Monthly Archives: December 2013

Holiday Hiatus

We’re taking some time off for the holidays, so check back on January 7 for new content! We hope you enjoy celebrating with your friends and family!

book tree

We created a tree out of weeded books for the holidays.

Brooklyn’s Finest Book Lists

brooklynThe Brooklyn Public Library is many things (including very far from here); one thing you might not know about them is that they curate some wonderful and wonderfully targeted book lists. These can help you fill in areas of your collection that need a little jazzing up. Here are a few choice examples to whet your appetite and get you in a book buying (and reading!) mood…

Books for Teens

Picture Books

Not what you’re looking for? They have tons more. Browse and search through the rest of their spectacular book lists here.

Have any recommendations you’d like to share? We’d love to hear them in the comments!

Library Research and the Writing Process

The writing process can be a way to explore and develop ideas. Integrating library research sources into one’s own ideas can result in original perspectives and reflects critical thinking. Critical thinking should be a vital part of the writing process and is an essential tool for students to evaluate information. Sometimes the writer’s ideas and arguments may change as the composition process proceeds. This is critical thinking in action and is a good thing.


Writing and library research complement each other. Research becomes a process of inquiry and not just fact-finding. Linking writing and research helps students expand the ways of using information. The writing process can help integrate the student’s creativity and original ideas into the research assignment.

Adapted from an interview with Andrea Baer, Ph.D. in comparative literature from the University of Washington and Masters in Information Sciences from the University of Tennessee that originally appeared at Library Juice Academy News

“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” – Old Greek proverb

Spark a Reaction Teen Video Challenge

Spark a ReactionCreate a video promoting summer reading in North Dakota and you could win the North Dakota “Spark a Reaction” Teen Video Contest, including a $275 prize for you and a $150 prize for your library!

The 2014 Teen Video Challenge is open to legal U.S. residents aged 13 -18. Each participant or group may submit one video per entry. The deadline to enter is March 3, 2014. For more details on entering, visit

Consumer Financial Programming Needed at Your Library

I recently attended a webinar on the partnership between the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. They’re working to provide tools and materials to help libraries provide free, unbiased financial information and referrals, build local partnerships, and promote libraries as community resources. 

The ultimate goal is for libraries to educate and empower consumers to make better-informed financial decisions. The partnership between IMLS and the CFPB is still young–they’ve just completed their information gathering stage, but it highlights an exciting and promising service for libraries to develop.

You can check out how North Dakotans compare to the rest of the US in terms of fiscal responsibility here. The webinar highlighted the importance of partnering with local colleges, financial institutions, and CPA’s to develop programs and events. If you’re interested in reviewing the data from the full study, it’s available here.

School Librarians are Tech Leaders

School Library Journal conducted a survey in 2013 which illustrated that librarians are technology leaders in their schools and districts. The results have been captured in a graphic (PDF) which is freely available to use, print, or post. Check it out.


“Only the guy who isn’t rowing has time to rock the boat.” – Jean-Paul Sartre

A Summer of Numbers

bedtime mathSummer Reading Programs are great for helping students maintain their reading skills over the summer. However, it’s  important to work on maintaining math skills as well! The Collaborative Summer Library Program (CSLP) has partnered with Bedtime Math to offer products and resources for incorporating math into this year’s Summer Reading Program. It’s a perfect tie-in to the “Fizz Boom Read” science theme! Print a poster to promote a Summer of Numbers at your library. Preview the available products or log in to order.

North Dakota Oil Spill Report Repository

oilfieldIncidentsHere’s one for those library workers with reference responsibilities: the North Dakota Department of Health’s Environmental Health Section and the Department of Mineral Resrouces’ Oil and Gas Division recently unveiled a new website to assist with research on oil spills within North Dakota and on the environmental impact of these and related incidents.

The site features three tables detailing environmental incidents directly related to oilfields. The tables provide an overview of the incidents as well as links directly to the incident reports.  Continue reading

Critical Thinking Gives You Power

Thinking critically gives you more control in the age of spin. It results in more power over advertisers, politicians, biased arguments, the unscrupulous, and all the information that bombards us from multiple sources. Students will recognize that critical thinking gives them the tools to evaluate all this input and not be controlled by it.


False ideas and media hype have a creep factor. When something gets repeated or passed on, or retweeted, whether true or not, it eventually begins to look like truth. This is the core reason why political ads or urban myths have sway over so many of us.

In this era of spin, educators have the obligation to teach students critical thinking skills. If students know where to find reliable information and how to evaluate information, they can make decisions based on fact. Critical thinking skills will give students power.

Adapted from a piece by G. Randy Kasten that originally appeared at Edutopia / George Lucas Educational Foundation

“The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.” —Bertrand Russell

Book Crafts for Christmas

Spread some holiday cheer by decorating your library with weeded books!

book christmas treeFolded Book Christmas Tree

honeycomb book page ornamentsHoneycomb Book Page Ornaments

book page wreathRolled Book Page Wreath

How are you decorating your library for the holidays?

For more inspiration, check out the decorations the staff of the Edna Ralston Library in Larimore made for their 2012 Holiday Open House:

edna ralston book page rose detail
edna ralston book page star garland
Check out the decorations for their 2013 Holiday Open House on Facebook.