Monthly Archives: July 2013

“It Came From a Book” Art Contest for Teens

It Came From a Book
Do you have artistic teen patrons? Teens at your library can enter the 2nd annual “It Came From a Book” Teen Art Contest, sponsored by The Library as Incubator Project, Teen Librarian Toolbox, EgmontUSA, and Zest Books.

Entering is easy: Read any book and create a piece of art inspired by the story. All types of artwork are eligible, simply email a photo or scan of your piece. For all the details, be sure to read the full submission guidelines. You could win a $50 Amazon gift card, books from EgmontUSA and Zest books, and swag from The Library as Incubator project. The deadline to enter is midnight on November 1, 2013. Print their poster for easy promotion in your library and community!

colored pencils

This would be a very easy program to run in your own library as well – either in conjunction with this contest or separately. You already have plenty of inspiring books! You’d only need to supply display space, a judge, and a prize. Displaying art work in the library would be a great way to bring in community members who might not otherwise visit the library, and you could increase circulation by creating displays of the books that inspired the art, along with your non-fiction art books. You could partner with local artists or the school’s art teacher to judge the entries.

Have you had an art show at your library? How did it go? Share your stories in the comments!

Association of Rural and Small Libraries Conference 2013


Registration is now open for the 2013 Association of Rural and Small Libraries conference, which will take place September 25-28 in Omaha, Nebraska. This year’s conference features a great lineup of speakers, presentations, and activities, including pre-conference programs on video book talks, the NASA Explore Marvel Moon program, and Inspiring Small Libraries; engaging breakout sessions such as Innovation on a Shoestring, Dazzling Displays on a Dime, Super Hero Leadership, No Cost Staff Recognition, and many more; and some great keynote speakers, including:

  • Lee Rainie, Director of Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project
  • Sally Gardner Reed, Executive Director of ALA’s United for Libraries

The North Dakota State Library will be sponsoring the attendance of two North Dakota librarians at this year’s ARSL conference:

Congratulations to Sheila and Kate!

The ARSL is a network of supporters of rural and small libraries across the United States, dedicated to fostering the positive growth and development of libraries in small towns and rural communities. To join ARSL, visit their membership page at

Tabletop Gaming Nights – Competitive Play

In the previous post in this series looking at great tabletop games for teen gaming events, we looked at cooperative games, where everyone came together as a team, and their chances of success were dependent up on their ability to work with one another. In this post, the focus will be firmly on competitive, winner-take-all, I’m-the-ruler-of-Mars, kneel before Zod games. Most games you grew up playing fall under this category, but I want to highlight some truly exciting games that are more complex and engaging than those you played with grams.

In addition to presenting some true classics of the complex game genre, I chose a few of these because of their relation to agriculture, the wild west, trains, and rural postal routes. This is North Dakota, after all.

Continue reading

Where Do You Find Information about Health Care Reform?

President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act on March 23, 2010. The law puts in place comprehensive health insurance reforms that will roll out over the next few years. Benefits include: young adults can stay on their parents plan until age 26; consumers cannot be denied health insurance because of pre-existing conditions; there are Rx discounts for seniors; increased protection against health care fraud; and small businesses can receive tax credits.

Here are the 3 key dates:

  • October 1, 2013 – Marketplace open enrollment starts
  • January 1, 2014 – Coverage starts for insurance plans
  • March 31, 2014 – Open enrollment ends


If you have job-based health insurance, you’re considered covered, so you don’t have to do anything. If you are uninsured, the first step is to go to  to access the Health Insurance Marketplace. Here you can compare plans from private insurance companies, apply for coverage, and enroll. While the insurance plans are offered by private companies, the Marketplace is run by the state or federal government. North Dakota’s Marketplace will be facilitated by the federal government at


No plan can refuse you or charge you more because you have a pre-existing medical condition. Women cannot be charged more than men. Answer a few quick questions to get a personalized list of programs that fit your needs and budget. The Marketplace has content, checklists, and information for individuals, families, and small business. You can also view a short video about the Marketplace for individuals and families. Printable brochures, fact sheets, and other information resources about affordable health insurance can  be found at the Marketplace publications center.

Information about prices and benefits are written in plain language so you can make better decisions. The goal of the Marketplace is to simplify your search for health coverage. So, start your health care reform research at or ask your local librarian.

“The older I grow the more I distrust the familiar doctrine that age brings wisdom.”  — H. L. Mencken

Teen Read Week

Teen Read WeekTeen Read Week is an annual event held the third week in October and is national literacy initiative of YALSA, the Young Adult Library Services Association.  It encourages teens to read for fun, and “to take advantage of reading in all its forms —books and magazines, e-books, audiobooks and more — and become regular library users.”

Seek the UnknownThe theme this year is “Seek the Unknown @ Your Library.” It will be held October 13-19, but it is a flexible program you can implement in your library at any time, as it’s designed to “showcase to your community all the great resources, services and activities that you have for teens and their families.”

YALSA makes it really easy to participate and promote the program in your community. They have activity ideas, a planning checklist, lists of books and media, and publicity tools, including a press release and marketing tips. There’s also a wiki with more ideas.

What are you doing to celebrate Teen Read Week at your library? Share ideas for programming in the comments!

Tabletop Gaming Nights – Cooperative Play

Library gaming nights (or weekend afternoons) are great ways to get teens into the library. Gaming events generally can focus either on video games or tabletop games. Tabletop games have a lower entry cost than video games (they have no peripheral, hardware, or electrical requirements), can allow more simultaneous players than video games, and they tend to be more social (face-to-face as opposed to face-to-screen).

