Monthly Archives: September 2013

Read for the Record

OtisGet ready for this year’s Read for the Record, taking place this Thursday, October 3. Sponsored by Jumpstart, in partnership with the Pearson Foundation, this event encourages people across the country to come together to read a children’s book. This year’s Read for the Record book is Otis by Loren Long. The goals of this annual one-day event are:

  • To promote the issue of early childhood literacy
  • To ensure that every child is prepared to enter school ready to learn
  • To set a record for the number of people reading the same book on the same day

Since the first Read for the Record in 2006, 9 million children have participated in the event. Last year, 2.3 million people across the country came together to read Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad by David Soman and Jacky Davis.

Check out Jumpstart’s website for more information and great ideas for putting on your own Read for the Record event at your library. The website features activity guides for this year’s book, Otis, steps for planning your event, promotional ideas, and more. This is a great event to help highlight the importance of early childhood literacy in your community, and it’s a fun time for kids to gather together to cultivate a love of reading.

International Observe the Moon Night

InOMN logo-transparentInternational Observe the Moon Night is Saturday, October 12. Will your library be participating? If you are hosting an event, be sure to register it, and put North Dakota on the map!

International Observe the Moon Night (InOMN) “is an annual event that is dedicated to encouraging people to ‘look up’ and take notice of our nearest neighbor, the Moon. The International Observe the Moon Night Team consists of scientists, educators, and Moon enthusiasts from government, non-profit organizations, and businesses throughout the United States and across the globe…we hope to instill in the public a sense of wonderment and curiosity about our Moon.”

If you want to host an event in your community, there is a handy guide walking you through “How to Host an Event in 6 Easy Steps”:

  • Consider your audience and setting
  • Download the InOMN kit
  • Advertise
  • Register your event
  • Host and have fun!
  • Evaluate

The InOMN kit provides logos and materials to help you advertise (including bookmarks!), certificates to award participants, and Moon observation logs. Not an expert on the Moon? That’s okay, the kit also has presentations to help you learn about the Moon. There’s also a very thorough guide prepared just for libraries! However, this would also be a great opportunity to partner with you local science teachers and their expertise! For ideas on what to do at the event, check out the sample event suggestions. There are also activities you can use at your event, or at programs throughout the year. The North Dakota State Library also has the Explore! Marvel Moon binder from the NASA workshop in 2011.

If you are planning events for Teen Read Week, which is October 13-19, InOMN ties in perfectly to this year’s theme of “Seek the Unknown @ Your Library.”

Will you be hosting an InOMN event this year? What do you have planned? Have you hosted an InOMN event before? How did it go? Share your plans and stories in the comments!

Introducing the BARD App for iOS

bard app iconThe National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) has released a new app for iOS, which will facilitate mobile access to braille and talking books from NLS’s Braille and Audio Download (BARD) service.

With the mobile app, patrons registered  with the North Dakota Talking Books library or another NLS cooperating braille and talking book library can play talking books from BARD on iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. With a Bluetooth-enabled device connected to a refreshable braille display, patrons can also read BARD’s collection of braille materials. BARD contains a total of nearly 50,000 books, magazines, and music scores in both audio and braille formats.

For more information in North Dakota, contact our Talking Book Service. They’ll explain program eligibility, help eligible North Dakotan’s get registered for the talking book service and BARD, and can help registered iOS users get started with the BARD app.

On the Road to the MPLA/NDLA/SDLA Tri-Conference

SDLA2013September 25-27th brings us the annual conference of the North Dakota Library Association held jointly this year with the South Dakota Library Association and the Mountain Plains Library Association. I couldn’t be more excited.

Keynote Presentations and Featured Speakers: This year’s opening keynote will be delivered by author and radio/TV personality Rick Steves. Steves is the author of numerous travel guides and hosts programs on American Public Television and Public Radio. If that weren’t exciting enough, ALA President Maureen Sullivan will be delivering a keynote presentation on Thursday entitled “The Promise of Libraries Transforming Communities.” Thursday will also feature a luncheon presentation from YA author Neal Shusterman. Finally, Friday brings us a luncheon session with Encyclopædia Britannica’s Editor-in-Chief, Dale Hoiberg.

Programming Highlights: The color-coordinated conference schedule is packed with quality sessions, including lots of STEM sessions full of public library programming ideas (that tie-in with next year’s Summer Reading Program theme), great library technology sessions. I wanted to provide a list of the crème de la crème of concurrent programs, but I honestly can not pick them. I sincerely wish I could be in two or three places at once, but no means I’ve conceived of for achieving this seems pleasant or safe. The good news is that MPLA will host an archive of the conference handouts, so check there in the future to find out more about what you missed.

