (ALA) and Amnesty International.

EBSCO databases have both scholarly reviewed materials and popular publication materials. The content of these popular press magazines are what have brought EBSCO under fire. One of the most common examples that NCOSE likes to use is the article “How to be a Better Bottom.” This article was published in April 2017 by Dr. Evan Goldstein in the periodical The Advocate. This article is from a popular press magazine, not a scholarly reviewed one. When we teach students, teachers, and other librarians how to do proper scholarly research, we always make sure to tell them to search by ‘scholarly reviewed’ items. This article does not appear when a search is done in that way. However, this article may be useful to those who are studying sexual health or those who are exploring their sexuality. Therefore, it should not be censored from databases.

As librarians, our goal is to never censor information from the masses. School libraries have firewalls and filters in place to protect students from material that could be harmful to them. Public libraries do not filter to the same extent, because they serve people of all ages. I would like to share a small portion of a letter from the director of ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, James LaRue. In this letter to a different public library LaRue states,

“Our office is aware of no reports of any minor seeking or finding illegal or even pornographic content through EBSCO. Thus far, the searching [by NCOSE] is done by adults, usually following relatively sophisticated searching techniques that involve multiple steps. Moreover, these searches are conducted at home, where the internet connection is not filtered. If minors were in fact seeking sexual content, it’s unlikely that they would start with EBSCO. Nor would they start with filtered library catalogs. They would use their home computers or mobile phones and Google.”

Libraries are now falling between a rock and a hard place. Which really is not a new position for libraries. Librarians want to respect everyone’s wishes but in doing that, some are left unhappy. This is a tight-rope that librarians walk every single day. While we at the State Library suggest you should always listen to the concerns raised by patrons, we do believe that you should do your own research as well.

Even though the concerns about EBSCO were raised by what seemed to be a spam Facebook account (which has since been deleted), we take any challenge to the appropriateness of library materials seriously. We always hear the person out and explore their claim. In this case, we have found no evidence supporting the accusations against the EBSCO databases. We used the search techniques we teach and found none of the material that EBSCO is accused of promoting.

In this case, the situation boiled down to a simple choice for us. We could bow to political pressures leveraged by an out-of-state organization seeking to discredit schools, libraries, and the resources they provide. Or we could stand by the principles of Intellectual Freedom and affirm the right for everyone to have access to high quality research tools. We chose the latter.

If you have heard about this and would like to discuss ways to assure your patrons and parents that EBSCO is a reputable database please give us a call at the State Library. Your library development specialist would be happy to help.

 

**Special thanks to James LaRue for sharing his letter to the Arapahoe Libraries from July 2017.

Grants for Libraries—December 2017

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Photo by Larry used under CC BY SA 3.0

COLLABORATIVE SCHOOL LIBRARY AWARD

Deadline: FEBRUARY 1, 2018

The Collaborative School Library Award recognizes and encourages collaboration and partnerships between school librarians and teachers in meeting goals outlined in Empowering Learners: Guidelines for School Library Programs through joint planning of a program, unit, or event in support of the curriculum and using school library resources. Applicants must be a school librarian and teacher(s) who have worked together to execute a project, event, or program to further information literacy, independent learning, and social responsibility using resources of the school library. School librarians must be personal members of AASL in order to be eligible.

For more information and to apply for this grant: http://bit.ly/2AFif5K

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Technology Plan Resources

A technology plan outlines a library’s goals and strategies for utilizing technology to achieve its overall mission, goals and objectives. It also addresses the library’s current inventory of technology equipment and software utilized in the library, as well as a plan for the future purchase/replacement/maintenance of equipment and software.

While it is good practice for libraries to have technology plans, not all libraries are required to do so. However, the North Dakota Library Coordinating Council (NDLCC) Standards for Public Libraries does require a current technology plan to be on file at the State Library for libraries in tier 5 (service population of 25,001+).

Resources

TechSoup

State Libraries

Other

Grants for Libraries – November 2017

Dollar sign

Photo by Larry used under CC BY SA 3.0

Bank of the West’s Charitable Investments Program

Deadline: Ongoing

Bank of the West supports nonprofit organizations dedicated to improving the quality of life, particularly of low- and moderate-income individuals and communities. Public nonprofit organizations in the following counties are eligible to apply: Cass, Golden Valley, Griggs, Richland, and Stark. Grants are awarded for education and job training as well as for community and economic development.

Visit their site to find out more and to apply: https://www.bankofthewest.com/about-us/community-support/charitable-investments.html

Coca-Cola Foundation

Deadline: Ongoing

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Space Needs Assessment

What is a space needs assessment?

Basically, a space needs assessment is a process that documents and analyzes the space needs of a library.

Is my library required to do a space needs assessment? 

While it is a good practice for all libraries to conduct space needs assessments, not all libraries are required to do so.

The North Dakota Library Coordinating Council (NDLCC) Standards for Public Libraries does require space needs assessments for libraries in tiers 3, 4, & 5 (service populations of 5,001-12,500, 12,501-25,000, & 25,000+ respectively). According the the Standards, a “library director with the library board completes an in-house space needs assessment every 5 years and makes report of findings to primary funding entity.”

Space Needs Assessment Resources

Libraries and The Hour of Code

CodeDak logo

Guest Post by Tom Stokke, North Dakota Hour of Code Coordinator

The Hour of Code was started by Code.org in 2013 as an initiative to introduce students to coding, or computer programming. Code.org believes that “every student in every school should have the opportunity to learn computer science.” To this end, a variety of engaging hour-long activities have been designed to introduce the concepts of computer science, in fun and engaging programming tutorials. In subsequent years, Hour of Code activities have been designed for everyone, from kindergarten through high school and beyond, to engage audiences from all levels of education and experience.

Even though the use of computers has become ubiquitous, currently there are limited opportunities for students to learn to use computers as problem solving tools. As a society we are very good at consuming content with computers, but our abilities to innovate, design, and create new problem solving tools are limited at best. By improving students’ understanding of how to use the computational abilities of computers to solve their problems, in their fields of interest, we can develop a prepared workforce better suited to meet the demands of tomorrow. Continue reading