One way to ensure that a tabletop gaming event is exciting is by offering the opportunity to play games that are more recent, complex, and/or exotic than players are used to. Games for these events should present a blend of strategy and luck, allowing players familiar with the mechanics to remain deeply invested and engaged while ensuring newcomers aren’t steamrolled as they learn. This helps ensure that players of different skill levels can play together without killing the fun. Continue reading

Have Your Teens Vote for YALSA’s Teens’ Top Ten List

Teens Top TenVoting for the Teens’ Top Ten list opens August 15! Have your teen patrons read the 28 books nominated for 2013? The voting closes September 15, so if they haven’t read any yet, there’s still time to read and vote! If you are between 12 and 18, you can vote.

The Teens’ Top Ten, sponsored by YALSA, the Young Adult Library Services Association,  “is a ‘teen choice’ list, where teens nominate and choose their favorite books of the previous year. Nominators are members of teen book groups in sixteen school and public libraries around the country.”

For additional display options, check out the past winners and other award winning book lists. YALSA also has suggested activities to spread the word about the contest.

The winning books will be announced during Teen Read Week.

Marvel Moon Webinars

moonIn June, we posted about the Explore! program. If you’d like to learn more about the hands-on activities for the Marvel Moon module, register to attend  the free NASA webinars the The Lunar and Planetary Institute is offering on July 31 and August 16. These are free webinars, but space is limited, so you must apply for a spot.

Register to attend “Bring the Moon’s ‘Life Story’ to Children Ages 8-13” on July 31 from 2-4pm Central. This session focuses on activities related to the story of the Moon’s birth and turbulent lifetime of bombardments and volcanism that continues to intrigue scientists. You will discover NASA’s latest research into the ongoing saga that has shaped our Moon.

Register to attend “Celebrate Our Personal, Cultural, and Scientific Connections to the Moon” on August 16 from 2-4pm Central. This session, also designed for those who work with 8-13 year olds, focuses on activities about how the Moon has inspired cultural traditions, poets, songwriters, and romantics through the ages. Ancient and contemporary astronomers made scientific breakthroughs by studying its motions and changing appearance. From poetry and moonlit nights to tides, celebrate the Moon’s connection to us here on Earth!

Explore: Marvel Moon uses food, art, storytelling, and interactive investigations to celebrate our Moon! Activities rely on inexpensive materials and can be flexibly implemented. As children complete each activity, they collect pages to assemble into their own comic books.

If you are unable to attend the webinars, you can still access all the materials and resources to implement these programs in your library.

Have you tried Marvel Moon or other Explore! programming in your library? Share your stories in the comments!

Resources and Data for Public Library Advocacy

Here’s a roundup of resources and data that can assist you in advocating for your library.

The American Library Association’s studies on the economic, literacy, education, and community development impact of libraries are available here.

Add It Up: Libraries Make the Difference

Studies on libraries’ impact on development and education are available here. Note that they’re broken down by age level and library type (school or public).

Pew Internet and American Life Project

All of the Pew Internet & American Life Project’s library-related research is conveniently compiled here.

Public Library Fudning & Technology Access Study

The 2011-2012 Public Library Funding & Technology Access Study is available here.

OCLC’s 2010 brief report, How Libraries Stack Up is available here.

A collection of slightly dated research on the economic impact of libraries at the local and state level can be found here.

If you need help finding other data about your community, simply refer to the ND State Library’s Community Assessment Tool (Word document).

Finally, here are some aggregate funding stats from the 2012 North Dakota Public Library Annual Report, which can inform lobbying efforts for additional local funding:

Local Revenue:           $14,050,201      (85.35%)
State Revenue:            $1,211,532          (7.36%)
Federal Revenue:       $3,007                 (0.02%)
Other Revenue:           $1,197,487         (7.27%)
Total Revenue:            $16,462,227
Local Capital Revenue:         $531,493       (74.74%)
State Capital Revenue:          $2,233            (0.31%)
Federal Capital Revenue:    $28,710          (4.04%)
Other Capital Revenue:        $148,709        (20.91%)
Total Capital Revenue:         $711,145


Know of any other resources for public library advocacy? Please share them in the comments!

The Virtual Addition to Your Library

Maybe you only have a small collection of magazines in your local library or your reference items are outdated and limited. Not to worry. Thanks to funding from the ND Legislature, the ND Library Coordinating Council, and libraries in the state, North Dakota citizens have free access to a broad range of full-text and multimedia databases.

Think of these databases as the virtual addition to your local library.  The different types of materials found on your library shelves can be accessed online: directories, almanacs, magazines, journals, yearbooks, handbooks, dictionaries, encyclopedias, and more. You can also find images, videos and audio files. These Online Library Resources are updated on a regular basis and can be searched 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; all you need is a free library card.

Library Card

You will find general research databases and subject-specific databases like auto repair, genealogy, health, and business. You have access to professional tutors and educational resources, PreK through college. When you use the online library resources provided by the State of ND, you do not have to worry about credibility, authority or safety. Rest assured that users will not be distracted by advertisements, inappropriate content, or other pitfalls that can accompany Internet browsing and research. Students will appreciate that everything is cited and reliable.

In addition to the databases currently available, North Dakota public libraries and their patrons now have access to new resources: NoveList and Zinio.


NoveList is an online reader advisory tool. Use it to find out what comes next in a book series, or what authors write in your favorite genre. The K-8 version of NoveList has fiction and nonfiction reading lists by grade level.


Zinio is an online collection of 100 popular magazines which you can access with your computer, tablet, or smart phone.  You can download as many titles as you want and keep them on your device until you delete them.

The virtual library compliments your local library; it does not replace your local library. The printed book will not go away. The number of library patrons using mobile devices to access the Internet is rapidly increasing. So, take advantage of these online library resources and take your library with you.

“Love your neighbor as yourself; but don’t take down the fence.”  —Carl Sandburg