Sioux Falls Attractions: There’s always quality live entertainment at the Mary W. Sommervold Hall, Belbas Theater, and the Schulte Black Box Theater. You could bask in the glory of magnificent art at any of the six galleries comprising the Visual Arts Centre. The area boasts a number of excellent museums, such as the Kirby Science Discovery Center, Augustana’s Center for Western Studies, the intriguingly vague Museum of Visual Materials, and the historic Siouxland Heritage Museums. Of course, you could also spend some leisure time shopping downtown.

Eateries and Coffee Shops: Here’s a rundown of the eateries unique to Sioux Falls. Personally, I’m most looking forward to Lalibela’s as there’s no place to get Ethiopian food in North Dakota. Sanaa’s gourmet Mediterranean restaurant also sounds amazing, with their made fresh menu and green approach to restauranteering. There are tons of intriguing cafes to frequent, but I’ve been told that Black Sheep is the best in town, so I’m definitely heading there.

I very much hope to see you there!

Teen Advisory Groups

brainTeen Advisory Groups go by many names – groups, boards, councils – but the purpose is the same: get teens involved in the library! Teens can be a difficult group for libraries to reach with busy schedules and diverse interests. According to YALSA, the Young Adult Library Services Association, a Teen Advisory Group can make a difference in program participation because “it incorporates your teens as direct stakeholders in their library.”

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You Built It, But Will They Come?

Libraries do an amazing job of building collections, gathering resources, and developing programs for the people in their communities. Today, libraries offer everything from story times for children to video production equipment for teens to job searching and computer classes for adults. We might spend a lot of time and effort to offer wide ranging learning opportunities and experiences for our communities, but a librarian’s time and effort don’t always translate to community members’ attendance and participation. Why don’t more people show up for our programs or utilize our great resources? Oftentimes, the missing piece of the puzzle is marketing. Continue reading

Increasing Security on Public Access Computers with EMET

EMETdownloadI’ve previously posted various steps you can take to keep your Public Access Computers safe and secure. Today I’m writing about another free and simple way you can greatly increase the security of any Windows machine: installing Microsoft’s Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit.

Enhanced Mitigation Experience Toolkit is kind of a mouthful, so most people just call it EMET (like the otter). What “enhanced mitigation experience” means isn’t obvious–in essence, EMET acts to prevent rogue code from behaving badly on your computer. This is different from anti-malware software, Continue reading

Benefits and Challenges of Digital Textbooks

In February of 2012, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) unveiled a new “Digital Learning Playbook” which is a roadmap for educators to transition American schools to digital textbooks by 2017. The transition is occurring in pockets, but is not widespread.


Currently, only a small fraction of total textbook sales are digital textbooks. Still, several states have enacted changes in recent years to make it easier for districts to go digital.  Florida was the first state to mandate that public schools spend half their textbook budgets on digital textbooks by 2015.

In addition to funding school connectivity through the E-rate program, the FCC is working to increase access to broadband at home for students and low-income families via Connect to Compete, a national public/private partnership. Broadband connectivity at home will allow schools to accelerate the transition to digital textbooks.

Benefits of Digital Textbooks:

  • Convenience
  • Updating digital editions is faster and more cost effective
  • Digital textbooks are more current
  • Students no longer have to transport heavy book bags
  • Richer content, including videos and links to other resources
  • Digital textbook content can be searched

Challenges of Digital Textbooks:

  • Not every student can afford a mobile device
  • Not every student has Internet access at home
  • Technological problems
  • Eye strain (computer vision syndrome)
  • Students can’t resell digital versions
  • Some students just prefer a print book


  • Wieder, B., States move slowly toward digital textbooks, (Washington, DC), (2012, April 23).
  • The Palm Beach Post, Digital textbooks will come with their own problems, (2013, February 11).
  • Federal Communications Commission, Fact Sheet, Digital Textbook Playbook, (released 2012, February 1).

“The biggest human temptation is to settle for too little.”

–Thomas Merton

Building Teen Services at Your Library

After blocksspecializing in Teen Services while in library school, Gretchen Kolderup was hired as the part-time Teen Services librarian at a library in a small town in Connecticut. The position of Teen Services Librarian was brand new, and the library had previously offered programming for teens only sporadically, so there wasn’t much on which to build.

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Tablet + Library Card = Free Magazines – Anytime, Anywhere

If you’re as attached to your tablet device as I am, you’ve likely grown accustomed to reading digital content on screen, rather than books, magazines, and newspapers in print. Not that print isn’t still great – there will always be comfort and joy to be found in reading a print picture book to a child, or in starting the day by perusing the daily newspaper over coffee and cereal. But tablet devices, like the iPad, Kindle Fire, and a host of others, are changing the way we interact with media, and their convenience, portability, and multi-functionality have led many readers to choose digital books and other media over their traditional print counterparts. If you’re a reader of magazines, you’ve had the option to purchase digital subscriptions to your favorite titles via Apple’s Newsstand, the Amazon store, Google Play store, and other outlets. But regardless of which device you use and which outlet you access content from, “Purchase” has always been the key word in this transaction. Continue reading